There are some days that seem tougher than others and the day you lose a beloved furry family member is definitely one of the tough ones. My husband and I have had dogs in our lives for 36 years. Like many couples, before we embarked on the two legged baby kind we tried our hand on the four legged furry ones. And from that moment on we were smitten. Our three sons grew up in a household that always had at least two furry brothers or sisters and as the boys grew and eventually left home to start their own families, we continued to have dogs in our lives. We even joked at times that the dogs were tougher to raise than our sons.

Then the day came when our last dog started to have some health issues. We received the news from our vet that our beloved Brie, a rescue Bassett, had cancer. We were devastated. Our two dogs prior to Brie had also died with cancer. Their deaths came quickly on the heels of the diagnosis. Our vet gave us 10 days of medication to help with her pain and discomfort, said if we needed it we could call in for 10 more days. So for almost three weeks we felt as if we were preparing for her death. Every day I would find myself holding her, crying and whispering to her all the loving sentiments I could muster. On the 20th day we took her back to the vets. While we could see that the cancer was impacting her leg, she was still very much the Brie we knew and loved. We didn’t think it was time to let her go but we also wanted to make sure there was nothing we were missing in our desire to have her still be with us. The vet was amazed and told us to continue the meds and to trust ourselves that she would tell us when it was time.

In that moment I realized that Brie wasn’t dying every day that she was living. And that I needed to be living along with her. I made the most of every moment from that moment on. I didn’t hold her and cry, I held her and marveled at the shine on her coat and the softness of her huge ears. I didn’t whisper loving sentiments in her ears that broke my heart, I talked with her with energy and loudly and in true Bassett form, Brie howled right back. She could keep that up for ages. We had another two and a half months with her and while the day came all too soon that my heart broke with her passing, in that time she taught me the power of living life every single day. Each day is truly precious and I shouldn’t sell it short. On the day she died, through my tears, I reflected on the lessons she had taught me not about dying but about living. I found a smile and a way to celebrate our time together by remembering:

· If you know what you want don’t be afraid to ask AND keep asking till you get it.

· Find your favorite spot to relax and make the most of it whenever you can.

· When someone you love calls you don’t hesitate – run toward them with all you have.

· No matter how hard the climb, it’s always worth it, if the people who love you are there.

· Just because one person is mean to you doesn’t mean that all people are mean. Give everyone a chance.

· Mistakes happen. Forget about it. Just know they’ll happen again.

· Watching the world go by is a great way to spend your time.

· Greet everyone you meet with love and they’ll love you right back.

· Never hold back showing your excitement when people you love come home. It lets them know how special they are to you.

I love you, Brie. Thanks for an amazing life together.