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“You think those dogs will not be in heaven! I tell you they will be there long before any of us.”
 Robert Louis Stevenson

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I imagine every dog lover thinks his dog was/is the best.  I know Little Texas was, hands down – no questions asked, the best dog ever.  When I first laid eyes on the tangle of giant paws and floppy ears I was a goner.  His easy going spirit was evident from the start.  Baby Ruth wasn’t as impressed and pouted upstairs for a week. The kids however, were smitten.

He has been one of our constants as we have moved around.  No matter where home was, we all took comfort in having Texas and Baby Ruth there to beg for a treat, a walk or a head scratch.  Having my foot stepped on by the clumsy oaf provided a sense of stability.  I knew I was home.  Move to a new neighborhood and you could count on him to introduce you to the neighbors.

This morning the gray sky was a backdrop for a flood of Texas memories.  As we walked to the vet I thought about numerous Texas moments.  Greeting Baby Ruth with a bite on the nose.  Swimming laps in the creek and biting the splashes he made.  The time he almost died from eating flowers.  The time I wanted to kill him for eating my glasses.  The way he was afraid of bunny rabbits, but nothing else. Having to bribe him out of water.   The way he wagged his whole rear instead of his tail.  And his eyes – those beautiful chocolate spheres that looked into your soul and accepted you for better or worse.

His gentle eyes are now closed for good.  When I found out he had cancer I didn’t expect another year with him.  But even a year didn’t seem long enough.  I knew it was coming and pretended it wasn’t.  But today, I knew.  It was time.  I had to make the decision that he couldn’t.  I know it was the right decision even as I feel the guilt of it.  It would have been easier to not go, but I owed it to him to be there: to do the hard thing, to be present, to rub his head and watch those eyes as they closed for the last time.

Rest easy, Texas.  Run, swim, chase splashes and bark at the rabbits all you want.  You are free.