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Sunday, November 13, 2016
We had to put down my childhood dog a few days ago.

I wasn't able to be there since I live in a different state. My sister had called me and said that she was declining rapidly. I was just there for a visit a few weeks ago. I was shocked at how thin and not-herself she was. Then, on a Saturday, we were on FaceTime when she said it had to be today. For my sister to admit this was a big deal, she had been holding on for so long and finally realized that Maggie was in pain. She was suffering.

So there I was, a whole state away, researching different vets and trying to get an appointment to take Maggie in. I found a vet that would take care of everything, and they worked with a pet mortuary that does paw print stones and framed prints. An hour later, they took her in. An hour after that, I got the text that she was gone.

We have had pets before, although I was very young and don't remember them much. My parents kept me sheltered from what the loss of a pet felt like. I was very young when we lost our first dog, Jessie. I was so young that I don't think I fully understood what was happening. The second dog I remember, Ginger, had to be put up for adoption because she was aggressive with my sister when she was born. I was 6.

Since that day, we've all hardly talked. It's just been too hard.

I remember getting Maggie. It was the first day of a new school year, and I was just 11 years old. I remember one of our neighbors going door to door seeing if anyone wanted any of the puppies from his daughters dog's litter. A neighbor said that we were looking for a dog, so he brought Maggie for us to see. We fell in love - and were very late for school. I didn't want to go to school, and since Maggie couldn't be left alone, she spent the next six hours sleeping under my dads dest at his work.

For the next eight years, she was a constant presence in my life. I moved out, moved to Arizona to go to University. But she was always there to greet me when I came home to visit. In 2011, a couple years after moving out, my husband - boyfriend at the time - and I got our own dog. Gracie. I started to bring Gracie when I came home for a visit. Gracie liked to antagonize Maggie. Nudge her, push up against her, until Maggie got irritated and chased her around the yard. I think Maggie secretly enjoyed it.

Gracie (left) and Maggie (right)

This last visit, a few weeks ago. I'd felt guilty when I saw her. I had been so busy in my own life that it had been too long since I'd seen her. We had to keep Gracie and Maggie apart, Maggie was just to fragile. I spent so much time taking care of Gracie and making sure she didn't wonder into the wrong parts of the house (that girl has so many allergies), that I didn't spend any time with Maggie. I didn't say goodbye.

Losing Maggie is like losing the last piece of my childhood. Not only that, but it brings up a lot of feelings from losing my grandpa. They were so close. Every time he would come to the house, Maggie had to do her laps for Grandpa. Show him how fast she could go around the corners of the hallways.

Maggie, I have loved knowing you for the past 17 years. And even though at times you could be annoying, there was so much love. You were there for me through all the ups and downs. I loved playing soccer with you, and hide-and-go-seek. I'm so sorry I couldn't be there with you in the end. I will never forget you. I love you, always.