Losing Bear

by Kim on June 2, 2014 · 121 comments

Two weeks ago we lost our dog Bear. I haven’t wanted to write about it because it makes me too sad, but I can’t bring myself to write about anything else and so I had to either give up writing for the foreseeable future or write this out and let my heart move on.

We lost Bear.

bear on walk

My favorite photo of Bear. Taken while on vacation in the San Juan Islands.

Bear, who walked into my life when she was just a tiny puppy. Bear, who saw me out the door on the day I graduated college, and the day I got married, and all of the days that I left for work each morning. Bear, who moved out to Oregon with me and back again. Bear, who slept at my feet. Bear, who went hiking and running and swimming with me. Bear, who never said no to a walk. Bear, who was always up for an adventure or a nap or a snack. My sweet Bear, who snored like an old man and growled when she was happy. Bear, who I left behind so many times but who always went wild when I came back again.

kim and bear 09

Me and Bear on the top of a mountain in 2009.

kim and bear 10

Swimming with Bear in 2010.

Bear walk with family

Bear walking with her sister Macy and Brian. March 2014.

She was the first and only thing that I have ever loved unconditionally. I don’t care what that says about me, it’s the truth.

Two weeks ago she woke up blind and the vet diagnosed her with a brain tumor. Nothing he could do, really, it could take her at any time. She did not seem to be in pain but her blindness made her disorientated.

Brian and I were in North Carolina at the time. It was Brian’s parents who took her to the vet, who called to give us the news. We had a decision to make. I did not want her to suffer. I did not want to wait until she had nothing left of herself. Brian and I could make it home the following day and so an appointment was made.

Brian’s parents deserve so much credit. They did not leave her side. On her last full day of life she slept in the sun for hours and they sat beside her. They held the water bowl up to her face so she could drink from time to time. Brian’s parents held vigil while we made the mad dash home. They fed Bear all the treats she could handle. They guided her outside to pee. They loved her, not just at the end of her life, but then, too.

Sleeping Bear

Bear in her happy place (sleeping in the mulch).

Her loss just hangs over me, like I’m dressed in a shroud of sadness. I’m fine, most of the time, but then I remember that she is gone and I am knocked over again by a wave of grief.

This is the sad truth of life: that you will lose the things you love or the things you love will lose you.

Kim and Bear

My last photo with Bear taken February 2014.

I wanted to honor Bear’s life by sharing everything she taught me over the years. I was going to make a list. But when I sat down to make the list the only thing I could think of was that last car ride out to the vet. I keep replaying it in my head.

Bear loved being in the car. Even in the middle of winter, freezing cold, I’d put the back windows down and Bear would stick her head outside like she was cruising down the street in the summertime in the Bahamas. In the front seat, Brian and I would turn the heat up full blast and shiver. But it is hard to deny something you love what brings them joy. So Bear always got her way with the windows.

On the way to the vet Bear got one last car ride. And so although she could no longer see, and she was having a difficult time breathing, she sat on my lap and we sat in the widow seat and I put the window full down.

And that dog smiled.

We roared down the highway and Bear closed her eyes and let the air blow all around her. The fine little hairs on her face waved and her ears flopped in the breeze. I believe she knew something was wrong. She knew where we were headed. Still, she smiled. She was happy and joyful. And I thought that I’d never seen anything so brave in my life.

Bear taught me so many things through the years. But mostly she taught me about now. Because now was all that Bear ever had. And everything she did, she did with total enthusiasm and commitment and trust. And one of the joys of having her in my life was the constant reminder that now is the only thing that any of us have. She taught me that the biggest blessings in life are the things that so often get overlooked- springtime walks around the neighborhood, evenings cuddled near the ones you love, drives with the windows down.

So Bear is gone now and we miss her deeply. But I also feel incredibly lucky that for 12 years I was hers.

Goodbye, Bear. Thank you for bringing so much joy to our lives.

