He was a Pug. He was my first child. I think all dogs are like our children in many ways. He was 2 months old when he came into our lives, and 16 years when he left for doggie heaven. I remember when our oldest daughter was born, Patton would steal her bottles, and we would find him laying on his back, holding the bottle between both front paws, suckling away.

He did the same with Pepsi cans, he hated Coke.

Back in 2004 the marriage was coming apart. One day I noticed that Patton was not moving too well.

He’d already gone blind and deaf, and had started to develop a cough. We scheduled a day to bring him into the vet and when we did, the vet said “This dog is very old (16) and very sick. He has cancer, and a couple other things that I can’t remember now. The vet said, “It would be inhumane to make him continue to live with this. I was fine…until the doc asked if I wanted to hold Patton “during.”

I couldn’t do it Mark. I gave him over to the vet, I still remember the look in his eyes as he was carried away. My now ex-wife and myself left, drove to the beach in tears…Patton always loved the beach….we held each other for hours and wept as if we had just lost our child.

Mark we had met in high school, got married literally months after graduation and this was our first baby. To this day (3 years later) I get choked up and tears flow while writing you. I guess you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I was a U.S. Army soldier and a rough, tough veteran of Gulf One….

And I still have not replaced my old friend, I don’t know that I will until I can think of him and not tear up.