Andrew Sullivan had Dusty, a beagle who has been his companion for 15 years, put to sleep today. It was time. She was old and sick and suffering. Here’s his heartbreaking account of the farewell. Excerpt:

This was not like waiting for someone to die; it was a positive act to end a life – out of mercy and kindness, to be sure – but nonetheless a positive act to end a life so intensely dear to me for a decade and a half. That’s still sinking in. The power of it. But as we laid her on the table for the final injection, she appeared as serene as she has ever been. I crouched down to look in her cloudy eyes and talk to her, and suddenly, her little head jolted a little, and it was over.

Follow that link and see the beautiful picture of Dusty in her master’s arms, in what were her last moments. Try not to shed a tear.

At some point in the next 10 years, I am going to face this with my Roscoe. I don’t even like dogs, but the thought of having to tell my little friend goodbye is unbearable. This summer, my mom and dad had to put down old Annie, the black Labrador who showed up at their house one day, escaping an abusive owner. Annie had been with them for more than a decade. They had hoped to give her more time, but the heat of this summer was more than she could bear, and she had become too weak and sick to move much. As with Dusty, it was time. But it was very hard all the same. God bless Andrew and Dusty, and Mam and Paw and Annie, and everyone mourning a pet.