Years ago, as a young mother with a toddler son and two labrador retrievers, one yellow, one black, I found it difficult to have two large pets while mastering diaper changes and warming bottles.

Stroller walks certainly became interesting, me pushing the baby with two labs pulling me on leashes. We considered finding a new home for Drake, the yellow lab, who had more energy than a 3-year-old. Somehow, we never did. Maybe it was guilt, the knowledge that we would miss him, or the hope that one day I would find a balance, but we kept him. He was a good dog. As friendly as they come, with just enough spunk to keep you laughing.

One day, my co-host, Kevin, mentioned that they were in the market for a new dog, a family pet. I couldn’t have imagined a better fit. Kevin had three daughters who would shower Drake with attention, and a backyard that would allow Drake to run off that energy. Not to mention Kevin’s truck that had a passenger seat with Drake’s name on it, as they would one day enjoy running errands together.

Who else gets to hear heartwarming stories of their beloved dog after he’s found a new home? I’ve had the chance to hear about Drake snatching entire loaves of bread, his favorite, and snoozing at the foot of Kevin’s youngest daughter’s bed. I can’t think of a better family for Drake, which was a present from Greg twelve years ago.

But, today is bittersweet.

Kevin was unusually quiet this morning, and confirmed what we knew would be a likely outcome. Drake is being put under, due to an illness that has affected his quality of life. So, here’s to Drake, a dog who met Kevin at the door with his shoe. A dog who tried to hide the slice of pizza he snatched from the counter, though you could clearly see the triangular outline in his cheeks. Drake was one-of-a-kind.

We’ll miss you, buddy.

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