It is with a saddened heart that I report about my best friend of 11 years. A lot of people will say that their dog is their best friend and I don't doubt it. This one truly is.

We named our boxer, Pete, after the great Pete Rose. I have taken him hiking, camping and vacationing and he's never needed a leash (although it was on him). In his prime, he was 110 pounds of smiling muscle. He and I have sat on the porch for over a decade now and listened to hundreds of Reds games. More than a few people have referred to him as my shadow.

He lays beneath my feet right now with a shaved hip, a cone around his head and incurable cancer. The tumor was wrapped around his spine and couldn't be fully gotten.

He has never gossiped, never judged and never held a grudge. He has simply loved.

My wife once jokingly asked me if I loved him more than her. That was 6 years ago and I still haven't answered.