08/28/2014 01:47 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Losing Man's Best Friend: A Tribute to My Service Dog

Today, I woke up with heaviness in my heart and a piercing headache from crying myself to sleep. This was the day I've been dreading the last couple of months, the day I would lose a part of me forever. I was prepared. I knew the reality of the situation, but I guess you could say I wasn't ready to accept it. The selfish side of me would probably say I would never be ready to accept it. He was my best friend, the one being that gave me unconditional love at every hour of the day, expecting nothing in return, but, he was suffering too much to keep him going any longer. Today, I lost my beloved service dog, Fred.

Fred was one of the greatest gifts a girl could ever ask for, and I feel forever indebted to Canine Assistants and all of Fred's trainers in Georgia. They have given me the best years of my life by giving me my Freddy. I can remember going to the canine assistants training camp thinking I was going to get this really cool dog that can turn on lights, and open doors, and even make the bed. What I came home with was so much more.

Anyone who was lucky enough to have met Fred knows just how extraordinary he was. Sure, he'd have his moments where he'd bury the TV remote in the snow, or eat your roast beef sandwich as soon as you turned your back, or even chew on a twenty dollar bill. But, there was something special about Fred. We shared this love, this unexplainable love for each other that probably doesn't even exist in many human-to-human interactions. Fred was my everything, and I was his everything, and, together, we formed an inseparable bond.

But, just like how all great and wonderful things end, the day had to come where Fred had to cross the rainbow bridge. It was heart-wrenching to see my boy deteriorate the way he did because, like most dog owners can probably attest to, he didn't deserve to suffer. He didn't deserve to go deaf, he didn't deserve to get cloudy eyes, and he most definitely didn't deserve to nearly lose his ability to walk.

Despite his struggle in his last few weeks of life, he continued to show his loyalty to me which broke my heart even more. No matter the pain Fred was feeling, he always put my life first until the very end. As I cried my way into my room after giving Fred one more kiss this morning, he still managed to stumble across the house to give me one last goodbye.

The house seems quieter, and there's a feeling of emptiness inside of me as I lay on the couch knowing he's no longer with us. I already miss that sandpaper-like tongue of his, the way he'd lick my face as if he couldn't love me more. That was the last moment we shared together. I miss the sound of his paws clicking on the floor and how he would follow me around the house, always making sure I was being taken care of. I miss his selflessness and unconditional love.

I miss him so much. Tonight, I'll go to bed wishing he was still sleeping next to me on the floor, but I'll find comfort in knowing he's no longer in pain. It seems impossible to imagine a world without Fred, but the memory of him will never fade. He has had my heart for 12 years, and he'll have it for an infinity more. I love you always and forever, my Freddy boy.


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