30/04/2015 05:36 BST | Updated 29/06/2015 06:59 BST

A Friend Till the End

Who without question or hesitation is there for you, come rain or shine? Everyone needs someone in their corner, as cliché as it sounds, a "BFF" (best friend forever) is one of the essential things that gets us through the rigors of life.

I lost my dear best friend a few weeks ago, a day that is now an engrained memory like a painful scar. Loyal, trustworthy and faithful are just a few of the qualities she possessed. She was truly remarkable and instinctively knew when I was happy or sad, if I was having a good or bad day. She knew when I was in pain, and comforted me as best she could. With certainty I could tell her my personal thoughts, knowing full well, not a word would ever be repeated, and she'd guard my deepest secrets, as if they were her very own. She never cared if I was having a bad hair day, and no matter what my mood, she always greeted me with a warm enthusiastic welcome. Even on occasion when I lost my cool or spoke sharply, she didn't judge or hold a grudge. I trusted her instincts and knew she had my back and would never lead me wrong. So for the past 9 ½ years we have been inseparable, together 24/7, side by side.

I adored my dear four legged friend, despite her being rather old, smelly, and that she incessantly drooled, leaving her mark on everything and everyone she greeted. Once you have a Dogue de Bordeaux, your life and house will never be the same again. You'll find that some guests are too frightened to visit, and those who brave an invitation, arrive well prepared clad in old tatty clothes. We collected our adorable puppy from the breeder when she was just 8 weeks old, never realising that something all along had been missing from our home. For those of you who are dog lovers, you'll no doubt understand that special something that a dog brings to a house and the enjoyment a family can gain from the experience.

Having a much-loved pet put down, is one of life's unpleasant responsibilities when owning a dog. Saving an animal from unnecessary suffering, when nothing else can be done, we sometimes have to make the difficult decision, knowing it is the kind and humane thing to do. As human beings, it's sad we are not afforded the same empathy and dignity.

The vet arrived at our home, and we led her into the garden, where our sweet natured gentle giant of a dog lay still, her breath now laboured, she tried to stand but couldn't. I had selfishly hoped when the time came, she would pass away peacefully in her sleep during the night, alleviating us from making such a painful decision. Yet she seemed to be hanging on with grim determination as if she felt it was still her duty to protect and look after me.

As I held her warm soft body in my arms and looked into those large trusting doleful eyes, I talked in soothing reassuring tones. Her eyes closed as her large loyal heart beat for the last time. There was a silent moment where everything including time, seemed to stand still. Feeling her heavy lifeless weight in my arms, the loud reality came crashing down on me. I hugged her tightly for the very last time, and uttered a cry that rose from deep inside, bursting from my lips a painful sound that broke the momentary silence. Grief suddenly enveloped me, catching a hold of my throat and I couldn't stop the flood of tears running down my face.

Granted losing a dog is not the same as losing a person, and in no way comes close. But it's surprising how a dog endears itself, finding a way into your home and heart, literally becoming a part of the family. The house is now strangely empty without the presence of our dog, who was indeed a great friend till the end.