Chasing Tails

I snapped this photo of Jennifer a couple weekends ago while the girls and I had a tea party in the shade of a tree on a perfect Sunday afternoon.  The portrait of a perfect pet. For the past eleven years, Jennifer has been another extension of my mother, a shadow, a constant presence in all our lives. She has been there. Loyal. Playful. Bright-eyed and mischievous, Jennifer was everything a golden retriever should be.


Jennifer left us on Wednesday evening. Suddenly, and without warning she was gone. The house, though still occupied by 5 adults, 2 children, 2 cats, and a 3-legged beagle, feels empty.  Hollow.  As if the pivotal piece of a magnificent puzzle is missing.

I can't help but feel like a complete idiot for blogging about the loss of my family dog. How profound an effect it has had on me, my brother, most of all my mom, who has a cavity in her chest where her heart once was. Empty. Aching. Threatening to hurt for the whole of her existence.  Jennifer was a dog, not a human. Not a child or a parent or a sibling. A pet. Four legs, shedding fur, stinky breath.

Except she wasn't. She was as much a member of our tribe as any of us. Another of my mother's children. My dog-sister.  And I ache as though that is exactly what I lost. A sister. A best friend. Gnarly breath and all.

I'm sure the ache of her absence will eventually dull, and our hearts will heal. There will be a new puppy who will fill the space that Jennifer once occupied, her barks echoing through the now silent halls, her nails clicking on the hardwood, her nose wetting our faces.  She will fill our home, and our hearts, without ever threatening to replace Jennifer in our memory. Instead, she will serve as a constant reminder that time heals all wounds, that love carries on, and that pets hold a place in our lives of immeasurable value.

I love you, Jennifer.
I'll remember you always.


  1. I know exactly how you are feeling. I lost my cat Ashes in July. He died unexpectedly in my arms on a Thursday morning I will never forget. 3 breaths and then gone. I still ache. I still can't look in his favorite room. I still cry when my daughter asks where her cat went.
    I am so sorry for your loss.

  2. Yep, made me cry, like I said it would. I knew you could take beautiful magnificent pictures of beautiful dogs.