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Sunday, May 31, 2009


We let S go yesterday. It was time. Life had become more struggle than sweetness for him. The battle had exhausted every last ounce of energy in his body. He needed to rise above his failing body and find peace.

Tears are streaming as I write this. Writing it in black and white makes his death more real. Missing him literally hurts somewhere deep in my chest and there's a gaping hole in my soul.

Yesterday morning, he soaked up the sun on our deck one last time, next to his sister, K. What an amazing big brother he was for K.
As a young dog, fearful K looked to S for guidance about how to cope with her demons, like her fear of certain corners of the house. S taught her with his steady and happy character. He also played with her light-heartedly.Cancer's insidious assault on S's body stole precious parts of him, one by one. A couple of weeks ago, the disease zapped the energy that he needed for a long-term ritual that I loved. When he and my husband woke up in the morning, they'd walk past my side of the bed, and S would snuzzle my sleeping face as he passed. He first did it years ago seemingly as a lark but my giggling response encouraged him to snuzzle me every day. What a wonderful wake-up reminder!

Another ritual stopped a little earlier. S loved his morning and evening hikes on the trails behind our house. He'd anticipate the evening hike for hours, shadowing my movements to make sure that I wouldn't forget to take him. Then, as we made final preparations for the hike, I'd reach for his collar to attach his bells. Every time, as I reached, he'd do a spin, a simple expression of joy. I had an inkling that his 'spin ritual' might become too tough for him, and I recorded one of the last times that he did it. My videography isn't good but it captures the spirit of S's spin.

Today, although I've been shedding tears on and off, I've seen S in every beautiful detail of nature. K and I went for a mountain bike ride, and the flowers in the meadow shouted with life. Nature marches on.When I took a closer look, the intricate details astonished me. Our meadow is a mosaic of green, blue, and yellow. I took the photo, and I cried with K licking my face. I wish that S could be by my side and healthy for this summer.
Later, a glorious view met me: flowers in the foreground, green aspens next to the trail, and snowy mountains in the distance.
As I gazed at the amazing beauty, my main thought was that I was so glad that S lived in this nourishing and invigorating place. And, I felt grateful that he loved us and let us love him.After my first dog died, many years ago, I initially thought that I'd never let another dog touch my soul because the parting hurt too much. But, after a while, I realized the folly of that thinking. I would have never known the joy and love given to me by S and my other beloved dogs. A song by Kate Wolf sums up my feelings about opening up to a dog's love.

Give yourself to love. By Kate Wolf.

Kind friends all gathered 'round, there's something I would say:
That what brings us together here has blessed us all today.
Love has made a circle that holds us all inside;
Where strangers are as family, loneliness can't hide.

You must give yourself to love if love is what you're after;
Open up your hearts to the tears and laughter,
And give yourself to love, give yourself to love.

I've walked these mountains in the rain and learned to love the wind;
I've been up before the sunrise to watch the day begin.
I always knew I'd find you, though I never did know how;
Like sunshine on a cloudy day, you stand before me now.

So give yourself to love if love is what you're after;
Open up your hearts to the tears and laughter,
And give yourself to love, give yourself to love.

Love is born in fire; it's planted like a seed.
Love can't give you everything, but it gives you what you need.
And love comes when you're ready, love comes when you're afraid;
It'll be your greatest teacher, the best friend you have made.

So give yourself to love if love is what you're after;
Open up your hearts to the tears and laughter,
And give yourself to love, give yourself to love.


  1. What a wonderful poem in tribute to your wonderful loving and beloved friend S. There are no words I can type that will makes things easier, just know, it will in time, get easier to think of him.

  2. Farewell S. You were a VERY good boy.

    Big hugs and nose pokes from everyone here.

  3. Lovely tribute to this magnificent dog. I'm so glad S enjoyed the sunshine on the deck one more time. My thoughts are with you blogger buddy.

  4. My heart goes out to you. Just as S enriched your life, you enriched his. He loved life and he gave it all he had to offer. He is sitting atop one of those mountains now to watch over you.
    Maybe not for a while, but one day your memories will comfort you.
    Bless You.

  5. Sorry to hear about your dog S. :( Peace.

  6. Hello KB,
    I know the pain of losing a beloved dog friend. So glad you have many happy memories of S to sustain you. I live in CO, too - a beautiful and peaceful place.

  7. KB- I'm so sorry for you, your husband, K & R. I wish there were something I could say that could make it hurt less. It may not seem so now, but when the sadness eases off bit, your memories of S will bring all of you much happiness.


  8. This is a beautiful tribute to a faithful friend. I am so sorry for your loss....
    I hope your heart heals soon.
    take care, suz

  9. I am so sorry...

    Though I haven't read your blog for very long it seems that S was an exceptional dog and this post of yours was a tribute to him for that. Hope you feel better soon and the tears and sorrow turn to fond memories of your old guy.

  10. sorry......there are never any words. Losing a dog is so hard--they are angels on earth and love pours from their eyes. What a beautiful tribute you have given him here.

  11. We are so sorry to hear about the passing of S. These furry friends of our can really intertwine themselves in our hearts and I can only imagine your ache at the moment. I am sure he is smiling down and say thanks for a great life.

