Love PerseveringDecember 10, 2021
The aim of our content is twofold: We want you to 1) learn something; and/or 2) feel something. Nothing I have presented, blogged, said, or authored has ever inspired the response and emotion of the following post. It’s fitting that the subject matter is … our dog.
[The following was originally published on March 5, 2021.]
“What is grief if not love persevering?”
We put down our dog Zoe, on Tuesday. We’re grieving. Three months ago our vet told us Zoe had growths on her liver, so to take her home and enjoy our remaining time with her. Tuesday morning I woke to distressed calls — “Dad … DAD!” — coming from downstairs. Zoe had collapsed a few feet from her bed. She’d lost control of her bowels, and her breathing was labored.
We shuffled her onto a beach towel and carried her to the back of our car. At the vet, we learned that her organs were failing and that she was bleeding internally. The clinic had an outdoor annex, where we laid Zoe down on a wicker table and gathered around to say goodbye. Like in every urbanized landmass in Florida, there was a gas station and a strip mall abutting the clinic. A car alarm was ringing. We had a remote control to notify the clinic when we were ready for them to administer pentobarbital, a seizure medication that would stop Zoe’s heart.
Zoe’s death has rocked our household. The other dog won’t come out of his crate, the nanny won’t stop crying, my oldest doesn’t want to come out of his room, and (most disturbingly) his 10-year-old brother is doing what we ask him to. We’ve been a bit self-conscious about our grief — we recognize that 500,000-plus U.S. households haven’t lost a pet, but a dad, aunt, or other loved one in the past 12 months. But our grief persists.
At first I was fine playing the role of the stoic dad: “She lived a great life,” “This is what’s best for her,” etc. Then yesterday, on a livestream with Verizon and 60 of its communications agency partners, I started sobbing while describing the harm Facebook is doing to society. Despite all the machismo and strength I aspire to project, there I was, 56 years old and a chocolate mess on a Zoom call with dozens of people who want confirmation that they should serve ads on Yahoo.
It’s not the worst thing for someone in my line of work to have Verizon’s agency partners believe I am emotionally invested in holding social media platforms accountable. However, I’ve been crying every six hours since. I cried watching WandaVision last night, when eating oatmeal this morning, and again doing pullups.
Failed Birth Control
Two decades ago I moved to New York, where I applied tremendous skill and resources to building a life of arrested adolescence. The SoHo loft, a wintertime apartment in South Beach, a summer home in Watermill (complete with sand volleyball court, even though I … do not play volleyball), and a metallic-blue Maserati. Jesus, what a douche.
I embarked on a series of obsessive relationships — with people, business ventures, and material goods (the more scarce, the better). Inevitably, the rapture would fade, and my heart would sink. A weak heart breaks more easily. I wasn’t grieving over the lost person or the failed deal so much as I was grieving the lost possibility to escape to a better life — a life of meaning vs. the Imax version of The Narcissist’s Playbook.
Then I met someone nicer, more impressive, and much more attractive than me — who was also kind. However, she wanted children. I told her I wasn’t interested in getting married again. She called my bluff with a José Aldo roundhouse: “We don’t need to get married to have a kid.”
Looking for an alternative means of birth control, I drove to Pennsylvania to pick up an 11-week-old vizsla. The breeders were some of the most down-to-earth, normal dog breeders I’d ever encountered … and they were exceptionally strange. But that’s another post. We named our puppy Zoe, and talk of a baby subsided. However, like most extemporaneous methods of male birth control, my tactic wasn’t effective, and 38 weeks later my oldest son came rotating out of my girlfriend.
Zoe soon became my oldest son’s dog. He had a connection with her only matched by the contempt he has for his younger brother. Zoe forged the bond by sitting in front of his crib each morning; they stared at each other through the wood slats while my son spoke a language deployed across species. They’d be transfixed like this for 20 or 30 minutes (no joke). It was as if they were planning a jailbreak.
And why I think I’ve been crying.
I will miss Zoe, as she was a meaningful part of our family’s life. But the truth is, once we had boys, most of that emotion transferred to the kids. Plus, I’m not one of those guys who finds peace away from the family in the company of dogs. So yes, I am grieving Zoe, but as with happiness, real grief is internal.
Zoe’s death has rocked me because it’s a marker. A reminder that time is the most relentless force in the universe: No matter what we do, its thievery marches on. For the rest of my life, I’ll have sons. But I no longer have the baby who sat on a blanket with us in the backyard, the toddler who made an alliance with his dog to disappear his vegetables, or the 8-year-old who rang out a particular laugh only the dog could inspire. Zoe’s death is a loss on several levels.
