We recently had to say goodbye to our beloved dog, Beauty. Her name defined her both inside and out. All dogs are special but Beauty had something deep and spiritual about her. She had an intense, human stare and used it to effectively communicate. Dogs are special because they give you pure, unconditional love, don't hide their emotions and are always demonstratively ecstatic to see you. Humans don't seem to be able to achieve that level of honesty with each other. Beauty was almost 14, and to the end she was a trooper. Even though her back legs were going and she lost a lot of weight, she still went out with us on walks, though we had to do a little pulling to help out. On the day we had to put her to sleep, I had come home to find her lying on the bed, inert. Even though she had eaten that morning, she had thrown up and wouldn't take any treats, always a bad sign. She had a kind of rattle in her breathing and I was hoping it was some kind of bronchial infection that they could treat. I was still in denial about how serious her condition might be. Our vet was not able to see her so we went to the Animal Emergency Referral Center in Fairfield, NJ, a wonderful facility. We had to drag Beauty there in her bed and they helped us put her on a gurney. They examined her and took an x-ray. What they found was bad news. Her stomach had twisted around and was causing her to be sick and in pain. We had to decide what to do. We were a bit in shock. The options were to euthanize her, or put her through a serious operation, which might not have solved the problem, and involved a long recovery period. It finally dawned on us that we would have to lose her. We were heartbroken and in tears, but it would have been inhumane to put a 14 year-old dog through that trauma. They gave her a sedative to relax her and then brought her into the room where we were waiting. She seemed to be only semi-conscious, but we spoke to her, telling how much we loved her, what a wonderful dog she was and how we'd miss her, all the while in tears. She was given the injection to stop her heart and she drifted off, looking peaceful and still beautiful. The vet told us that this was the gift we could give our beloved pet, to let her die painlessly and with those who loved her dearly. I'm crying as I write this but feel that our continued sadness is a way we can still connect with her. Our other dog, Rosie, grew up with Beauty and seems very subdued. All we can do is give her all our love and attention, while still mourning Beauty, who we will always lovingly remember and whose life we shared.