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Everyone knew except her. Tell tale signs that tears had trickled there.


“Everyone must think I’m foolish,” she imagined as she prepared her makeup for the day. It was easy to alter the appearance of her face – far easier than the condition of her heart.

How could she expect anyone else to understand the intensity of her feelings? Wasn’t this depth of grief reserved only for the death of a family member? She was just a pet.

But who else so patiently listened to her roll out the bitter disappointments and hurt? In the worst season of her life, simply talking to her at least made things tolerable.


No judgment. No advice. Nor rejection. She just wagged her tail as if inviting more.

Now she was gone. Cancer. I hate cancer.

Two of the most wonderful Goldens in the world had died of the same cancer at the same young age. Holding the first as her body went cold gutted her. She couldn’t bear to be that close when the second one breathed her last. There wouldn’t be a third victim.


“Do you think she was suffering?” The vet’s response, framed in such a way as to not inflict further guilt, failed. That hurt even worse – now knowing she was in severe pain and nothing was done about it. There was never even a whimper.

She never let on anything was amiss all the while she was dying.

“Did she absorb my pain? Could I have made her sick? Did she carry my sorrow?”


Her mind was a jumble of thoughts, which is why she must have chosen the wrong mascara for the moment.

The thin black streaks on her face told the story for all to see. Her heart was in the streaks.

There were no words necessary to explain her appearance. No one asked.

Hugs were all that was needed.

They said it all.

This piece of creative writing is based on my wife Jocelyn’s experience with the loss of her beloved Goldens – Tammy, Sprite and Silver.  Have you had a beloved pet pass away? Can you relate to this post?

Related Post

Silver Dog: The Last Goodbye

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Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 44 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vincent and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers


  • Timothy says:

    Dogs. They see through us. And they see us through. We could take a lesson from them on how to listen. And how to miss them when they go.

  • Patricia says:

    I can certainly relate to this post. I lost my Archie, a 13 year old cockapoo, last year just before Easter. I was so devastated and still am. I’m still looking for him around the house and very much miss all the things we did together. He was my best buddy.

    Archie was healthy all of his life. Then towards the end he got very sick really fast. He had jaundice and we believe liver cancer. He was not going to get better. We had to help him not to suffer anymore. One of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make. In a short time he was gone.

    I miss him every single day and keep telling myself to remember him with joy. It’s surprising to me that I still miss him so much and more so than other people I’ve lost. Archie left his pawprints on my heart forever.

  • Franny says:

    Our dogs love us unconditionally, they don’t judge us for what we wear, who our friends are or what kind of car we drive. Christ’s love is unconditional too. Maybe a lesson here for us. My bichon cooker, Bosco, was with us 14 years and then left quickly from a seizure. No matter how upsetting your work day was, he cuddled and wagged that tail and most concerns dissolved away. Three years now and I do miss him, but love the memories he left on my heart with his paws.

  • Jenn Kilmartin says:

    I lost my beloved Takoda on June 13, 2016 and it was devastating! She was only 7.5 years old. She was my world. We did everything and went pretty much everywhere together!
    They aren’t simply pets, they are family! The loss is is huge and heavy.
    I held Takoda in my arms as she breathed her last and even though it was incredibly hard, I’m glad that I was there with her!

  • Marc Desgagne says:

    I can relate. My best friend when I was 7yr old was my black lab named Blackie. He died one morning when she was put in the backyard for her morning business. Someone had thrown a pattie with striknine poison in it. She had eaten it and died instantly. I cried for many years. I still have a picture of her.

  • Anonymous says:

    We had to say good bye to our Frankie boy just before Christmas. We got him as a two year old failed racer (greyhound) He was the sweetest dog we’ve ever had and will hold a special place in our hearts forever.

  • Adena says:

    We’re very close to saying goodbye to my 14 year old Labrador , Griffin. He’s been such a faithful companion, full of love for everyone, taught us all about love. He’s struggling these days. I actually don’t how I’m going to do life without him. Man, I love this dog.

