Our Bert

Before there was blog there was dog. Bert was my best mate and confidante. Back in high school we'd sit on the veranda and chat. The conversation was mostly non-verbal, with me telling him how school sucked or my parents were jerks or boys were evil (the usual teenage angst) then occasionally saying out loud, "So what do you reckon?" or "Isn't that right, B?" and he would yawn in agreement.

Fence2Bert was the runt of the litter. His siblings got shipped out to other farms and forged illustrious sheep-chasing careers, but he wasn't very bright and couldn't get the hang of it. So his job was to just hang around the house. He claimed a groovy 1940s armchair that I'd planned to take away to university, and dug a Bert-sized hole in the seat. When I'd arrived home from a shift at KFC, he'd hop off the chair and do that leisurely dog stretch as he wagged his tail expectantly. He loved leftover chicken nuggets and gravy.

He was not a traditionally handsome dog. About a decade ago he developed a bald patch on his head, then a bald streak right down his back. His snout was patchy and he lost half the fur on his tail. He did have a ridiculous thick, clown-like layer of fluff around his neck that was as coarse as a doormat. Of course we thought he was gorgeous.

His dilapidated exterior suited his personality. You couldn't do normal dog things like take him for a walk or introduce him to your friends. He basically hated everyone in the world except The Mothership, Rhiannon and me. He wasn't nasty or aggressive, just slightly batty. He was fiercely loyal to the three of us, and despite the lack of brains and brawn he made you feel safe and loved. Whenever we left the house he always did what Mum called The Lean, sidling up and pressing his scraggy wee body against your legs and refusing to budge, as if to say Don't go don't go! He was extra leany the day Rhi and I left Australia.

He was also entertaining. Mum used to live in a house with a walkway beside it. Bert would slink up to the tall wooden fence when he heard footsteps then wait for the best moment to pop his head over and let fly with a giant WOOOOF, scaring the bejesus out of innocent drunks and old ladies returning home with their shopping.

The Mothership called on Saturday to say had Bert passed away. He was an old man, fourteen or fifteen years old (no one can remember for sure) so the news shouldn't have come as a shock. But three of us are utterly devastated. I've been crying my guts out. At first I felt stupid for being such as mess but he's been part of our lives for so long, he has seen so much. He helped us through many tough times. We leaned on him as much as he literally leaned on us. Bert was a man you could trust.

We all hoped he would hold until our visit at Easter, but Mum thinks the heat became too much for his weary bones; the temperatures in her part of Australia were soaring over 40'C (104'F) all week. Or maybe when she told him he'd made his debut on American television he just thought, Well really… where could I go from here?!

Bert-tv

The last time I saw Bert was October 2005. On the final day of our trip we did the Fat Jeans Photoshoot for a laugh. Mum kept saying he knew we were leaving, which is why he insisted on sneaking into every frame.

Bert and me

By then Bert was mellowing in his old age – he'd stopped barking at cars and had made friends with the guy who mowed the lawns. But he didn't think much of Gareth. He snarled upon introduction, then a few days later when Gareth was hanging washing on the line Bert wandered over and slowly opened his mouth then closed it again – there was an audible snapping sound, like a crocodile. We interpreted this as, Dude if I wasn't so old I'd totally go you.

After that Bert just ignored him completely. Here's Gareth after he climbed out of my old jeans. You can't see Bert's face but you can tell from the flattened ears that he is giving the stink eye.

Bert_g

Here he is doing two of his favourite things – getting a pat from The Mothership and also eating a lamb neck chop. Gareth threw him a bone in a final attempt at friendship. You could see the conflict in Bert's weary yellow eyes – I don't like this guy but I really love necks. He begrudgingly accepted and stalked off to a corner of the back yard.

Bert-ma

Bert chilled even further in his last few years, to the point where he had walks on a leash, talked to other dogs and loved cuddles from small children. I had high hopes that he and Gareth would be good buddies after Easter. I'm so gutted that we missed him by two months. You don't always feel the miles with emails and Skype but right now Oz seems horribly far away. I can't believe he's not going be there waiting at the back door of The Mothership's house. It's just not going to be the same.

