A Farewell to My Dog

Dear Chelsea,
Your name was chosen before you were. I was watching some TV show, and there was a character on there by the name of Chelsea. And I thought, “If I ever get a dog, that’s what I’ll name her.” Our family had had another dog before, and he passed away when I was eight. Mom and Dad swore off getting any future pets. After 3 and a half years of putting up with my whining, Dad consented. On February 16, 1987 (President’s Day), Mom and I went down to the Animal Cruelty Society in search of a puppy. Dad’s guidelines had been made clear. It must be a female. She must have short hair, so as to limit shedding (Dad is allergic to fur). She must be no older than four months old. And she must not have been a stray.

There were many dogs at the shelter. A few fit the criteria. I saw you standing in your cage. You were a gorgeous black lab with a white spot on your chest. You had just gotten fed, but you were too nervous to eat. They had you in a cage right above a doberman who was barking his head off. The noise bothered you. We read the card on your cage. You were a girl, so that was good. As a black labrador mix, we figured the hair would do. Your estimated age was 6 months. We figured Dad would bend a little on that rule. And, to my great dismay, you were a stray. After much prodding, Mom and I drove down the block to the nearest pay phone. Mom called Dad at work. Dad would not accept a stray. We got back in the car and went back to the shelter. I could not (actually would not) find another acceptable dog. I had seen you, and you were perfect. And I knew that you were my Chelsea. After more crying on my part, and another trip to the pay phone, Dad made a deal. We would try you out, but if there was a problem, it was back to the shelter. I knew in my heart that you would never go back, because anyone would love you. You were perfect.

So we took you out of the cage and I held you for the first time. You were about 40 pounds and full of energy. You gave me puppy kisses and wagged your tail. You became mine. We took you home. Your first act upon arriving home was to pee on the downstairs carpet. Being 11 (almost 12) years old, I took this as a sign of your brilliance. “Mom, she peed! She’s marking her territory! She knows she’s home!” You met Grandma and Megan and Uncle Jim. Megan was 5 (almost 6) years old and she was very disappointed about not having been able to help pick you out. She wanted to name you Leonard. For some reason, she could not grasp the idea that “Leonard” was not a good name for a girl dog. That, my dear friend, is why your middle name is Leonard. When Dad got home, you gave him the same greeting you had given all of us. And you became Daddy’s Little Girl.

I have so many memories of you flowing through me right now. We got you a red sweater for your first Christmas. I think it took three people to get you into it. I don’t know if dogs are able to be embarrassed, but I’m pretty sure that was the look on your face that day. You were mortified about having to wear that silly sweater. (To be honest, I don’t blame you). We used to put bunny ears on you at Easter, and reindeer antlers at Christmas, and bows in your hair on birthdays. You were much too dignified for such things, but we tried anyway. On my wedding day, Mom even had a corsage made and put onto a new collar for you. I appreciate the fact that you didn’t chew off the flowers.

Your favorite song was “Happy Birthday.” When you heard that being sung, you knew there was cake. And if there was cake, you were getting a piece. You got a plate of food on Thanksgiving and Christmas. You were afraid of loud noises. We had to give you “doggy downers” every Fourth of July so you wouldn’t be too freaked out. You hated thunderstorms because of the noise. You wouldn’t go out in the rain because you were afraid of water. You’ve only ever snapped at someone twice that I know of. One turned out to be a stalker, and one turned out to generally be a jerk. You always were a good judge of character. When you were in the backyard too long, and got tired of sitting by the door, you would ring the doorbell. Obviously, this was conditioning at work, but frankly, for a dog that was pretty damn smart.

I could go on with these memories, but it’s just making it harder for me right now. Today we had to take you for your final visit to the vet. You are about 15 years old (we estimated your birthday as August 16th). You could hardly see or hear anything anymore. Your kidneys were failing, and you were having trouble walking. As much as we didn’t ever want to have to do it, we brought you in to be put to sleep. Mom and I took the day off work. Mom and Megan and I wrapped you in your blanket and took you to the doctor. We all said our goodbyes and you went to sleep. You were very peaceful. You had stopped eating and drinking water, and we felt that you were telling us that you were ready. It was hard to let you go. We all love you so much. You were always a wonderful companion to us. You gave us all of your love and your loyalty. We wanted to give you a peaceful ending to the pain. We have always tried to be a good family to you. This was our final act of love.

I believe that all dogs do go to heaven. Grandma and Uncle Jim will be there with you. I know it won’t be home, but you can be young again there. I hope that there are birthday cakes and Thanksgiving dinners. I hope you’ll still get a milkbone treat every morning. And I hope that there are no thunderstorms.

What I did today was one of the hardest things I will ever have to do. I almost didn’t want to be there. But I was there 14 years ago to take you out of that cage, and I felt that it was only right for me to be there when you left us. I owe you that much. I will never know for sure if I picked you or if you picked me. Either way, I was always glad we had each other. And you will always have a part of my heart.


A touching tribute to a faithful friend. My heart goes out to you in this time of grief.

Jeannie, I’m so sorry. What a wonderful and touching tribute to what was obviously a valued family member.

So long chelsea! may heaven be filled with cookies and sunbeams.


I’m sorry that this had to happen. I know how you feel, only our dog drowned in our pool. I was the only one home and found her. It was a year on July 22, and this poem still chokes me up.

“Lost Pet”

I stood by your bed last night
I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying,
You found it hard to sleep.

