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You guys were there when I lost my Handsome Prince. Seems only right I share some good news. | Helen Ubiñas

We were crushed when we lost our beloved golden retriever. Taking a road trip to Tennessee helped.

Helen Ubiñas with her dogs Max (left) and Lou at their home in Philadelphia.
Helen Ubiñas with her dogs Max (left) and Lou at their home in Philadelphia.Read moreJESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer

I owe some of you an introduction.

Last October, we had to say goodbye to our beloved golden retriever, Major.

Eight months earlier, we had gotten the devastating news that our big guy had cancer and we had some tough decisions ahead of us.

I shared my grief in my column, and was blown away by the response. The overwhelming kindness, support, and advice helped.

I kept every email, and while looking back at them is bittersweet, it also reminds me how many people were rooting for Major. I really believe all that good energy was why he lasted as long as he did.

Even so, losing Major last Oct. 26 was crushing. Our home and his little brother, Max, who adored him, weren’t the same.

Max always had been the more animated and rambunctious of the Boys — that’s what I called them after we rescued them a few months apart from Memphis Area Golden Retriever Rescue (MAGRR). But without Major, he was lonely and sad.

We were all sad.

I knew we’d eventually get another dog — mostly for Max, I told myself.

There is no replacing Major, my Handsome Prince. But I remembered something someone once told me: The best way to honor a dog you loved and lost is to rescue another.

More than a few times in the last year, I found myself on the website of the rescue organization where we had gotten the Boys. But we weren’t ready. Once, I actually inquired about an adorable dog named Doc. As corny as this sounds, I thought it was a sign; he’d be good medicine for all of us, I rationalized.

Except Max, who’s 11, had ruptured his cranial cruciate ligament and was still recovering. So, on the sound advice of the rescue organization, Doc went to another home. They were right. It was for the best.

A few months later, Max was doing better physically, but he was clearly still lonely. He slept a lot, and he let us sleep in, which you’d think we’d hesitate to give up.

But then we spotted a sweet pup named Lacy with a hard-luck story on the rescue organization’s website. She’d been pregnant when she was rescued. Only one puppy survived. We put in another call.

We’d always said that if we adopted again, we’d make the trip to meet some of the great people behind MAGRR. Not long after inquiring about the puppy and getting the green light, we were on the road to Tennessee.

I’d love to share some fun or interesting anecdotes about the impromptu road trip, but it was a long straight trip there and back for all of us, including Max. Of course he came along for the ride; he had final approval.

While waiting for the pup’s foster mom to drop him off, we got to know Phyl, the dynamo who runs the rescue organization, and Gerry, who’d fostered both my Boys.

It was love at first sight — for some of us. Max liked the puppy fine, but following in Major’s footsteps, he was going to make the little guy work a little for his unconditional love. Nothing like 15 hours in the back seat of a car to speed up the bonding process.

The puppy’s foster mom said she would stalk us on Facebook to make sure her little man was doing well.

Along with Max, he’s become the star of just about all of my social media platforms, so she doesn’t have to search hard.

He’s doing great.

He has become to Max what Max was to Major, a rambunctious little brother who will not be denied endless hours of bro time, play time, and treats. He has a knack for finding trouble, and all sorts of things to put in his mouth.

Max loves him. We all do.

Anyway, Max and I would like to formally introduce you to Lou. Our Sweet Lou.