The hardest goodbye.
Think back to your childhood or a time in your early years when you experienced your first best friend. Yea we all have a little girl or little boy in school that we were attached to, and had endless sleepovers and play dates, but if you really think about it, there was probably a special pet that comes to mind. I was lucky to meet my best friend at 15.
My family moved from California to Washington state for a few brief years because of my Dad's job, and although we have since moved back to California, Washington will always hold a special place in my heart. It brought me great friends that became family, it gave me unforgettable memories, an experience like no other, and Gary.
Gary is my 13 year old brindle pit bull. Gary has been through some of the roughest times of my life, and somehow knows how to comfort me better than any person I have ever met. He knows when I'm feeling down, he's upset when I'm upset, and he also knows all of my biggest secrets. Gary and I have been through a lot together; from road trips, camping, and exploring, to the ups and downs of junior high, high school, and college, break ups, the loss of loved ones, moving across states, and all of the challenges life has brought.
When I think back on our memories together, I think about his first time at the beach when a huge wave knocked him down, or the time when we woke up to being snowed in and no school on that morning when we played in the yard. I remember him placing his paw gently on my lap as I cried every single time I was upset. I remember him at my feet as I screamed at the computer screen for deleting yet another college final. I remember him meeting people in my life and letting me know which ones he liked, and which ones he did not. (He's a great judge of character.) I remember him dancing with me in the living room, and playing hide and seek, and chasing my friends and I endlessly around our property, his tail wagging and thrashing about, crashing into everything.
I remember being angry too. When he would steal "treats" out of the trash can, when he would eat all the freshly baked muffins off of the counter, and even that time he ate an entire bowl of Halloween candy. Shaking my head just thinking about it. Even though he has been more supportive than most people, I do still have to remember that he was a dog. Dog's get into things. They make messes, they make you mad, but a dog will love you unconditionally no matter how many times you yell at them. How lucky am I to have experienced a love as true as that of a dog? Extremely lucky. I am blessed to have had 13 amazing years with my best friend by my side.
The decision to let him go was one of the hardest, but when it's your time, it's your time. It was Gary's time. They talk about quality of life when you make the decision to put your pet to sleep. Gary's quality of life had gone down drastically over the last few months, but the last few weeks I can tell he wasn't feeling himself. He lost almost complete use of his back legs, he couldn't control when or where he went to the bathroom, and all he could really do was lay around. That's no way for my best friend to live. As hard as it will be to let go, it would be harder to watch him suffer. So for all the love and support he's given me, I had to give something back. It took all my love to be able to let him go because I know he will be in a better place where he will be able to run and play again like he once could. I am so thankful for our time, his long and adventurous life, and his love.
Gary, I love you. Then, now, and forever.