"Losing best animal companion hits harder as an adult" by: Jessica Shepard

   Last week we made one of the hardest decisions ever as a family – we had to euthanize our beloved dog Padme.
   While it was an emotional decision it wasn’t that hard since we’ve had nearly a month to discuss it together.
   As an Australian Shepherd-Border Collie mix, Padme was always an active, loving, and playful dog.
   Even well into her senior years and it only seemed to catch up with her in the past month or so.
   She’d made it to a bit over 13 years before taking a downhill turn with her arthritis and having a stroke.
   We were fortunate enough to have the time to prepare ourselves for losing her.
   And honestly, I’m grateful for that now.
   At the time, all I saw was her wasting away and becoming less like the dog I remembered that liked to jump on the trampoline with us, played soccer with Mike, or even escorted mom to the bathroom on her nightly potty breaks.
   She couldn’t walk anymore last week and mom and I were the ones ferrying her outdoors to potty five times a day and trying to make sure she ate, drank water, and took her medicine.
   But, it wasn’t enough and the time came to let her go.
   At the veterinarian’s office, I was holding together pretty well until mom and Mike started crying their eyes out.
   My siblings had gotten a chance to say their goodbyes when they visited July 4 weekend and we were the ones there when she got to finally rest.
   Still, I find it harder to lose such a wonderful companion pet as an adult now than as a child.
   And it’s not like I’ve forgotten any of the other pets that came before her.
   But not many have had the lasting impact on my life that Padme did and it’ll be hard to measure up to that if we get another dog and start over.
   Mom is adamant about not getting a puppy and going through the cycle again and I can’t blame her.
   But, I also know that those feelings are also part of the grieving process and that I’m not looking to replace Padme by any means.
   I’m just hoping to share our home, family, and love with another pet that needs us.
   Besides, as it stands, my rescue cat Loki is the only pet that knows how to play fetch properly.
   We didn’t even teach him that!
   It just became a little game to play while watching movies or shows on the couch.
   He brings his little jingle ball toy and sits on the back of the couch, letting the toy drop near or on me, and then I throw it across the room and he brings it right back.
   It’s definitely entertaining and fun for both of us though Loki only plays for a few minutes and then won’t bring his toy back.
   My fellow cat-owning friends also agree that it is an unusual game for a cat to play with its owner and I keep forgetting to record him so that I have video proof.
   But, he also plays fetch with mom and will spend the rest of his leisure time sitting in Mike’s lap when done with his game.
   Mom’s poodle Keechi has cataracts and isn’t that good with seeing, but her hearing is pretty awesome so any attempts to play fetch with her leads to either making sure the item makes enough noise when it falls to the ground or if we can direct her verbally to it.
   Even then, she’s more apt to hoard it than to continue the game – unless she’s in the playful mood.
   That puts Loki as the slightly more entertaining animal companion we have.
   Or, at least I think so.

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