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The last few days I have watched the journey of loving a dog begin for families that have just started on the path that will span happy years with joy.  The work that I delight in has been my comfort during some of the most difficult days of my life.

And with a broken heart I am perhaps watching our journey with our most beloved of dogs, Agatha, come to what I fear is the end.

With tears pouring I write these words.  The words I dreaded back when she became ill with cancer so many years ago and now as she approaches her 12th birthday and I know in my heart that even the very best dogs, the ones that have woven themselves into the very fabric and being of our lives cannot live forever.

That is the sorrow that is part of loving a dog.

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We grow over a short span of years to love them more than we ever dreamed possible.  Agatha those many years ago, arriving as a puppy with more mischief and intelligence and yet a heart more filled with love than I could have dreamed.  Agatha, who has become my constant most beautiful companion.  Agatha who inspired me to begin a company to help other pets live healthier and yes longer lives.

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My sweet Agatha who has filled my days with laughter.

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Agatha who has been by my side for over a decade almost without exception every single day for nearly 12 years.  She is asleep now lying in her basket beside me, still so beautiful, gazing up at me as I write these soul-wrenching words

How do I say goodbye to my constant companion, the dog of a lifetime?  This one that is so very dear to me?  This small friend who has made it work of her life to make me smile, to watch over me with a heart so full of love that many human relationships have paled in comparison.

She has never failed to bring me joy and I will miss her so much I do not know how I can bear it.

My dear old veterinarian told me one day with tears in his own eyes “I can’t own a dog again, they die and I can’t stand it.”

I will spare you the details, only to say that an almost 12-year-old Cavalier heart is a very old heart indeed.  The best of doctors and all the money I could spend to give her more time may not be enough.

And so I anguish along with my dearest John, we childless ones who foolishly love small creatures who at their best can only stay by our sides a few short years.  And I know that our sorrow is nothing when compared to the loss of our human loved ones, but perhaps that’s not true after all.  God somehow gives to our dogs a heart that fills so many of the empty places in us in a way that no one else can.

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Please pray for Agatha, oh that she could rally, oh Lord that she does not leave us quite yet.  Her doctors say that she is one tough little dog and I cling to the hope that she will once again miraculously recover.

Oh but my prayer too is that when the time comes that she will sweetly and quietly leave us to go that heavenly home where I believe God will allow her to wait for us.  (Oh surely my Father would keep her safe for me there, the little one that has filled so many empty places in my heart?)

Oh yes, I believe that my most faithful and dearest of Agatha’s will be lying just inside the gates of Heaven, her sweet little nose resting on her paws, eyes alert, waiting patiently, tail ready to wag with the most joyful of welcomes at the sight of the ones she has adored.

With Tears,

Terry & John and yes, Agatha

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(dearest readers, forgive my lack of reply to your comments, for now, I know you will understand that I cherish your friendship more than I can say, I send love back for your prayers and kindest wishes).