After nearly 18 years with Wishbone, we had to say goodbye to him tonight, and it was one the hardest things I have ever done.

Today, February 20th was love your pet day, or so I saw in Facebook, and you know, I loved that little dog so much, that we had to put him out of his suffering. Wishbone was born October 1st, 1996, and he came to live with us in December of that year on a Sunday. It's funny, because I remember how it happened like it was yesterday. I was the General Manager of the Ramada Inn in Bangor, and Collin, who was 5, Craig who was 7 and my wife Bonnie had gone to the Bangor Mall, and Collin had fallen in love with Wishbone at the pet store. He kept calling and calling and calling me at the hotel, asking if we could buy him. I had 6 Christmas parties that night, and payroll to do, and the hotel was full, and I just told him, ask your mother, whatever she says is all right with me, knowing fully well she didn't want a second dog, or so I thought. I just said, please stop calling me unless it's an emergency. Hard to remember, but it was before everyone had cell phones, so he would call the hotel, they would page me on the walkie-talkie and then I'd come take the call.

Well the next afternoon, Sunday, we all went to the Mall. Now back then, the Mall didn't open until 12 noon on Sunday, and we went in, and started walking about by Sears, and then Collin took off running for the pet store. I jogged after him, so I could keep him in my sight, and he was in the pet store, with Wishbone on his lap playing with him, when I came into the store. Everyone kept saying how cute they were together, and they were, and there was no way he was going to leave the store without Wish. I thought briefly about leaving them both there (not really) and after having sticker shock at the price, paid for Wishbone and because it was so cold, put Wish in my parka, and zipped him up inside and we all went out to the car. I made the manager promise that she wouldn't sell anything else to my family for one year!

Katie and Wishbone (Photo Credit - Chris Popper)

We had another dog at the time, Katie, and they got along perfectly. It was like they were meant to be, brother and sister. Wishbone was named, well, because he looked like the dog Wishbone on TV. He grew up with my children, and that's what made today so hard, it's like the end of a link to their childhood.

Wishbone would sleep with Collin, and also when he was little would crawl under our sheets and blankets, because he really didn't have long fur. Some of my fondest memories were of Collin and I taking the dogs out for a walk in the summer, and Collin racing Wish home. I would give Collin a two or three house head start, and Collin was a fast runner, but Wish would fly, and always beat Collin home. He would dance between Collin's legs as he ran and their love was palpable. That's what has made the last couple of months so difficult, because Wishbone hasn't been able to walk really well, and in the last few days, not really able to stand. Plus, with Collin moving out into his own apartment, whenever I would see Wish, I would also see Collin.

We took Wishbone to Broadway Vet tonight, and Collin held him in his arms while he was put to sleep. I know it was the right thing to do, because I loved him so much, but it doesn't help the tears that are flowing from my eyes, or the pain I feel in my heart.

Be happy Wish. I know you are with Katie, and I know one day, that you and Collin will be racing down the street while Katie and I look on.