I miss you B-Dog. I can't believe I won't see you again. Wherever you are now, I sure hope you've been reunited with all your missing fur.

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115 thoughts on “Our Bert

  1. Pets are called Family for a reason. They love us unconditionally. (Well, except for Gareth…) They are there for us at the end of the long day. They wag their little tails when we’ve had the shittiest of days. They know when we need love. They know when we need space. They know when we need a laugh. They know where the cookies are.

    I was completely, utterly devastated when my cat died. He was in his teens too. We had been through thick and thin (literally). We had been through illnesses together… we came out of them shining and being there for each other. Me with my depression, him with his kidneys. They told me when he was 2, he would die. He lasted till nearly 15ish. He was there for half of my life. Every day after the day they told me he would die, was a gift. He knew my love, no matter how far apart we were from one another. Bert never forgot you, no matter how far he was from you. And you, never him.

    The first time home, is a kick in the gut. I lost my dog Shiba about two years ago… no kisses, no licks, no crotch sniffing, no nothing. Emptyness.

    The pain never goes away, but it does get a little easier. Two years later, I still expect Shiba to come running to the door… I still expect Pugs, to come around the corner from a snooze in his favourite hiding spots…

    Keep the good memories strong. If you can, make a video of pics. I have one if you’d like to see, it was free to do… it really helped with the healing and I cried for months whenever I saw it. Now? I can smile and remember the good times.

    Great, now you’ve made me bawl like a baby writing this.

    HUGS!

  2. This is the saddest post, probally more because I have a dog who is my furperson best friend, God help me if anything happens to my Murphy, ( Lab) condolences to you and your family

  3. Oh Shauna, I’m very sorry for your and your family’s loss. I’ve had pets all my life and it never gets any easier to say goodbye to them. Bert sure lived a long life and was deeply loved by all of you, no doubt he loved you all too 🙂

  4. Oh Bert, happy trails…

    DG I really loved your post, especially:
    >>He helped us through many tough times. We leaned on him as much as he literally leaned on us. Bert was a man you could trust.
    and
    >>Dude if I wasn’t so old I’d totally go you.

    PS
    Is the book being released in Australia? Book tour Down Under planned?

  5. Oh, I’m getting tears in my eyes… three years ago, my husband’s cat Ziggy disappeared (stolen, we think). Last week, we got a call from a vet after a guy two suburbs away from us found him curled up dead in his front yard. They found us through his microchip. Ziggy was fourteen, but the worst thing about it all is that there are three years when we didn’t know where he was, whether he was dead or alive, happy or struggling. Oh, to have had one more day with him alive, hear his (very) loud meowing (he was Siamese, so could be very vocal!). We both miss him very much, but it hit my husband very hard – all I could do was give him lots of hugs. There’s nothing I can say to make you feel any better, Shauna – I just wish I could give you a HUUUUUGE hug too. xx

  6. I am really sorry to hear about Bert. I’ve been through it too and I thought I’d never get over losing my Megga Dog. Don’t feel stupid for being a mess… as you say he was such a part of your family – how could you not be?
    Thanks for sharing Bert with us. The image of him scaring the bejeebus out of drunks and old ladies had me laughing and teary eyed at the same time. Meg did something similar – bailed up our neighbour in a tree when we mistook him for a tresspasser. I don’t think I ever saw him move that fast before nor ever again. He stopped cutting through our property for some reason….
    (((hugs))) to you, Rhiannon and The Mothership.

  7. I had two cats that I left home with Mum. One year, a few weeks before coming home, one cat died (death by car), then the next year before coming home, the other almost died (saved by a good vet), and the following year it did die just before coming home – I got a little paranoid about going back to NZ in case someone was “next”.

    Animals sometimes seem rather inconsequential – until they go. Like good friends you don’t appreciate properly 🙁

    Cheers Bert.

