Dog MemorialRicola Swaver Leonard, "Rico" for short, picked us as his people parents in September of 1997. When we brought him home with the floppy ear, he was teeny enough to be carried in Daddy's shirt pocket. He was our first "child" and satisfied every need we had for a human baby. He loved car rides, camping trips and being allowed to run on the beach without a leash. He hated wipee baths. He was a smart doggie, Rico Leonard.

Among our favorite tricks was his ability to ring a bell to tell us he needed to go out. He also loved to play with his favorite toy, Purple Man. He would lay his ears back, tuck his tail and hunker down into the carpet with his claws speeding through the house like a flash of lightening to catch Purple Man and bring him back to us to go at it again. He was a typical Chihuahua. He had a bark that could be heard for miles and he barked at everything, even leaves blowing across the driveway. He wasn't just a one-person doggie, Rico Leonard.

He adored his grandmommie and when our first child came along, he selflessly gave up his place on Mommy and Daddy's laps to baby Josh. Near the end, he was beginning to get attached to Josh,- going on "walkies", playing Purple Man and curling up with Josh on the couch to watch SpongeBob. They had developed a sweet friendship. Rico knew his second brother, Sam, only for a short time, but he allowed Sam to play too and was always concerned if Sam was injured or upset.

There are no words to describe the love that Rico brought to our family. And there are no words to describe how much the tapping of his little paws on the hardwood floors will be missed. This morning as I sat with my 10-year-old doggie, Rico Leonard in the vet's office, he verbally let me know that he didn't want to be put in the hospital again and that he was too scared and sick to go through anything else. It was then that I knew it would be O.K. with him if we decided to let him go. He had suffered three days too long. At about 3:30am this morning, Rico was no longer suffering. We know you are running in grassy fields WITHOUT YOUR LEASH. Go, Rico Go!

We love you and will miss you.

Daddy, Mommy, Josh and Sam