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Cameron Chillin’
Memories of Christmas and his last family vacation
Cameron on his last family vacation, Outer Banks, May 2009.

This is a picture of my best friend and soul mate, Cameron. I lost him unexpectedly on Aug. 6, 2009 at the age of 14-and-a-half years. He was a black and tan mini-Dachshund.

I miss seeing his beautiful face, the jingle of his tags and his paws tapping the floor.

I got him when he was just six-weeks-old, and he was the perfect companion. He helped my mother during her illness, and helped me get through her death. He made my dad’s days less lonely and he loved my sisters and brother-in-law very much. He loved my best friend/coworker Deborah, too.

He loved to go for “rides” around town and going on family vacations. We would meet the neatest people during our trips and it was because they had to talk to Cameron. They were either missing their own dog back home or Cameron reminded them of their pet in the past.

He loved to walk and dig in the sand at the beach. In his younger days, he would chase the birds with me holding tight to the leash and running behind him … what a sight!

He would let me dress in him up in bandannas, bow ties, sweaters and Halloween costumes. He loved to bark at the trick-or-treaters on Halloween night, while I gave out candy but Christmas was his favorite holiday. The day after Thanksgiving, we would go to the mall and in his new Christmas sweater Cameron would get his picture taken with a “real” Santa. Back home, he would jump in his bed, while I got the tree and decorations out, and then watch me decorate the tree. On Christmas Day, he would pull his stuff out of his stocking and look inside the gift bags for new toys and treats. Sometimes, I would catch him gazing at the tree at night, and when New Year’s rolled around, he would get a look on his face like “don’t take it down.”

He always had a birthday party with a different theme each year, and he would get his treat of vanilla ice cream along with plenty of presents.

I love this picture because he is just “chilling” on the front porch of our rental cottage in Nags Head. He was so happy on that trip, and it was his last family trip.

I miss Cameron so much! I know I will meet him on that Rainbow Bridge one day.

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Susan C. Mauney lives in Gastonia, N.C.

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