    Scott F

  8. O man. This post is enough to make me de-lurk. Sorry for your loss…and that old Bert didn’t make it to Easter for a few more leans on you. We lost our old boy a couple of months ago and buried him in the Bawley reserve overlooking the beach. It was the site of many happy frolics. I cried buckets. Your post was a lovely tribute.

  9. So very sorry for your loss. There’s nothing like the love of a good dog–there really isn’t. And the distance factor sure doesn’t make it any easier. My parents and I have lost three long-time beloved dogs in the last five years and we all bawled our eyes out every single time. < >

  10. Oh we should never feel silly for being devastated when we lose our loved ones, even if they are smaller and furrier and don’t use indoor plumbing. They are the ones that are always there for you and give the best advice in purrs and snuggles (or, you know, bleating, if you’re into goats).

    I miss my big mastiff girl every day and snorgle on my kitties as much as possible, even though it seems they are hell-bent on destroying everything that I own.

    I am so glad you had your Bert and that he had you and yours : )

  11. I’m so so sorry. Pets are wonderful, but you’re correct, they do “gut” you when they die. Thanks for sharing Bert’s stories – he was quite adorable!

  12. I’m sorry you lost ol’ Bert. May your memories keep him alive in your heart always.
    With sympathy,
    MB

  13. I’m so sorry, Shauna. Big hugs to you, Rhi and the Mothership. It will be hard to go back and not see him there. I figure we outlive our beloved pets so we can spread more of our love around. Here’s to Burt romping in the fields, ignoring the sheep and up to his eyeballs in lamb neck bones.

  14. There is no question about it, our furry friends are as much a part of our families as our less furry bi-pedal ones and it’s terrible to lose them. My Staffy Brock drives me crazy some days, much like my little brother used to really lol (the joys of family no?), but if I were ever to lose him it would totally and utterly gut me and I would feel so alone at my place coz it’s just me and him. He’s there through the hard times and the good times and shares it all with me, even tho he can’t say much in particular about it I know what he’d say if he could. Even harder when life takes you off in different directions and you don’t get to see them as often as you would like. Bert sounds like he was an absolute legend, almost a Marley from ‘Marley n Me’ in some of his quirky ways (read it if you haven’t already, great story for anyone who owns a dog, I cried buckets!). It’s these quirky bits that you will never forget and that made Bert the companion that he was so what a great way to comemorate that with ur blog. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. RIP Bert, you sound like you had a wonderful life mate.

  15. Shauna, I am sorry about your dog Bert. He sounds like a true friend. I have just finished your book. I read it over the weekend and couldn’t put it down. So my memory is still fresh with you sitting out and feeding Bert chicken nuggets. My dogs love chicken nuggets too. I found this quote awhile back and I’ll leave it with you:
    “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
    -Josh Billings

    Thinking of you.
    Hugs,
    Sara

  16. Sorry to hear about your beloved Bert. As the owner of an imperfect, loyal to me, dislikes everyone else, kind of dog who is getting older (12), your post touches me. Dogs are a wonderful part of our lives and families and it is such a big loss when they pass. I am truly sorry you didn’t get to see him one more time.

  17. Sorry to hear about your Bert. My dog, Sam, died four years ago, and it was terribly sad. He was the reason my wife and I first met. We could all learn a lot about humanity from our dogs.

  18. Oh, your sweet dog. I’m so glad you blogged about him. Sending my sympathies.

    I also wanted to say you have a great blog. I found you via pastaqueen.com, and look forward to reading more. I also watched the clip you have on the early show- how awesome! Now everyone’s dreaming of being famous and skinny, just like you. 🙂 And I’m definitely putting your book on my wishlist. 🙂

  19. I’m so sorry to hear this. It’s never easy to lose a pet, especially one that’s been with you for years, and especially when you don’t really get to say goodbye.

