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After adopting my greyhound from the ASPCA in'97, she pulled me out of a bipolar funk, forced me to get exercise (walks) and be social (the dog park), and gave me unconditional affection and loyalty. She's seen me through depression, illness, moving cross-country, boyfriends, and my husband. When my boyfriend (now husband) wanted me to find her another home before he and I moved in together, I said that my girl and I were a package deal; 7 years later, he now he apologizes for ever asking me. We had to put her down this spring, at age 14. When she began to have difficulty climbing stairs, we put industrial treads on them to help her, or carried her up and down. The last 3 months of her life, we home-cooked all her meals. On vacations, we found pet-friendly places to stay. When we thought she had cancer, we paid $3k for a toe amputation; it wasn't cancer, but it stopped the debilitating swelling in her leg (due to a racing injury). She kept my widowed mother-in-law company the last several years of her life. My husband, who never had pets in his life, now wants to adopt another greyhound. My girl has inspired me to blog, and volunteer with two animal rescue groups. We don't have children, but she made us a family; she gave us something to care about outside of ourselves. Since she's passed, we miss our routines, our "parental" language, and her company. I can tell you now that I still feel that she was deserving of so much more than we ever gave her. She taught us patience, loyalty, responsibility, and perseverance. If you bring a life into your home, then you make a commitment to care for that life. Domesticated animals are brought into this world without their choosing, and without the possibility of ever making choices; the least we can do is make the choice to treat their life responsibly.