I wrote about this a while back...  that my oldest dog is on the last days of her life.  Well, the decision has been made that tomorrow morning, she will take her last earthly breaths.

I am not sure why it suddenly dawned on me this weekend that this week would be it.  Maybe it was God putting His hands on my shoulders and letting me know that He is there to accept her into His kingdom as the playful, happy puppy she used to be.  Maybe He was telling me that, even though it is a hard decision to make, He knows that I would rather remember her as a service dog years ago, than this hungry, unable to eat, deaf, shell of a dog she has become.

Maybe it is just time.  To be an adult and be selfless.  Give her peace, even if it causes me pain.

In loving something so deeply and purely, I knew, I would add to my pain and distraught when she had to go.  When she got rat bait poisoning at age 2 and my dear friend, Jennifer and I sat in the Animal Emergency room crying while they struggled to save her, I knew I would face it again one day.  When I thought I had lost her  when she got out the back gate and my 2 dear friends Laura and Heather drove over to help me scour the neighborhood to find her, I had a glimpse of life without her.  And it hurt.

But the day I brought her home, a 5 pound, wiggly, nothing but ears, with soft fur and sharp nails, sweet love, I knew that she was a temporary friend.  I would maybe have her 16 years, and then after the congenital heart disease diagnosis, 14, but, in the end, she will make it one week shy of her 12th birthday.

She is the last of what I have of before.  Before the husband, the kids, and the other dogs.  My last stronghold to my single years.  My last representation of the days that got me here.  Her departure takes with it precious memories that the sound of her bark, or the yips in her dreams, bring back fondly.

I pet her now, feeling every bone that used to be hidden under fat, feeling that her fur is thinner, remembering when it was thick and absorbed my tears of sadness and smothered my squeals of laughter.  Her ears, that she finally grew into, no longer hear, and her eyes that used to track a ball like a laser, no longer see.  And her heart beats slower and misses a few beats.

She has been mine.  My love, my happiness, my confidant.  My best friend, my snuggler, my refuge.  My supporter, my forgiver, my reason to get up and go.  My smile inducer, my furry daughter, my sweet pup.

And now, as a thank you to her of almost 12 years of unconditional love, tail wags, sloppy kisses, and warm hugs, I send her to be an angel.  A real one.

Not just a dog playing one on Earth.

Update:  My sweet Alison Rene Passed Peacefully at 9:45am 2/9/2011 in my arms as I prayed in her ear and thanked her for all she has done for me.  She is at peace but will be deeply missed.