My chocolate lab Chip passed 3 weeks ago today. I still can’t believe he’s gone. For 12 years he was my best friend or as I would say “woman’s best friend”. He was from a litter of 8. As I knelt down he came right into my lap and tried to rip the earring out of my ear. He was spunky and I liked that so he was mine.

Over the last 12 years, together we went through a lot. The first year I had him, I lost my father and got divorced in the same month. He used to sleep on the floor until I invited him up on my bed as I needed him to help heal my pain. Whenever I would sit and cry during this difficult time he would start licking my face profusely – he would do this so long and hard that it felt like sandpaper. This of course would make me laugh uncontrollably. This was how he healed me.

He would never let me sit in the house and be sad. He would start “talking” and wouldn’t let up until we went for a walk. I would often take him in the neighborhood. After awhile it got a little boring so we ventured off into the woods. That is where we discovered our serenity. I found and walked every town forest in the south shore where we lived. We met more friends and experienced so many adventures – this is where I learned to truly live and learned what truly made me happy. We then discovered different mountains to hike in New Hampshire and Vermont – and again he opened up my life.

There were times over the years, especially in the beginning that he was so stubborn that some people thought he might be too much for me to handle. He had this terrible habit that if he found a bone or piece of meat he wouldn’t drop it no matter how hard I tried to make him. It was frustrating and sometimes I hit him and to this day I regret that.

He had cancer about 4 times during his youth. They also discovered he had kidney disease at 6 years old. I never gave up on him just like he never gave up on me. We cured his cancer every time and the doctors couldn’t believe he could live another 6 years with his kidney disease.

He kept me alive and I him. It was devastating to hear a few weeks ago that he had bone cancer. The most painful of cancers. He had been panting and shaking and I know he couldn’t bear it anymore. One vet suggested amputation – but for the first time I knew it would be too much for him. Because his spirit was so youthful it was so painful to make the call and have the vet come to my home to put him to sleep. I hope I did the right thing. I prayed just as you did that God would take him so I wouldn’t have to. The guilt is overwhelming and I wish I knew for sure that I will see him again someday.

Eileen from Massachusetts