Bear crusin'

bear head out window

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{ 120 comments… read them below or add one }

Laurie June 2, 2014 at 7:48 am

Sitting here bawling at your words and the pictures. I feel your pain. Sending a hug. So sorry for your loss. She was beautiful.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:09 am

Thank you Laurie. She was so beautiful and I miss her like crazy. Thank you for your kind words.

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Erica June 2, 2014 at 7:50 am

I am so sorry to read this. Losing your dog is one of the worst things that can happen to a person. It looks like Bear has had a full life with lots of love though. Unfortunately dogs never live long enough.. I wish you all the best to deal with this loss.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:10 am

Thanks Erica. You know, I always knew I would lose her but that doesn’t make it any easier. I just miss her :(

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Laura June 2, 2014 at 8:00 am

This made me cry . Bear sounds like a wonderful dog, it looks like she had a wonderful life which has been honoured by this lovely post :)
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:10 am

Hi Laura, thank you. Bear did have a really wonderful life and that thought makes me happy.

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Mickey June 2, 2014 at 8:00 am

Ohhh gosh….I am so sorry and I do feel your pain….Bear was a beautiful dog and a great pal! And it appears that Bear had tons of love throughout her life – as it should be. ….thank you for sharing this with us. Its a heartbreaker when this happens. Stay strong and savor those lovely memories…..

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:11 am

Thank you Mickey. I will savor those moments always, she was such a great girl and I still can’t really believe she is gone.

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Tracy June 2, 2014 at 8:02 am

Bear made everyone she encountered smile, and that’s something we’ll never forget. There’s an obvious true love between you and her, we’ll miss you sweet Bear.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:11 am

And you and Janet taught her to stay out of the kitchen while we were cooking! You are both dog whisperers!

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Amy June 2, 2014 at 8:05 am

Kim, I’m so sorry about Bear. Your post brought tears to my eyes; I hope writing it helped.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:12 am

Thanks Amy. Writing it was hard but it did help. And all of the comments and emails are helping even more. I am blessed to have all of you that read this blog- such an amazing community.

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Rhonda June 2, 2014 at 8:05 am

oh crap Kim… I am sitting at work bawling! What a moving tribute to a fantastic dog. Although it is such a tragedy to have them leave us, and with dogs it’s always too soon, I’m so happy that Brians parents were by her side comforting her until you arrived, and even happier that you got that last final car ride. It brought back instantly our similar, final ride with Maddy. You’re all in our thoughts. Just know Bear is now up in doggy heaven, surely the best place ever, playing with Maddy and all who have gone before, and she is smiling down at you.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:13 am

I know you guys know how we feel over your loss of sweet Maddy. It’s terrible and I will always miss her but she had a wonderful life and that thought makes me happy.

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Trish June 2, 2014 at 8:18 am

Kim, you have such a gift. You are truly a special writer that has a powerful way to evoke emotions in your readers. I never met Bear but I can tell just how much you loved her through your words. I’m so happy you had an adventure dog that loved to embrace life just like her human mama. I just bawled through that entire post because you made it so real with your words. I hope you find peace and keep bringing us more of your beautiful writing.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:14 am

Thank you Trish, that means so much. That was a hard post to write but it came from the heart. I’m glad you are all able to see how much I loved Bear and how much I will miss her.

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Carmel June 2, 2014 at 8:27 am

This brings tears to my eyes. What a sweet pup. When we had to let go of Adeline last year, I think she knew it was time. She didn’t fight me when I put her in the carrier (like she usually would), just curled up in my arms and let me take her where she’d find some peace. Those sweet animals probably have no idea what a gift their love is to us dumb humans. Your love for her will last forever. That’s what true love is.

Hugs to you and Brian! My heart goes out to you both.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:15 am

Yes, Bear didn’t fight us either and she normally hated going to the vet. She knew it was time. She let us love all over her in those final hours and normally she prefers to be left in peace while she lays around. She knew and she approached the end with a stunning amount of grace.