  20. Dogs – they so enrich our lives and love us unconditionally. Feel for you for the big hole left in your heart. But one day once your pain eases you will be able laugh as you remember the pure joy he brought to your life. Love Z xx

  21. What a tribute. What a gorgeous, gorgeous tribute. Can’t write too much as am in tears.

    Going home will be bittersweet Shauna but remember however much Bert hated the world, it loved him back – especially you guys – by the bucketload. And, how fabulous that the runt of the litter gets global fame!

    Sending you, your mum and your sister massive hugs. To love a dog (and be loved back) is something else. It really is. And it looks like many readers feel the same.

    Big kiss to you all. Love from your dog-loving chum xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  22. Oh Shauna, I’m so sorry for you all. I can hardly type this through the tears. It’s never easy when a pet goes, I lost my dog and 2 cats within a year and vowed I would never ever have another animal as it was too sad when they die – then the local hobo cat moved in. I think he was waiting for the others to leave before moving in and taking over our lives!
    Your Bert sounded like the perfect dog, who needs an animal that’s well behaved and does everything it should? Much better to have a Bert. Your tribute to him was lovely and wil stay with me for a long long time. Much love and HUGE hugs to you and everyone who misses him x

  23. Hearing this story reminded me of when our family’s beloved dog Maggie passed away in December 2005 – we’d had her since I was ten, and she was about the same age as Bert. We were all absolutely gutted. I didn’t get to say goodbye either – I was living in Melbourne at that point, and she died the day before I came home for New Years 🙁 I completely understand how sad you must be feeling. Big hugs to all of you xo

  24. Oh DG, I’m so sorry. He sounds like a fantastic fella. I still miss my childhood best friend Sandy, a totally dumb but adorable Lab – the only one to understand my silly heady woes. Such a shame Bert couldn’t make it for your visit, your memories of him are hilarious though and will I’m sure help to keep him very much present.

  25. Thinking of you Shauna – and your sister and mum. I think all of us who have had a dog shaped hole punched through their life know just how you are feeling.

    love and sympathy
    Peridot x

  26. Oh Shauna, I lost my dog last week. He was 14, had bare patches and hated everyone but me. That’s the best kind of dog. Bet you’ll smile whenever you think of Bert.

  27. I can only say that I truly know how you feel. A good friend is hard to find…and harder yet to lose.

    Barb

  28. I’m so sorry for your loss, Shauna. I lost my 15-year-old cat a week before Christmas, and it really is like losing a piece of yourself, a part of your history. Bert will always live on in the funny stories you tell about him.

  29. I’m a long time lurker coming out of the shadows to say that you should most certainly not feel foolish for mourning the loss of Bert. Like other posters, I’m welling up right now, remembering how devistated I was when I lost my childhood pet at 20, Captain (the most wonderful collie ever – and I cried on and off for weeks), and how I’d feel if I lost my current pooch, Rufus (the sweetest poodle you could imagine).

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Shauna.

  30. Oh Honey, I’m so sorry about Bert, I know you loved him and he loved you…there’s nothing like the loyalty and unconditional love of your family pet. My kitties always seem to know when I’m sad and they consol me…and when I’m happy, they always seem to amuse me too. I can’t bare the thought of losing my two guys, heck I’ve gone into debt to pay for kitty dental bills and the proper care when they’ve gotten sick (and I’d do it again, it’s only money and they are far more valuable). My heart goes out to you and I somehow feel that all the beings that we love & loved are still out there somewhere and will be there eternally, never ending just evolving to the next state of being.

  31. Big hugs to you and Rhiannon and The Mothership!! My beloved beast had to have minor surgery last week, and when I left him at the vet, it made me think about what I would do without him. It made me incredibly sad and distraught-more than I would have imagined. It should not have surprised me-I was a teary snotty mess when my dog died in high school. They are true companions and your lovely words show how special they are. I got choked up reading your post and the comments.

  32. My pooch is 15 years old too and every day I hold my breath, if you know what I mean? So sorry for your loss, Shauna, and if it happened to me I’d cry for days too.

    xoxo

  33. What a lucky dog to have made the Early Show in his lifetime! Since I was a kid, I imagined that dog heaven was a big place for them to run and play with every toy under the sun and a giant toilet to drink out of. I hope you feel better soon.

