I think my dog is dying. Excuse me while I ramble. Elvis, the best basset hound ever to waddle the earth, came into my life over 10 years ago. He was staying with a co-worker who did not want him even a little bit. Gave him to me, papers and all. Date of birth: January 18, 1995. On first sight, he came out of their pen, walked past her, her husband, and my wife, straight as an arrow to me, and slobbered me from fingertip to elbow. I knew then. That's my dog. Upon arrival, he drank almost 8 gallons of water and ate like he'd never seen food before. He has seen me through a cross-state move. A divorce. A remarriage. Buying the house. Cancer. Pancreas attacks. The house burning down (one year ago today FTR). The whole stay here and there summer. Moving back. All of it. On the trip over to our new house, he started acting excited as we got near the property. Normally I have to all but coax him out of the truck; not that day. He damn near knocked me down. He knew. He was home again. He's been getting skinny. He does that; I didn't worry overmuch. He won't eat; he does that too. But this is different. He's puny, weak, disinterested. He's dying. A day shy of 12 years old. Normal life expectancy for a basset with balls intact is 10-12. I knew this was coming. Just not right now. So tomorrow, I will take him to the vet. I will ask if there is anything they can do for him. When I hear there isn't, I I don't know what I'll do. I know I won't let him suffer; he deserves better. I know I won't ask him to endure pain for my benefit. I know what pain feels like, and I would never ask him to go through that for me. If any of you ever wondered what it would take to get a crusty old redneck to cry like a bitch, now you know. I know in my heart three things. That dog was well cared for and happy as long as we were together. He lived a good life. And he gave me a thousand times more than I ever gave him. Goodbye old friend. Rest easy. And thank you so much for being there. There will never be another like you.