We now have two dogs, a 12 year old chow mix, and a 1-1/2 year old labradoodle.  Both are extremely valued family members, and our treatment of them is reflected in the looks of love we get every time they come over to have their ears scratched.  We’ve had many dogs over the years, and have had to endure the pain of putting them down at some point, the last being our beloved lab, Belle.  She developed cancer, and it progressed so fast there was nothing we could do, really, but try to keep her comfortable as possible.  We loved that dog; she traveled with us all the time in our RV, and was an excellent travel companion!  The vet had to drain her lungs several times over a six month period to allow her to breath properly; after each treatment she would be happy and energetic and playful, just like always.  But after a while her energy changed, and we could see her condition again taking over.  I took her into the vet one morning, the day before we were leaving on an RV trip; I wanted her to go with us, and was going to ask the vet for one more treatment.  Another patron there asked me what was wrong with Belle, and after explaining he said to me “I know you love that dog and want her with you, but I can see how sick she is and what you’re doing to her now is not right. You’re just prolonging her suffering by going through this again and again.”  I sat there for maybe 15 minutes just thinking about what he’d said, and when the vet called me in I advised him that Belle was again suffering from liquid on her lungs.  I asked her if she felt I should put poor Belle out of her misery, and the vet said yes.  So she proceeded, and injected the chemicals into Belle.  Belle watched me the entire time, her big beautiful eyes locked on mine.  But it only took a few seconds, and she laid her head down, closed her eyes, and she was — peacefully — gone.  I cried (I’m crying as I write this), the vet cried, all the office staff cried, everybody in the place cried as this big, beautiful animal departed this world.  It was probably the most painful thing I’ve ever had to do, and I was raised on a farm where animals were treated like….well, animals.  My children were mad at me for months after that for not giving them a chance to say goodbye to Belle.  Our second dog, Pepper, went into such despair that her friend didn’t come home that she stopped eating and even stopped moving until I finally carried her to the vet to be examined herself.  When we arrived, there were other dogs there and Pepper immediately perked up; she just missed her friend, Belle.  We all cried over that realization, too.  Thanks for letting me share.

— Mike from Manassas, VA