I whined to you softly
as you brushed away a tear,
“It’s me, I haven’t left you,
I’m well, I’m fine, I’m here.”

I was close to you at breakfast,
I watched you pour the tea,
You were thinking of the many times,
your hands reached down to me.

I was with you at the shops today,
Your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels,
I wish I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today,
You tend it with such care.
I want to reassure you,
that I’m not lying there.

I walked with you towards the house,
as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you,
I smiled and said “it’s me.”

You looked so very tired,
and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know,
that I was standing there.

It’s possible for me,
to be so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty,
“I never went away.”

You sat there very quietly,
then smiled, I think you knew
… in the stillness of that evening,
I was very close to you.

The day is over…
smile and watch you yawning
and say “goodnight, God bless,
I’ll see you in the morning.”

And when the time is right for you
to cross the brief divide,
I’ll rush across to greet you
and we’ll stand, side by side.

I have so many things to show you,
there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out
…then come home to be with me.

Author unknown

:frowning: :frowning: :frowning:


My thoughts are with you.

What a great tribute to Chelsea! As doggie lives go, it sounds like she had a great one.

I’m gonna go make sure my mascara didn’t smear too much while I was reading(crying) through this.

i’m so sorry. what a great life she had with you.


I know how hard it is. Chelsea was lucky to have you, and you were lucky to have her…

May you find comfort in the memories, and hope in the knowledge that you did what was right.

We’ll be thinking of you, and your beloved Chelsea.

Elly and the SITSTAY Service & Working Dogs.

Awww, Jeannie…I’m so sorry. I’ve had dogs all my life and it never gets easier. But it is a really nice thing that you gave Chelsea a long, happy and loved life. I loved your tribute to her.

There is a slightly glurgy poem called “The Rainbow Bridge”…just search for it; it’s a tribute to departed pets. Despite being maudlin it makes me tear up every time. So I hope Chelsea is playing (without a sweater :)) with Bosco, Ajax, Jakey, Red Dog, Sluki, Peter, Rosie, Blot and Tyrone right now.


From Carina, Cooper & Phoebe (dogs), Darryl and Taz (cats.)

Nice tribute, Jeannie. There’s no better animal in the world than the dog, IMO. I had to put my first down many years ago, and know I’ll have to put my beautiful golden down in seven or eight years. The thought kills me. But without a doubt, there’ll always be a dog in my life. All you can do is try to give back to them what they give to you, and it sounds like you did that with Chelsea.

Again, sorry for your loss.


May you find some comfort in those loving memories of Chelsea. You have performed a noble, loving and selfless act though it’s not always easy to see at the time. What better way could any one of us all choose to depart this world then to be wrapped in the love and tears of those who love us most dearly, whom we deeply love and who wish only to ease our pain and suffering…helping us sleep peacably at long last.

My heart and thoughts are with you and your family at this difficult time. And just as others have said, it was a beautiful tribute–you did Chelsea proud.

All my sympathy,

Oh my God, I’m sitting here at the computer and having a hard time typing because I’m bawling my eyes out. Jeannie, you were a true friend to Chelsea, never forget that.

{adds Jeannie to mental list of human beings}

Nobody who loves a dog like that can have a bad bone in their body. I’m sorry for your loss.

If dogs don’t go to heaven there’s NO WAY there getting ME in there.


Jeannie, that was beautiful.

I’m too busy crying for you and Chelsea and all my lost dogs to write much more. It’s a good crying though.
Thank you.



She sounds like she was a WONDERFUL dog. And you sound like a wonderful dog owner. I’m so sorry.

So sorry about your loss, Jeannie. :frowning:

Oh, Jeannie, I am so sorry. That was a beautiful eulogy. But I am relieved that you were able to be there and hold her when she died.

(I wasn’t able to get to the vet’s in time when our St. Bernard was put to sleep. He was 13 and the best dog we’d ever had.)


My Julie will help keep your Chealsea company while they wait for us.

I read this thread at work today, and quite frankly I wasn’t able to post an answer previously. My condolences for your loss Jeannie. This November it will be 2 yeurs since we had to put the mother of one of my dog down. Charlie was 12, with cancer. Though technically I wasn’t her owner, I insisted to be there for her final moments. Probably one of the hardest thing I did, but still glad to have done it.

I still miss her.


I’m sorry for the loss of your sweet Chelsea… I did weep for her.
I’ve been a cat person all my life but my wife and I just got a Golden puppy two months ago. I can’t believe how this little guy is winning me. I was so busy at work tonight that I drove all the way home still thinking about work. My wife goes to bed just before I come home and Caymus is on his second night without a crate or leash. He heard my car come into the driveway and I was still in work mode… practically forgot that I even had a dog. When I opened the back door I was greeted in such a way that I’ve never been greeted… he was so proud of his liberty and so happy to see me! He almost licked my head off.

That said, I can’t even begin to imagine your pain. I’ve been a dog owner for a matter of hours compared to you and I’ll be in denial for his entire life that he’s one day going to go away. Your words were very, very sweet. I know that you will find your way, and remember, you were the most important thing that ever happened to Chelsea from start to finish. She’s going to sit and stay until you catch up. You’re both going to the same place.


One of the best things a human being can do is become a dog’s lifetime companion. The rewards are incredible; the love of a dog is overwhelming.

I’m glad you’re remembering Chelsea the way you are; all the memories she gave you will be with you always. You were brave, and did right by her.

She was a good dog. I’m not sure there’s any compliment on earth that can top that.