Listener Stories


I recently put down my beloved golden retriever Sam of 13 years.  I have had Sam since he was a nine week old puppy.  I loved him the minute I picked him up like no other pet before.  I went through a lot with Sam in those years.  Your story of Sprite and your struggle to let go really helped me with my struggle of letting Sam go.  I felt the same feelings of guilt in that I ended his life with no right to do so. I hate to say this but the whole experience of putting him to sleep was traumatizing to say the least.  The vet had explained how it worked to me but not how quick it actually happens.  I would say it is something like shutting off a light switch.  I won’t forget it and will never repeat it again when it is time for my other dog.

I don’t want to recall hurtful memories for you by telling you these things.  I really just want you to know your Spritey, Pepsi and Griffen continue to give.  Your book was given to me by friend and appears to be signed by you which makes it very special.  I know you signed it years ago and it appears to be being shared with other grieving pet parents.  I will pass it on when the time is right to someone else in need of you heartfelt story.  Please share with your family in Thanking them for sharing there story it means a lot to me right now. Take Care and Thank You.  Sam is on the left in the photo.

— Katherina from Wasilla, AK



A little more than 2 yeas ago, we learned of an elderly couple who had a 9 year old minuature 12 lb black Poodle named Peppy which they were unable to care for any longer due to the man having had a serious stroke.  The couple was going to have Peppy taken to a shelter where, due to her age, it would have been very unlikely she would have been adopted by anyone.  When my wife and I heard about Peppy, we went to see her and immediately fell in love with her and took her in to our family.  I had just lost my job and Peppy was my little companion at home as I sat day after day searching for jobs on line. For nearly a year Peppy would lay down next to me and be glued to my side.  On days when I was especially depressed being out of work, Peppy just seemed to sense that and would put her head on my lap or lick my hand.  Peppy quickly became a member of our family and we all loved her very much.  Three months ago, Peppy was diagnosed with advanced Lymphoma and her health went downhill very quickly.  During the past few weeks, she lost nearly half of her body weight due to not eating and in just the past few days her breathing became vey labored and she was extremely lethargic so my wife and I had to make that terrible decision to end her suffering.  We took her to the animal hospital this evening (12/27/13) and stayed with her and held her close while they put her to sleep.  Peppy seemed to know and accept why we had to do this for her.  It was our final act of love for our little dog and it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  Thank you for reading this.

— Jeff from Crestwood, IL


I have been a dog owner for my entire life.  My wife and I have never had much, but we have scrimped and saved, and we own a little place in the country where our dogs can run and play.  We had three until Dec. 26, 2013, when we lost Duffy.  Duffy was our 14 year old Irish Setter, and was the most loving creature I have ever known.  He helped us raise our daughter, and was our constant companion.  Since I work nights, he became protector for my wife and daughter.  He never once let on, that he wouldn’t hurt a fly.  He was one of 12 pups born in 1999 to Murphy, my last Irish Setter.  He and his sister Casey, were the last two pups in the litter, and no one wanted them.  My wife and I couldn’t afford two more dogs, but we kept them both anyway, because neither one of us could bear to part with them.  Casey and Murphy both passed after we moved to the country.  We have a little graveyard for them out in the front yard.  Duffy became the old man of the manor, around here.  He went everywhere with my wife and daughter…constantly by their side to protect them.  Constantly on guard out in the yard, he would greet me every morning when coming home from work.  Never rough or rowdy, just soft, and gentle, as if he knew that I’m getting older and have bad knees.  He would walk so close to me, find my hand with his muzzle, and nuzzle me.  He never left the property…never got into trouble, never disobeyed, and always remained nearby.  Summer afternoons on the porch were not complete without Duffy lying at our feet.  As he aged, he never got sick, never whimpered, never caused us a moment of pain or discontent.  He just got older.  He seemed almost indestructible.  I even began to put aside the sure knowledge, that someday, he must leave us.  Then, on Thursday, my wife called me home.  Duffy was very ill, very weak.  I rushed home, where I found my wife in the driveway with him.  He was looking down the driveway, as if he knew it was me coming home.  I carried him inside and we laid him down on his pad.  He could barely  hold his head up…never a whimper.  He was waiting for something…our daughter…his baby.  He waited for hours, until finally, she arrived home.  He couldn’t go without his family around him.  I laid on the floor next to him…held him in my arms and softly stroked his head, and his soft silky ears.  I kept whispering to him, what a good boy he had been, his whole life…how bold and strong he had been…how gentle and loving.  Finally, I mustered up the strength to tell him that it was “okay,” now…that he could go.  “Okay,” was always our word for him.  Finally,  he shuttered, and took a couple of last deep breaths,  and he was gone, as I whispered to him that I loved him, and that I would see him soon.  I kissed him on the forehead on last time, and I know that we had said goodbye to each other…or perhaps just “farewell,” until we meet again.  We buried Duffy the next morning, in our little pet cemetery, next to his mama, and his sister.  I’ve included a photo…I’m not very tech savvy, so I hope it attaches.  The handsome redhead is Duffy…the gorgeous redhead is his favorite little girl in the world…our 25 year old, Sam.  I can’t stop crying.  I’ve seen so much tragedy in my life, and I can’t stop crying over Duffy…so rest assured, that when you speak of your beloved dogs, there will be at least one member of your listening audience who knows your pain.  Thanks for taking the time to read this…I know that I have not done him justice with my simple words.  He was so much more than just a dog…he was a friend, companion, protector, and more loyal and faithful than any human I’ve ever known.  If I had half the qualities that he had, I’d be ten times the man I am.

