My Buddy.

Back in March, Linus went through a rough patch that landed us, late one night, at the emergency vet’s office. The situation didn’t look promising. In discussing treatment with the doctor, there were a lot of qualifiers—“if he even makes it through the night” or “if we can administer his medication”—that kind of thing. Before departing, the vet warned me of the “difficult decision” I would likely be faced with in the morning, if nature hadn’t run its course. It was devastating. I was a disaster.

For me, grief tends to take one of two forms. There’s the more typical version: a lot of crying, wallowing in general despair, foggily moving through the motions of everyday life when loss is all you can really think about. And then there’s the arguably more productive kind, wherein I distract myself with some large but detailed task in order to fleetingly create the illusion that something in this terrible fucking situation is within my control and that things may, eventually, return to normal. On this night I gravitated toward the latter. I’d recently read the majority of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo—a 200+ page self-help volume that could (ironically, perhaps) easily be condensed to a set of bullet points in a pamphlet. Kondo’s book promises a better life if you can train yourself to abide by the simple principle of keeping only that which “sparks joy” and disposing of, literally, anything else. This is a person who threw her hammer into the trash but found that a cast iron skillet worked just as effectively for driving nails into the wall if she felt compelled to hang up a picture—so maybe take it with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, with Crisis Zone emotions coursing through me, I started in on my entire wardrobe. That’s how I found myself months later getting dressed for a wedding, only for a vague recollection of donating my joyless suit pants to surface. Grief messes you up.

He did make it through the night. In Brooklyn there were emergency vet offices that remained open 24 hours a day, but no such option exists here—meaning that for real round-the-clock care, you have to transfer back and forth between the vet that’s open during the day and the vet that’s open at night. We did this for a few days. Having dealt with my clothing, I moved onto my books.

His situation hadn’t improved, medical options beyond his normal regimen of pills had been exhausted, and the doctors felt that there was nothing left to be done. And that if I wasn’t ready to make that Tough Decision, I should consider taking him home for one last night—where, they warned, he was likely to pass on his own accord. So that’s what I did. I wasn’t ready, not remotely. And in spite of his condition—unable to stand or walk and exhibiting no appetite—something inside me felt that he wasn’t, either. Maybe he’d turn a corner. And so I bundled my roughly 15 year old dog in my sweatshirt, hoping for just a little more time.

Within 24 hours, Linus stood up. He walked around a little, and started to accept food in the form of boiled chicken breast and rice. He wasn’t keen on returning to his regular food, so in the ensuing days and weeks and—to the shock and awe of the staff at the animal hospital—months, he gained back the weight he’d lost on an increasingly elaborate diet of chicken and rice and raw beef tripe and human baby food and the occasional can of sardines. Long ago, I’d made a simple pact with this dog: as long as he wanted to stick around, I would do whatever it took to take care of him. Which, honestly, is a helpful thing to remind yourself of when handling raw beef trip first thing in the morning.

We needed more time, and we got it. Remember how I said this was back in March? That’s March 2016. A year and a half ago.

Linus stumbled into my life at the ripe age of around 10 (I’m taking for granted that you’ve read everything I’ve ever written, which is maybe unrealistic, so here’s that whole story) back in 2012.  The gist of the story is this: a tiny dog in horrible condition was mid-capture by Brooklyn police; a woman interrupted the encounter because she believed the dog lived on my block; I happened to pass this woman while she was trying to return the dog home; the dog didn’t live there after all; she couldn’t keep the dog; I volunteered to take care of the situation; I did so by eventually deciding to keep the dog. That night, I sat with him on the bathroom floor in my Brooklyn apartment and, for seven hours, worked to free his little body from what looked like years of matted fur and filth. Looking back later, this struck me as a bad idea on a number of levels. Imagine it: being taken off the streets by a strange person, brought to a strange place, and being subjected to hours of what was surely uncomfortable and painful grooming and bathing at the hands of that strange person. He should have bit me, and I couldn’t have blamed him. He should have cowered in fear and confusion. He could have given me rabies, or infested the apartment with fleas or bedbugs. But he didn’t do any of those things—instead I remember his patience and seeming understanding of what I was trying to accomplish. I remember him starting to lick me with this determined fervor, like he was trying to return the favor. When I nicked his paper-thin skin, he yelped once and licked my face, as though he knew it was an accident and forgave me immediately. After it was over and time for bed, we tried to confine him to the kitchen for the night but instead he stood by the door and barked until I let him into the bedroom. All he wanted was to be close.