  34. Our cocker spaniel Sally died when I was at school in England and Mum and Dad didn’t have the heart to tell me staright away and then kind of forgot – until the night before I was due to fly out to Nigeria for the Christmas holidays! I was prattling on about how much I looked forward to seeing Sal and then saw the ashen looks on my Mum and sisters’ faces!! That was tough so I know how much it hurts not being able to say goodbye.

    He sounds like a lovely fella. Happy trails Bert.

  35. Bert sounded like a grand old chap and you’ve really done him proud with this post.

    Losing your pet is just always really devastating and horrible, even when you know they’ve been getting on for a while. Me and my cat (also Bert) send you a big hug 🙁

  36. I’m so sorry Shauna! We are trying to nurse a 12 year old yorkie back to health right now. My husband and I may have a difficult decision to make soon :(. Pets become part of the family, it’s so difficult to see them go. Your post about Bert is lovely.

  37. Aww, Shauny- who’s to say you WON’T see him again? As I get older, I think that while I miss the ones that go before me, it just means there will be more of a welcoming party when I get to the same place.

  38. We know it’s going to happen one day but we are never prepared, are we? I cried when I read this and then went home to hug my 11 year old chow/golden retriever mix (Fagin). My condolences for your loss but Bert is now frolicking and eating his share of lamb chops!

  39. my gosh you made me cry rivers. I hope you see some comfort in that he was in your life for such a long time. How precious is not every moment we have with these furry parts of our families…

  40. I’m so sorry to hear this. I had a similar experience when I was living in England and my 14 year old dog died in Canada. I cried so much I had to call in sick to work the next day. Pets bring us so much joy, but it’s so sad when it’s time to say good-bye all too soon.

  41. I’m sorry for you loss Shauna. Dogs are so special!

    I hope Bert is enjoying running round doggy heaven with all the neck he can eat!

  42. God bless ya… I’ve got a 15 year old that is almost completely blind and deaf… he’s on his way out too but I try not to think about it. At least I can visit him weekly at my parents’ house.

    Mothership needs a new one right away! I vote for a Dandy Dinmont for the Mothership… it seems like a good fit!

  43. Hi Shauna – I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. We lost our family dog, Denver, last year of old age, but he had a good life. Maybe Bert and Denver are playing in Doggy Heaven.

  44. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I have fallen completely in love with our various farm dogs over the years. Each time I swear we won’t replace the last because I don’t think I can stand to give my heart away to another. But alas, my kids bring another dog home and I’m completely smitten. My “Bert” was a German Short-hair named Barney who loved me unconditionally and followed my kids around the farm all day long. Right now my heart belongs to my Lab, Charlie. I feel your pain, DG!

  45. **** Tears overflowing in eyes ********

    We had Jake. My Bert. He was a golden lab who wasn’t that bright but so lovely. Sneaky, lovely, naughty but fiercely loyal. I recall post Anterior Cruciate Ligament repair operation and I was in full leg metal brace and Jake tried to take off down the drive. I stepped to stop him, slipped on ice and couldn’t get up. Even though he had been trying to run away he came back, found a groove in my mangled body to snuggle himself into and sat there till help arrived, innocent as hell. He died two years ago, he was 15 and Mum phoned me at work to tell me!! WTF, could you not have waited an hour till I got to your place to pick up my child you were looking after?? Did I need to be howling my eyes out at work??

    I feel your loss, Lots of love to you and yours and remember, Bert will live on in memories forever.

  46. All the dogs in my life have been such a joy and inimitable source of friendship, I hope my dogs are chilling out with B-dog over some lamb necks with limitless sites to pee on and bums to sniff. RIP Bert.

  47. So sorry to hear about Bert. I have my first dog now as an adult – we don’t know how old he is because we adopted him, maybe he’s close to 10? He’s a black lab and his name is Ed.

