Please allow me an indulgence to tell you about a little dog. If anyone wants to add a tribute to this thread then please do. 16 years ago my daughter was five, my son's 3 & 1. We were shopping in a mall and decided to see the animals for sale in the pet store. There was the usual collection of Guinea pigs, kittens, birds and pups. But then there was this little black thing. She was running up and down the aisle looking like the end of a mop. The black long hair concealed her features as she charged around giving attention to anyone. Apparently she was "old" for their standards and was not likely to be bought. Well, we weren't in the market for a dog so we enjoyed her attention and left. The next morning my two older children woke us up with an announcement. They had decided what that dog should be called when we buy her - Mango. I vividly recall the matter of fact look in my daughter's eye and the unsure hopefulness in my son's. It was at that point I knew we WERE in the market for a dog. A black shitzu-poodle apparently. Over the next 16 years Mango gave us nothing but unconditional love. Each and every time we would come though the front door she was there, as excited to see us as the first day we met. To say she was useful would be a lie. She would chase rabbits but I fear they would get the better of her if she ever got close enough. She was, however, very good at tracking down leftover Italian food. Really all she did was treat every day as if it were her first. Everything was fun. It was a joy to just go around the block. She loved the snow and she would dive through the deep stuff with abandon. Sixteen years of daily walks puts a lot of miles on a relationship. And, her and I had a lot of time together. Well, time passes. The kids are older and two are in university. She has lived in three different houses in two cities. We have all have aged but time runs faster for dogs. This morning I took her to the vet for the last time. She had used up that body pretty good and she was done. Time for her to move on. The house is a little quieter. When I got home I opened the door to silence. No little claws on the hardwood racing to see who had come in. Coming home to no fanfare is going to take some getting used to. I truely believe animals teach us so much if we pay attention. Sadly, maybe some of those lessons are only learned in retrospect. Where did that time go? How short those Mango years were after all. Maybe I could have lingered a little longer in them and seen more. Anyways, thanks Mango for always reminding me that life is to be enjoyed.