Most of us will go through the loss of a pet. It's an odd feeling of losing someone you took care of, who also took care of you.
It's not a child, it's not a mother, it's something else that hurts in a different way.
A family friend had to put her companion of nine years down yesterday.
I helped with the care leading up to that decision, and it was a rough time for everyone.
In the early morning hours Saturday, four of us, and Maggie the shepherd mix, spent time at the emergency veterinarian clinic in Maumelle.
Maggie came in from playing in her back yard Friday, had dinner and quickly went downhill.
Before it was Saturday, she had lost control of her lower half.
Maggie wasn't a candidate for a wheel chair or sling as small, more mobile dogs are.
She was a big girl and it took all of us to move her.
For the following days, we had a lot of failed systems for transporting, feeding her, and making her comfortable.
She was a good girl through it all and never bit us, though she wanted to.
The referred surgeon finally diagnosed her with a bulging disc, part of a common disc disease that my Chihuahua has.
Maggie's damage was too much for surgery, and there was about a 20 percent chance she would be able to walk again in several months.
Animals really take a toll on your heart.
You want to give them a happy home and the best life you can offer. You want to make them a part of the family, but animals are taxed with shorter lives than our actual relatives, not that any time on earth is long enough with loved ones.
An animal can listen to you, love you unconditionally (unless it's a cat), cure your loneliness, make you laugh and brighten your life considerably.
Is there anyone else who will greet you with the same enthusiasm if you've returned after a week out of town or from two minutes at the mailbox?
But the price of all that is eventual heartbreak.
Is it worth it?
When my dog of 15 years had to be put down, the vet consoled me by saying that my dog had the best life any dog could hope for, with many years filled with days of happiness and comfort.
I decided he was right and that his was the best way to look at this thing.
There's nothing to dwell on besides your own intense desire to have your best friend with you again.
Your friend was spoiled, lucky, happy, full, comfortable, and lived as long as your friend could.
Make another dog as happy as your dog was.
There's another one out there who needs you.