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What It’s Like To Lose The (Canine) Love Of Your Life

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There’s something truly unique about the bond between dog and dog owner. Whether you’re relaxing on the couch scratching your dog’s stomach, running together, or playing fetch in the park, a dog is loyal to the core, always his or her drooling, panting, authentic self. We’ve partnered with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, which advocates for rescue dogs and neglected animals, to celebrate the special relationships that can only be forged between dog people and their trusty canine friends.

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I have always been a dog lover, but I never intended on a dog to become the center of my world. And I most definitely never intended to feel heartbreak as powerful as I did when I lost him.

Loving a dog is a lot more powerful than a lot of people may think. Dogs will do anything to make their owner happy, and they will do whatever it takes to see you smile. Dogs will love you selflessly and fiercely, and won’t ever hold a grudge. A dog’s love for their owner is truly never ending. And my love for my dog I lost only a few months ago, still remains paw printed deep in my heart.

Ever since I could remember, my sister and I would write letters to our parents begging for a puppy, year after year. For a couple of years, guinea pigs kept us company, until one day our parents finally caved.

It was a terribly cold and snowy morning when we got ‘Coal’. I remember looking down at four or five adorable puppies playing amongst themselves. Just to the right of where I stood, I saw one puppy shivering in the snow all by himself. Right away, I knew that was the one we had to take home.

He was the runt of the litter. He was the outcast and the underdog (no pun intended). Maybe that’s why I felt a special bond towards him, as I had only weighed a pound and a half when I was born. We brought him home that day, and as it turns out, he was a match made in heaven for our quirky family. We quickly grew to love this bundle of joy and all of his crazy antics only a puppy could look adorable doing. He was obsessed with squirrels, shoes and of course food. He also loved to receive affection, which I gladly gave him every single day.

As years went by, my love for Coal grew and grew. He was there for my first school dance. He was there for me when I got asked out for the first time. He was there for me when I had my first heartbreak. And he was also there for me when the world felt like too much. Without fail, he happily greeted me at the door everyday with his tail wagging hard enough to knock a five-year-old kid down. And when I came home from college on breaks, he would be standing there in front of my house like a proud parent, waiting. He always was waiting for me, and no matter how long it had been, he loved me still. He was truly there through it all.

A few months after his 13th birthday, his back leg started wearing out. We watched in horror, as his right leg grew thinner and thinner, until he couldn’t walk correctly any longer. I remember thinking to myself, ‘this is happening too soon. I can’t say goodbye to him now. Not like this’. When his left leg started giving out, that’s when we knew we had to let him go. That’s when it clicked that he wasn’t going to be here forever and we had to say goodbye.

On the night we put him to sleep, and as hot tears fell on his black coat, I whispered to him and kissed his sweet face, thanking him for loving me for ten years straight. I thanked him for the cuddles and the walks. I thanked him for the unconditional love he had always felt for me. And I thanked him for showing me what true love felt like.

Losing a dog is never something you can be prepared for. It’s painful and heart wrenching and makes you sick to your stomach – but the time that you have with them in the middle? That’s the good part. That’s the part that is worth it. And even though I lost Coal, I will always remember how it felt to be greeted by him every day. And I will never let his memory fade from my mind.

I think if I could start all over again with a new dog, I would spoil him a little more.

Dogs take a lot of out of you, and not to mention how incredibly expensive it is to take care of them but to be quite honest, I truly would do it all over again. Maybe I’d buy him a new set of food bowls, or some adorable dog toys. I’d also give him many, many more morning kisses.

The folks at Tito’s Handmade Vodka understand this canine-human connection. So much so, in fact, that all of the proceeds from their pet merchandise go to Emancipet, which allows pet owners neuter services that are actually affordable (yes, actually). This company truly cares about dogs and as a dog lover myself (obviously) I can appreciate that immensely. By spoiling your dog with these awesome toys and treats, not only are you helping your best friend, but you’re helping other dogs too.

So, give your dog the unconditional love they give you every single day. Take care of your animal and show them that you would do anything to make them happy, just like they do for you. And raise a glass to the canine love of your life. TC mark

This Post Was Produced In Partnership With Tito’s Handmade Vodka

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