It's definitely not "standard procedure" to post a personal, non-UGA-related story here, but I can't think of a more literal example of a damn good dog, so here goes.
There have been many tears over the past few days, and there were more tears today, but our little girl is finally at rest.
She was a beautiful, loving little beagle with the sweetest disposition imaginable. She liked digging into the trash a little too much, and she would eat anything you left on a counter or tabletop remotely within reach, but she was still the best kind of dog anyone could want as a companion. If you ever petted her once, she loved you forever. And she didn't have a mean bone in her body. I never once saw her growl or snap at any person or animal unless she was playing, even if she was being hopelessly antagonized (as she frequently was by our other dog, Tex).
No, she was a gentle, loving girl, and she was only too happy to adapt to whatever new situation she was faced with as long as you loved her and were there to help her through it. (And, of course, as long as you filled her food bowl regularly!) She started her life 10 years ago with good friends of ours, but as time went on and our friends had children, they didn't think Georgia was getting enough attention, so they asked us if we would like to take her into our home. And, of course, knowing what a wonderful little girl she was, we eagerly agreed. It's been a little over 3 years, and we haven't regretted a moment of it... even today.
It just all seems to have happened so lightning fast. Just 11 days ago we noticed that she really wasn't feeling good for some reason... and now she's gone. Even as I write (this portion) in my hotel room on Tuesday night, I know she's already gone. I've seen the Skype video of her tonight, and you can tell. She knows it's time. She's ready. And it's only my selfish desire to see her in person one more time that's keeping her with us for 36 more hours. I knew when I left on Sunday afternoon that I might be saying goodbye to her for the last time... and, in truth, I was. What remains now is merely a shell of who she was... that innocent, energetic (well, in bursts between sleeping), loving spirit who only wanted to love you and be loved by you.
The wonderful people at Mars Hill Animal Hospital in Bogart have taken excellent care of Georgia over the past few years, and especially over the past 2 weeks. And my wonderful wife has barely left her side for the past week, even sleeping on the couch near her bed for the last few days. While I was off traveling, she was making sure that Georgia was comfortable every day, helping to make sure she was here so we could all make that one last trip together as a family.
I know we'll eventually move on, in time. Our grief will eventually wane, and we'll be able to remember all the good times we had without being consumed by the emptiness of our loss. That's not now, though. Now, we're heartbroken at losing a member of our family, though we know it was the right time to stop her suffering.
Goodbye, my beautiful little faithful Georgia. Your sweet nuzzles aren't with us any longer, but the memory of your spirit will be with us always.