As I sat in my comfy couch, trying to relax from another grueling day at the office, something caught my attention in the corner of my eye. It seemed to be a dark, furry creature that I fell in love with more than 17 years ago.

Geri Garcia

Clara Garcia

When I turned to get a better look, I realized it really wasn’t there. She was gone. Geri was really gone.

It’s been a month since we made that agonizing, yet necessary decision to let our little girl go. She was not the same lovable, playful puppy Matthew brought to me at work in May 2004. She was my Mother’s Day gift.

I remember running outside the office to find Matthew holding this black and white fur baby. She was beautiful and she was ours. We fell in love immediately.

Matthew had the pleasure of naming her (Geri — pronounced Jerry, after Jerry Garcia).

When we first brought her home, we put her in this little wicker basket with a pillow. Geri was too rambunctious to sit still so we used the basket for her toys.

Geri was much more than a pet — she was a member of our family, our baby girl. It’s hard to put into words what she meant to me. She was my comfort when I would cry. She was my headache when she’d knock over the freshly laundered pile of towels. She was my happiness when she’d play fetch.

Geri wasn’t only the best dog in the world, she was the sweetest and most gentle and loving pooch anyone could ever have. Our little Lhasa Apso would snuggle and play, she would run around wildly at times. She was so funny, because when she needed to go outside, she wouldn’t scratch at the door or bark at me. Instead, she’d scratch my head.

As she got older, her favorite thing to do was lie on the floor at the opened front door, bask in the sunlight and watch passersby.

For most of her life, she would curl up next to me in bed every night, but as she got older and it was more difficult for her to jump up onto the bed. I made her own little bed right next to it. I think we both felt comfort knowing we were still close enough for a midnight cuddle.

We have two other dogs — Kylo and Jello — who we also love very much, and they are also members of our family. They’re both very loving and playful, and they make us feel better knowing they’ll be there when we come home.

Losing a pet is hard. I still sometimes think I see Geri out of the corner of my eye, or hear her nails clicking on the floor. I’ll even hold the door open for her to come in from outside, knowing she’s no longer waiting.

For the past year or so, we’d been waiting for the day when she wouldn’t be with us any longer. It’s been a very hard year. While we miss her terribly, we knew we had to made that heart-wrenching decision. We knew it was time. Giving her the gift of peace was what was best for her.

As I walked into the veterinarian’s office last month, holding my baby girl in my arms, I remembered it was the same place where we first met each other 17 years ago. I was able to say goodbye, to tell her how much I loved her and how much I was going to miss her. I thanked her for being such a good girl.

Our house is a little lonelier without our Geri. We miss her, and will always remember her. She made all our lives better.

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