  • Carol Holownia says:

    Growing up as a child I had two dogs, Fanny and Mugs. They were Pekingese dogs, known for resembling lions,; however, besides their appearance, Fanny and Mugs did not resemble lions as they were sweet as could be. Living in a small town near a trailer court , I was not the only one with a dog. Nearby lived a large Husky, and I recall how it would get too close to little Fanny. One day, in front of my very eyes, the huge and merciless husky picked up Fanny and with a few shakes, she was gone. My cute, dear little dog lay before me in the snow, gone, just like that! I was terrified and felt so helpless as I could do nothing to help her. Soon after, my Dad noticed how much I missed Fanny and brought home another Pekingese, named Mugs. I was so thrilled to have a new dog but this excitement did not last for long as Mugs got a serious illness. At that point, my uncle made a decision to put Mugs down. It took me years to forgive my uncle for this, though it had to be done for poor Mugs. Even though it has been years, when I see Pekingese dogs, I think of Fanny and Mugs. My little “lion dogs” will always have a place in my heart.

  • Julie MacKenzie says:

    Good Morning Pastor Bob. I certainly could relate to this story. I had to euthanize my dog Rusty on November 29, 2022. I held him until he took his last breath. It was heartbreaking. He was very sick from a bout of pancreatitis. It had started in late September, and his vet and I did the best to help him. But, he lost weight very quickly & was not getting better. The painful decision that I had to make, became quite apparent. I already had the discussion with the vet…that there would be no huge medical interventions at this point. Rusty was 11 1/2 years old. I adopted him from the EHS when he was 4 years old. He was surrendered by his owners. I had him for 7 1/2 years.(A Jack Russell Terrier Cross). My constant companion & my little shadow. I decided after Rusty passed away, there wouldn’t be anymore adoptions. You see, I had 2 other dogs in my life. I had a childhood dog, Lucky, our sweet Pekingese that lived to a ripe old age of 13 1/2 years old. He had developed seizures in his old age & was on medication for it and was also going blind. But, he still enjoyed his walks and would stay close to the side of our legs & use that as his guide for his walks. The seizures became more frequent & we also had to make that dreaded decision. Then, when I was married and had my 2 children at home…my children wanted a dog. We chose Spike…another Pekingese puppy. He was as sweet as they come. I say that it was the girls’ dog. But, he was my dog. I house trained him, fed him, took care of him while the girls were at school. He also lived to a ripe old age of 11 1/2 years old. He passed away while I was at NP volunteering with Pastor John for the first time, with the children’s ministry. I found Spike on the hardwood floor when I came home from church, it looked like he was sleeping in front of his bed. It was one of the hottest days of the summer & he used to love to sleep on the hardwood floors of my house. He had heart disease and had been on medication for 1 1/2 years. I just wasn’t prepared for him to leave me. I took him to the Vet Emerg & the vet said that he probably had a massive heart attack in his sleep & felt no pain. I was relieved when the vet told me that. So, after 36 years of owning dogs, I will just enjoy other people’s dogs. It is a huge responsibility to take on, but also very rewarding. But, very painful to lose them. Dogs are even more loyal than humans…the true meaning of unconditional love. They become our fur-babies and also become members of our family. Thank you for sharing your story with us Pastor Bob. I can totally relate to it. My dogs were a treasure in my life. I miss them all dearly.

  • Bob Jones says:

    Thank you Julie for sharing your story of Rusty, Lucky and Spike. Pets are family. 36 years of owning dogs is a long time of memory making. And rich memories. Every time you comment I learn something new about you.

  • Julie MacKenzie says:

    I’m glad that you get to know me, even more than you already do. All of our stories & life experiences, shape us into who we are. The good & the bad experiences. I like to think that my life experiences have shaped me into a more kind, more empathetic human being. You can only understand & have empathy for others..if you go through your own adversities and even joyful moments. It builds character & integrity. It also helps to have great role models to guide & mentor us. I can thank my Mom & Dad for that guidance. & I don’t have to tell you again…what my feelings for you are….but, I will anyways. LOL! You have been a positive light in my life too. Always humble and kind…always willing to listen. Listening is a great tool to have. Not everyone is good at it. Have a great weekend! ❤️

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