A few weeks ago some very dear friends of mine said their last goodbyes to their beloved dog. After the news came, I hung up the phone with that sick ache in my chest that any of us who has ever loved and lost a pet knows only too well.
I took a deep breath and sighed; It wasn't my turn this time.
My turn to feel like my ears were going to burst from the tears I was holding inside, my turn to ask myself if there was anything more or different I could have done. No, this time it is my friends' turn.
But mingled with the empathy and sorrow that I feel for them in the loss of their cherished dog is the nagging reality that all too soon, it will be my turn again.
I'm angry. I don't want it to be their turn. These are my good friends, like family to me, and I would do anything to protect them from this pain.
I hate that they feel this sorrow and know that nothing I can say will fill the hole in their hearts.
I draw another breath, hug my dogs close and am immediately ashamed for feeling grateful that it's not my turn today.
There's never a better time in a dog's life for it to be your turn.
A young dog will never reach its potential, a middle-aged one will be struck down in its prime.
And that beloved older dog, whose constant presence and devotion is woven through the fabric of your being, there's no better time, the pain's the same, when it's your turn to lose your friend.
We pay the price for having them in our lives, knowing they will leave, break our hearts and we'll never be the same.
But since I can't imagine my life without the dogs, I accept the cost.
I'll just never get used to the pain.
That's for "Xeoe," who left for the Rainbow Bridge April 1, 2013.
-- Sherry Davis is a dog trainer/owner of CSI 4 K9s. Email her at email@example.com. These are her opinions, not necessarily The Californian's.