Those of us who are loved by dogs go into each new relationship knowing that we almost certainly will not only have the joy of receiving the love of a new friend, but that we will also have the deep sorrow of our parting. For this very reason, many people choose to never have another dog - the bitter pain of losing one is just too much to bear.
Choosing to be there as they pass, whether naturally or with a vet's help, is one of the most gut-wrenching things I've ever experienced. One of our dogs was tragically taken from us in a freak accident, but the very last movement she made was to wag her tag one last time as I reached her fallen form.
With another furry friend, Bunny and Sean eased her passage by talking to her and petting her, though their tears were falling, until she left.
And Sean and I were there when our big friend Henley the Great Dane was eased into the next life to spare him the agony of the bone cancer that had riddled his leg. With the possibility of his next step causing an agonizing fracture, we laid on the floor by him as the drugs did their work. I have never loved a dog as much as Henley, and we only had him for 7 years.
Freddie the mini schnauzer has been with JoAnn and Larry for more than 15.
So if you read this, pray for those who love enough to walk the last mile with their friends.