After about 3 years, my grandmother passed, with Sweetheart by her side. Sweetheart then became my grandfather's companion; the one thing that continued to get him out of bed in the morning. As his health declined, my family began the process of welcoming her into our home. At first, I would stop by in the evenings to take her outside, and when the day came that Pop-Pop was no longer living at home, I brought her home with me.
Yesterday, I shared a memory that still haunts me to this day. One afternoon my grandfather visited our house after my mom picked him up from the nursing home. As we sat on the front porch, Sweetheart played in our yard. My grandfather had called for her, with no response; but as I said her name and crouched down, she came flying into my arms. At this, my grandfather smiled and said "She's your baby now." And how true that was.
Ironically, my family never intended on having her live with them full time. Two dogs was too many and so I took care of her (letting her sleep in my room, playing with her etc) with the intent that when I moved out, she was coming with me.
Yesterday, I had the honor of holding and comforting her as the life slowing drifted away from her small body. We had a tremendous bond and I feel blessed to have had her for so many years, carrying with her the unconditional love I had with my grandparents.
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." - Winnie the Pooh