Dogs aren’t allowed on the couch in our household. Ever. The thing is, both dogs and humans are mammals, and we’re happiest when surrounded by (read: when touching) others. So Zoe and I had an agreement: After everyone was asleep, she could come on the couch, rest her head on me, and dream. It was a pact of secrecy, and not once in her 14 years did she betray this trust — vizslas are rugged hunting dogs, and also discrete. She would lie on me, dream, and, according to her paws, run for miles. Many of these posts have been written with Zoe’s head resting on my stomach as she dreamt of running through a Hungarian forest.
All Zoe wanted was affection — which is to say, love. As she was lying on a wicker table, next to a gas station, death came for Zoe. When her heart stopped, our other dog was licking Zoe’s ears, and our entire family had our hands on her. Our wonderful dog left this Earth with everything she had ever wanted. And we are grieving because our love perseveres.
Life is so rich,
P.S. A recent addition to our family, Leia:
I’m so, so sorry for your loss, Scott. Dogs are such wonderful companions and loyal friends. May her memory be a blessing.
Very sorry for your loss… I too have lost Mabel a16 year old female boxer mix …she was a sweetheart up to the very end…She had slowed down quite a bit in recent years and we wondered how she was still able to go about the business of being a dog… Always a good greeter always a good companion never a complaint … but I too struggle not just with the loss of a family member… But also the loss of a certain innocence I have no hope of regaining… My kids were 14 …12…and 10…My oldest just turned 30 he runs of plastics warehouse in Tampa … The middle son is pursuing a sales career… And my daughter is recently graduated with the BS in social work…The days of the backyard barbecue with the family together on a regular basis is over…Time marches on
so beautifully said, thank you for trying to make sense of the strong bonds and this intense, unpredictable grief.
I also lost my dog best friend last week after 13 years of love and connection. Your writing helped and resonated.
Great column. It hurts so much to lose them. Many years ago, my wife lost a dog she had since she was a child. A very kind vet gave us a poem that brought some solace. I hope it does the same for you: A DOG’S PLEA
Treat me kindly, my beloved friend,
for no heart in all the world is more
grateful for kindness than the loving
heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick,
for though I should lick your hand
between blows, your patience and
understanding will more quickly
teach me the things you would have
Speak to me often, for your voice is
the world’s sweetest music, as you
must know by the fierce wagging of
my tail when your footstep falls upon
my waiting ear.
Please take me inside when it is cold
and wet, for I am a domesticated
animal, no longer accustomed to
bitter elements. I ask no greater glory
than the privilege of sitting at your
feet beside the hearth.
Keep my pan filled with fresh
water, for I cannot tell you when I
Feed me clean food that I may stay
well, to romp and play and do your
bidding, to walk by your side, and
stand ready, willing and able to
protect you with my life, should your
life be in danger.
And, my friend, when I no longer
enjoy good health, hearing and sight,
do not make heroic efforts to keep me
going. I am not having any fun. Please
see that my trusting life is taken gently.
I shall leave this earth knowing with the
last breath I draw that my fate was always
safest in your hands.
Hi Scott, what a beautiful and inspiring story about Zoe. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes as I write this comment because tonight my sister and her family have to put down their pitbull Marley. He is an amazing dog and very friendly, not a mean bone in his body. The family rescued Marley from a shelter 10 years ago along with Mia another pitbull, but she suffered from cancer and had to be put down last year. Marley has a massive brain tumor that is cancerous also. I visit my sister and her family EVERY Saturday. I love Marley like he’s my own. It’s amazing the bonds we create with our pets as they become our children as well. Marley will surely be missed. Thank you for sharing.
Writing about it makes it a bit better, during the pain and emptiness, your soul bleeds out, and writing does have its way of blanketing us like being with friends and a fireplace on a cold winter night. Your writing was sensational, thanks for sharing. Anyone who has lost a pet feels this same pain, they are loyal, loving, warm, and consistent, their loss is huge, but their memory is forever. I do believe this is a dog heaven, and I am sure it is with us in heaven all intermixed. Thank you for sharing.
Feeling your pain Scott and appreciate you sharing your journey with Zoe with us all! Take care and best wishes to you and your beautiful family.
I lost my beloved hound August 12, 2017, and I continue to pay him tribute. This is what I posted on FB the day after he passed:
“Last night my beloved hound–Bass E Jones–breathed his last. I’ve spent the day consumed by grief, which I don’t suspect will end anytime soon. He graced my life with 13 wonderful years, a hound that had an unbeatable combination of affection and indifference. He will be sorely missed…not just by me and my family, but I suspect by many of you as well. RIP Bass E.”
