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Writing has always been cathartic for me.

A way to handle the things life throws my way.

I was a teen struggling with things too harsh to talk about on here when I wrote my first full length novel.

That novel eventually turned into Tethered Souls, which is now published in the Tethered Duet.

I've since fallen in love with the craft, so while I don't need the outlet as much as I used to, I still find that if I go a few days without writing I end up slightly more irritable than normal.

I haven't written much the last few days, not nearly as much as I would have hoped with the final book in The Prophecy Series releasing. It has been hard to sit at my desk without the animal who used to lay at my feet.

On Saturday we lost our family dog, Layla, who'd been with my husband for the last twelve years (the last ten for me). Neither of our kiddos have known a day without her, and now our third (due in June) won't get the chance to meet her.

Knowing that, and knowing I won't get to spend another day with her lying under my desk is heartbreaking and has been more painful than I could have even imagined.

For us, she was more than a pet, she was a member of our family. A name we said nightly in our family prayer, and to have her ripped away so suddenly has taken a lot out of us.

Not that she didn't have her health problems. For the last four-and-a-half years she's been diabetic, having to have shots twice a day and only able to eat a specific food for every meal.

Four years she wasn't able to enjoy the treats she used to, but we managed it.

She was also blind, going deaf, and had started having trouble moving around on cold days.

We still believed though, that we had another few years with her. She still wagged her tail when she saw us, still greeted us at the door when we came home, and still laid outside on sunny days watching our kiddos play.

But that horrible Friday afternoon when she couldn't stand on her own, and my husband had to carry her outside to go to the bathroom, we knew deep down-even if we didn't want to admit it-that her time was coming to a close.

So when the vet told us she would only get worse. That the muscles in her back legs were deteriorating and it was causing her emotional distress, we had a choice to make.

An impossible choice that any pet owner who has lost a pet will understand.

We chose for her last moments to be filled with us, with love, and not pain.

So here we are, trying like hell to move on without a huge piece of our lives.

My kids are struggling to come to terms with it, my husband- who lost the first canine companion he'd ever had- is struggling to move on without getting to let her out each morning before work.

And I'm trying to move past the routine of insulin, syringes, carefully measured dog food, and the love of a pet who for so long was an incredible part of our life.

There are people who will say 'it was only a dog', and to those people I say it's too bad you don't understand the feeling.

It's so sad for you that you haven't experienced the incredible, selfless love dogs offer us without expecting anything in return.

To Layla, thank you for being such a wonderful member of our family. Thank you for the tennis balls you chased, the laughter you gave my kiddos when you licked their faces or buried your cold nose in their hair. Thank you for loving us and expecting nothing in return.

I hope you are running and playing, and I look forward to getting to love on you again one day.

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