I didn’t know how much I would grow to love him. I’d always had big goofy dogs, but after getting cleaned up Linus looked like he might have fallen out of some rich lady’s Prada on the Upper East Side. He didn’t chew or fetch or tug or really play at all. At the dog park he just sort of trotted around on his own. And despite what people will argue, teaching a dog that old new tricks is…well, he wasn’t interested, so I didn’t push it.

His joys were simple and small. Occasionally if he was feeling particularly active, he might start humping a throw pillow. He liked shredding (but not really eating) leafy greens like kale and lettuce. Sometimes he could really get going on gnawing a pizza crust—a rawhide for the dentally disadvantaged. But mostly, he just wanted to be close to me—really close—at all times. Even as his faculties dissipated, he somehow maintained the ability to detect my absence and track my whereabouts as soon as I would leave him alone in a room, even if he seemed to be sleeping soundly.  Evidently, this is a common trait with small dogs—to bond really strongly to one person, even in a family setting—but I couldn’t help but feel like he was abnormally fanatical about me. Maybe because the feeling was mutual.

Without question, he was the most good-natured animal I’ve ever known. One thing that always stuck in my mind about the account of his rescue was that allegedly officers were afraid to approach him because they didn’t want to get bit. Because he was showing his teeth and snarling. “He looked mean.” I literally cannot imagine this, because Linus greeted everyone—man, woman, child, dog, cat, rabbit, etc.—the same way: eyes bright, head upright on his stocky little shoulders, ears alert, scraggly little tail wagging in this circular helicopter motion that pretty much defines that phrase “I can’t even.” Exquisite cuteness aside, I think this is what I most love and cherish about Linus. That thing, right there—that approach to the world—that even now I have a hard time articulating.

I never got to know what the first decade of Linus’s life looked like, and I highly doubt I ever will. All I know is what I can surmise from the condition he was in when he found me, which remains hard to think about. That somehow my little man ended up that way. That someone allowed him to. It’s the kind of shit that can fuck someone up—human or animal. That can make the world seem scary, or threatening. That can make people seem bad and untrustworthy. That can make the task of survival feel like an extended exercise in fear and reclusion and anger. It seems to me that it takes a certain rare and resilient kind of character to bounce back from that. To move on from it all with love and kindness and the ability to trust when experience has taught you the opposite. I think that’s called grace. I think that’s strength. And bravery. I think that’s being a total badass. I never thought a 12 pound dog could show me that.

As anyone who’s reached this point with a pet can likely attest, caring for a geriatric dog can be challenging, particularly when the health issues begin accumulating. Due to his background, we’ve always had our share of medical challenges—starting with probably never having seen a vet, been vaccinated, neutered, trained to live in a house or eat dog food; the list goes on. His teeth were so badly rotted that nearly half of them came out during his first cleaning. His first night off the street, Max and I quickly noticed a muffled, huffy kind of cough that we feared might be contagious to Mekko, but learned was actually symptomatic of a collapsing trachea—a condition evidently common among small dogs. “Imagine your throat is like a camping tent,” I remember the doctor telling me, “and then all of a sudden the poles collapse. That’s more or less what’s happening.” Great.

Shortly thereafter, a heart murmur was detected, and then congestive heart failure entered the picture with an attending handful of prescription medications designed to keep his ventricles pumping and fluid from building up in his lungs. His liver and kidneys began to struggle—difficult to treat because those medications would interact poorly with the ones for his heart. At some point, any advances we’d managed to make with potty training went out the window, and the composition of my trash can became about 50% used diapers (or, more specifically, an unbelievably absorbent female incontinence product called Poise Pads that I bought by the hundreds, which happen to be the perfect size to line a “tinkle belt” made for dogs). Gradually he lost the great majority of his hearing, reacting only to very loud sounds. His sight, too: the left eye was declared worthless, while the right seemed able to detect changes in light and the movement of large shapes. He began to have a difficult time with his right front paw—arthritis, perhaps. He lost a few more teeth. The doctor thought he might have emphysema. At home, I wondered if he was afflicted by canine dementia, since he seemed unable to recall why—other than sunbathing—we spent time outside at various points in the day.