Born: June 2004
Died: August 12, 2017
Touching am a whippet owner aged eight so this will come
Real reason for running you down was to say how interesting your book The Four was still digesting but the last year might add a couple of chapters methinks
Such a beautiful post 🙂 I know how it feels to lose a pet…
So beautiful and poignant. we got a pandemic pup, an English chocolab that is an absolutely adorable being ever..cannot fathom the loss..we are so attached in just 1 yr..ugh..Time
Great. Now my mascara is running.
I’m a 4 time beloved pet putter downer (new phrase?). It’s the hardest and most loving act. You captured it well.
Among other things, this post reminds me of how much richer my wife’s and my lives are because of our two greyhounds.
Love following your rather human take on everything important. So sorry for your loss.
I get the grief. We are still mourning the loss of Molly. Wrote a book – Dogmatic Truths: What Dogs Teach Us About life. They do teach us so much. Loved your reflection – so well expressed.
Thank you. This was a truly beautiful post – all truth, no bs. As always.
The grief is real. Sharing the grief enables us to weather it. Wish you all the strength to cope with this loss. Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart with us.
All heart, no mercy, no malice and some very thought provoking words.
Really loved this post, Scott. So sorry for your loss and wishing Leia her unique place in your family. .
Lovely words Scott. I am sorry for your loss. Been there. Know the pain. Dogs, humans, love is love and it is not easy to say goodby to those we love. My thoughts are with you and your family.
It is so hard to lose a pet. Sorry for your loss. 😢
What a great post and a tribute to Zoe and the family dogs. Very sorry for your loss Scott.
Thank you for sharing Zoe’s story. Our thoughts are with you and your family Scott.
Have loved and lost both cats and dogs! Hurts every time. They truly have individual and independent personalities, but most of all they have love! Thanks, Scott
My story is so different from yours. I do not believe that a “weak heart breaks more easily” ; my “heart” has been broken repeatedly since I was born. I call myself herein stout-hearted because I endured & survived relentless abuse from the being who gestated me. Also, mammals crave being touched & touching: myself, I love animals. I do not want to be touched by humans. I am happy among crowds in big cities. The famous anonymity in the herd on the sidewalks of NYC5+Yonkers. I grieve my losses: all but one are non-human. I followed you on Twitter. Hope I wasn’t rude; I have PTSD & OCD. And a convoluted recombinant katakana floating point unit story.
My Dad use to say (god bless his soul) if there are no Weddings to Celebrate and no Funerals to grieve! There will be no life! And ….. everything in between keeps the society and human connection moving. Little that he knew that future will be in the hands of bunch of platforms who will take over our society. Look what we are making of ourselves and our Kids! The society is now about likes on Instagram and Facebook. Zoe was not only part of your family but also she was your emotional bond. It is okay to miss her and cry it is only okay to open your heart when grieving! When will these big advertisers take stand on FB and Instagram etc etc and follow the same principal as they all speak about; inclusive world. We must realize that social media is creating a major mental crisis for our kids! Sorry for your loss will keep her in our prayers and love. ❤️ U Zoe!
Crying my eyes out! Definitely got the emotions going. Just had a baby (already 5 months has passed) and have a 6.5 year old dog – your comment on time summed up exactly how I feel. Thanks for the blog Scott – one of your best!
Our first dog passed a few years ago. I wrote this then and it helped me square my sadness and feelings:
“How sad you are when someone leaves or passes is directly proportional to how happy you were when they were here. I wouldn’t trade the happiness to skip the sadness of anything or anyone worth grieving.”
I vowed to spend 12 years being sad, but a new dog love of our life has filled the hole… I don’t look forward to when that hole opens up again, but I’m trying to just enjoy the ride ;). My youngest son often opines how much he misses Odie. For him, the hole is still there.
Sorry for your loss, congrats on your love.
Waterworks this morning reading this. Thanks for sharing and caring.
I’m sorry for your loss. Dog love is true love. My life goal is to be more like them.
The reason you’re the big dawg is you have the guts to take a stand, and be ethical and compassionate in the process. Don’t ever stop.
Ah – our first dog Sophie – black lab who found 2 stray kittens, brought them home to our farm and helped raise them. Really. Buds for life. Scott Galloway, you are a hero of mine – I just howl at your jokes and life perspective – pardon me while I go find a box of tissues.
