Not my first dog, but if you believe in canine soulmates, he was mine. Get a dog, said the consultant as I was recovering from broken leg and ankle held together with pins and plates. It will make you walk everyday!
We got Murphy when he was about 6 months old. He was a rescue from Ireland, and it was love at first sight. Because of him I walked every day, and he motivated me to recover quickly from subsequent operations. We met so many people because of Murphy, not just dog walkers.
We did agility together and then Flyball, and made many good friends. He did anything I asked of him. He came out working with me, just sitting in the boot of the car even with the door open. 18 months since he ran over rainbow bridge, and I still miss him everyday.
I am not sentimental in regards to ashes and keeping things, but I did get a tattoo on my plated leg so he limps along with me every day for the rest of my life.
It is so easy to put your head in the sand as your pet deteriorates in health, hoping against hope for a miracle cure. We lost our first dog, Tizer, to a shoulder growth, and Murphy to a growth in his back leg. Both dogs were over ten years, and would have had to undergo surgery to remove a limb. Much as it broke my heart, as a family we made that difficult decision and I know it was the right one. We could probably have kept him a few more weeks.
If you have a solid bond with your dog, you know their moods and he literally asked for relief. In his life, he did anything I asked of him, so it was time for me to repay him. It is the greatest tribute to your pet to put your human needs second and think of their needs.