I realize to some people this all might sound crazy. Like I’m a Crazy McCrazy dog person who couldn’t accept what was plainly obvious. And at various times, I struggled with this—because I don’t see myself as a Crazy McCrazy dog person who would prioritize my own selfishness over the suffering of an animal. Quality of life is a hard thing to evaluate, particularly when the one living that life can’t speak for themselves. But he really did still seem like a happy dog, content to live out his golden years with his ten pills a day and his diapers and his collection of plush beds scattered around the house.

There are people who adopt elderly dogs on purpose, which I find exceedingly admirable. At 22, I know I wasn’t one of those people, and at 28, I’m still not sure that I am, though I wouldn’t dismiss the idea out of hand. If you’re a dog person, I probably don’t have to tell you what terrific companions old dogs can make. But the inconvenient and surprisingly taboo fundamental truth about adopting an older dog almost goes without saying : the more time that’s behind them, the less they’re likely to have ahead. So in taking responsibility for that life, you’re also sort of immediately confronted with the inevitability of death. Which, of course, could apply to all living things, but I think is much easier to ignore when you take home a puppy instead. I realize this probably sounds miserable—to live constantly with this sort of unpredictable specter of death, looming ahead at a distance that feels impossible to gauge. But I think in some ways it’s the opposite. You’re forced to face the thought of it, and as a result it becomes less scary. Less threatening. Another part of being alive. Time is precious and beautiful because of its limited quantity. Because it runs out.

Blunt as it might sound, I sort of hoped but also fully expected Linus would someday die in his sleep. It just seemed to fit with the order of things: this dog that slyly worked his way into my life, who followed his own rules and never seemed interested in observing mine. Who could bark endlessly—never, not once, out of fear or aggression, but because he wanted something and “no” did not register as an acceptable answer. Linus’s way or the highway. I always had this idea that I didn’t really own him, that he wasn’t really my dog. He had this whole past that belonged only to him. He might live in my home and accept my care and affections, but he’d still never really be mine. The idea of choosing to end his life for him seemed, for a long time, like an impossibility. It just didn’t fit.

After that scare in March 2016, it seemed apparent that our time left together might be very short.  He’d go through a few difficult days, and then he’d bounce back, and part of me began to believe that maybe he really would outlive us all. But the other part of me—the part more acquainted with reality—recognized that the time we had left, at this point, was borrowed, and I had to accept that it would soon come to a close. That he’d no longer be here. I think he fought for so long to make sure I was ready to handle that. That I’d be OK.

About a month ago, Linus’s slow decline seemed to speed up rapidly. It started out essentially the same as episodes we’d weathered before, but this time just felt different. I can’t really explain it. We went to the vet, who calmly and quietly confirmed what I already knew. It still hits you hard, to hear it. It’s still shocking to be presented the option of either doing it right there and then or waiting. I realized I’d spent more time trying to ready myself for the time after this—going home to one dog, filling one food bowl, being alone on the sofa while I wrote or watched TV—than the moment that precipitates it. The one where you have to say goodbye, the one that I hadn’t anticipated because I still expected to find him one bright morning, lifeless in his bed, gone on his own time. And again, I found myself unprepared.

There’s a Yiddish phrase that translates to “the way it begins is the way it ends,” and maybe the reason I deluded myself into expecting a different ending to this story originates from my misreading of the beginning. We decided to go home. The doctor could come to the house the next day. I held him all night and into the next morning, which turned into one of those perfectly crisp but sunny fall days where you’re warm as long as you stay out of the shade. We bundled up and sat in the sun for a while, and he seemed content. It’s weird, trying to fill that time when there’s an actual countdown. It feels really fast and really slow at the same time.

The doctor arrived. Mekko settled into a chair across the room. I held him close to me, and it ended the way it began—with him in my arms, safe, and granting me all the trust in the world that whatever I was doing was the right thing.

