My long-time companion (more than fourteen years) and charming wingman has left J-Ward for the last time.
This is the beagle who accompanied me throughout the 'hood, winning us both friends and admirers.
He's also the one who befriended every single person I ever invited to my apartment.
At the beach, one of his favorite places on earth, he would sleep in the room with my various guests, disarming them to the point that when I finally got up the two of them had already been out for a walk while I snoozed.
His health had been steadily deteriorating since March last year and in the past six months or so, he was having trouble seeing and hearing.
He's always loved snow, but the three big storms we had this year were tough for him,
We still walked, but he was no longer able to frolic like he used to.
But it was really the last couple of months that told me what I needed to know.
He no longer wanted to go for walks and for a dog who liked nothing better, I knew he had to be feeling his age.
Even so, it's an unbearably difficult decision to make to say "It's time."
So the beagle who loved Jackson Ward as much as I do will be absent from its brick-lined sidewalks and Abner Clay Park.
His devotion to me was a thing of beauty especially considering how allergic I am to dogs.
Over the past year and all its difficulties, he had become my constant companion, something I badly needed.
My only consolation is knowing that I won't be the only person who notices the absence of the charming J-Ward beagle.
Farewell, my lifesaver.