It first hit me when we scheduled the final hour of our best friend. She was the ugliest and yet the most beautiful boxer bull mastiff mix. A lazy, soft, always hungry, playful dog any domestic dog owner would be happy to have. A family member, a child, a friend, and an every day companion. The best, hairiest, warmest, cuddle monster in the whole world full of animated near human facial expressions. I could not believe that 2 hours later she will look at me for the last time before going to sleep forever...

My family lost pets before. Some to cars, some to rabies, some just wondered away hunting for pussy and who knows what happened with them. It was never that close and parting came always sudden and distant. This time, supposedly cancer, took over a month to wear us down with cycles of gained and lost hope. Several doctors ran several tests and discovered nothing while we stayed in limbo watching our friend counting her last breaths. She started to become so weak that the question of euthanasia was in our thoughts 24/7. One more blood transfusion brought one more hope, which again turned into one more, final devastation.

Making the decision was the hardest thing we ever had to do. She was still there, ready to sleep, relax, do her dog thing, but all other signs showed that she may be soon suffering from pain if not already. Dogs are really tough when it comes to pain, and they will go a long way before they let you know they are not as happy as they always are. It's human's responsibility to prevent the dog from suffering, but how can we condemn the dog that doesn't seem to be suffering yet? How many days are left? Does she need assistance or can we just let her go as she is ready? What if there's another relapse of hope...... Excruciating discussions with your close ones and yourself you have to go through in this situation over and over and over again. Most people suffer loss of pets in their life. This is the worst kind. For us it was way premature, and too painful lasting a whole month. I wish this upon no one.

Another hard realization of this experience is how attached we can get to dogs. Cats are just there, cute sometimes, minding their own business. Fish just bubbles up upside down marking a bad hour of an average day. Hamster goes x_x over night and that's it. Dog is there for you, and with you, and because of you every minute of every day. Begging food, picking up crumbs, spreading hair, taking your couch, forcing you to go outside in your pajamas in freezing rain. Dog is always happy to see you and everyone you know. The second time it hit me when I ate my first whole banana in several years and I chocked on the last bite that was never mine. I dropped a piece of cheese and it just laid there. I woke up to an alarm and no one followed me to the kitchen. All the toys I had to pick up and decide what to do with them... Home is now so empty without her.

People around you react differently to this type of loss. Some are very understanding. Some offer their condolences . Some are completely unsympathetic, which boggles my mind because anyone with a basic level of empathy should feel something about a loss like this. People who are less supporting are usually those who never had close pets growing up and are anti social in human setting. Some assume it's nothing compared to loss of a human, which I don't care to compare, but it's one atrocious thing to assume also. The third realization was what dogs teach us and how they help us to become better persons. You cannot change someone if they are set in their ways, and that's ok. You have to be patient with other's needs. Your time if everyone's time, and it's important to share it. You have to take care of others whether or not you think they will return the favor. And you have to let go and forgive when after all this they shit in your backyard. For all single , growing up guys out there looking to be in relationship. Think about it. Empathy and patience are not innate skills. And that's what most relationship disputes are all about. Same can be said about teaching your kids how to take care of another being and how to be sympathetic and manage vulnerability.

At last, if you have a dog, or a cat, or a hand pig, don't stop yourself from giving them minute. That is all they want . You are their entire life and they got no TV, games, or books to fall back to. Because when they are gone, you will be sorry about every minute you neglected them. And most importantly , their life is your responsibility. When it is their time to go, don't be macho tough, be supportive and do the right thing. It's gonna be hard, and you are going to suffer, but years prior definitely worth it. Make them count now.

TL;DR said farewell to a dog friend, faced challenges, made conclusions