The vet tech asked me my dog’s name, and I proudly said, “Sierra!” I’d just said to myself how original a name like hers was, and how clever I must have been to have come up with it, especially living in the forested foothills of said mountain range.

“We’ve had two Sierra’s in here just this morning,” the perky woman replied.

Sierra had her shots, a few prods here and there and we were cleared and ready for adventure.

A couple days later, she stopped eating, and had contracted a nasty little virus called “Parvo,” which often proves fatal. She went on to survive however, continuing to defy the grim reaper’s grip for the next 16 years. Her most notable brushes with death included: being run over by a UPS truck, attacked and nearly stomped by a moose, peppered with needles by a porcupine and had her throat slit by a pitt bull.

She was the best travel companion I ever had. An easy keeper and an eager adventurer. She has been and will be missed, but I’m grateful for the joy she brought to my life.

The morning of her death, I wrote the following poem:

I am sound asleep and my dog is dying
Her breathing thick and rapid
I awake and my dog is dying
I comfort her and weep as she gulps the air
I am helpless while my dog is dying
I make coffee and my dog is dying
The TV mutters to neither of us
Routines abound and my dog is dying
I crush another pill
rolling the powder inside her mouth
I feel helpless while my dog is dying
I pray for her to go quickly as she lay still
The near dawn light is cool and gray
Another day and my dog is dying
Was I a good owner, parent, friend?
I am helpless while my dog is dying

Sierra May 7, 1992 – Jan 13, 2008