As a parent, you’re not supposed to have a favorite child. And if you do, you’re certainly not supposed to say it out loud (gasp – much less write it down). Luckily, my “children” aren’t able to read, so they’ll never know that I’ve betrayed them this way.

I have a favorite child, and her name is Sarah. sarah pretty 2(This is also my favorite photo of her – head thrown back, smiling at me.)

When I got her as a puppy nine years ago, I had no idea that she would end up with so much of my heart. She needed me, but at the time I got her (and time after time during the years since), I’ve needed her too. At difficult times in my life, she loved me unconditionally and gave me comfort. When I moved to Dallas, she made my first house feel like a home. When I had the opportunity to buy a store in Lubbock, she and I moved in with my grandparents for a few months… And as I took on this new adventure of being a store owner, she was by my side – coming to work with me every day, greeting customers and letting the children give her treats and rub her belly. We braved living in a rent house (that didn’t allow pets, but made an exception once they met her) and building a new home. She’s been my shadow and best companion through a LOT of changes in the last decade. Through it all, she’s been my constant companion.
We’ve gone on road trips and had picnics and gotten frozen custard and enjoyed swimming. She’s been good for a nuzzle when I’ve been sick, a head rest in my lap when I’ve been sad, and a greeting every time I’ve come home (including an elated bark, wag of tail, and the closest toy in her mouth).

My family has always loved animals, but in the last decade, our dogs have become FAMILY – staying in the house, sleeping in the bed, eating better than just “dog food”. You would form a pretty strong bond with anyone you spent that much time with – even more so when that companion’s ONLY job is to love you the entire time! As weird as it sounds, I think Sarah was my soul mate. She had an unbelievably sweet and tender spirit, and she understood me and loved me unconditionally. I have never felt closer to an animal, and I know that she was an angel sent just for me.

Over the past two months, the declining health of my #sweetsarah has rocked my world. I always thought we would have more time together – to visit the ocean, to vacay in the mountains, to enjoy more snowy winters by the fire. After the last few weeks of living “day to day”, I know those dreams aren’t going to happen, but I’ve been more than content to sit on the floor and stroke her face, or strap her into a doggy wheelchair to take a cruise around the neighborhood.

With a heavy heart, I tell you that this weekend, Sarah’s struggle ended, and I lost my favorite child. Even though a future without her smiling face seems impossible to bear, I’m taking comfort in the fact that I did all I could for her. I gave my soul mate the best life possible (and she did the same for me).

As for my other child, Lucy… I think I’ll give her a few more years to have a shot at the title. She’s a pretty darn good dog too.

Here are a few photos of Sarah that make me smile.