So hard to say goodbye…


October 22, 2015 by The Dog Rules

Dear Dog passed peacefully away in my arms. Fifteen years, two months and 14 days… To say that I am heartbroken is an understatement. I have a million memories of her from the time I brought her home as a tiny, 7 week old bundle of fluff that followed me everywhere.

When I wake in the morning I still place my feet carefully when getting out of bed for fear of stepping on her. When she was younger and could easily leap on to the bed she would prefer to sleep draped half across my leg or cuddled against me, using me for her pillow. When getting on the bed was beyond her ability she would still try to be as close as possible and I moved her bed right beside mine so I could easily reach out to pet her and say “night night, baby girl”. Fifteen years of habit is very hard to break.

I still need to go for a walk. I need to take that usual route that we walked every morning. Yes, it got progressively shorter as Dog aged and became less able to walk that far. I do the “long walk” the one we did when she was younger, fit and in good health. I can still envision her checking out the trail and watching for wildlife. Sometimes I encounter a few of her colleagues, senior dogs I haven’t seen in the last couple of years as their health and ability has also attenuated their walks. Their guardians and I share quiet words. “Yes, I say, she recently passed on.” The tears well in my eyes and the other dog guardian says, “I’m sorry. I understand, and please know I’m not ready either.” We share a silent moment while I take a deep breath and pet Dog’s old friend. Then we walk a little way together like in the old days.

Some days I slip into autopilot and hurry home to take Dog out. When I open the door I am greeted by the Ginger Ninja, my Norwegian Forest cat, and Dog’s younger sibling. He is still looking for her and tries to look around me to see if she is following. I disappoint him every time. It is obvious he is missing her too. I regret that I am unable to explain to him what happened. I don’t know how to comfort him. Eventually we settle together in on the sofa, Ninja on my lap, and I don’t want to move and disturb him. He purrs faintly and watches the front door. Dog had been his friend since the day I brought him home. They played together every evening. Even when Dog was too old to really play she would invite “the game”. We think he realized she was too frail to play and in the last several months he did all the work of running around the living/dining rooms and up and down the stairs while she bounced and barked in place. When she was tired they lay down a few feet apart and hung out until Dog again invited “the game”.

7 thoughts on “So hard to say goodbye…

  1. I know the feeling all too well. Three years ago we “put down” Maggie and Sebastian within two days of each other. Maggie (three-quarter Westie; one-quarter Bichon Frise) had been with us for 14 years. Sebastian (Shitzu-Bichon Frise) had been with us for 13 years. The day after we had to put Sebastian down when his tumors broke through the skin with no hope of a remedy, Maggie’s tumor did the same! It seemed as though Maggie waited for Sebastian, the younger of the two, to go first. Our hearts were broken to the point of saying we’d never get another dog. We couldn’t go through that again. Four months later we welcomed Barclay, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who’s become the joy of the house. I have to have a dog!!!


  2. izabolinha says:

    I’m crying with you
    Turtle Hugs


  3. Jonathan James Olivier says:

    I had a golden retriever that I got when I was 5. She lived to see the ripe old age of 16 when she passed. The memory that will forever stay with me was that, after she had aged and got cataracts in both eyes, she could still smell perfectly. That was how she found me. I would move rooms and be about my business and hear her sniffing about until she found where I was and laid down. In those last years she just wanted to be close. It broke my heart when I woke up one morning and she just didn’t. She was the most loyal friend I’ve ever had and I miss her all the time. That was 15 years ago and I’m totally crying about it right now. Dogs are angels.


  4. paxgirl says:

    Beautiful tribute. You describe perfectly the heart of a true animal lover. I wrote something similar on my blog when I lost my beautiful feline best pal. It helps, doesn’t it?


  5. […] The Dog Rules – A fellow animal lover and a person who knows how to tie life lessons into the love of animals and the interaction us humans have with  our pets. […]


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The Dog Rules

The Dog Rules

Once the proud guardian of a rather cheeky Border Collie/Aussie Cattle Dog mix, may she forever rest in peace, my favourite activities were those things that included my canine friend. Now I have a new canine buddy in my life. He's also a Border Collie and sassy like my girl was. We're in the middle of an adventure; teaching him how to be a good canine citizen I spend my spare time volunteering at the local animal shelter as a dog walker/trainer. You can read all about it @

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