Dogs are special creatures that steal our hearts….and help us to become human.
We have a Vizsla named Heidi who is 10 years old. Our sorrow is already building. Thanks for you message, there is somehow comfort know there are others who understand that kind of unconditional love.
“Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.” –
This essay is a gift to those of us who have lost pets and continue to mourn their passing.
I Loved your post about Zoe. We had a very similar experience with our Bella. She was my first dog, and it was absolutely soul crushing. I knew the kids would be upset, but I had no idea how much her passing would affect my husband and I. It was a deep sorrow. I am a fix it person. Maybe the realization of true powerless over time and death made it so much worse, I don’t know. I could never rationalize how terribly sad I was, like you crying at the drop of a hat, except that when you Love a dog and a dog Loves you, it is the purest unconditional Love there is. They see you at your best and your worst, behind the closed doors away from the external personas when you are your most vulnerable, and they are still so incredibly happy to see you every single time.
Thank you for your post. I’ve always liked and believed in your message, now I know that I can trust your heart as well. ♥️
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Joy and sorrow go hand in hand. Kahlil Gibran – one of my favorites.
Like everyone else in my life..my dog MacDuff was needy…but the tradeoff was worth it. He was faithful loving and most importantly never complained.
Have not met a human who hit that trifecta.
I always enjoy reading your posts on a lazy Saturday but that one went deep. Like you I have lost several friends of the canine version over the years but in truth they are still with me deep inside. Hope that Zoe continues to inspire you.
I learn a lot from your posts but please sir your dog is not just a dog animals have emotions and souls please let zoe rest in peace please . i know its tough but you must let go . Also I am not accusing you of that american marketing nonsense to get hits and popularity but if you are then there is no hope for you
I remember when you posted this originally and it was as touching now as it was then … so beautifully written and full of truth.
Wow! This went straight to – and through – my heart.
I feel your pain, Scott. Our black lab Rudy transitioned a little more than a year ago. He was a rescue dog. Old. Deaf as a brick. Stubborn. Ate toilet paper and got into garbage. Cannot believe how lucky we were to have him. Enjoy the memories.
Over the span of 2 months, we lost both our Great Pyrenees, Max and Hailey. Devastated still. But the depth of our grief, as great as it is, is a small price to pay for the love we got in return for 7 and 11 years. These are the things that make life so rich.
Accepting a separation due to death: I quote the great Philosopher Seer Jiddu Krishnamurthy.
“Then, if one may ask, do you really know what sorrow is? Are you experiencing sorrow as strongly and urgently as you would a toothache? When you have a toothache, you act; you go to the dentist. But when there is sorrow you run away from it through explanation, belief, drink, and so on. You act, but your action is not the action that frees the mind from sorrow, is it? “I don’t know what to do, and that’s why I’m here.”
Before you can know what to do, must you not find out what sorrow actually is? Haven’t you merely formed an idea, a judgment, of what sorrow is? Surely, the running away, the evaluation, the fear, prevents you from experiencing it directly. When you are suffering from a toothache you don’t form ideas and opinions about it; you just have it and you act. But here there is no action, immediate or remote because you are really not suffering. To suffer and to understand suffering, you must look at it, you must not run away.
“My father is gone beyond recall, and so I suffer. What must I do to go beyond the reaches of suffering?”
We suffer because we do not see the truth of suffering. The fact and our ideation about the fact are entirely distinct, leading in two different directions. If one may ask, are you concerned with the fact, the actuality, or merely with the idea of suffering? “You are not answering my question, sir,” he insisted. “What am I to do?”
Do you want to escape from suffering, or to be free from it? If you merely want to escape, then a pill, a belief, an explanation, an amusement may ‘help’, with the inevitable consequences of dependence, fear, and so on. But if you wish to be free from sorrow, you must stop running away and be aware of it without judgment, without choice; you must observe it, learn about it, know all the intimate intricacies of it. Then you will not be frightened of it, and there will no longer be the poison of self-pity. With the understanding of sorrow there is freedom from it. To understand sorrow there must be the actual experiencing of it, and not the verbal fiction of sorrow.”
proof that scott should have gone into literature and not business.
I agree with Devin. Scott you are truly a talented writer. It is amazing.
I love yours posts. And this one really struck a chord. Thank you for your words every week.
Vizshlas the most loving pups.
Sorry for your loss, Scott. Thanks for sharing with us this journey and your love.
So sorry for your loss. I went through chemo this year and our vizsla Luna would snuggle with me in bed after treatment. It was the most comforting feeling. They are the best dogs.