Choosing this conclusion wasn’t a punishment, I realize now. It was a privilege—one that he extended my way the night he walked into my life and chose to trust me. Chose to love me. Chose to be my dog.

Being your person was one of the great honors of my life, my handsome little man. I miss you more than words, and I’ll love you forever.

Life
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253 Comments

  1. I’m so sorry, Daniel. I think most of us can relate to your heartbreaking stories. I’ve had numerous cats, dogs and birds throughout my life and each of their passing was heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing this and remember that Linus hit the jackpot when he found you, and so did you. Love, hugs, tears.

  2. Daniel, this was so beautifully written. It never gets easier, but we do get used to it is probably the best way to put it. (I’ve been there too, with very old dogs and rodents.) You obviously made all the right and all the best choices for Buddy throughout his life with you — you’re the best dad. <3

    You'll always have memories of Buddy, and after some time goes by, the hurt will go by too. And there will will always be a Buddy-shaped place in your heart. I wish you love and peace. (((hugs)))

    Kate

  3. He was very lucky to have you. You did your best.

  4. Oh, dear God, Daniel! I am so sorry. You were both so lucky in your love and friendship. I am sitting here at my desk crying. Goodbye, little Linus. I loved you from afar.

  5. No words – such a life, such a loss. Thank you for sharing the story.

  6. Oh, Daniel. I am so very sorry for your loss. Reading about Linus has always been a highlight for me on your blog, and every time you link to the story of how you got him, I always go back and read it. We had to put our dog of 16 years to sleep last summer, and your story catches the still breath-catching pain of that decision so well. I am so happy that Linus found you, and that you recognized him as yours, even if it wasn’t clear at the time, and I am so sad for you now that he is gone. Much love from this stranger. Take care of yourself.

  7. What a good human you are, Daniel. Thank you for being a kind soul in this world of ugly. I’m so glad Linus had you and that you had him.

  8. This is a beautiful tribute to him.

  9. What a beautiful tribute. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  10. I am in tears reading this, my heart goes out to you in this time of pain. Dogs are perfect companions and we never feel like we do them justice as their humans, but I truly believe you gave him the love and attention he deserved. Up in doggy heaven, Linus is back to his puppy self, indulging in leafy greens. All the love to you and Mekko.

  11. This letting go sucks. Been there. I recall your post when Linus found you, the before and after pics from those first hours. What a lucky dog he was these last 6 years.

  12. So sorry for your loss. It is always a hard decision. We went through something very similar with our oldest cat.

    On the other hand, was glad to see a post from you. I was just thinking about your blog the other day. Hope to see more posts.

  13. Daniel, I am so sorry about you losing Mekko. What a wonderful tribute to the joy our pets bring to our lives. You are such a talented writer. Thank you for sharing this.

  14. I am so sorry for your loss, Daniel. What a lovely tribute to the amazing Lionel.

  15. Not something I should have read as a 6 months pregnant/hormonal and emotional old-dog owner, but SO, SO beautifully written. I’m so grateful for the time you had with Linus, and heartbroken for the end that always comes.

  16. I’m so sorry. It is obvious he had a great second part of his life with you.

    I adopted a 10 year old beagle, Noah, from the shelter almost six years ago. He also had a rough life before I got him. He had a pelvis and hip that had been shattered at some point and didn’t heal correctly and there was shrapnel still in his back from being shot. We also dealt with doggy diapers and a plethora of meds. Unfortunately, I had to have him put to sleep the Monday before Thanksgiving. He could no longer walk and he just seemed like he was done. Anyway, I sympathize; it is so hard to lose them, even when you expect it.

  17. Beautifully said. My golden retriever has been diagnosed with cancer, and I can really relate to everything you say about this process. Even if you have time to acquaint yourself with the idea of losing this furry someone, actually doing it is still heartbreaking. He was a lucky little guy.

  18. Oh, Daniel. I’m so very sorry. I’m sitting here with tears running down my face at this lovely tribute to your little man. I have indeed read all your stuff, so I’m very familiar with how much he meant to you. And it’s so difficult to say goodbye to such a good friend. I’m sure when he crossed the rainbow bridge, he bragged to all the other pets about what a good human he had. My sincerest condolences.

