This is Sierra.
She's my parents' dog, brought home not long after our first beloved golden retriever had to be put down.
I was 16 when Sierra came to our family.
Her eyes don't always glow.
She is 14.
She was a feisty puppy with a strong will and attitude.
She grew into the best behaved dog I've ever seen.
Sometimes, before I went off to college, she slept in my bed with me.
When I came home from college, she'd bend in half and bounce up and down and wiggle and wag and make a weird groaning sound because she was so happy to see me.
She was patient when my own golden retriever puppy wanted to play with her--endlessly.
She was sweet when my first baby started crawling and mauling her and clenching her fur in his fists.
She loved life and she loved Lake Tahoe and she loved camping and swimming.
There is a knot in my throat because today she'll be gone. Her quality of life is quite poor. There is no other choice to make.
There is a knot in my throat because explaining this to a six-year-old has been harder than just about anything I've ever had to tell him. It took me over an hour to get him to stop sobbing long enough last night to actually fall asleep. And, as my own mind played a snapshot slideshow of so many good moments with that dog, my son's did the same and his tears flowed wildly.
"I just want to pet her one more time," he cried.
Me too, baby. Me too.