Scott, I love your podcasts and your writing, but this post is just in a separate league. It is so vulnerable and sincere; beautiful and powerful. Thank you for sharing such an emotional moment that helps us all remember on what really matters.
I have been fortunate to have and love dogs all my life.
Each time they died of ‘old age’, I was a basket case.
My last Dachshund was put down, by a lovely stream, in my daughter’s and my arms, by my kind and caring vet.
Then the strangest occurrences in the following months: I heard her footsteps on the carpet, then a sigh as she settled in her little basket. To me, it seemed she was saying goodbye and that she was all right. I felt comforted.
I know all the dogs in my building and they know me.
I couldn’t acknowledge your tribute when it first appeared, too many kleenexes. More this time.
Keep your memories and you will have new ones with your new pup and family.
This post made me emotional. Reminded me of Kerry, my brothers wee cocker spaniel that he bought as a surprise for his then fiancé. Dogs are definitely a part of the family.
It’s fitting. As much as I enjoy your posts, this one is the best I’d read. If you’ve been a pet owner you know how much they bring to your life and unfortunately sometimes also experience the end at a strip mall clinic (because it was the only option.) You conveyed both extremes in a way we all understand. Glad to hear you are enjoying your newest addition!
Right there with you Scott: decades of “douchdom” (minus Maserati, volleyball court – though plenty of sand), ah let’s get married but no kids (two grown daughters later) several dogs (one that failed with an internal illness that only allowed left hand turns and erratic bowels) and so love did and does persevere. Our new pup, Cokie (yes, namesake to Cokie Roberts) is a curious smart dear that understand ONLY one bed in the wee hours of the morning is “OK.” Cheers to you, your family and persevering. Be well.
We put our 16 year old dog down in April 2020. My daughter, now 14, grew up with him by her side. Never knew a day without him. She’s an only child- she called him her brother. She has a new pup but his memory is a strong and tears are still shed. Thank you for sharing.
This post is a tremendous tribute to a canine life well lived. Really sorry for your loss.
Brought a tear to my eye – beautifully written.
I have never cried as much as I did when I had to put my dog down as well. Tears flowed out like never before or since. Time really does heal all wounds Prof G, but you have to let the stages of grief play out. You cannot fast track it unfortunately.
When my parents died in close succession, I had an incredibly hard time with it. Especially considering my tenuous relationship with them, or perhaps because of it.
My brother, who is spiritual but would never call it that, gave me a book that contained the following Buddhist belief. Though not necessarily a comfort, it has on many occasion brought me back from the brink when grief sneaks up behind me.
The Five Remembrances | Thich Nhat Hanh
I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.
I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.
I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.
All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.
My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.
Timeless and beautiful piece, please share it every year as it speaks to so many in different ways each time. Lovely Zoe, may we all have one in our lives
Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to Zoe. Sending warm condolences to you and your family.
I saved this one the first time. It hit me harder the second time you posted it (especially the part of your secret pact on the couch each evening). We don’t deserve the unconditional love that dogs extend to us… I said it last time, but again I am sorry for Zoe’s passing. Leia is a lucky girl to find your home.
I’m just as moved by this story, maybe more, as the first time read it.
Such a beautiful and meaningful post. Thank you for sharing.
the Iroquois, as a form of prayer would offer their dog as sacrifice to their God for they knew that God knew that something so pure and loyal as theor dog would never betray the meaning, sincerity, or need of the petition.
They are a true gift to us that teach us who and how to be.
My favorite eulogy:
The Best Place to Bury a Dog
We are thinking now of a setter, whose coat was flame in the sunshine and who, so far as we are aware, never entertained a mean or unworthy thought. This setter is buried beneath a cherry tree, under four feet of garden loam, and at its proper season the cherry tree strews petals on the green lawn of his grave. Beneath a cherry tree, or an apple, or any flowering shrub of the garden, is an excellent place to bury a dog. Beneath such trees, such shrubs, he slept in the drowsy summer, or gnawed at a flavored bone, or lifted his head to challenge some strange intruder. These are good places, in life or in death. Yet it is a small matter, and it touches sentiment more than anything else. For if the dog be well remembered, if sometimes he leaps through your dreams actual as in life, eyes kindling, questing, asking, laughing, begging, it matters not at all where that dog sleeps and at last. On a hill where the wind is unrebuked, and the trees are roaring, or beside a stream he knew in puppyhood, or somewhere in the flatness of a pasture land, where most exhilarating cattle graze. It is all one to the dog, and all one to you, and nothing is gained, and nothing is lost - if memory lives. But there is one best place to bury a dog. One place that is best of all.