— Gerald from Troy, MO


I lost my best friend Joy on Christmas Eve.  She would have been 16 years old January 14th.  She was a beautfiul Cocker Spaniel who gave me unconditional love and joy all these years.  She was one of the loves of my life.  She was an important member of my family.  She was sitting on my lap eating her dinner and happy as could be, licking me at times while she ate.  She got done and within minutes I realized something was very wrong – she was having a hard time breathing.  We almost didn’t make it to the ER in time.  But I ran her in there and they got her stablized and before I left she was off the oxygen and breathing on her own.  I called at 12:40am and she was doing fine.  The doctor was telling me what time to pick her up in the morning.  We thought she aspirated some food and the crisis had passed.  Then just a few hours later at 4am the doctor called to tell me she had a bad turn.  They re-xrayed her and found that her stomach had turned.  This is very unusal in little dogs like her.  She would need emergency surgery and the doctor thought it would be too difficult on her and then she might not make it through it anyway.  So I had to make the second hardest decsion of my life to have my best friend put to sleep.  They had put her under along with a tube for breathing to keep her comfortable and alive til I got there.  So Christmas Eve morning I held her in my arms for the last time.  Thankfully they gave me as much time as I needed before and after the shot to hold her.  It was so hard to let go.  I am in shock still.  I can’t believe she is gone.  It had nothing to do with her age or other physcial gereatric ailments – but waas a freak thing.  I have another Cocker who is 15 1/2.  But the house is still so silent without Joy there and her very comforting presence.  I am broken hearted beyond words.  It has been the hardest Christmas I have ever had.  Now Christmas Eve will forever remind me of the sweet little girl I lost on that day.  I miss everything about her.  She gave more to me than I gave to her.  She is precious beyond words.  My only hope is that God will allow me to see her once again on the other side of heaven.  Thank you for this forum to tell my story about Joy.  Words are inadequate to express what a wonderful friend she was.  And words are inadequate to express the pain of her loss.

— Carol from Lenexa, KS


Ivan and Charlie

We rescued Ivan and Charlie back in 2004 when they were small puppies, litter-mates rescued from a high-kill shelter down south, and brought north during a three-hurricane mess.

There were three puppies in the litter and each one looked different, respectively named after the three hurricanes from which they were rescued, Ivan, Charlie and Frances.  Frances was a female puppy who apparently looked like a golden retriever and was immediately adopted (we never met her.)

Charlie was a  white fuzzball, super-cute, frisky and playful but Ivan had the Mange and the foster family that had sheltered the puppies told us that no one was even remotely interested in Ivan.   Still, they told us that Ivan was the smartest of the three and encouraged us to adopt both Ivan and Charlie.

We had seen Charlie’s picture online, but when we saw how attached Charlie and Ivan appeared to be, we adopted both of them.   After Ivan’s fur grew back, he was as cute as could be and very smart indeed.

Ironically, Charlie, the bigger and healthier puppy has had many, many health problems including seizures, hip dysplasia, skin infections and loose eye skin requiring two “eye lifts.”
Nevertheless, these two dogs have brought us so much happiness.  They spend a lot of time with us, on their dog beds next to each other or happily barking at anyone who ventures by our home.  Of course they sleep in our bedroom curled up on their beds.

And every night and every morning they literally kiss each other for about five minutes…it is a beautiful thing to see these “brothers” kissing each other!  And then, they come to us for a good morning and good night.  I could not love them more.

— Jane from New Fairfield, CT



On Nov 9th, my wife and I lost a dear friend, Stinger.   Though he lived with two of our good friends, Paul and Shari, we had the good fortune to get to know and love him as his ‘sitter’ when his owners/parents were out of town, for about nine years.    He was one of the sweetest natured cats one would have ever found.    Though he preferred solitude from his adopted brethren cats, he enjoyed people.  Never cross, or stand-offish, just a big gentle guy who enjoyed rubbing foreheads with you, and reveled in being pet.   Due to his coloring, always seemed to be smiling, and always made my wife and I smile when we saw him.   Stinger was the epitome of well behaved, and easy going.   It is with heavy heart, we say goodbye.   He was so well cared for by his care givers, Paul & Shari, and I wanted to share my sincere condolences to them.    Stinger was beloved by all that encountered him, and my wife and I will miss him dearly.    We loved him as if he was our own.

— James from Orlando, FL