I knew this day was coming. It was a year ago today, Feb. 9, 2012, that our beloved Morgan “Stinky Wink” went to the Rainbow Bridge. I could never, in a million years, have imagined the pain I would feel as I held him in my arms while he took that last deep breath. My only comfort from that moment is in knowing that HE knew that I was holding him, and that he heard me whisper “I love you, Stinky Wink” in his ear, that one last time. That was the culmination of almost twelve years of companionship, devotion, and love between me and a friend that could never be replaced. Combined to that intense grief was the fact that I had to make the decision to let him go. He had developed a severe case of diabetes—something I knew about myself. His case caused intense, rapid deterioration. He had spent two nights at the vet. When I picked him up on the 8th, he didn’t look any better. I brought him home and I could tell he was relieved to be home, but he was just in so much pain. I slept in a recliner by his bed that night and, next morning, his breathing was so labored and I could see in his eyes that he needed for me to help him the only way I could…to let him go. I carried him to the truck and went back to the vet, Stinky Wink lying beside me. I petted his head and ears all the way there, promising him that one way or another, things would be better before the day was over. The vet examined him and said that we could keep him alive, but his quality of life would be very poor and he would be in pain much of the time. I could not do that to him; he had been—and was—too precious to me. I could not count the number of times he had come to sit beside me when I was working in the garden. Or the times I would sit on the steps, taking a break from work, and he would come and sit beside me, nudging me to put my arm around him. I could never count the number of times that I had felt sad, that he would come and sit by me, often putting his head on my knee, never making demands…just “being” there. I could not fight against that sweet being’s desire and need to leave the pain and be free. And so, after an injection, a few fleeting moments of life, my promise to him that I would be okay and that I loved him, his body stopped and his spirit romped through the grass to the Rainbow Bridge! I brought him home, wrapped him in his favorite afghan, while Adam dug his grave in the midst of the iris beds, where he loved to lie and keep an eye on things. And so, on this day of the anniversary of your new life, I salute you, my forever friend and will be ever grateful that you were a part of my life, even though it was too short!