Dear Friend,

It is my time to say goodbye. My legs are weakening, my sight failing, smells are faint. I am wearying. My spirit is fading, and I have been called home and away from you.

I wish to be strong again, to roll in gross stuff, to snatch greasy bones, to eat all of the things you hated me to eat, to have my belly scratched for all time, to run through the fields and the woods, to smell the stories of life, and to raise my nose to the wind and see the world all over again.

I am going home. I know I leave you in loneliness and pain. That is the way of people when they say goodbye. Dogs are different. We don’t have regrets or wish that we could alter the story of life.

Although I have been called away, I leave you with the memories of our life together.

I remember a cold winter’s night when you sang to me in the dark as the wind howled and snow drifted outside the window. I felt your loneliness and knew my work.

When you looked at me and the corners of your mouth turned up, you smelled and looked different. Lighter, happier. That was my life, my work. Nothing more clearly defined my purpose. When you smiled, I knew why I was here.

I never tired of watching you, of being with you while you lived your life. I sat by your side, entering into the spirit of the moment. I supported your life, wherever it went, whatever you felt, whatever you did. I was your witness, your testament.

I remember walking in the snow. And running alongside you. And chasing after balls, Frisbees, sticks. And warm fires on cold nights. And sitting by you when you read books or watched baseball games.

I remember my heart jumping out of my chest when you came home and called my name, or grabbed a ball, or took me outside, or fed me. I hope you know that I loved all of those things—whatever you chose to bring me and give me, whatever time you spent with me, I loved.

And I thank you.

I always knew where you were, even when you forgot me or couldn’t see me. You had no secrets from me. You showed me everything. We trusted each other. Unlike people, I would never hurt you. I could never hurt you. It is not an instinct I possess.

I smelled and felt all of the worries in a human life, but I am different. Like other animals, I want only what I need. Your life is too complex for me to grasp. There are so many things in it that are meaningless to me.

I am so much simpler than you.

I love you and I love all the people and animals in our home. And I love food and smelly things in the woods and balls and Frisbees and bones. There is not much more to me than that, and yet you loved me for it, and despite it.

By now, you must know that there is always a goodbye hovering in the shadow of a dog. We are never here for long, or for long enough. We were never meant to share all of your life, only to mark its passages. We come and we go. We come when we are needed. We leave then it is time. Death is necessary. It defines life.

I will see you again.

I will watch over you.

I hope, in your grief and loneliness, that you will consider how sad it would have been had we not had this time together, not had the chance to give each other so much.

I do not mourn or grieve, but I will miss standing beside you, bound together on our walk through life, even as I know that there is a long line of others waiting to take my place and stand with you.

Thank you. It was nothing but a gift.

And finally, I ask these things of you:

Remember me.

Celebrate me.

Grieve for me.

And then, when you can, let me go, freely and in peace.

When you are ready, do me the great honor of bringing another dog into your life, so you can give and receive this gift again.

~John Katz, Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die


2 thoughts on “Kasey

  1. I heard about Kasey from Lindsay. I’m sorry for your loss. Losing a furry family member sucks. My family has lost our share of dogs and cats over the years and it never gets any easier.

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