Twenty years ago I was pretty well messed up in a job related circumstance. I was a lineman working out of a bucket truck, just back from repairs. The repairs were faulty, causing me to be carried into power lines. The hot line hit the top of my head and the boom hit the neutral. According to medical reports, I had 186,000 volts applied and fell 24 feet to land on my head in the back of the truck. The results were over 3 years of constant operations and the loss of the left arm. According to the experts I also developed electrically induced MS on top of all that.

When I was injured, I had a magnificent border collie who was my best friend. He lived to 16 years. According to the vet, the usual lifespan is 12 years. I was really torn up by his loss. I was still grieving when a friend brought me a little 7 week old puppy. She was a mix between a Chow and an American Eskimo. That was an unintended mating as the dogs were registered and were to be bred to breed. The litter was undesired. I do not know what happened to the rest of the litter, but this little 2 1/2 pound girl became the love of my life. Since I could rarely get out, we were together nearly all the time. My grandchildren grew up with her, and loved her dearly. That love was returned many times over. She and I became extremely close. She was always there to let me know she was watching over me. She thought she was my little mother I think. She made life worth living. She even learned when the MS flareups were coming and would let me know with enough warning to prepare for them. She was a bossy little thing, always letting me know exactly what would make her happy. She was a loving little thing, constantly reminding me not to listen to the doctors who kept giving me promises that my death would be soon. She made life a marvel of love.

We always slept together. She eventually got to where she could not jump up on the bed. We started doing it a bit differently. She would take a running start, and I would give her a midair boost to get on the bed. That took trust! That lasted for a good while, but even that became too much for us. I could sleep on the bed and she could not get near, so when she was twelve, the bed was no longer used. I would sleep in chairs with her lying on my feet. Eventually age was gaining on her and she had to go out about every 2 hours or so. I spent two years getting very short naps, never more than 3 hours sleep, but she was my baby and worth it.

By now she was 14 years and eleven months, exactly 1 month shy of 15 years. She was a little wobbly walking sometimes but still very loving. Two days ago she started not feeling well. By this morning she was very weak and could not stand up, even with help. It took me a good while, but I finally got her into the car, on the way to the vet. She never moved. At the vet, they carried her in and laid her on the floor. The vet examined her and said that she was just worn out. According to him, the kindest thing to do was to put her to sleep. I would have gladly given her half my time on earth so that we could stay together, or died in her place. I have made that decision once before with my collie. It got no easier the second time. I lay on the floor holding her. She could barely raise her head. Still those beautiful little eyes looked up at me with love and trust. And I betrayed her. I did not know what else to do. She was suffering and would never get better. And I betrayed her.

I held her as they gave her the first shot, the sedative. I held her, talking to her, tickling her chest and belly just the way she liked for me to do. They had to give her a second sedative shot. She was becoming groggy as she licked mt hand the for the last time. She was finally tranquilized and out. At this time they said it was time for the last shot. I am 63 years old and yet I was crying as a child. They inserted the needle. As they pushed in the plunger, I thought my heart would burst. She took her last breath. Her little body was limp. My little 40 pounds of love and trust were no more.

My stepbrother helped me bury her. The vet offered to “dispose” of the body. I brought her home.

Her name is Becky. She died July 20, 2012. Her birthday was August 20. She would have been 15 years old. In Her lifetime, we were apart 4 nights. Once when she was spayed and stayed overnight at the vet. The other 3 nights were when I was in the hospital. Each of those nights, she had a babysitter. This is the first night in over 14 years that she is not here with me. I miss her so much that it is tearing my heart out.

— Jim from Knoxville, TN