On December 7, 2010, at about 2:00 PM, Paine, my canine companion, was gently put to sleep by his vet. He was, as usual, at his sentry post at a corner of the deck, overlooking the yard. The last touch he felt was me cradling his head and the last sounds he heard were me telling him that he was a “Good Boy”. At the end, he was, as all living creatures are, defeated by time. In his last exam before letting Painey Boy depart, Doc advised he had severe hip dysplasia and probably a cancer of his prostate, bladder or urinary tract. Paine was 15 1/2 years old and had been adopted from Friends of Homeless Animals about ten years ago.

I could tell many stories of my Adventures with Paine, but suffice it to say he and I went through hell and high water together. He has been my ever-faithful companion for a decade, a fierce protector, a ferocious combatant in battles with ‘coons, skunks and ground hogs and, yes, occasionally my confidante. His greatest achievements were that he survived a hell of being locked in a cage for five or more years by his previous owner and that he became the most accomplished pup I’ve ever had or been around. Hell, he went to France with me, wowed the Frenchies and is the only pup I ever knew to swim in the English Channel. He was, by far, the most intelligent canine companion I’ve had come live with me and almost eerily perceptive about anything I needed him to do. We eventually came to a point where a look, gesture, body position or slight sound from either would put us on the same page, same sentence, same word. He was a magnificent companion.

My Boy taught me one helluva lot about good old dawgs and for that and for Paine just being Paine, I have no words.

After his heart stopped, Doc helped me wrap him in an American flag shroud for which to be cremated in. I don’t really give a damn if anyone feels this is disrespect for the Flag. He was an All-American Canine and named for Thomas Paine. A neighbor with a pickup truck transported us to the SPCA. I rode in the bed of the truck with my Boy on our last ride together.

It will be most strange to not awaken 45 minutes before a sliver of dawn breaches blackness to get ready for our just-barely-daylight first walk of the day.

— Joe from Charlottesville, VA