  19. This post is a beautiful testament to your beloved pup,thank you for sharing. Having an aging dog of my own, I can only imagine your grief. I don’t call my dogs “fur babies” and refuse to use the term. I consider myself a “sane and rational” person convinced I will make “logical decisions” when the time comes for me to weigh the same questions you have faced. All that said, when I think about my life without one of my dogs, I can’t. What I really mean to say, consider this a hug through the inter webs and know you made all the right decisions (not that you need a blog reading stranger to tell you so, but if you do, there you have it).

  20. Through my tearful, weepy eyes, I love you and that little dog. HUGS.

  21. Oh, man. I am crying. What an eloquent tribute to a very special soul.

    “The way it begins is the way it ends” — I lost my dog soulmate very unexpectedly and violently just over three months ago. She was three. We found her as an 8-week-old puppy when she wandered out from behind an abandoned house in our old neighborhood–we had been sort of talking about getting a second dog, but definitely not a puppy, and something a little bigger probably–but she was so perfect. She was the best gift God or the universe or whoever ever could have given me, and to have her taken away was (is) really, really hard. A few weeks into the grieving process I found this excerpt from Frederick Buechner’s “The Alphabet of Grace” and I just really like it a lot:

    “I pick the children up at the bottom of the mountain where the orange bus lets them off in the wind. They run for the car like leaves blowing. Not for keeps, to be sure, but at least for the time being, the world has given them back again, and whatever the world chooses to do later on, it can never so much as lay a hand on the having-beenness of this time. The past is inviolate. We are none of us safe, but everything that has happened is safe. In all the vast and empty reaches of the universe it can never be otherwise than that when the orange bus stopped with its red lights blinking, these two children were on it. Their noses were running. One of them dropped a sweater. I drove them home.”

    I’m so glad you and Linus found each other and will, in a way, have each other forever. Love and hugs to you <3

    • so sorry for your loss… violence is a harsh way to have to deal with in losing a pet. my heart goes out to you and your family

  22. Oh, Daniel. I’m so sorry. You have the biggest heart! I’m so glad you found Linus and gave him such a good life :)

  23. Beautiful beautiful tribute. Facing this with my cat right now (who is sitting right next to me, like he does), so the tears are very close to the surface. xoxo

  24. I’m so sorry. I’ve been a longtime reader/lurker, and remember when Linus came into your life. At the time I thought you were so brave to take on the responsibility of an older pup, because of the inevitable heartbreak I was convinced was waiting for you. But your sweet boy thrived under your care, and it has been such a joy to read about. Winnie the Pooh said,”Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart,” and it’s obviously true in your case. Sending hugs to you!

  25. Oh, Daniel, virtual hugs. <3 This tribute was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes thinking about my own pups. I whisper in their ears about my love for them and that they mean so much to me. I am so sorry for your loss. I am so glad though, that you held him until the end and gave him the love he needed. Thinking of you.

  26. Pardon me while I sob at my computer… I think about this often with my own pup (who just turned 9). This is beautifully written and heart breaking. I read something once that said something like “oh how lucky we are to have loved enough to feel loss so strongly.” Linus was so lucky to have found you. I’m so sorry for your loss!

  27. I say to my dogs “I will carry you from this life to the next” because having lived through what you describe… I understand it’s not just a privilege but a responsibility we take on for them. And framing it that way was what made the worst day of my life digestible.
    Time is the only salve. I wish that weren’t true, but it is.my deepest sympathies.

  28. I could barely read through this because I started crying right at the top – after the 2nd sentence. sending love – thanks for writing this post

  29. I’m so sorry for this loss. Your tribute is amazing – you two really clicked; thankfully for him, thankfully for you. {virtual hugs}

  30. Oh Daniel! I am so very sorry. Loosing a pet, to me, is like loosing a child. May you find comfort in the good memories. I am crying with you.

  31. I am so sorry for your loss. Linus could not have asked for a better, more loving human to care for him. Your time together was a gift. Helping him move on in the kindest, gentlest way possible was your privilege.

  32. So sorry for you loss! Truly they are part of the family!

  33. My heart is aching for you, Linus, and Mekhi right now. We’re so fortunate to have dogs we love and who love us back, but it’s so unfair that their lives are so short.

