Saying goodbye is never easy, but it is particularly difficult when it comes to saying it to our beloved pets.
Yesterday was a day that broke our hearts. We had to say goodbye to our eleven year old springer spaniel, Ruger.
Ruger was a wonderful dog, loyal until the end. Older than both of our children by several years, they have never known life without him. I can't remember life before him lumbering around at our feet, either.
He has played many roles in our family, from hunting buddy to vacuum cleaner and everything in between. His soft, shaggy fur has caught hundreds of tears, and over the years he has willingly been dressed up, dressed down, been a horse for little riders, a great bird dog, a protector and a friend.
Ruger was famous for his ability to find easter eggs anywhere. Our nieces and nephews would come each year and we'd throw plastic eggs filled with candy and yes, even dog food, out into the sometimes 3 foot tall brush. He'd find every single one of them and bark like a fool until someone would come and get the goodies, stubby tail a wagging.
He was a lover of fine food (well any food, really), a drinker of toilet water and a door greeter extraordinaire. He once ate four rubber gloves with peanut butter on them without batting an eye. In the later years, he could clear a room with his farts. More importantly though, while in incredible pain he had a kiss for anyone who wanted one and would still follow us from room to room even when it was difficult for him to get up.
He was simply the best dog. Ever.
I have many portraits of this beautiful dog from the years we were lucky enough to have him, but this one, taken with my phone as we arrived at the vet on his last day here, will forever be my most treasured. Battle weary and worn, barely able to move and yet still so strong. So loved.
Good bye, old man. You will forever be in our hearts. There will never be another one like you.