There is one best place
to bury a dog.
” If you bury him in this spot, he will come to you when you call – come to you over the grim, dim frontier of death, and down the well-remembered path, and to your side again.
” And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel, they shall not growl at him, nor resent his coming, for he belongs there.
” People may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass bent by his footfall, who hear no whimper, people who may never really have had a dog. Smile at them, for you shall know something that is hidden from them, and which is well worth the knowing.
” The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of his master.”
By Ben Hur Lampman
from the Portland Oregonian Sept. 11, 1925
So sorry for your loss and sadness. There is a place in heaven for people who gave a life of love and care to their pets. Thanks for sharing. The difficulty of having pets is that we often outlive them. However, they bring the best out of us, and that gives meaning to the pain of the loss. We’ve been through it many times. Each time we swore that we’d never do it again, but we do. We adopt retired police dogs and want to give them the happiest life ever for their service.
Thanks, Dawg. Lost my Golden of 16 years, Barkley, last month, who was mentor, silent witness, and sweet spirit for 3 grandkids, homesick University students at the local coffee spot, and the rehab addicts who wandered over. He loved them all. Post was spot on.
Revealed so much emotion when my Standard Poodle had to be put down, that they did not charge.
Very sorry that Zoe crossed over. We put down our 20.5 year old cat three weeks ago today. We only had her about 2 years – she belonged to my best friend before we lost him in the pandemic. Some twin grief going on now. And similarly, another reminder I will never have that time back with, my cat, or my friend.
I love that quote. I have been saying something very similar to myself, and it helps when I start crying to think of the love I feel for them and remember the moments I felt it strongest.
I love everything you write, but this is one of my favorites!
What a beautiful message for Zoe. My condolences.
Thank you sir, your article touched my heart.
This is a beautiful, tear invoking story. We are nursing a kitty in her 16th year and it is very sad many days. She won’t give up and we won’t give up on her.🥲🥲
I am so sorry about your lost, I know your feelings I have my own “Perrijo” its a poodle of 11 years that is the king of our house, he is pure love for my boys, my wife and myself, they only ask for love in return of unconditional love. Un abrazo Profesor Galloway.
Thank you for sharing. If you believe that dogs have an afterlife you sent Zoe to that space happy and fulfilled with closure. Your surviving pet thanks you for being there as I have read they are aware of there 4 legged siblings death and need closure too. My Zoe forever visit you in your dreams.
Beautiful words brother. My nearly 14 year old English pointer Stig went afew weeks ago. I was a mess for a fortnight. My ex wife and I sat with our hands on him (home call vet so he was safe and happy) as he passed. His prior week was filled with KFC, the beach, a party and all the cuddles.
Which makes me ask – why can’t we (humans) die like our dogs?
Thank you for the tears and the smile.
Bella and I had the same pact about the couch!
I think it was john Naisbit the author of Megatrends “way back in the 80’s who said the more we have high tech. The more we need “high touch” .high touch could be a walk in the park , going on a picnic . Or in this case a special bond and time on a couch with a special pet . It’s all about balancing things. We recently lost our 10 yr old Shih Tzu – Lilly , who was on special diet dog food . After she passed we called Chewy to cancel the standing order. Two days later we got a floral arrangement from them . Just when you think you’re just a click on a keyboard humanity comes through. High tech – high touch
So sorry for your loss Scott – but well done for being able to express your grief (and love) thru your blog. A fine testament to Zoe. And what a way to go – surrounded by those who loved her. We should all be so lucky.
When this column was first published in March, I wrote to you that our dog was failing and that every day was a gift. This week we said goodbye to him. I am grieving
truth and only you may speak it
No one adores you more purely and eternally than your dog… only they run for the door when you get home with their entire being wiggling with joy at your return. The loss of such unadulterated love is deeply traumatic. Thanks for sharing, be well and stay safe.
Thanks for sharing this touching story. Zoe was beautiful!
Leia is gorgeous too!
I don’t have a 10th of your ability to construe words into such powerful messages full of love and emotion. My condolences and i thank you for sharing. I lost my dog in early 2020, and my home has not been the same. This post allowed me to grieve, just like you i felt my role as a parent was to remain stoic and upbeat, and i barely had time to process our loss before the rest of 2020 happened. And i can assure you your pact was Zoe was not as discreet as you think, it was just honored by the rest of of your family.
As someone that has spent the last 10 years volunteering in the animal welfare sector, this is the best post by far! Wishing you many happy years together.
