When we were taken up to see her, I knew it was time. She looked withdrawn and tired. Her fever was still at 105. It felt unnatural to have that kind of power - to say when another being's last minute would be. But I also knew she wasn't up for all the fighting. We said goodbye and put her to sleep, and then out for good. It felt like the smart, compassionate thing to do, but that didn't make it any easier.

It's never how you imagine it, I guess. I didn't get to see her get old and grey and cranky. We didn't say goodbye in a field, it was a fluorescent room. It wasn't quiet, there was a yapper nearby punctuating the moment. She barely turned her eyes on me while I was petting her to sleep. Then her eye lids fell away from the eyeballs and her body softened completely. There's loss and pain, but also gratitude for having shared my life with such an amazing being. Gratitude for her showing me how slippery and strange time can be. Gratitude for keeping me grounded, sane and wild.

Dear Frankie's Friends and The Zeus Varis Fund, A while ago you approved me and my dog Mia for a grant to help us with her cancer treatment. I can't tell you what a relief that was for me. Mia and I have been together for 9 years. I found her at the Houston SPCA when she was just a few weeks old (see the pics!) and we've been best friends ever since. She's an amazing, intelligent, intuitive, strong, loving animal. She was doing amazingly well after her first treatment -- playing like a champ! -- but took an unexpected turn and very quickly deteriorated. She came down with septic belly and her body was fighting it with a dangerously high fever. They think either a lymph burst in her abdomen... or maybe the cancer made it to her intestine and responded so well to the treatment that when it all died, the wall was thin and fissured. Whatever the case, her outlook for the life-saving surgery was a painful 50/50 with a weak immune system and then cancer to deal with afterwards on top of that. I was going back and forth. I didn't want to give up on her! But I also didn't want to be selfish.

steve mia

I want to thank your organization for playing a very vital and specific role in our lives. To love someone so deeply and not be able to help them, take their pain away, keep them alive -- because you don't have the money is one of the worst feelings I've ever had. If she had passed because of that -- I would've not only lost a friend, but my heart would've turned bitter. Your love and generosity for people you don't even know has softened my pain and kept me believing that the world is good. I can't thank you enough for that. For giving her a chance and for helping all of us who see animals clearly, without hubris or anthropomorphic romanticism, for the deep souls they are.

Thank you from the bottom of our forever-entwined hearts.