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Thu, Jun 20, 2019

Gone West: ANN Mascot Anjin G Shepherd

Dear Lord... Please Help Me To Be The Person My Dog Thinks I Am

We've had a rough many weeks recently... lots to do, some medical issues that would not go away... until recently (and thankfully without long-term ill effect) -- and LOTS of work to do to keep up with ANN as well as our new AeroPReneuer company and a few new additions to the Airborne line-up.

Worse... we're working a few really tough stories that, if they turn out to be what we fear, could have a decidedly negative impact on the aviation biz... and as much as we hate to do them; do them we must because we've always promised you our best and most honest efforts.

It's not easy work... but there are things, here at home, that have made it all immeasurably more accomplishable. I have a great family, a wife who supports me unreservedly and with more love than I knew existed, and my work with the Bob Hoover Legacy Foundation has turned out to be truly inspirational and a source of great pride and satisfaction. Bob always represented the very best in aviation and my work on his behalf helps me to keep that standard alive--especially when I'm so often exposed to things that make me wonder about our collective future.

But much of the time, the simple pleasure of our German Shepherd, Anjin (Japanese for 'Pilot') sitting under my desk at my feet, and spending most of each day in my office, was a sweet adjunct to a life that has had great purpose, and is the source of great personal pride.

For nearly 12 years, Anjin has been my partner in crime... an incredibly affectionate and loyal little dog that loved to 'guard' my airplane by sitting in the shade underneath the wing in the grass at my old airpark home as well as sitting 'right seat' on many a flying adventure, where she LOVED looking out upon the world in ways few other dogs got to experience.

Many of you got to meet Anjin on our trips around the country... and so many of you remarked on her sweetness and the fact that she never needed a leash... she knew when to take commands and when she could do her own thing... and that happened only because of the trust, love, and respect that can be built between a person and a smart, caring animal -- even when the dog tends to be a bit smarter than the 'owner.'

She was quite the ambassador wherever we went, and particularly at my old airpark home, she was more or less adopted by a number of the neighbor kids who didn't have dogs of their own. Two little girls, in particular, adopted her the day they met her while walking by the house. They would thereafter show up on weekend mornings, and shyly inquire with more cuteness than I thought was possible -- "Can Anjin come out to play?"

And, off they'd go for an hour or two or three... returning my (then) puppy happy and exhausted since all that playtime would tire her out and inevitably result in an all day snooze-fest until she recovered from chasing these kids around within the agreed play area. For most of the local kids, Anjin was the 'community puppy' and she learned to get along with just about everybody right from the start -- and was clearly the favorite airport dog for as long as we remained there.

Even better; Anjin welcomed my wife, Masako, into our family from the moment she saw her... they were thick as thieves from Day One and the two of them had a ball... despite the fact that when Masako married me, she brought her cat along with the deal.

Surprisingly; Anjin was cool with that... the cat not so much -- but the two developed a tolerant relationship over the years -- and the four of us were a truly happy family.

As life must dictate, all such wonders are of limited scope... and so it finally was with our beloved Anjin. We knew she was feeling poorly, but the vet said we had more time and with careful care and meds, she was going to be a part of our life a bit longer.

But last Thursday, after playing outside in the cool grass after an afternoon rain, soaking up some sun, and making the rounds of our house, including a few hours laying under my desk and getting her ears and head scratched on request, this sweet little girl found a spot in the dining room, laid down, and quietly, peacefully, regretfully, released her hold on this life... with Masako and I right beside her to give her all our love as she left us.

That evening was brutal... but I made sure that Masako and I spent some time later that night going through the thousands of pics and videos we shot with her over the years... replacing a little of the sadness with the joy and memories of a great life and all that she gave us.

She was the ANN mascot, she was a beautiful flying dog, she was an airplane protector, she was everybody's best buddy at the dozens of airports we visited... she was 80 pounds of fur (so much fur!), love, and ebullient personality -- and she was a devoted member of our family whom we will remember all the rest of our lives.

Masako and I hope that you have something equally as precious in your life...

All the best to you and yours...

FMI: The Campbell Family

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