A lot of families have dogs, but they don't all refer to their furry friend as a pet. Most consider them family members. That was the case for one family who had a loving golden retriever named Elmo Junior. This dog has been a loyal member of his family's pack for over 10 years and his favorite activity was swimming.

Golden retriever's have an average lifespan of 10-12 years. Many health problems occur within dogs as they age making it difficult for them to perform the most basic of tasks. Elmo Junior, known as EJ to his family was nearing the end of his life. It was clear that he had difficulty negotiating stairs and eating food due to his age and other dog related health issues.

The family new it was time and how they handled this difficult decision was beautiful. The mother brought the dog to the vet and called her husband and daughter. They all dropped what they were doing and met up with EJ at the vet's office and discussed their options. After consulting with the vet they decided together that it was time to say goodbye to EJ. There was not a dry eye in the room as everyone individually held EJ one last time and thanked him for all the love he gave his human family.

During this very sad process it was beautiful to see nearly an entire family come together and face this decision. It was a demonstration of love that proves this was more than just a dog to them.