There is nothing liker the joy of having a puppy! It is instant love and you have a best friend for life. But no one ever tells you about the emotions you go through as they age.

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I got my black lab Pepper when she was just 8 weeks old. Instant love! As a single guy, Pepper and I had so much time together and would train daily. She became one of the best trained duck hunting dogs you would want to meet.

We got word that Pepper has torn her right ACL. This was especially hard to hear because just a year ago we went through the same issue on her left side ACL. Real talk, the surgery ain't cheap. We have three boys now and things are way different for Pepper and I. I feel bad that I can't spend the time that I used to with her.

Pepper has become the matriarch so to speak int he family. She is like a doggy grandma to the boys. They love her so much!

We are faced with a tough decision for sure. But with great advice from our veterinarian and some prayers, we will do what is best for Pepper.

It is tough to watch pets age. Like humans that we are close to, we want them to live forever. But reality takes over and we realize that it can't happen. Because they are family, just like with kids or your best friends, now is the time to make the most of every minute. The walks in the mud and rain or the times you have to clean up their accidents in the house are rough. But in the end, it's all worth it.

It is tough to watch pets age. They don't warn you of that when the puppy comes in to you life. But it is just another reminder that we need to slow down and enjoy what is right in front of us, right now.