He picked us, and that was the beginning and end of everything.
He went amazing places, and none of them mattered.
It didn't matter what we drove, where we slept, where we were going, or what we wore.
It only mattered that he was with us, and not without.
Travel anywhere, or nowhere at all, but do it together, and you have everything.
December 5, 2004 - October 29, 2015
I wrote the below in September, after we learned we were losing him.
I'm thankful for every moment.
He was born on December 5, 2004.
He picked us in February, 2005; he wouldn't let us leave without him.
We walked him off leash right away, before he could even get away if he'd wanted to; he's never needed one since.
We learned quickly that he can't do kennels, but that hardly ever mattered.
When he was 2, he got a brother.
When he was 7, he lost him, and it was heartbreaking; he didn't understand what happened, and for months, he looked for him everywhere he went.
When he was 9, he got another brother.
He started as our pet, became our son, and over time, has become something even more than that; he's given us more than we've given him.
He's better and more compassionate than I am; I still learn from him every day.
He loves to travel, and hates being left behind.
He's been to 29 states.
He's seen Yosemite, Mt Whitney, and Death Valley.
He's been to Frozen Head in Tennessee, to Arrowhead and Tuscobia, to Leadville, Hardrock, and Western States.
He's climbed mountains, and strolled through Central Park.
He's seen Gettysburg, Niagara Falls, and Zion.
He's swam in Lake Tahoe and Superior, the Colorado River, Mississippi, Minnesota, and St Croix.
He became the wary acquaintance of a buffalo in Yellowstone, and picnicked at Jackson Lake under the Tetons.
He's hiked the Badlands, and Arches National Park.
He's walked through Times Square, and been on the Las Vegas strip.
He's run on the salt flats in Utah, and hung out in Colorado bars.
He's paddle boarded, kayaked, canoed, and boated.
He's spent countless nights and weekends with me in my office at work.
He knows when we're sad, and when we need someone to just be there.
He's the best friend I've ever had.
And he's dying.
And there's nothing we can do.
We've always known we wouldn't get to keep him forever.
Like everything else, he was never really ours.
But even though we know we'll have to say goodbye, we don't want to.
We never want to.
But he has an aggressive form of cancer.
And he's tired.
And he's scared.
And soon, his pain will be heavier than his hope.
And we'll have to let him go.
We don't know how much time he has left, when the days will become more bad than good.
But we do know how much he means to us, and that we owe it to him to keep his best interests in mind, and not be blinded by our own.
And we are sad.
And we are heartbroken.
And we will get worse.
And we will eventually be OK, but right now we're not.
We just want his last few days, or maybe weeks, to be wonderful.
Because what he's given us is beautiful.
And we wouldn't trade it for the world.