    At first I had no feelings towards him – it was like having a plant in the house. But over the years I have gotten used to him and now when I walk in the door he greets me wholeheartedly!

  48. sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved hound. loved reading about bert’s lean-in hug! our old dog bonnie used to do that too. dogs are so great.

  49. I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Bert – he sounds like a real character. When my 16 yo terrier Cookie died 6 years ago I swore I would never get another dog, couldn’t go through all that again but I did and Billy is just as wonderful as his predecessor.
    My condolences to you, the Mothership and Rhi.

  50. (hug!) It’s hard when a dog passes on. I’ve lost a couple and know that the current canine love of my life won’t out-live me either. We love them and then miss them. Bless you.

  51. Oh, Shauny, I’m sorry to hear about that. I’ve only had small animals, so never had one live to be fourteen – though I think when it’s a longer-lived pet it’s probably even harder to get used to them being gone.

    I have had people ask me what the point is of having guinea pigs – and people do seem to find it odd, if you don’t have children – but we do love them, and they have personalities even if they aren’t as intelligent or independent as cats or dogs. We would miss them terribly. But in the meantime they’re young and healthy and I try not to think about it too much.

  52. I was devastated when my dog Penny died after 18 years. She had first come into our lives when I was 13 – and like you and bert, she and I had spent a good part of my teenage years hanging out.

    The pet crematorium gave us a card with this poem by Rudyard Kipling:
    There is sorrow enough in the natural way
    From men and women to fill our day
    But when we are certain of sorrow in store
    Why do we always arrange for more?
    Brothers and sisters I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

    I’m not normally one who seeks solace in poetry but I have always loved that poem and found some comfort in it.

    Hoping Bert enjoying heavenly lamb neck chops somewhere!!

  53. 🙁 🙁
    I lost my pet ferret last year, and I was so distraught I couldnt get off the couch. I cuddled up to him and wouldnt move from the couch ALL day
    🙁 🙁
    I still miss the little guy, he was the best furperson friend a girl could wish for!

    PS. Ur blog is so encouraging, I have kick started my WW commitment again, and I am really committed this time 🙂
    Well Done and So sorry for ur loss 🙁

  54. Oh, I’m sorry Shauna. I know losing my dog…even though I was in college at the time and hadn’t seen him too much the past couple of years…was so hard!

  55. Shauna, I’m sorry you and your family lost such a wonderful companion. And that was a lovely post you wrote about him, too…made me teary.

  56. Shauna, I’m sorry to hear that you and your family lost such a wonderful companion. Lovely post about Bert, too…made me all teary.

  57. I’m sorry. 🙁
    It’s so hard to be away from home at times like this (even there’s another home to be in, eh?). I was living in the US when my cat-and-confidante, Fatty Puss became too sick to go on, only 2 weeks before I was due to come home. It’s… yeah. I’m sorry you didn’t get another goodbye.

  58. {SOBS}

    Umm, reading this while pregnant = really bad idea.

    Not just because OMG poor you and what a wonderful fella Bert was! But last time we were home I saw how old Scruffy was getting and I’m dreading a similar phone call any year now.

    {SOBS}

  59. Ive shed a tear for Bert and you all! I still get choked up when I think of dogs passed. They just give and give! I hope all these comments help you and your family at such a painful time. will think of Bert next time I cook lamb! x

  60. That is sad to hear that your dog died – pets are such an important part of a family and give us so much unconditional love and listening – sounds like he was a real character and I am sure will be much missed and that he deserves many tears!

  61. This post left me bawling my eyes out. After months of reading I am coming out of lurk mode to tell you how sorry I am to hear about Bert. Our pets are truly a part of their family and it really does hurt when it’s time to say goodbye to them. Hang in there, cherish the memories you have of Bert, and thank you for sharing some of those wonderful memories with us.

