I just finished reading your heartfelt story about Sprite and relived all of the emotions I experienced with the loss of my ever-faithful border collie mix, Shep, in March. Fortunately, I did not have to make the decision of when I was going to let him go as he passed away while I was out of town and having our neighbor care for him. I was guilt-ridden that I lost him without being there to hold him and say the things you were able to say to Sprite and look into his dark brown eyes one more time. He had always been there for me and I wanted to do the same. I have to believe that God wanted to spare me from vision I would have had or maybe even Shep was wise enough to know that I would not have wanted to see him any other way than his usual frisky self. Even though his heart was giving out in his twelfth year, he always appeared to look and act like a young pup. His best pal, Seamus, grieved for weeks after Shep’s passing and misses him as much as we do. The walks on the golf course are not the same, the places where he napped are empty and there has been no “devil runs” in the house since he’s been gone.

I sent an e-mail to my friends who knew and loved Shep after he died and have attached it. It brought me a little relief as I’m sure your book brought to you and many others.

Bless you for the love you bestowed upon Sprite and enjoy Pepsi and Griffen.

November 12, 1994 – March 2, 2007

There are no words that I can write to express my sadness over the loss of my long-time, ever-faithful companion, Shep, who passed away during the night. From the day I brought him home from the shelter, he provided me with more joy than I could have ever imagined. He was my guardian, an entertainer, a sounding board, a healer, my walking and coffee companion and a friend to everyone that met him.
He lived in more places than most dogs and adapted from living in a house in Elk Grove to a sailing yacht in San Diego, cruised Mexico for nearly a year (and spoke fluent dog Spanish), relocated to Carmel where he walked the town, ran on the beach, did tricks for treats at Nielsen’s Market and became my co-worker at Carrigg’s. His last move was to Paradise Valley three years ago where he became a regular on the golf course after sunset with the rest of the dogs in the neighborhood, trotting down the cart path with his ears flapping up and down, stopping at every tree, running across the freshly raked bunkers as if purposely to leave his paw prints and chasing any birds that were walking the greens.
He is missed and the house feels empty without him, but I am grateful that I was fortunate enough to have such a special friend for the years that I did. I know that those of you who knew Shep felt that he was a gentle soul as well.

Many before me have loved and lost a trusty companion like Shep and have written about them, so I thought I would pass on some of their expressions in an effort to convey my own. They are as follows:

“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and, not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.” – Samuel Butler

“A dog is the only thing that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings

“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without doubt the best deal that man has ever made.” – Roger Caras

“The dogs in our lives, the dogs we come to love and who (we fervently believe) love us in return, offer more than fidelity, consolation and companionship. They offer comedy, irony, wit and a wealth of anecdotes, the “shaggy dog stories” and “stupid pet tricks” that are commonplace pleasures of life. They offer, if we are wise enough or simple enough to take it, a model for what it means to give your heart with little thought of return.” – Marjorie Garber

“If there is a heaven, it’s certain our animals are to be there. Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to de-tangle them.” – Pam Brown

“I guess you don’t really own a dog – you rent them, and you have to be thankful that you had a long lease.”
– Joe Gragiola

“If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it.To get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness.” – Marjorie Garber

“To call him a dog hardly seems to do him justice, though he had four legs, a tail and barked, I admit he was, to all outward appearances. But to those who knew him well, he was a perfect gentleman.” – Hermione Gingold

“I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in comparison to the human race, for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to live double that time?” – Sir Walter Scott

“Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry with them so many years of our own lives.” – John Galsworthy

Last Will and Testament of “Blemie”
(written by Eugene O’Neil before the death of his Dalmation)

“…I have little in the way of material things to leave. Dogs are wiser than men. They do not set great store upon things. They do not waste their time hoarding property. They do not ruin their sleep worrying about objects they have, and to obtain the objects they have not. There is nothing of value I have to bequeath except my love and my faith. These I leave to those who have loved me, to my Master and Mistress, who I know will mourn me most…
I ask my Master and Mistress to remember me always, but not to grieve for me too long. In my life I have tried to be a comfort to them in time of sorrow, and a reason for added joy in their happiness. It is painful for me to think that even in death I should cause them pain. …no dog has ever had a happier life…
It will be sorrow to leave them, but not a sorrow to die. Dogs do not fear death as men do. We accept it as part of life, not as something alien and terrible which destroys life. What may come after death, who knows? I would like to believe… that there is a Paradise where one is always young and full-bladdered; here all the day one dillies and dallies… where jack-rabbits that run fast but not too fast…are as the sands of the desert; where each blissful hour is mealtime; where in long evenings there are a million fireplaces with logs forever burning and one curls oneself up and blinks into the flames and nods and dreams, remembering the old brave days on earth, and the love of one’s Master and Mistress.

I am afraid this is too much for even such a dog as I am to expect. But peace, at least, is certain. Peace and long rest for weary old heart and head and limbs, and eternal sleeps in the earth I have loved so well. Perhaps, after all, this is best.

One last request I earnestly make. I have heard my Mistress say, “…we must never have another dog. I love him so much I could never love another one.” Now I would ask her, for love of me, to have another. It would be a poor tribute to my memory never to have a dog again… I have never had a narrow jealous spirit…To him I bequeath my collar and leash…

One last word of farewell, Dear Master and Mistress. Whenever you visit my grave, say to yourselves with regret but also with happiness in your hearts at the remembrance of my long happy life with you: “here lies one who loved us and whom we loved.” No matter how deep my sleep I shall hear you, and not all the power of death can keep my spirit from wagging a grateful tail.”

Donna from AZ


One Response

  1. Stan Says:

    I feel your pain. I lost my friend in April.