I now have 4 cats and 1 dog. I recently (Aug 08) had to put down my cocker dog. He was nearly 14, had been blind for 3 years. I always said I'd let him live as long as he was perky. Up until the last couple of months, he was perky. Seeing him every day, making adaptions as he changed and deteriorated slowly, I didn't realize how bad he'd gotten.
Even though I know it was the best decision for Sir Marks, it tore me up. A friend told me about The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Told in the dog's voice, it's the life of Enzo and his family. Funny, sad, heart-breaking, and heart-warming. I had to read it at home (I take books with me everywhere I go), as I broke out weeping several times. Read it on one day.
My Pom, Shalako, and the cats Sahara, Shasta, Shadowspawn, and Starkist, have helped keep me sane. Shalako and Shasta are grrls. Notice the name theme? In the last 5 years, I've lost Sampson and Scooby Boo (dogs), and Stumpy, Skipper, Sardonnyx and Shang (cats). Most have lived to ripe old years for critters. Amazing what modern vet care and keeping cats inside have done to extend their lives.
The picture is Sir Marks in his walking harness, and Scooby Boo.