I'm having one of those horrible days, because my dog died this morning.

Actually, we put her down, because the vet said it was the humane thing to do.

But it doesn't feel very humane to me. And how humane can it be when we would never do to a human what we did to Miss Hailey this morning.

Now I know there's probably not a sportscaster in America who would spend any time talking about his dog, but then, I've never thought I do a typical sportscast. And Miss Hailey was never your typical dog.

Friends of mine who have never shared their life with a dog don't understand, but they can judge me however they choose.

I don't think you know the true meaning of the word "love" until you've been owned by a dog. Miss Hailey owned me for more than ten years.

She spent her days and nights sleeping in my chair waiting for me to get home. When I did, she would meet at the backdoor, follow me to the closet while I changed clothes,  then to the pantry for a treat, and back to my chair, where she would sleep in my lap until we went to bed.

And when we did, she slept under the covers with her head on my pillow.

When people would say to me "Tell me something about you we don't know," I would always tell them I sleep with a Basset Hound. And now that you do know, I guess I'll have to come up with something else.

The lovely Mrs. Hansen has always said my relationship with that dog was a little bit sick. But it was actually the dog who made me sick.

I went to my doctor, who poked needles in my back, only to find out that I'm allergic to dog hair.

I told her I'm going to need a pill, because my relationship with that dog means more to me than the sneezing and coughing I've had to deal with for several years now.

I knew the first time I saw Miss Hailey that this was going to hurt. Because every relationship always does in one fashion or another. Every relationship you have with anyone or anything you love will eventually end in tears.

But it is the deal we make, it is the agreement we accept, and it is the opportunity I would never turn down. You can avoid the pain and tears of losing a loved one....all you have to do is never love. I choose the pain and tears.

But Dr. Seuss was right: "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

And I will never forget how lucky I am that this special Basset Hound, Miss Hailey,   happened to be a part of my life. But for now I hope you understand I'm having one of those horrible days, because my dog died this morning.

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