For fifteen years, you were a part of my life. You were without a doubt the sweetest dog I've ever seen. Every living thing you met, whether four-legged or two, you treated as your new best friend.
I still remember the first day I saw you. I was laying on the family room floor playing a board game, on the day after Christmas. You came running in, and you were so excited by all the people there that you ran right across the game, ending it. You were such a cute little puppy, so full of life.
From that point on, you were always there. You moved across the country, and back, with us. On every vacation, you went with us. Every time we left the house, you wanted to ride in the car. More than anything, you just wanted to be with us. You slept in my parent's room, but when they left in the morning, you would move on to someone else's room, always wanting to be near one of us.
You were the first, and still the only, dog I've ever truly seen smile. It was such an amazing sight to come home and see you running up to greet us, tail wagging, and "smiling", in a way that only you could do. You were the perfect dog for our family, and there isn't a single thing I'd ever change about you.
You went through so much, and you always bounced back so well. The vet frequently referred to you as a "medical marvel" for the way something would come up, and look so bleak, only to have you lick it and keep on going a few weeks later. From tumors, to infections, to thyroid trouble, it seemed like you went through the whole book, but you always managed to make it through, and mostly unscathed. I kept hoping that would happen again.
The last couple of weeks were almost unbearable. Seeing you as you were, while my mind's eye kept visualizing how you used to be. . . even a few short weeks ago. So full of energy and always ready to play. Now barely able to stand, and unable to even get a drink of water on your own. Seeing how it got harder and harder for you to breath was the worst.
As I sat with you through last night, gently petting your head, and listening to you gasp for air, I felt sick to my stomach. You were dazed more often than not, unaware of where you were, or what was going on. When you went outside and just stood there, for such long periods of time, despite it being below O degrees F, it was painful to watch.
Expending every ounce of energy just to continue breathing, unaware of your surroundings, and no longer eating, is no way to live. As hard as it was sitting with you through that long night last night, making the decision to let you go was even harder. But, I couldn't bear to see you in such discomfort anymore. Every time you looked at me, you had such pain and sadness in your eyes. The way you went outside in the cold, and didn't come back in unless carried, made me wonder if you were trying to go out and just let the cold claim you.
I hope you enjoyed one last walk through the park, cold and snow blown as it was. I only wish it could have been a little warmer so you could have enjoyed it more.
I was slightly comforted that the vet was very good at what he did. And watching you relax and breath easily after he gave you the initial anesthetic was beautiful. You looked calm and peaceful in a way you haven't been in weeks. Even if only for a few moments, you looked like you escaped the pain and discomfort that you'd been living in.
Holding you, watching you, while he gave you the second anesthetic, the euthanasia, and ended it, was one of the hardest experiences of my life. Watching you chest rise slower and slower, and eventually stop. . .
I love you Lady, and I'll never forget you. You were so much more than "just a dog", you were a friend, a part of the family, and a huge part of my life. Every time I walk in the door, and you're not running over to greet me, I'll remember you. And miss you.
Good bye, my friend.