saying goodbye to a best friend

Recently my fiance and I received heartbreaking news - our best friend, Doug, was losing his best friend, Spree. Spree was a handsome, sweet, loyal, exquisitely trained Vizsla, 11 years old. Spree was one of my favorite doggies, I never went to Doug's house without first giving Spree kisses, never mind Doug. Spree was diagnosed with a very fast-moving spleen cancer, and had a massive tumor growing, crushing his lungs and stomach. (When a hound isn't hungry there's something very, very wrong, and that was the clue to go to the vet.) He was given a prognosis of 2-5 days, some meds to keep him comfortable, and was sent home with his daddy to take it easy. Doug took the rest of the week off of work, gave him all his favorite treats, took him to all his favorite places, and one night had a small group of close friends over to say goodbye.

I had always wanted to photograph Spree, but doing it under these circumstances made me cry. Several times as the six of us gave him rubs, gives, hugs, and attention we all choked up. I even choked up looking back at the photos as I processed them.

Doggies are never with us as long as we'd like for them to be, nor are they ever around as long as we need them to be. There's something so special about committing to living with an animal who has a finite time with you - you know you have to fit in as much as you can in a decade or so, you know you have to live as well as you can with them before it's over. It never, ever gets easier to say goodbye to a pet, or an animal we love, but I can't imagine going through life without their unconditional friendship, acceptance, love, and unbridled glee at even the simplest of pleasures. Doggies are truly some of the best people in the world.

Rest well, Sprewell. You were so, so loved.