Mark, I just finished reading your book after having had my childhood dog, Ebby, put to sleep. Thank you for the fantastic help in aiding with the extremely painful grieving process!

I thought, perhaps, you might be interested in reading this letter my father wrote to our beloved Ebby. Thank you again!


January 10, 2008

Dear Ebby,

At the prompting of our college bound son we adopted, you, our pound puppy more than fourteen years ago. Christened Ebony, you were a Lab Akita mix with, we suspect, a hint of Shepherd. Only four weeks old, the name reflected your predominantly black coloring with white marking on the chest and a splash of white “paint” on your paws. Throughout the years you acquired many nicknames: Ebby, Eb, Miss Ebby, Eberlina Girlie, Miss Debbie (go figure) and several too “colorful” to put into print, especially when one of us got cross with you.

Your charm and antics soon made you a full-fledged member of our family. I became Ebby’s daddy, Sue became your mommy, and Geoff your brother. But in reality you adopted us! Sue fittingly often referred to you as the Queen, Princess, or the Little Dictator because you quickly seemed to train us (especially me) to reflect your needs and expectations rather than the other way around.

Yesterday, through out anguish and our tears we celebrated, and continue to celebrate, your all too short time with us by recalling the highlights of your life. How as a puppy you would carry your bed throughout the house until eventually you tore it apart. Or the many times you grabbed articles of clothing from the hamper, socks and underwear were your favorites, and then proudly entered our presence with the shredded evidence still in your mouth. You developed a habit of snatching my handkerchief from my back pocket as I walked past you. To this very day I keep it tucked into my shirt to forestall your thieving ways! As a small pup, you chewed everything from the dining room chairs and the kitchen bar to the portable gate used to keep you in the kitchen when we were not at home. On the vets’ advice we had to use the hottest sauce we could find to break you of this habit. One time you even chewed the linoleum on the kitchen floor. Mommy really wasn’t angry because she now had her excuse to have tile put on the kitchen floor!

We recall the many times you would snatch plastic jugs and bottles from the recycling bins and run gleefully around the yard until one of us could somehow pry them away. How each time we came into the house you would joyfully greet us by running crazily at full steam in a figure eight pattern around the dining room table and the coffee table, and then jump up and kiss us enthusiastically by licking our faces until we made you stop. Finally, the jumping up part became so pervasive that Aunt Michele had to show us how to break you of this habit. You loved your aunt Michele, who watched and cared for you every time mommy and I left the house for more than a day. We smile now when we think of the three times you had run-ins with skunks. Unfortunately for us, you proudly emerged victorious of each occasion! After the first encounter, we mistakenly allowed you back into the house. It smelled for months!!

As you matured, Ebby, we bonded to become bosom companions and friends. We became your playmates, and you became our devoted protector. You developed the habit of raising your rear and wagging your tail to signal playtime. We often played “fetch” with sticks and balls. You would retrieve them ceaselessly, running all around the yard, until overcome by exhaustion. You would go to your toy box, which overflowed with the tangible evidence of our love for you, choose an object, and we would then engage in a “tug of war.” You always won. Your bark would warn us anytime a person walked passed the house, and you would yelp when unfamiliar people came to the door. You became mommy’s special guardian whenever I worked at nights, and in later years, you gave her great comfort during the many stints I spent in the hospital.

We laugh as we think how you liked to sleep in Geoff’s bed even after you grew to more than 90 pounds. Mommy and I would walk into his bedroom to find Geoff squished up against the wall while you took up most of the bed. Once when you were fully grown, you took and running jump right into Rosemary’s lap. What a sight! Riding in the car was one of your least favorite experiences, but we remember the time I turned on the windshield wipers, and your head wavered back and forth as your eyes followed the blades as they wiped the windshield clean, or the occasion when you jumped into the driver’s seat, and I had to pull over because I couldn’t steer the car with you on my lap.

We recall fondly how you willingly and generously offered to share our meals with us. “What’s for lunch, daddy?” “Do you folks need help with dinner?” “I’ll have a snack, please.” Or if we ignored your hunger, it became “Give me a snack now!” You often eschewed eating your canned dog food until we placed some dainty morsel from the dinner table in your bowl. Buttered toast in the morning and milk treats (especially whipped cream) at nights were among your favorites. We remember that you often wanted to be petted. You would show us your belly by laying down on your back to let us know it was time for a belly rub. You especially liked to have the bridge of your nose scratched. From the time you were a little pup, and right up until your last day, you would come up to my chair and place your paw on my knee to signal it was time for petting. In later years you developed a strategy to garner undivided attention by sitting down next to me, and placing your head against my knee until I petted you. It worked every time.

You and I shared the companionship brought on by leisurely hikes in the woods. For twelve years we walked virtually every day in sunny weather, through rain and through snow. Through beautiful springtime days, the searing heat of summer, and the bitterly cold days of winter. We only stopped when we both became too sick to continue these adventures. Even the not so good times leave us with fond memories. We remember when you needed stitches and surgery. How mommy sat up with you all night to comfort you when sickness struck. How you lost your neck and tail hair due to illness and the time you were playing with the dog next door and tore a ligament.

Recently, your eyes became dimmer, and your hearing (always convenient) duller. The playfulness of your puppy days evolved into leisurely hours of sitting on the back deck, often barking at the neighbors. Napping and eating became your favorite pastimes. After I retired our bond grew closer than ever. We shared the daytime until mommy came home from work

Several days ago you seemed fine until evening time. You then became disoriented and by the next day you could no longer walk. The rest is too painful to write about through my tears. In the daytime the house is now empty. There is a hole in our hearts.

Let’s remember the good times. You were our four-legged baby with fur. The daughter we never had. You truly epitomized the idea of “man’s best friend.” You brought us endless hours of enjoyment, comfort and love. You will always be in our thoughts. We will all miss you until the day we die. If there is an afterlife, perhaps we will all meet again. We can be young again, and play and walk, and share our food, and enjoy each other’s company.

Goodbye, old friend.



This is my Letter to Ebby. In effect, it is her eulogy. I wrote it, perhaps, as a form of personal “therapy.” It was intended to make the reader smile. It did make me smile a bit when I wrote it, and as I read it, but it also makes my eyes well up.. It is bitter sweet at best. I am not ashamed to admit that I am heart broken. I miss her, and will always miss her. If there is a doggy heaven, I know Ebby is there. I just hope she can forgive me for the decision I had to make to put her to sleep.

Geoffrey from NJ