  62. Thanks Dianne – I’ve been trying in vain for two months to get those pictures taken down, no luck at all. Blahhhh!

    Thanks again for your comments guys! Hope to write a newie today xx

  63. I’m so sorry for your loss. Dogs do really become a huge part of a family. Bert looks like he was such a lovely dog and sounds like quite a character!

    My parents dog was recently diagnosed with arthritis and it suddenly dawned on me that she’s getting on a bit now – just the thought that she might not be around in a couple of years time makes me well up.

    My sympathies are with you and your family during this sad time. x

  64. I’m so sorry for your loss. I have an 18 year old cat and I know I’ll feel exactly the same when she goes. You have articulated it beautifully and brought tears to my eyes, as well as laughter for his antics 🙂 RIP Bert.

  65. I am so, so sorry, and know exactly how you feel, after losing my 17 year old furry little brother last May. It’s never the same once they’re gone… and I can tell you know, if you’re anything like me, you’ll miss Bert more as time passes. I still cry.

    Just remember all the wonderful memories you have with him. Bert’s weakness was chicken nuggets, my dog’s (Snuggles) was cheese. Maybe not the best diet partners, hey?

  66. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I hope that you and your family can always cherish the memories of him and not be so sad. The love of my life Baxter (husband and Basset Hound Otis are my others) is getting very old and has many problems and I worry everyday when it will be time. He was the ring bearer in my wedding and is considered to be my child. This reminds me to get an imprint of his paw asap to go with all of the photos I have of him. Have you and Dr. G thought about adopting a pet of your own?

  67. I feel your pain. I found out my dog Scruffy died last week while I was away skiing. I found out last night and have barely stopped crying since. Even though I’m at work. It feels so alone, like no one else really gets it, they think he’s just a dog, but that’s it… he’s not, they’re as much a part of the family as anyone else might be. And unlike family, he’s never going to let you down.

    You’re not alone, and thanks, you’ve made me feel a bit better about being completely devastated too
    :0( x

  68. I just found your blog and book today after listening to your interview on the Bat Segundo show. This post really hits home. My dog, Luckie, died last September at the age of 14. Although he was sick, it came as a great shock when I found him dead in the kitchen. I always thought he would be around. I still cry for him and when I’m home alone, I still expect him to bark when the mail comes.

    Losing the animals we love is very sad. I can believe you’re crying and very hurt because it does hurt. What a lovely memorial for Bert. I am so, so sorry for your loss.

  69. Shauna, I am so sorry for your loss. I got a Cairn Terrier named Candy when I was 16, and she died a few years ago aged 16.5 when I was living in London. She was always My Dog even though I hadn’t seen her for a few years, and I’m still upset that I didn’t get to say goodbye. She was a beautiful character, just like Bert was. Idon’t know what to say without getting sugary so just *big hugs* and I know how you feel.

  70. Oh my gosh, this brought back so many memories of our little family dog (well, she was a short but very wide English Bull Terrier) Babe. She had been living with my sister and passed away just two days before my sister and niece got back from their holidays. I had to break the news over the phone and it was a very sad moment. Even though
    Babe was very old, it was such a shock and we were all surprised with the force of the emotion. You know, it’s ‘just’ a dog and especially us country girls aren’t meant to get all pathetic about it when they pass!

    I think, with pets, it’s not just the loss of them, but also the loss of that link with our past. They weave their way into our memories, just by being there and involving themselves in our lives, pushing their way into the car, being loopy with happiness whenever they got to go on family trips. My favourite last memory of Babe is when she was watching the xmas tree with all it’s flickering lights and just sat there for an hour tipping her head side to side watching the lights and making the occasional grunt or whine. I think she was considering that there must have been 100 possums in the tree and wondering if she could get away with it if she mauled it to the ground.

  71. DG, so sorry for your loss! I have a funny-looking dog of my own (half-dachshund, half-labrador, if you can picture that) and every time I pull into my driveway and see his face pop up in the front window (he recognizes the sound of my car half a block away!), I’m awed by how much he adds to my life.

    Some people who’ve lost pets find the Rainbow Bridge poem a comfort:

    link to petloss.com