We don't know how old Ava was when we took her home from the Anti-Cruelty Society in June 2007. She was our first family dog, the dog who made me into a dog lover. A gentler animal did not exist.
After an 18-month slide into senescence, Ava awoke today dramatically and permanently compromised. I took her to the vet with a broken heart after the kids said goodbye, and held her till she moved no more. As much as my chest literally hurts today, I am full of gratitude upon being reminded again how it is always worth the risk to open your heart to loving other creatures, animal and human. It truly is better to have loved and lost (and to love and lose again and again) than to never have loved at all.
Goodbye, my dear girl. It will be weird not to have you here. It's weird already. Your family will always remember you, and you'll live on as we speak in your voice around the dinner table.
Thank you for being such a sweet dog. xoxoxoxoxoxo