Saying goodbye. Watching that light in their eyes go out forever, hearing that last exhale, feeling that unstoppable heart flutter to a stop. It's a deal we make when we bring them home, and it looms in the distance like some great void until that final moment when it reaches out and pulls us in.
In that moment the all the rest, the mess, the work, the mud and hair, the aching muscles, the spilled drinks and stolen steak, become the things you yearn for. Each and every moment is a fallen leaf, that will never be again until finally the tree is left bare with only a memory of what it was to blossom.