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For the Love of Your Dog

I thought today was it.

Yesterday my sweetheart, giant schnauzer Daisy, age 105 in dog years, could barely walk. They say you'll know when to choose an end to your dog's suffering. Your dog will let you know.

Yet, as she struggles on her broomstick legs, with her failing hips; love muddles all translation.

So, for weeks my husband and I have kept a simple daily status chart - smiley face or frown. Yesterday marked a three-day streak of sad faces.

Maybe it was time.

In a New York Times piece, Margaret Renkl wrote:

"A dog loves a person the way people love each other only while in the grip of new love: with intense, unwavering focus, attentive to every move the beloved makes, unaware of imperfections, desiring little more than to be close . . ."

Though Daisy loves each family member, I am her beloved and she is mine.

When she gazes at me with her dark, soulful eyes I can only hear the words "I love you and I never want to leave you". I feel the same. Her love has carried me through some of my life's most trying moments. I worry. Am I being too selfish?

My husband says the real test is when Daisy no longer lifts her head when I come into the room.

Today, when I walked into the room, she more than lifted her head; Daisy wagged her tail, barked and walked with more steadiness to stand by my side.

She's not ready yet.

Love is a mysterious thing.

I am grateful for another day.

I pray I'll listen with all the compassion she deserves when the time comes.

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