|Chloe was 12.|
I've been through this sad ritual several times with our dogs and cats - Muffet, Miffy, Cody, Jade, Addison, Red, Tonka, Bailey, and now, as of July 14, 2013, Chloe, our Bichon Frise. Because we adopt mostly adult dogs, it means less time with them, but it's worth it to give them a few years of love they may have otherwise never known. It's always painful to see them go, and it leaves a hole in your heart.
This is especially hard for Kate; it's her first pet loss (since adulthood); Chloe was her first dog she lived with on her own when she moved from Alabama to NC, where we met. Before Kate and I moved in together, Chloe would come over and spend the day with Red (a Rhodesian Ridgeback) and Bailey (Lab mix) at my place so she had company while we were at work. There was not even an initial squabble; they got on right away.
After Red passed away, we adopted a senior Ridgeback, Tonka, and he slotted right in with the pack too. We only had the pleasure of loving and caring for him for a little over a year before he crossed the Bridge. Bailey the Lab came down with cancer a short while later and we had to say goodbye to her. Chloe was not by herself for long; we adopted Casey, a pit bull, and, while Chloe liked being the center of attention as an only dog, she warmed up to Casey, and they could frequently be found snuggling on the sofa, sharing a fleece.
The video below is about Casey's first vet visit after we adopted her (2008), but Chloe does her best to upstage her for the camera (of course). Makes me smile (and get misty-eyed) right now.
With time, we'll open our home to another dog -- the right dog -- to be part of our family, and it will be a shelter or rescue dog that needs a forever home.