My first heart-dog was a Rottweiler.
I knew big breeds like hers didn't really live that long, but the time just went by so fast. We were always together, we went hiking every day and did lots of farm work. One morning she stopped walking, looked at me, and turned around looking back at me. She was asking me to take her back home. It hit me really hard, I knew there was something wrong. We took her to the vet and she had bone cancer. We decided to keep her for a bit longer, and got her medication for the pain because no one in the family was ready.
She truly taught me how to love. I don't have a very pretty past, and she really pulled me through it. I learned so much from her. I don't think she has ever left me, we're both very loyal, loving and forgiving of our friends and strangers (almost to a fault!), but very sensitive to tone and harshness.
I wont pretend that I held it together the day that we had to put her down. Her conditioned deteriorated rapidly, and we couldn't put off the inevitable. We made her a delicious steak dinner almost every night for a month, and a scrambled egg breakfast every morning. I didn't ask her to walk far, but every morning she would still want to go a little ways-at least just to the barn to check it out and make sure everything was in its place. We would pick her up and put her on the back of our four wheeler and drive her back to the woods so that she could see those too, and not feel like she was missing out. I would lay with her in the sun on our hammock, or just on the grass. When it got hot out, we'd play in a kiddie pool and a sprinkler.
It might seem silly that I can remember her last month so vividly, but when I think about it it's not really. It's not because her last month was like every month, nothing changed I just clung to the memories more tightly. I wish I had clung to every day I had with her, I think about her a little bit everyday.
She died right before I moved away to start my first year of university. I think she is so bittersweet for me because her end marked the end of my childhood.
I don't really know what I am trying to convey. You know to enjoy the time you have, so I won't repeat that sentiment, but know that it's acceptable and healthy for you to grieve the loss of your dog. No one should expect you not to, that includes yourself.
But please don't mourn yet, don't make the last months or years of your dogs life a slow memory of loss.