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Flora June 2, 2014 at 8:37 am

Kim, I’m so sorry you’ve lost Bear. This is a beautiful tribute to her, and I only wish it didn’t hit so close to home – I’m constantly terrified that my cat in London will also get suddenly sick while I’m abroad. It’s incredible how big an impact these animals that we love unconditionally have on us, and how much they can teach us.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:16 am

Oh Flora, I understand. My biggest fear was that something would happen to one of our dogs (we still have a surviving dog, Macy, who is 15) while we were abroad. I am thankful every day that we were nearby and could get home in time to be with Bear in the end. It was a HUGE blessing.

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Julia June 2, 2014 at 8:49 am

I shouldn’t have read this because I am now crying my eyes out and looking at my dog and wondering how I’ll cope when the day comes to say goodbye to her. I’m sorry for your loss and it’s a loss that only dog owners can understand. Mainly because they bring so much joy and love into a family and ask nothing in return.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:17 am

Julia, just love your sweet dog while she is there. I spoiled the crap out of Bear in her last few years- lots of treats, etc. and I don’t regret it for a second.

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Gillian June 2, 2014 at 9:02 am

I’m so sorry Kim.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:17 am

Thanks Gillian.

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Joanne Joseph June 2, 2014 at 9:18 am

Kim, your words moved me to tears as I read about that very special bond you shared with your precious Bear. I am so very sorry for your loss.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:17 am

Thanks Joanne. I miss her deeply.

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Kate Morgan June 2, 2014 at 9:30 am

I read this post with a lump in my throat. I lost my dog a few years ago and it hurt so much. Getting home to crazy mess of hair, slobber and excitement really made my day. Sorry for your loss, Bear looked like a wonderful friend.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:18 am

Isn’t it amazing how much joy they bring? There is a big Bear-shaped hole in my heart now. She just brought so much joy and love.

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Kea June 2, 2014 at 10:16 am

Nothing makes me bawl like the thought of losing a pet. My dog makes my day every day. Can’t imagine life without her. I feel your pain. Take care Kim.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:18 am

Thank you Kea. Love that doggie of yours!

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Ellen June 2, 2014 at 10:22 am

Kim, I’m so sorry about Bear. I’ve been there and I know I’ll be there again, so know that there are dog people who understand and know that losing Bear is like losing family. I know you struggle right now to get your thoughts past those last moments, but if there is one thing I could tell you – you must make that list! Write down every little quirky detail you can think of. Moments, habits, markings. These are things that are so much a part of your life, you can’t imagine ever forgetting them. Years down the road, you will re-read it and you will be so glad that you wrote it all down. So many things, you will be like “oh yeah, I remember that!” Sometimes I read my lists and bawl like a baby and sometimes I just laugh at all the funny stuff, but always, I am so grateful that I made them because they are full of so many memories that I’d surely have forgotten. And just know that you were the best dog mom Bear could have ever had!

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:19 am

Ellen, today I am going to make that list in my journal. Thank you for encouraging me to do it. There are so many parts of her life and I don’t want to only remember the end.

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Kim June 2, 2014 at 10:51 am

Crying here, too. Last year, I was in a similar situation with my father. I was the one to tell him that there were no more options and that we were going to take care of his pain. He had about a week at a beautiful hospice. All my sibs got there and he was so happy to see them. I was with him right to the end. I held his hand and sang his favorite hymns to him. I miss him so much but I am so happy that his pain is over.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:21 am

Kim, I’m so sorry for your loss. Ah, it is the hardest part of life- this loss, but a part of life that we can’t escape. I’m glad your father was surrounded by those that loved him in the end. I think it is all we can ask for.

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Sarah Somewhere June 2, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Oh, sweet Bear, I am honoured to have gotten to meet you on the internet and share a little of the love you brought to the world. My heart breaks for you, Kim. I wish you many simple, joy-filled moments to fill the Bear-shaped hole in your heart. In memory xoxo
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:21 am

Thank you Sarah.

