Tomorrow I say a final goodbye to one of my dearest little friends. My heart is beyond broken. Sweetie’s been in our family for over fifteen years and in that time, she’s been loyal and loving, such a precious little gift, and I’m not sure how I’m going to manage to get through my day without my little shadow following me everywhere I go. I have to admit I won’t miss the little white dog hair clinging to everything, but then again, maybe I will. I’ll most definitely miss her overly enthusiastic greetings every morning. Maybe most of her enthusiasm was in anticipation of breakfast, but I like to think some of it was directed at me. I’ve watched her over the years go from a timid little thing, afraid of lights and sounds, to the regal matriarch, keeping the younger dogs and kids in line. I’ve also watched her health struggles grow progressively worse until it’s at the point where we have to ask ourselves whether we’re doing her any favors by keeping her with us. For many years she’s had to be medicated for a lung condition that causes exhaustive coughing. In more recent years, arthritis has robbed her of mobility and caused her such pain – which she never complains about, my stoic girl. She’s now almost deaf, mostly blind, which leads to her getting startled and frightened easily. So my head says, “It’s time.” But my heart says, “I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to lose her yet.” But I have to, and I will. Such is the sad reality of every pet owner. With tears pouring down my face as I type this, I wish my dear little Sweetie a fond farewell. I’ll miss you, my little girl, and will remember you always.