  12. I read your blog for the first time this morning---with tears flowing---the poem is so perfect. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful soulmate. I am so very sad for you; you see, I had to let my 'forever' love, Badger, go just three months ago. I grieve with you for your beautiful girl. And yet my heart (even with it's permanent hole) sings with joy over the daily gifts that we were so fortunate to to receive from our furbabies, so grateful that I was chosen by my beloved pup to share his life with. I do think having to make the decision to let my Badger go was one of the hardest I've ever had to make in this life. Sending you wishes for rainbow skies and misty meadow mornings.

  13. i am so sorry about your beautiful, handsome, gorgeous boy....i found your blog via mountain musings....i had to go way back and read the story from the beginning....such a hard journey, but you did the right thing for your boy....i know how heavy your heart is....grief is the price we pay for love......what a wonderful life this beautiful boy had! you are a wonderful dog mom....have peace knowing you did the best for your guy....

  14. Oh, I'm so sorry for your loss, KB. My heart is aching for you.

    "We who choose to surround ourselves with lives more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.

    Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan."
    -Irving Townsend 'The Once Again Prince'

  15. Hi K,
    I know its really hard for you right now, and my heart breaks along with yours.
    One good thing is I know your beloved S is surrounded by some wonderful playmates!

  16. What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful canine companion! I'm so sorry for your loss; and, so happy you have that last video of him. Hopefully, viewing it in the future will make you smile.

    I have this poem I like to forward when someone has lost a furry friend. I hope it helps your heart heal just a little.

    My best friend closed his eyes last night, As his head lay in my hand. The doctor said he was in pain, And it was hard for him to stand. The thoughts that scurried through my head, As I cradled him in my arms, Were of his younger years, And, oh his many charms. Today there was no gentle nudge, With an intense "I love you" gaze. Only a heart that's filled with tears, Remembering our joy-filled days. But an Angel just appeared to me, And said, "You should cry no more, God also loves our canine friends, He's installed a doggy door!" -Author Unknown

    God bless.

  17. I came to your blog via mountain musings...
    I am so sorry for your loss!
    I am teary and I cannot read your full post...I will come back to it another time..

    My sweet boy Nobbie cat..died a year ago ..had cancer...we made the decision to put him to sleep...he also stopped his rituals...a bit at a time..then lost his eyesight..etc..
    you know how it goes...

    It is so sad...A part of my heart is missing forever...
    We had him cremated ..I have a pendant around my neck with a few of his ashes in it..

    So..I feel your difficult..take care

  18. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope the wonderful memories you made with S bring you peace and help you to celebrate his life.

  19. You all have no idea how uplifting it was for me to find all of these warm and kind messages. Thank you so very much. To all of you who have suffered losses like mine, I wish you peace and healing.

  20. I came over from Mountain Musing's blog. I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your precious pup - my heart breaks for you! We had labs growing up and they are such wonderful dogs! You have my deepest sympathies!!

  21. I came over here from Watching the World Wake Up blog. I just lost my cat-friend so I know exactly how you feel. S looked like a really fabulous dog and friend.
    When I first got my cat, Flower, 16 years ago I was listening to Kate Wolf a lot and loved that song. Thanks for reminding me of it and a time when my little friend was spunky and healthy. I hope you will remember S in his happy days too.
    Here is my post about Flower

  22. I also came over from Mountain Musing's blog, and I'll admit - I couldn't come at first. I knew I would, wasn't sure when. Then I came, and I had to leave after the first sentence. I went to my dog's grave, cried...thought about that painful day I made the decision, to help him leave peacefully, and I thought about how the next loss I'd face would .... (can't even describe it.) Two months into losing my dog in August and still crying buckets, I lost a companion who had always been there with me, walking in the woods, watching wildlife... my mom, Oct 31. I had to find a way to keep going, keep living... get back out and keep doing what I had always done.

    There are times I cry with Chewy (my dog, hers, one we adored) remembering how much he could make her laugh, and how she would love to see him now. And then, when I realize he's sitting in my lap with that silly gourd in his mouth, I think..."mom... she would say throw the gourd" And I do, and smile.

    I'll always wonder how things could have worked out such that I would read something as beautiful as what you've written here and that it would be at this time in my life that I would read it. I'm so so sorry for your loss. The pain I've felt when I lost a dog was something I thought was just as painful as it might be losing a human family member. With the deepest sympathy, I hope the good times you and S shared and the good memories you have will be a source of comfort and peace to you at this very difficult time.

  23. So sorry for your loss. I just got my very first puppy and already I can't imagine losing him!

    I came over from NCMtnWmn.

  24. Hello - we are visiting from Mountain Musings. My heart is broken for you! There is no love or friendship as wonderful as our dogs. I wish you comfort and will be thinking of you :(

  25. Over thirty years ago, when my first dog died, I remember my mother saying, "No more dogs! You fall in love with them and then they die." My parents never had another pet after that, but that lesson never took with me...thank goodness. I would have missed so much.

    We had to put our Yorkie down last summer and, like you, I wrote a little memorial post for him -

    My sympathies to you,

  26. Thanks you so much for bringing Kate Wolf into our lives...we love her!


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