Today, I said goodbye to the dog who saw me through everything. She has been with me since I was just becoming an adult……and she saw me through all the hardships that came along with adulthood. Every heartache, tear, joy, triumph, disappointment, I could count on her for comfort. She was the prettiest little pup, barely more than a handful of fur, and over the years she grew into a beautiful dog. But you see, she wasn’t just a dog, she was my family. She never let me down, she gave me hugs, she wagged her “knubbins” when I came home, she slept with me every single night, she rode with me, my ride or die pooch, she loved slim jims more than anything with the exception of me……….thirteen years later I am all grown up and before I knew it she had grown old……..it was a tough last year for my girl but somehow she kept beating the odds….she battled congestive heart failure, she survived two dog attacks, a huge tumor and operation, and just when I thought we would live out her golden years we were dealt a hard blow. I was sleeping with on the couch when I was awoken to her convulsing violently, struggling for breath, legs spasming, face distorted……my sweet Jersey was having a seizure. Why? She had never had one before. I rushed her to the vet and tried medication. We had a great day yesterday, she seemed herself, was alert and by my side……..then today she had a seizure, this time my resilient girl wouldn’t pull out of it. So now I had to make the choice to let her go. I loaded her in the car with her in my lap, eyes were glazed over, her breathing was labored but she eased as she found her safe place by my side. I sat in the little room we had sat in so many times, knowing this time only I would be coming out alive…….the staff came in and jersey could still hear but she couldn’t move. I sat in the floor, I held her, I cried softly into her fur like so many other times, I stared at her pretty face knowing I would never see her lively eyes searching mine, I talked about happy days we had shared, and the tough times too…I told her she was the best dog, she was more than a dog, she was my family and best friend, I thanked her for being loyal to me, standing by my side, and her unconditional love, and I cried some more. After I told her that it was okay to go, she didn’t deserve to suffer, immediately she began snoring softly in my arms (the first time shes rested since this first began on December 30th). Then it was time, the clinic knows Jersey and have seen her surprise us all with her tenacity and will to live……but we all knew she was gone. I placed my hand on her heart to feel it beating one more time, that big ole heart that had mended my broken one so many times. They administered the medication as I looked on and then they checked for a heart beat and she was gone……I lost it, I cried, and so did the staff who have become like family, they each rubbed her head and told her they loved her and she was a good girl…….I carried my lifeless baby to my car, holding her against my chest…..the familiar weight of her warm body on my chest was oddly comforting as I gazed upon her perfect little face….I held her for an hour while the grave was dug and all I could do was kiss her, and ask myself how I was going to live without her cradled in my lap or in the bend of my legs while I slept, how would I ever eat another slim jim? How would I come into this house and not see her face? I wrapped her up and laid her to rest…..knowing that I would never see her in this life was more than I could bare……I don’t think I will ever stop this hurt, my sweet, sassy, vivacious girl, my pootie pie, my Jerz, my Jersey girl….she is gone. She leaves behind a legacy of hugs and love that I am eternally grateful for……she also leaves behind a heartbroken mommy who will forever crave the warmth of her on my lap….thank you, Jersey, thank you for everything, run free, but visit me in my dreams when you can as I miss you already. Here is my baby in her first picture at seven weeks old about 2 pounds and then the last picture is the last picture of my girl taken today, thirteen years later right before I said my goodbye. I will never forget you, and I can’t stop crying!