My heart breaks for you and your family. We’ve lost dogs, the most recent Harry, in a very similar fashion just as the pandemic began. I’m not crying, it’s allergies…
You write so beautifully, and I am crying. The loss of a pet is as tough as it gets. There’s a void, an empty bowl and many broken hearts. You will meet again at The Rainbow Bridge and Zoe will be that pup you brought home years ago.
Thank you Professor for penning this down! Loved the quote, love perseveres. I have a 2 yr old golden and as I read this, I pictured her all along. Sorry for your loss. Leia is adorable !
As a teenager I had a Border Collie that was my constant companion, accompanying me on my paper route, fielding my errant baseballs, keeping me warm at night. As a fairly shy, introverted, kid, she was in many ways my best friend. Then she was gone. I was heartbroken. I vowed never to get another dog because I never wanted to feel that crushing emotional loss again.
35 years later my wife and I adopted a male lab. His presence and unconditional love were a constant source of joy for us until his death at the age of 14 from cancer. But now, it was not an emotionally crushing loss, just a sad farewell for a friend I would not be seeing again.
In the intervening years I had attended the funerals of both my parents and four in-laws. You realize that death is the inevitable, but the time you had with a loved one, person or animal, is yours to keep forever.
My dog was that way and I still miss him. Why not buy another and call her Zoe..this way the love continues to be updated
We lost our beloved 14 year old pup in July. We still talk about her, daily. Sometimes it is sad, but mostly we smile. I hope Zoe’s legacy brings all the feelings to you and your family too.
My condolences for your family’s loss and hey to Leia.
I am crying quite profusely after finishing reading this beautiful post. You captured the feeling I had a few weeks ago, when I thought my beautiful cat Fifi was about to leave us from kidney failure.
The tears kept coming, and coming, and I realised it was because I felt so much love, gratitude and so much joy at having had her in my life.
Fifi is stoically perched on the side of the sofa while I type this. She got better, a miracle according to the vet. The awe and the love of this pre-grief I experienced are still there, if anything stronger than before.
Thank you for sharing.
Thanks for the post. Thanks for sharing a bit of your humanity. It is appreciated. It is what makes YOUR posts so worthwhile; knowledge, insight, experience AND humanity. Keep up the good work. These qualities can’t be faked; ya gotta have it in YOUR soul!!
I love the humanity and vulnerability of this post. Sorry for your family’s loss of Zoe.
Oh my heart! #truth
Had to say goodbye to our lab of 15 years last June. Came at time when one kid was out on his own, another preparing to move overseas, and our last starting to apply to colleges. Our dog’s passing was more than just his passing, painful as that was, it was a real mark in time when our family is changing. Hits me all the time. Thanks for writing this, hits me right in the feels.
Condolences Scott …
And yes … perseverance is the only way – congrats on the new pup
Dogs are man’s best friend – always loving us unconditionally … we are blessed to have them in our lives
Cherish the memories of Zoe 🙂
Scott: Beautifully written and touching for all dog lovers. We have three now and have had to say goodbye to two loving and faithful labs. I am reminded of the tear-inducing but comforting las lines of the following Dog’s Prayer:
“A Dog’s Prayer
Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the
loving heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience
and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.
Speak to me often, for your voice is the world’s sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of
my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.
When it is cold and wet, please take me inside… for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to
bitter elements… and I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth…
though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow
in the warmest home in all the land… for you are my god… and I am your devoted worshiper.
Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you
when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to
walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in
And, beloved master, should the Great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me
away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal
rest…and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands”
Made me verklempt. Love the quote. Says it all. Sorry for your loss.
Thank you for your honesty … and warmth. It was quite touching.
It’s everything. The little things, the moments, the memories.
Fully understand. We had to put down our two dogs (12 &14) on the same day. Hardest thing ever. Wept for days. Unconditional tail wagging love. Great memories.
My 4 year-old rabbit is sprawled at my feet as I read this with dread of his eventual demise. The species doesn’t matter when it comes to the emotional investment we make in our animal companions.
Thank you for sharing (again)! Life and love is perseverance. Happy holidays and say hi to Leia for me!
Hey Scott, this posted resonated so much with me. Our dog of 10 years we told this week that she needed to be put down by our vet (she has Addison’s disease and was having a crisis), yet we took her to an emergency clinic and they were able to save her. We hope she has another year or two left, but we know it’s borrowed time at this point. The whole “before kids” “after kids” for emotionally energy is on point. We used to have birthdays for her every year (stopped once we had kids) — but once we shifted our emotional energy to the humans, she became even more important, helping pick us up when we were done. Can’t imagine a life without her though I know it’s coming soon 🙁
I don’t have the time to read everything of yours. I am glad I did now. Beautifully worded, and so recognisable. Time is a bitch. Better learn to accept her.
