I had to put down my best friend Zoe on Thursday, August 23, 2018.

She was suffering. A lot. She had cancer that had spread through her whole body and her quality of life was poor. It was in her lungs, everywhere. Her mobility had declined and she was uncomfortable lying down, standing. She was no longer able to sit.

I went in for a 4:30PM appointment thinking she had Mastitis in one of her teats, making walking, sitting and lying hard. The Vet updates her shots, drains the infection, gives Zoe a course of antibiotics, a cone of shame and she would be back.

No, an hour later she was gone.

I saw signs yet I missed them. Her appetite was good and hadn't changed but I was fooling myself - thinking her mobility was due to Arthritis and old age - and I should have taken her to the Vet weeks before. Sooner. Much sooner. Would the outcome have changed? Would blood work, x-rays and surgery have changed the outcome? No, according to the Vet and she went on to tell me that Zoe had been quite the soldier and was in worse shape than she had let on. Her decline in the last two weeks was very quick and distressing. Lying next to her on the floor of the vet office I held her until she passed, weeping tears of pain, loss and the knowledge I could have done more to ease her suffering.

I held Zoe a while longer and continued whispering the mantra I gave her every night while we cuddled in bed, "I love you, Zoe, you're a good girl, Zoe is a Good Girl and I love Zoe." While hearing her Mantra she would make her "purr" sound as I whispered and I would pet her head and scratch her ears. She needed to know that. She was an amazing companion. I wanted her to be happy and that in turn helped me. I could count on her silent composure to get me through anything. She deserved to be cherished.

She changed my life for the better and made an impact on everyone who met her.

I numbly left and walked home without her to an empty house where for 24 hours I kept imagining hearing her claws on the hardwood, her collar. My mind not yet dealing with her absence. I am still thinking, "Zoe needs a walk and a poop" but that reality is gone. And that finality is devastating.

I'm writing this because this magnificent being deserves a tribute fitting to Gods and Heroes. Zoe was my co-pilot . The emptiness and size of the space she's leaving in my life is overwhelming.

This is therapy and to cherish her memory; I can barely function right now.

I Love you, Punky Punk.

RIP (October 7, 2005 - August 23, 2018)