When Gina and I brought Sydney home in July 2004, we had no idea what we were getting into. We were young and newly married, and things seemed to be going so well we thought a cute little puppy could only make life better. Who doesn't love a cuddly little fur ball?

You can probably guess that dog life was not the easy transition we thought it would be. Sydney, in addition to her cuteness, was energetic, high-strung, demanding, and strong willed. Did I mention energetic? After a round of obedience school and some socialization with other dogs and people, we were able to adjust to our life with a hyper dog. As Sydney grew up, so did we. Gina and I moved to Virginia for graduate school, and she was there with us every step of the way. She was waiting at the door when Sam and Nate came home for the first time. She rode with me in the moving truck from Virginia to Illinois, then again from Illinois to Texas. More importantly, she faithfully waited for us each day to return and greeted us as if we had been gone 5 years.

Sydney was amazingly fast and could catch a frisbee out of the air. I would take her running with me early in the morning, and she never missed a beat or lagged behind. She intuitively knew where I was going before I went there. Even though it was a challenge having an energetic dog, it was also a lot of fun because she was so athletic.

Sydney passed away quickly on a Monday morning in October with no warning. I had been on the treadmill running, and she was sitting with Nate in the garage watching me. She fell over as she ate her breakfast, and shortly after that she was gone. Death always catches people by surprise, even when it's expected. This was very unexpected and sad and traumatic. Even though it has been a couple of months, we still miss Sydney everyday. She still comes up in our conversations as we remember the unique role she played in our family. Sam and Nate wanted to get a new dog immediately after Sydney died, but I think it will be awhile before we find a new teammate.

Here are few images of Sydney, mainly from her early years. If you dig around in our photos, you will notice she in the background of just about every one. That is how I will remember Sydney ... always there, always excited, always faithful. I also wanted to include this short video of Sam playing with Sydney right after we moved to Illinois. Those two were always good buddies.

[embedplusvideo height="360" width="640" editlink="http://bit.ly/1a4TBe1" standard="http://www.youtube.com/v/GAhdormaw5Q?fs=1" vars="ytid=GAhdormaw5Q&width=640&height=360&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=" id="ep2848" /]