I haven't been around in quite a while, but wanted to share that last week my oldest dog, Archie, was helped across the Rainbow bridge. It was time. He'd been battling arthritis for quite some time, and though he was still eating, he was in tremendous pain and simply seemed tired. He was a big boy, over 100 lbs. most of his adult life, and still clocked in at 92 lbs. when they weighed him last week (he was noticeably thinner to me).
I had never been with one when having him put to sleep. I was an absolute wreck with my last dog and had to leave before it was done. I stayed with Archie though, and I'm so glad that I did. He was always a little wary of strangers (especially the vet), and though he was too weak to stand up and protest at all, he kept his eyes on me all the while, making sure I was nearby. That was enough for me to know that he needed me to stay, and so while one assistant hovered over him and kept him steady where he was lying, and the vet carefully administered the shot, I was hugging his big, ol' head, rubbing his ears (his favorite), kissing the top of his head and telling him I loved him and that he was the best. He simply fell asleep in my arms, got heavier and heavier and then was gone. It was honestly so gentle and peaceful that I was greatly reassured about the decision.
I'll miss my "Big One" as I called him. He was always a loyal friend and fierce guardian. He slayed many possums in his day, but would babysit litters of kittens and tolerate rambunctious puppies. He was an imposing presence, and on more than one occasion he convinced strangers who drove onto my property it's probably best to stay in the car, LOL. But he was so gentle and loving with "his" people.
I hope he, and my dearly departed Zack are reunited in heaven, romping around like youngsters again, tongues lolling and tails wagging.