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Terry P June 2, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Kim – a beautiful tribute to sweet Bear. We still miss her too. The house is a little quieter without her snoring under the dining room table. I miss her happy growl and dodging the soft, furry mound that is her when I get up in the middle of the night. I still look out the back windows and see her – in my mind – rambling through my rose bushes in search of the perfect spot to do her business. When we agreed to take Bear and Macy into our home two years ago, it was so you and Brian could pursue your dream of travel. Little did we know that these dogs would quickly become part of the family, wriggling their way into our hearts and sharing our popcorn bowls! She made us laugh, curse (just a couple of times) and now cry as we mourn her loss and life without her. We are so glad to have spent this time with Bear. You were a wonderful mama who gave her a life full of everything she loved. May you and Brian find peace in the wonderful memories you made with her, and may we all strive to find pure joy in the here and now, enjoying life with the windows down and the breeze in our face. Love you. xoxoxo

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:56 am

Love you too Terry and thank you for everything you have done (and continue to do) for Bear, Macy and Brian and I.

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Alexis June 2, 2014 at 1:03 pm

What a sweet girl! I’m so sorry for your loss. Dogs are most definitely a part of the family. They bring joy and laughter and unconditional love. It’s such an honor to get to share life with sweet dogs like Bear and makes me wanna go give my own pup, Finn, a big hug and belly rub.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:22 am

Yes, please give Finn a good belly rub. They are most definitely a part of the family and her absence is felt. She brought so much love and joy and for that I am grateful.

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Mary June 2, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Ah, Kim, I’m so sorry. I had a similar situation happen several years back with my golden, Chance. It’s the worst feeling. I’m glad you were able to be there with her in the end, though. Hang in there.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:23 am

Mary, so I am. I am grateful every day that I was there at the end with her. She was so happy when she realized we were there! I don’t know if I could have lived with myself if I hadn’t been there in the end.

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Jenny June 2, 2014 at 1:34 pm

I should NOT have read this at work!! So sorry for you loss. As with all your posts, your writing is so unbelievably personal, true, honest, and therefore relate-able. Thank you for sharing.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:24 am

Thank you Jenny. Sorry to upset you at work! No fun crying at work (totally been there, for a variety of reasons!!).

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Ashlie June 2, 2014 at 1:38 pm

It’s just heartbreaking. Big hug.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:24 am

Thank you Ashlie. XO

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Emily June 2, 2014 at 1:50 pm

I am so sorry to her about the loss of Bear. My heart has ripped in half when I’ve lost a beloved pet (they are the ones who do teach you those life lessons like unconditional love). Bear looks like she was a very smiley and happy pup!
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:24 am

Bear was happy and she lived a wonderful life and knowing that brings me a lot of peace.

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Carol Crawford Rowe June 2, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Having said good-by to our own fifteen-year-old Molly more than two years ago, I am weeping with you as I read your pain. I can tell you that it will always hurt, but, eventually, not as much as it hurts today.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:25 am

Yes, I’m just waiting for those spontaneous tears to stop. One moment I am fine and the other moment I am bawling (like now!!).

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Pauline June 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Hi Kim, I am so sorry to hear that. I don’t have a dog, but I often dog-sit for my aunt and her family. One time she came over and mentioned she may be giving him a way to another family because she just doesn’t have the time to care for him. My heart broke right there and then and he’s not even given away yet. I can’t imagine what you are going through now, but I’m sure it was very difficult and I am sorry.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:27 am

Oh, Pauline, I hope that your Aunt can find a way to keep her dog or find a great home for him. I can’t imagine being in that position. Terrible.

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Heather June 2, 2014 at 4:37 pm

I am sitting in a hotel lobby in Beijing weeping. What a beautiful tribute.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:27 am

Thank you Heather. I needed to send off Bear and mark the occasion on the blog somehow. I hope it lived up to Bear’s wonderful life.

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Lisa Wood June 2, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Oh i have no words. So very sorry, Bear may you be resting forever more. Love how much Bear gave to you over the years and how much you gave back – beautiful xxx
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:29 am

She gave me so much! I had no idea what I was getting in to when I adopted her back when I was a senior in college- but I will FOREVER be grateful that I picked her up and brought her home with me.

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Christine June 2, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Yup. Tears! I’m glad you were close enough to home to be able to be with him in the end.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:29 am

Me too, Christine, I am grateful for that every day. I can’t imagine not being there in the end.

