On Sunday evenening, January 25, 2009 my precious “Tundra” passed away. She was a Beagle/Collie mix. She had the sweetness of the Collie and the fun and curiosity of the Beagle. She was 16 years and 9 months old. My wife and I got her when she was a year old (one year after we got married). She was our precious angel for 15 of our 16 years in marriage.

We knew the day would come when our Tundra would have to leave us. When she was 10, she had to have surgery to repair a hematoma in her ear. When she was 12, she had surgery to remove a large cyst on her back. When she was 13, she got an infection in her tooth, and it severely affected her enrgy and health. We took her in to the vet wondering if this was the end, if she could survive another surgery. Thanks to God, her blood test came back showing that all her organs were functioning fine, so we ordred the surgery to remove the infected tooth. One thing’s for sure, she got a lot of use of that plastic cone around her neck. When she got home from surgery, she was moaning in pain. She was in pain, but she survived. A couple of days later, she was a completely new dog. She got her love of life back. She was bouncing around the house like a puppy again.

We took Tundra everywhere with us, no matter how short the trip. She loved to go on car rides.

Last summer, 2 months after her 16th birthday, I picked up a copy of “Rescuing Sprite.” I started crying just reading the back cover. At 16 years old, I knew my wife and I would have to face the same heart wrenching decision that Mark made. I prayed for the strength to do what was right. In the mean time, Tundra was our constant companion. We spoiled her rotten with hugs and treats. She always slept with us on the bed, often under the covers.

Tundra’s energy slowly waned. She couldn’t run as fast. She couldn’t hike as far. She was in good health. She just wasn’t as active. When she was 13, we put steps against the bed, so that she wouldn’t have to struggle.

Then came that awful weekend in late January. She developed a cough, her breathing became rapid and shallow. She coudn’t sleep. She didn’t want to eat. It was heartbreaking that she even turned down her favorite treat – hotdogs. We made an appointment with the vet for the next day. We knew the time had finally come for us to say goodbye. We hoped we would have the courage to make the decision to end her suffering We stayed home with our Tundra that last day, hugging her, stroking her head, brushing her hair, doing whatever we could to comfort her, knowing in all probability it would be her last full day.

At 11pm that evening, Tundra laid on the couch with my wife, snuggling beside her. My wife was going to spend the night with her that way. I knelt beside them, stroking Tundra’s side as she panted for breath. Then the most amazing thing happened.

She lifted her head back, looked at me, and gave two sorrowful beagle howls, and rested her head back down. Her shallow panting stopped. She was finally at rest. Her heart beat faded, and she was gone. That final howl was her way of saying it was OK. She was ready to go. That ackowledgement was her final gift to us.

Goodnight, sweet pups.

Dan from AK