Tremendous story telling. Hugs for your loss of dear Zoe. Im 56, hubby is 61. Our weimaraner pups, Olive and Birdie, sit nearby–ages 1 and 3. They will be our last dogs. And i know the day will come, either we outlive them, or they outlive us. “A reminder that time is the most relentless force in the universe: No matter what we do, its thievery marches on.”
I’m not crying. You are!
May Zoe’s memory be a blessing.
Scott this is a beautiful, beautiful post, thank you for sharing. I’m now a blubbering mess (*pushes back from my desk*) and in reading, this is possibly the most alive and connected I’ve felt in a while. Much of what you share resonates and I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like Zoe was fortunate enough to be surrounded by some really loving humans. ❤️🤘🏽
I was bawling by the end of this post, this is so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.
Me at 56 also find emotional fluidity out of control my Zoe is very old and overweight but greets me as she has for the past 12 years I know her health isn’t great and I’m sure the vet would agree. To loose her would be devastating , I really don’t know what purpose we ultimately serve but as days seem to end faster and faster maybe there is no reason.
Is it possible to grieve your own children’s growing up in real-time. Every year they grow up a little more and need me less and less. Most likely just selfish, but it’s devastating
Reminding us of what is truly important in life. Touched! Great piece Dawg! All the best.
Hi Scott. An excellent read and resonates strongly with a similar experience I had with my first Black Lab. Your words brought sad and (but predominantly) happy memories back.
Your cousin in Scotland 👍
Long time reader, first time caller.
I am subscribed with several inboxes and I wanted to know when you stopped testing subject lines and why.
Scott, thanks for another great thought provoking post. I have had dogs all my life, I am presently 71. In May of 2020 we had to put down my 13 year old Bearded Collie. Gracie, like Zoe would climb up and fall asleep on my leg. Perhaps it was that trust or perhaps the shock of mortality that has caused this loss to shake me to my core. I think of her constantly, the other dog in my house misses her and our new Beardie is constantly compared to her. The loss from this passing still hurts, but it gets easier every day. Hold your family (including Leia) and cherish the times together. As you know too well, nothing is guaranteed. Be safe my friend.
To live in this world
you must be able do three things;
to love what is mortal;
to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it;
and when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
And for those whose faith is deeper then mine ….
“God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe she’ll be there.”
~ Billy Graham
I am also a 56 yo man, reading this with my 1 1/2yo lab Cooper sitting next to me on the couch (I also had a no couch rule that my girlfriend ruined), and crying more than I’d like to admit.
I can relate to the memories tied to her life and the march of time.
Thank you for this. I became a fan after seeing you on Bill Maher. I now listen to you and Kara as well as your individual podcast.
In the past you have made me laugh, contemplate, self-evaluate, cringe, and today…feel. Thanks.
The hardest thing I’ve done to date was to put down my dog 4 years ago. She had been a witness to leaving one business, watching another fail, moving across the country, and moving back. All without lodging a single complaint. Her steadfast loyalty helped comfort me through it all. My sincere condolences to you and your family. Happy Holidays.
I feel you man. Lost my girl (Lab) of sixteen years, a few months ago. Can’t think of moving on yet…
You’re an excellent story teller
P.S. You had me at that ‘WandaVision’ quote. That was one of the best lines of dialog ever spoken on the TeeVee.
“A reminder that time is the most relentless force in the universe: No matter what we do, its thievery marches on.” This sentence makes me want to go and seize every last bit of joy out of today while also wanting to curl up and mourn the passing of time. I’m going to choose joy. Thank you.
“time is the most relentless force in the universe” goes right beside the WandaVision quote as one of the best lines ever.
beautiful tribute and yep, I learned something!
I’ve been a fan since you showed up on Maher. Listen to Pivot regularly, read most of your posts. I know you’re all about business and tech, but this is my favorite thing you have posted since showing up on my radar. I’ll be sharing it with friends.
That’s so moving. I’m crying and my dog is looking at my like yeah I get it I love you too bro. Thank you for so eloquently expressing this. My heart hurts for you and your family.
Scott, this was one of your best NM/NM posts ever. Greetz from the Netherlands.
Outstanding. Merry Christmas to the Dawg and his dog!