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Patti June 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm

It’s good you told your story of Bear. Writing has a way of healing the soul, getting it all out there. Even if you never hit publish, it’s feels good just the same. Bear loved you right back.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:30 am

Yes, I know she did. She was full of love.

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Priscilla June 2, 2014 at 6:12 pm

kim, im so sorry about your loss. Bear was a beautiful dog, you will always have the memories! I went through the same with my dog last year. It is not an easy decision but she is in a better place now.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:30 am

Thanks Priscilla. I know it was the right thing to do for Bear, but that doesn’t make it any easier (as I’m sure you know).

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Elisha MacKay June 2, 2014 at 6:52 pm

So beautifully written and terribly sad. Wishing you brighter days ahead and hoping you may find some comfort in all the wonderful years you had with Bear.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:30 am

Thank you Elisha.

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Karen June 2, 2014 at 7:13 pm

I’m sitting here inside a van on my way to work. It’s difficult to fight the tears. I’m sorry for your loss.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:34 am

Thank you Karen.

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Patricia Lorraine June 2, 2014 at 7:49 pm

My heart is with you, Kim. By remembering what Bear taught you, you’re celebrating Bear’s life. It was brave to share, and we are all so glad you did.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:34 am

Thanks Patricia. I did want to celebrate Bear’s life.

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Karyn @ Not Done Travelling June 2, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Oh dear god, Kim, I am bawling my eyes out here. I’m in a public library but I couldn’t stop the tears. I am so, so, so sorry for you, I don’t even have the words to tell you how much sympathy I have for you right now. But I’m so glad that you had the time together that you had, and I am so glad for the lessons you gave to each other. I don’t think there’s anything else I can say here that isn’t going to sound hollow. *hugs*
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:35 am

Thank you for the hugs Karyn. It helps a lot just to share on this blog and for all of these wonderful comments from you and everyone else. I really can feel the love and it means a lot to know that everyone who is reading this is thinking of Bear. There’s just no way around loss. It sucks and it hurts.

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Amy June 3, 2014 at 1:15 am

That was beautifully written and an amazing tribute to your beloved Bear. I can tell that her life was full of love and adventure with you and Brian. It is the hardest thing in the world to make a decision to allow our pets to run free, but take comfort in knowing that she is on the other side of the rainbow bridge. I believe loving a dog makes you a better person and their love for you is endless.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:36 am

Amy, Bear did make me a better person in so many ways. What a gift she was.

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Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) June 3, 2014 at 2:34 am

Kim, I am sitting here in the living room of a new friend’s home in Paris absolutely bawling because of this piece. Having lost my own girlhood dog years ago, I know how deeply this loss is felt. I am so glad that in such an awful moment you were able to be with Bear—my biggest regret with my own dog was that I was far away at school when her time to go came and I didn’t even find out she had left me until a day after the fact when I got a tearful call from my brother. The news hit me like a truck, totally unexpected (even though I had just seen her two months earlier at Christmas and was shocked by how old and frail she was… I would sit with her and feed her all her favorite foods by hand and hug her close), and I didn’t leave my bed for days. So, I’m glad that just as Bear carried you through so many moments of your life, you were there for hers too, pretty much from start to finish. I think you’ll always feel this lost—I still do—but you have so many wonderful memories of her and the lessons she taught you too that one day you will think of her and find there are no more tears, just a heart full of love for your wonderful girl. This post just goes to show that Bear will ALWAYS be with you.

Big hugs from me & Tony. If the universe listens to our wishes (and you know it does), something very good will be coming your way soon!
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:38 am

Steph, I am so grateful that I could be with Bear in the end. It meant so much to both Brian and me and I know it meant a lot to Bear too. She will always be with us and she will always be loved.

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Kelly June 3, 2014 at 3:36 am

My heart breaks for you. I am so very sorry for your loss. Sending positive thoughts, prayer and peace your way as you grieve.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:38 am

Thank you Kelly.

