My dog Neptune, age 10, died a year ago. She’d been acting really old the previous couple of days… taking long naps, slow to awaken, not eating… and I’d decided to take her to the vet the first thing tomorrow.

I suspect that she had a heart attack, and may have had one a few days earlier when I wasn’t here to see (when she started acting “old”). I recall that when I first got her from the animal shelter, she had to be treated for heartworms, and I’ve heard that this can take years off of a dog’s life even if they fully recover.

Our pets become so much a part of our lives, becoming members of the family, and I’ve had many dogs. But this one was special to me.

During the years when I was fighting my cancer and my long recovery from it, on those days when I was too sick to get out of bed after a chemo treatment, she would lie across the foot of the bed watching over me. There was no doubt that she knew something was seriously wrong, and she adjusted her usual energetic behavior to compensate for it, behaving in a quiet, watchful manner. When my friends came over to make sure I was properly fed, they had to bring her food to my bedroom because she would not leave me long enough to eat. Then when the bad periods ended, she would return to her normal “pet” behavior, complete with mischief.

Now she’s gone, and my life is both emptier for her being gone, and better for having had her with me through these difficult years.

I put Neptune in the car and took her for her last ride, and just kept driving around and around not sure what I was looking for, only knowing that she always hated being fenced in. Eventually, I ended up at the Gulf of Mexico near St. Mark’s Light, and there found the perfect spot in the woods under an ancient live oak, within sight of the Gulf. Neptune loved going there to chase the minnows through the shallows, so that’s where I buried her. The State is so protective of those glorious old live oaks that I can be reasonably certain she won’t be disturbed there.

God bless your generous soul, Neptune!
Theresa from Florida