Thursday was the worst and hardest day of my life.  We had to say goodbye to our baby and I'll never be the same.  Tot was larger than life in so many ways.  She was filled to the brim with unbridled happiness, pure joy, spunk, attitude and personality 24/7, always making us laugh and smile with her free spirited ways.  She was our sunshine.  Tot always had so much to say and the quietness that has fallen over our home is deafening.  She taught me so much about unconditional love and life.  I feel infinitely grateful to have been her mama and the recipient of so much of her love.  

Her little body failed her.  It just couldn't keep up with her big vivacious spirit and house all the love she had to give - she fought with all of her might until the end.  My entire life has revolved around her and Kiki for almost 11 years.  She has left a gaping hole in our hearts and I feel nothing but dead inside and emptiness without my best friend and my shadow here by my side - she was always by side.  The pain is unbearable, I don't want to live in a world without her in it.  I feel so lost without her.  She was more than a heart dog, she was a soulmate in every sense of the word.  I have never in my life experienced a love as pure, wild, selfless and unconditional as hers.

Several minutes after she passed away in my arms, I saw a very bright ball of intense white light float across the room.  I believe it was my baby letting me know that she's okay - what an incredible gift that was.

Looking at photographs of my Tot is the only thing that brings any ounce of solace.  Photos are the only thing that help me still feel close to her.  Even though I have many tens of thousands of photographs of her it will never be enough.  It all happened so quickly.  My baby was gone in less than 2 days.  I have never been so grateful to have big photos of her on my walls.  If you don't have professional photos of your pets do not wait, it's a gift that you will be giving to yourself in your darkest days.

She was by and far the most photogenic dog a photographer could hope for.  As my muse she inspired an entire business.  Without a doubt, there would be no Photography by Sara Riddle with out my Tater Tot who was always more than willing to ham it up for me on queue.

Thank you Big T for every moment, every kiss, every snuggle, every squeal of joy, every tail wag, every knowing look, every conversation, every kindness, every heart to heart, every photograph you let me take, every ounce of inspiration and encouragement, every laugh.  Thank you for everything - I will forever cherish it all for the rest of my days.  I wish there was something more I could have done.  You know I would have done anything - paid any price.  We fought for so many years to prolong your life as much as humanly possible.  I will miss you so deeply my entire life and I cannot wait to be reunited with you again one day.  There aren't words to express how much I love and miss you.  I've met a lot of dogs in my life and you are truly one in a million.  You've touched and changed my life in so many wonderful countless ways.  I will never be able to thank you enough, I will love you forever and will try to honor you every single day with the way I choose to live my life.  You will always be my baby and I will carry you and everything you've taught me in my heart.  Until we meet again.

In memory of Hanalei Riddle (aka: Tater Tot)  12/24/04  -  7/9/15