They say dog people have one “Soul Dog” who comes into their lives.  We love ALL of our dogs of course, but the Soul Dog is the one we have such an intense and personal bond with that our communication and emotional attachment to them is on a whole different level.

Humphrey was my Soul Dog.

Back in 2001 I was going through a very sad time in my life. One night, on Mother’s Day, through my tears, I prayed desperately for help, comfort, love… anything at all to take the emotional pain away.

A couple of days later I went into work as usual at the veterinary clinic I was employed at. Midway through the afternoon, one of the technicians came into the back room holding a small black furry thing. It looked like a gerbil from where I could see, but…Our veterinarian took charge of the fuzzy infant and loudly declared it was a newborn puppy and someone needed to take it home.  I jumped at the chance while all of the technicians backed away. I was the only one excited about such a sleep-deprived prospect.

The doctor examined the tiny ball of soft black fluff and said to me, “You are going to have to take really good care of him, bottle-feed him every four hours and watch him constantly. He’s going to be like having a baby, okay?”  She handed the warm bundle to me, having no idea of the impact of her words. “He’s your baby now.  He was born three days ago, which means he was born on Mother’s Day.”

He had come into this world on the day I had sent up my plea. In that moment I knew God had answered my prayer.

Every four hours I bottle fed little Humphrey, cradling his half pound body in my palm. By the time he was a month old he weighed 5 pounds- 5 pounds of fluffy love who was healing my heart slowly. I no longer had the deep sorrow I had been carrying around. It seemed God saw fit to send an angel to me in the form of a dog. As the years went by, this fluff of love saw me through everything… many moves, a divorce, a lay off, a broken heart, a tragic death… and he was also there for all of my good times too — finding love and peace and happiness again and my finally settling into the life I was always meant to live.

And after 12 years together, it seemed he felt he had done his job in loving me through the hard times because out of the blue he was diagnosed with kidney failure and I was told I had only a short time left with him. I cried into his fur and told him over and over I wasn’t ready for him to leave- that I still needed him in my life. My husband and I began at-home dialysis twice a day and when Humphrey stopped eating I syringe fed him Ensure and baby food every morning and evening. It occurred to me, sitting on the floor, feeding him almost just like when I bottle fed him, that he and I had come full circle. As I looked into his milky, beautiful eyes I realized that I was keeping him alive at the end just as I did at the beginning. And that he would always be my baby boy.


The day eventually came when I had to make the hard decision. That inevitable loving choice of setting my beloved doggy free from pain. Letting him go was one of the most heart-wrenching moments of my life. I was lucky though, my veterinarian came to the house and Humphrey passed peacefully in my arms while I whispered in his ear over and over, “I love you. I love you. I love you so much.”

The impact Humphrey had on my life is so special that it’s difficult to express adequately. But I think anyone who has a Soul Dog understands my journey. I am a lifelong dog owner and I have loved all of my babies dearly, but Humphrey was the one dog who actually healed me when I needed it most, and he was a gift beyond measure.

Humphrey’s spirit of kindness, forgiveness and love lives on in my heart.  I can think of no better way to honor him then to have named my company after him.

Hugs my friends,

Nanny Chelly