Thursday, September 16, 2010


As much as we wish this were not so...even the best of friends eventually part ways.

Last Friday I had to let my friend Joey go. I knew in March that we had turned a corner and were entering the home stretch of our run together. It was then when I promised him that when he was ready I would let him go. With this in mind, we had spent as much time as we could together. Sometimes he went with me to work or to run errands, but most of our time with each other was spent outside, sitting in the sun, and at night listening to the radio.

During the course of the summer my friend’s health continued to decline yet his puppy spirit continued to shine through, that is, until about a week and a half ago…when it was clear that it was time to let him go…he was ready for us to part ways.

Our last week together was a good one. I worked from home and as I did, Joey dozed at my feet, much as he had done for the last several years. My kids, knowing what was coming, paid more attention to him than usual…as for the first time they were about to lose someone whom they have known their entire lives.…Joey also received much love and support from many dear friends, old and new, who had shared in our journey.

My ex wife and I got Joey in 1995 from the Dedham Animal Rescue League. In those early days it was apparent that he was going to be a handful. While talking to her about Joey last week, she told me that she wanted to remember him as the out of control puppy she loved and who drove her crazy. I remember him, however, as an older dog who shared his life with me and who was my companion through good and through bad.

Thursday night I grilled a couple of steaks for us, served his on a plate, placed it next to him, and watched him devour an entire porterhouse in about three minutes. As he gnawed on the steak bone, I chatted with my dear friend who knew Joey well. A long time ago it she who gently told me that when the time came it really didn’t matter if I was ready to let him go… instead...I would need to let him go when he was ready.

Joey and I sat in the sun on our last morning together, ran a few errands, and then made one last stop at our favorite place. As we sat together on the Common, in the sun, as we did many times before. I thanked him for being my truest friend and for sharing his life with me. I told him that he was a good boy…

Finally…as he faded, I whispered to him our language’s saddest word….goodbye….


  1. So sad, Tom. I have been there with several horses and a cat and dog that were so precious to me. It can be so difficult with these animals that become such a huge part of our lives. I fully understand where you are right now, but I also know that finding that precious time that is neither too soon, nor too late for them is a gift in itself. Thinking of you...

  2. So sad and hard to let them go ... this post was a tear jerker ....

  3. I realize that this post is almost two years old, but i still had to comment....
    It brought me to tears, sitting at my desk.

    Your blog is interesting, I find myself wanting more of it!
    As a new blogger, I think i'll always have something to say... as a practical person, i'm sure i'll get too tired or too bored of it... we shall see.