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Andrea June 3, 2014 at 6:38 am

A puddle of tears. I believe many don’t give animals enough credit for their intelligence and human side. As well what you had with Bear is a true blessing. While it is incredibly sad and difficult, I pray for you to embrace the beauty knowing he is now by your side daily in every adventure from here on out…your furry angel. “Tears are a way of freeing the self from ills and allowing blessings to come in.” ~Joseph Sergott O.P.

Peace to you my friend, Andrea

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:40 am

I love that quote about tears and I sure hope it’s true because I have quite a few lately. But yes, Bear is my furry angel and I’m sure she will cheer on every new adventure we have.

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Ali June 3, 2014 at 6:47 am

Kim, I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is so difficult. I remember having to put our dog to sleep when I was in high school, and then our cat just a few years ago. It really is unconditional love, and that makes losing them so much more difficult. I hope you’re doing ok. Hugs from me and Andy!
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:40 am

Thanks Ali. I’m doing fine, just sad. At the same time I feel grateful that Bear was a part of my life for such a long time and brought me so much love and joy.

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Jessica Hill June 3, 2014 at 7:26 am

I’m sobbing. This is so heartbreaking, and stories like this always make one realize it could happen to her as well. I’m so sorry you lost Bear, but I’m sure she’s in a good place and happy to have known your love.
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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:41 am

Thank you Jessica. She was very loved and had a great life and for that I am truly grateful.

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Amy D June 3, 2014 at 7:39 am

Oh crap. Don’t life stinks in some ways? Your stories about your dogs and this time about Bear wrung my heart in many directions. As I type this, I am looking at my beautiful “half”-service dog, Ruby, an unusual golden small collie/golden retriever dog. No kidding, her mom was a huge red haired golden retriever dog. Always a quiet dog, she has the aptitude for running at top speed chasing bothersome rabbits out of my backyard or express her usual annoyed growl if my other beagle decides to howl for no reason. Today, I am watching her…wondering what I should do…at her age 10…with bad news from vet that she is suffering from an unknown pain for the past month. I know for sure eventually I have to say goodbye to her but not that of a “goodbye” since I will see her again in heaven roaming happily with other dogs. No other service dogs will ever replace me. None others. I will miss her “pawing” if someone is at the door for me. I will miss her unconditional and surprising love for me and my family. Oh yes, she LOVES to walk. She would want to walk for hours, like your dog, Bear. It is hopeless to sit on couch and try to watch a favorite TV show or do something important until Ruby gets walked. Today, reading your story about Bear had me at tears because knowing one day I have to say goodbye to my dog, who gave me the best 10 years of my life. I don’t know when to say bye but eventually soon. True to everybody’s mottos, dogs are always our best friends. They don’t talk back! They simply will rest on our laps and beg for food off the table every single time. Oh damn…what is God trying to do to me? To you? To us all when we are not ready to say bye to any loved ones. Honestly, we will never know the answer but we will always have awesome memories to hang on to. RIP to your dog, BEAR.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:45 am

Amy, I’m so sorry that Ruby is sick and that you will say goodbye to her soon. Give her as much love as you possibly can until the end (I know you will). What brought me comfort was knowing that Bear lived every second of her life. She didn’t worry. She didn’t complain. She didn’t fear what was coming. She just lived and love life as much as she could and when she was sick she still found little joys. I hate that you have to make this decision and my heart goes out to you. I hope you will know when the time is right to say goodbye. Love and hugs to you both.

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Renee June 3, 2014 at 7:46 am

My deepest condolences on the loss of your beloved Bear. I know what a profound difference pets can make in anyone’s life and dogs especially have so much to teach us in their ability to live in the here and now. I am so glad that you and Brian were able to be with her at the end, and that she was able to enjoy one last car ride with the windows down with her favorite people. Bless Brian’s parents for taking such good care of her, too, as you and your husband made your way back home. I know the days ahead will be hard as you recollect all of your memories with Bear, but please know that you now have one more guardian angel watching over you both.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:46 am

Renee, this was just perfect. I too am so glad we were there at the end and that she got one more ride with the windows down. And I too am so grateful to Brian’s parents. I think the end will always be sad, no matter what, but Bear had a beautiful life.

