Doris and I want to thank all our friends on Facebook and on the web for their kind words and good thoughts for Tasha. I was overwhelmed by the response to my posts. There were so many. They came from all over the world, as far away as Australia and China. If I ever needed proof of the power of Web-2 to connect with people everywhere in a matter of seconds, here it was.

I wish I had good news to report. I don’t. Tasha had the best medical care. I’m told there are only three animal neurologists in the Pacific Northwest. Two of the best are at the specialty clinic we took her to on Monday night. We realized the situation was much more serious than we thought when the doctor told us, very gently, that the problem wasn’t in Tasha’s back or hips, but in her brain. The way one eye failed to focus and the odd way she held her head indicated a possible tumor on her brain stem. Such a tumor is inoperable and always fatal. By this time Tasha could hardly stand. We tucked her into bed in her clinic cage. Doris left one of her socks with her so she would have a comforting smell from home. Tasha never liked to be alone. She always wanted to know that her people were close.

The doctors gave Tasha a more thorough examination in the morning. Dr. Kroll’s diagnosis remained the same. He was extremely kind and caring as he gave us the news. An MRI examination could tell us more, but wouldn’t change anything. His gut feeling was that it was a fatal tumor and there was really nothing to be done.

Our neighbor and dear friend Diana had gone with us to the clinic. Doris and I were in no shape to drive home. We picked Tasha up and carried her to the car. Her tail wagged and wagged when she saw us, although she could hardly lift her head.

We took her home and made her comfortable. The neighbors came over. So did Jessica, Colleen, Patrick, and their friend Michael. They’re in college now, but they had all grown up with Tasha. Bridgett came over with our grandson, Blake. Blake was quiet as he petted Tasha. He always considered her “his” dog. She stayed at his house when we were away. James couldn’t get off work. He would have come if he could.

Then we were alone. Doris and I waited out the hours with Tasha. We gave her some water. She seemed to be thirsty, but it was hard for her to lift her head. She ate a few bits of kibble. Just that effort exhausted her. Her tail didn’t wag anymore.

At 5:00 we took her to the doctor. We’ve done this before with Sancho, Junior, Dandy, and Puff. Still, it’s never easy. It was over by 5:30. We were with her at the end.

Some might say that it’s foolish to mourn for a dog when so many human beings die miserably every day. I say that animals teach us to love. If you can’t love a dog, a cat, a bird, a fish, then you probably can’t love people. Love is the one treasure that is not finite. The more you give, the more you have to give.

Tasha gave us unconditional love for ten years. I wish it were longer. Goodbye, dear friend. Don’t forget us. We’ll never forget you.

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