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We let our Gleeson go today.

It was time. He’d been telling us for the past few days that he was too tired to go on, but it’s such a hard place to get to, accepting that letting go is the only choice.

We adopted Gleeson after he was pulled from our county shelter by the Franklin County Humane Society. He seemed old at the time, but I think he’d had such poor care that he had aged early. Most of his teeth had to be pulled, and his two back legs were crooked and had never been surgically addressed.

But none of those things dimmed Gleeson’s joy for life. Even with his crooked little legs, he would run to keep up with the other dogs when it was time to get out the treat jar. And he was a constant reminder to me that we don’t have to be perfect to know happiness and make others feel happy too.

At one point our family here on the farm included forty-two dogs, all rescues. Losing Gleeson today leaves us with twenty-five. Letting so much love into our lives means we’ve had to know a lot of loss, a lot of grief. But I can’t imagine not having had their love, and I’m so grateful that each of them has left the world knowing without a doubt that they are loved.

My belief is that Gleeson is now free to be young again with his best buddy Rosie who went on before him. See you again one day, sweet boy.