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Liz June 3, 2014 at 7:51 am

Gah I’m sitting here just crying in my cubicle. I’m so sorry for your loss Kim. I’ve been there with 2 dogs before and if anything, it just gets harder. I now have 2 cats and although they’re still young, I dread the day when they’re no longer with me.

I hope that in time the wound closes (although it never fully heals – every once in a while I think about Max and just start bawling, and we had to put him down 8 years ago), and just know that you were loved dearly by Bear and cherish the memories you have of her.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:46 am

Thank you Liz. Bear will always hold a special place in my heart. Always.

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Janet June 3, 2014 at 8:59 am

A beautiful tribute to a loving friend.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:47 am

Thank you Janet.

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Don June 3, 2014 at 10:11 am

I’m so sorry Kim. Parts of this story sound so familiar because it happened to our family as well about four months ago. It was very difficult. I have lost others close to me but losing my beloved dog Oscar hit me the hardest. I know that might sound ridiculous to some people but it true. I’m not an overly emotional guy but I shed many tear many times missing him. I feel so much sorry for your loss. You can tell how much you loved him just by the pictures in your post. I still have my little pity parties, when I sit around and look through pic and watch videos of him being silly but I have mostly good feelings when I think of him now. We know that you are hurting but hang in there. Time heals and the sorrow will slowly fade. I promise you, Bear’s memory will soon fill your heart with joy. He will always be yours. Until then have strength in knowing that you have a whole community of people loving you and feeling your sorrow.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:49 am

Don, that does not sound ridiculous to me at all. And thank you so much for this comment. I know that you know exactly how I feel and I really look forward to the day I can think of Bear with memories that will make me very happy instead of sad. She will always be mine and I am so grateful for that. I am also grateful to you and everyone else here who has filled this blog with so much love. I can feel it.

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Becky June 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm

I am so sorry to hear about your dog, Kim. Right now, I am taking a “Camino time out” in Leon to rest my injured hip: will say a little prayer for all of you tomorrow at the cathedral here. Stay strong!

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:49 am

Oh, Becky, I would love that. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

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Martha June 3, 2014 at 3:35 pm

So sorry to hear – I had to do the same with my 17 year old cat in February. I recently went on a trip to the mid-west and came home to an empty house. Even though it’s been a few months, this was the first “trip” – so bam, thought about it allll over again. It’s a part of life, but still stinks….be well…

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:50 am

Thank you Martha. We are headed back to Brian’s parents next week for a few nights and I dread walking in the door and Bear won’t be there.

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Suzi June 3, 2014 at 6:12 pm

I had to hold off on reading this until the time was right but that would never be. I feel your pain Kim, having just gone through this last year. Thank you for sharing and remembering what joy our best friends bring into our lives from the neighborhood walks to the hang their head out the window car rides, may you continue to smile at his memory. Take care.

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Kim June 4, 2014 at 6:50 am

Thank you Suzi and I’m sorry for your loss. It’s not easy.

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Carey June 4, 2014 at 2:47 pm

There is a beautifully written new article on the This Goat’s Life blog from Washington state … ” The Right Puppy.” About the same thing as yours, telling their own story. You might enjoy reading it.

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Kim June 5, 2014 at 5:45 am

I just read it. It made me cry!!! A beautiful tribute to Spenny.

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Holly June 5, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Thinking about you guys. I’m so sorry. I know what you are going through, we just lost Whistler a couple weeks ago also. The house is quiet. I have little memorials of him all over the house. His sweater and collar on a hook by the door, his favorite stuffed toy on display in the bedroom, his ball on display in the yard.

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Kim June 6, 2014 at 6:07 am

Oh Holly, I am so sorry :( It is so hard and painful, huh? Hang in there. I know how much you loved Whistler.

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Maddie June 6, 2014 at 12:50 am

Sorry sorry to read this Kim. I remember reading how you found Bear and being in tears over that story so I can’t imagine what it feels like to lose her after 12 years. Thinking about you both and sorry for your loss.
Maddie recently posted..Hull – the 2017 UK City of Culture

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Kim June 6, 2014 at 6:07 am

Thanks Maddie.

