What can I say but here is my little boy in late October only a month or two before his demise. I saw him as brittle not fragile. We would still go for walks and I would remind him "its called a walk, not a sniff". He was his own master. He saw things and heard things I could not hear. Why else would he bark up a storm over things I did not see? In these latter days he was more aloof. It really did not matter, if he was happy so was I. We would go out of our way to see that all was well with him. He would now cry for me to lift him to the spot he wanted to fill (on the spare bed in my office). After a couple of hours I would lift him and wake him to go out for a walk. After the spill in August we got these soft foam steps to come up on our bed (he used to jump it with ease), imagine my joy after teaching him to ascend he figured out using them to go down avoiding the pounding of the jump down. In hind sight I feared everything from a wild animal to an accident in the home. While we know people in our area, quite countrified, who lost their pets never to learn of their fate. I also recall in his youth close calls he survived. Once when he was quite young, I liked to brush him (so tiny at the time) on top of the clothes dryer. He took off and as he was falling, in my dread, somehow I caught him. Had he hit the floor... I will stop there and never put him in that position again. Also realized if he disliked the grooming so much, I would respect that. When he was probably 2 or 3, we gave him one of those tick treatments that left him quiet and shivering. Frantic we called around got him to take a benedryl (or part of one) and he survived. Needless to say we never gave him that stuff again. In all we had a good run. From my desk I would wonder where he was, the surprise was he was at my feet. If I ever understand our little bell weather, he was like a signal all was well. Today so many moments remind me of him. I never realized when I heard the song, Mr Bojangles, I would always feel a weird guilty pang. the words, "the dog up and died" "20 years later he still grieves". I played that song so many times in the next few weeks. My god I miss him.That's kind of how it went. He groaned in a way I had never heard before. He was drooling and I tried to make him more comfortable. When I picked him up and saw how his legs and eyes reacted I was so far beyond heartbroken. It was a moment that I so dreaded. I just kept speaking to him telling him what a great friend he had been and how loved he was. How ironic after all those years of protecting him I would now take him to the vet for as horrible as it sounds but, disposal. The vet assured us this was not something he would recover from. When we agreed to the "shots", I had been holding him in my belly for over an hour. He was whimpering and groaning and I was a wreck. Looking back I hope he heard my cry and felt my tears. I wanted him free from pain and this was the only way. as the shots took hold, him dying in my arms. I felt a certain flick of his head that really broke me up. I used to say "do your shaky shake". I felt it twice before he succumbed and felt it was his way of letting me know he was OK as he left. To say I loved him was such and understatement. Now I am so confused. I want another dog but am unsure as it will never be the same. So it was a fateful day that in the new year seemed so filled with promise and anticipation January 7th. Why that day? As I close for now, I include a photo of him only a few months before then end. To the best dog in the world. Thanks so much for being mine. and thanks to the bridge for allowing me to share.