Thursday night, we said goodbye to a member of our family.

For about 7 years, our purebred Jack Russell, Minnie, was perhaps the smartest dog we had.  For a time she shared our home with a gaggle of chihuahuas,  her twin brother Mickie, and others.

We often called her Kujo for the way she barked through the window at strangers walking down the street, but after greeting people at home, she would lick you incessantly until she felt you were clean.  After our daughters moved out, our son Dhylan became her "person."   She slept at the head of his bed, on his big pillow above his head, and everywhere he went, she followed.

But last fall, she began to experience seizures, often found in Jack Russell dogs.  Treatments appeared to be helping until this spring when they shot up without warning.   The violent tremors often left her dazed and glassy-eyed for hours, even days.  We would come home from work, or for lunch, and find she'd at least one, sometimes two, of the attacks.   Yet, when she recovered, she sometimes looked at us with her classic "what?" facial expression?  She seemed to be saying,  "hey, it's ok...don't worry about me..."

Nothing seemed to be working for her, and finally, Thursday night, after suffering through 7 such episodes (including one that lasted over 11 minutes at the animal hospital)  we had to make the horrible, gut-wrenching decision to give her peace.

It would have been selfish of us for pump her full of drugs, reducing her to a zombie and shell of her former self just so we could keep our dog.   We can only say thank you to the incredible staff at the Animal Emergency Room in Pasco, who understood and did an incredible job of caring for her in her final hours.

While there are many pains and tragedies in life,  there are few that compare to holding your dog while they breathe their last breath.    Minnie gave us 7 years of companionship, loyalty, fun and protection.   We will miss her with all our hearts.

And to the person who told me "she was just a dog,"   I pray you find the understanding to realize pets aren't just that, they're part of your family.

She is seen in a comfortable moment Thursday night.