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Steve C June 6, 2014 at 5:39 pm

I didn’t even try to stop the tears that welled up in my eyes as I read your heart rendering story of Bear. I don’t have any stories at hand, that even come close to yours. Actually, I probably do, but for the passing of time, I’ve put them in my bank of sad memories, not to be forgotten. They’re there if I wish to withdraw them. But, it’s painful to make withdrawals. Mostly, they’re revisited when another is deposited. Sad, but the longer you live, the richer you become.

Bear will always be there, in your sad memory bank.

It’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all!

I’m with ya.

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Kim June 9, 2014 at 9:33 am

Yes, that is the sad part of life- the more you love the more you lose but the loving is worth much, much more than the loss. Thanks Steve.

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Oliver June 7, 2014 at 6:30 am

Absolutely wonderful tribute Kim and really sorry to hear about your loss! I could really feel the incredible joy this soul brought to your live and I’m sure these vibrant memories will shine on…
All my best and take care!
Oliver recently posted..Lighthouse

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Kim June 9, 2014 at 9:34 am

Thanks Oliver. She was wonderful and I miss her so much.

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Tracey June 7, 2014 at 7:27 am

I am so sorry for your loss Kim and Brian. We lost our beloved red healer, Kiwi, 2 years ago and I still tear up when I think of her sometimes. Dogs are so special, they are like our kids, even like kids. They love us so freely and no matter what, we are so lucky to be with them and receive all the joy they bring to our lives. Bear sounded like an amazing friend you will never forget.
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Kim June 9, 2014 at 9:36 am

Thanks Tracey, and I’m sorry for your loss of Kiwi. I know I’ll miss Bear always but I feel so lucky to have loved her.

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Sarah Popper June 9, 2014 at 5:06 am

I am so sorry … Hope you’ll do well ..
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Kim June 9, 2014 at 9:38 am

Thanks Sarah.

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Swaps June 15, 2014 at 8:08 pm

I don’t always comment but am crying while typing this one. So sorry for your loss Kim. Take care.

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Kim June 16, 2014 at 6:48 am

Thank you for sending your support.

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Lisa Tanahashi June 18, 2014 at 10:10 am

Dear Kim, Read this again. Thank you for sharing your life, and now Bear’s life, with all of us. All the wisdom and love in the universe is in that moment you and Brian shared with Bear. Thank you Kim and Brian for your lives. Thank you Bear for your life. We love you all.

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Kim June 20, 2014 at 6:17 am

Hi Lisa, thank you so much. I can feel the love. I really can. Bear is missed every day and it’s still hard for me to believe that she is gone. She was (and still is) incredibly loved.

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Anthony Nolan June 20, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Oh Kim I am so sorry for your loss. I hope time is lessening the sorrow. I am, like so many others here, in tears reading your account. Your love for Bear is not in any doubt. And Bear’s love for you too. I once typed into google “Do dogs go to Heaven”. And it turns out that yes, there is a passage in the Bible that says they do. Not just dogs. All pets. I do not know if you are a believer or not. But I am and there is some solace in the knowledge that Bear will be there for you for eternity. I am not a Holy Joe. I do not even attend mass. But I do believe in God and in Heaven. And for sure, your Bear is there. God bless you and your husband and Macy.

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Kim June 22, 2014 at 11:20 am

Thank you Anthony. She is missed so much, every day.

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Sarah June 21, 2014 at 9:14 am

So sorry for your loss–we lost our dog of 7 years, Tex, last year and it’s rough to have someone that important leave you. Thank you for sharing this–it was clear that Bear was incredibly loved and that you guys were too.
Sarah recently posted..If There’s a Handbook, You Probably Get to Write it Yourself

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Kim June 22, 2014 at 11:36 am

Thanks Sarah. I’m sorry for your loss of Tex. It’s so hard to lose a pet, Bear was an incredibly important part of my life.

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