“Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives.” – John Galsworthy

I had always wanted a dog. I had friends who had dogs, and we had family who had dogs and we had neighbours who had dogs. It just seemed like to have a complete life, there needed to be  a dog in it. I begged and pleaded with my parents for years, I threw fits in pet stores, I took dog babysitting and dog walking jobs.

At the age of 16 I was diagnosed by my family doctor with depression and put onto medication. It was a dark time in my life. I thought the world was horrible, that everyone would be better off without me and that there was no hope. In an effort to help me, my parents finally caved and we began looking for a family pet.  They were told it would help, it would give me purpose and a companion.

We scoured online ads, newspaper classifieds, shelter sites. And then one day there it was, in our little town newspaper “Pug Looking for New Home”. I was told not to get excited. That we were only going to go and take a look and meet her. That we wouldn’t be taking her home that day. I knew the minute she greeted me at the door that that little dog was coming home with me.

She was a bundle of flying fur and joy. She had those buggy pug eyes and the little curly pug tail. And she also had stolen my heart. I remember the first day we had her home, poor Mom nearly had a breakdown about all the hair she was shedding. But she was home, and she was home to stay. She wasn’t the friendliest with other dogs, she was a little territorial, and she wasn’t one to be off leash. She shed constantly. But she was mine. She became my shadow. She was my best friend. She was the soft fur I cried into when the world seemed too much, she was the comforting snore that lulled me to sleep at night and my little side heater in the cold winter nights in bed. She was the one who saved me in my darkest time.

She was with me through highschool, and saw me off as I traveled way out West to head to University. It broke my heart to leave her behind but she was in good hands. I would be home for Christmas and back again come summer. I’ll never forget arriving at the Toronto Airport to find her waiting for me with Mom and Dad that Christmas break.

She wasn’t always the best patient at the Vet clinic we visited for nail trims and eventual teeth cleanings. She may have on occasion tried to bite the techs who were obviously going to kill her with those nail trimmers. But I believe that to be a pug trait. She was most loved by everyone at the Clinic.

When I made another move out West, this time for a career and to start adulthood on my own, I once again was forced to leave her in the good hands of my parents. The years were beginning to take their toll on her and she was comfortable in her routine. Taking her away from that wouldn’t have been fair. You could see the age creeping up on her, turning her little black pug face to grey, clouding over her eyes, and eventually stealing away her hearing.

In the past couple of weeks her health had began to fail her. She was tired and sore, no longer able to jump up on the couches or take the stairs. Her hearing was completely gone. When she was having troubles doing her bathroom duties and her mind had seemed to start wondering, my Mom, who is the bravest person I know, made the decision it was time to see a Vet.

It’s taken me some time to be able to write this part.

This past Saturday we laid to rest my  best friend. We took away her pain and suffering. We let her find peace. She lived to the ripe old age of thirteen and had had a most loving life. It was time for her to be set free. While it kills me to have not been able to be there, to not have been there to tell her everything was going to be ok and that she was going to a better place, I know that my Mom’s arms were the best place she could have been. I know the ladies at the Vet clinic that day were two of the best people who could have been there for her and for my Mom that day.

And though the tears still fall as I’m writing this, as I am sure they will for some time, I know it was the right decision. I know that she is at peace. She will always be my little pugger. She was always be my first pet, my first dog and the one whole stole my heart. She will always be in my heart. And I have so many memories to smile about. And I know that I am here still because that little pugger found me and saved me, and taught me what love and devotion and hope were all about.

RIP Emma Jean  ~  March 14,2004 – October 1, 2016