  34. Oh Daniel. I am so sorry.

  35. For me, my dogs show me what life and love truly mean. Life is happiness, snuggles, being silly, and greeting every stranger as a friend. To love and be loved by a dog is one of life’s most precious gifts. I am so glad Linus was part of your life, and I am so sorry that he has now passed out of it. Wishing you peace and comfort in the days ahead.

  36. What a beautiful and touching tribute to your little Linus. It’s so hard to let a pet go and yet, it’s the most brave and thoughtful thing we can do for them when we know their time has come. I too, have two senior dogs (two mini schnauzers – one named Linus!) and it is, as you said, so difficult to see them age and to accept that one day, you’ll have to make that decision. All we can do is love them in life and love them enough to give them a peaceful end. Thinking of you.

  37. Daniel

    It’s the worst. I’m so sorry. I had 2 dogs leave me in 2016 and the pain remains. It was still worth every day we got to spend together. Sending love.

  38. You have my sympathy. I had to make that tough decision in September for my little 15-year-old Shih Tzu, Holden. I miss him every day. I’ll adopt a rescue dog when I’m ready. Best wishes.

  39. Balling like a baby. You wrote this so beautifully and it’s a wonderful tribute to your sweet boy. We lost ours this May, different disease and conditions but same pattern, and you have so elequoently put in to words how it sometimes goes. My heart grieves for you loss. Thank you so much for this post.

  40. I’m so sorry, Daniel. You guys really hit the jackpot with each other, and it’s been such a joy to watch. I’m gonna miss him too, and all your “my little man!” posts on IG.

  41. My heart goes out to you and Mekko and everyone else who loved Linus. Losing a loved one, whether human or animal, is always so hard and I’m glad that Linus gave you this time to come to adjust. Well, as much as you can. Thank god, you still have Mekko to come home to. I hope she’s doing okay without her big little brother.

  42. What a wonderful life you gave him for the past five years, only to get it right back. It hurts so much but the alternative is not having little goofballs in our lives.

    For us it was our little Maggie, the most beautiful little chocolate Persian cat who didn’t meow but growled the most adorable growl we couldn’t take seriously. Took me a year to get another fluffy little goofball.

    You’re clearly meant to love dogs, and maybe when you’re ready there will be another little weirdo who needs you just as much as you need them.

  43. Oh Daniel what a beautiful tribute to little Linus, my heart goes out to you, you did your best that’s all we can ever do the love of a dog is so special and they are so much a part of the family, I’m sure that Mekko will miss Linus as well and won’t understand that Linus won’t be coming back, so he will need some extra hugs.

  44. My sincerest condolences. I’ve been missing your posts, checking in every day since your post about going to the auction – worried that something bad might have happened considering your absence. And unfortunately, the feeling in my gut was right. Find peace in the fact that the promise you made to Linus – that we all give to our pets unknowingly – to keep them safe and to, when the time comes, do what is best for them was kept. Again, my deepest condolences.

  45. This is the most wonderful tribute, he sounds like the most lovely little creature. I’m sitting here tearing up while I remember the dog I lost a few years ago. It’s a rough feeling and it really sticks to you, I hope you take comfort in the knowledge that you gave him the best possible life.

  46. What a beautiful tribute to him. I have a Havanese who is the same way- fiercely loyal and underfoot, always knows when to snuggle up if something is wrong, and now a best friend to my daughter. I couldn’t imagine my life if he weren’t in it. To have years with him was a true blessing, and you were his hero for saving him and giving him the end to his life he deserved. I admire your bravery to do what had to be done, and to be with him at his side when he passed. I am so sorry for you loss. I know nothing will fill the Linus shaped hole in your heart right now, but time will make it a little easier, and Mekko snuggles will help too. Your kindness to him was probably the light that guided him each day.

  47. Ugh. I wasn’t expecting to have to cry today. I’m sorry for your loss.

  48. As a relatively recent follower, I did not have the pleasure of knowing your history with Linus, but as someone who also recently lost a beloved puppy, I feel your heartbreak. Lots of love and consolation.

  49. I am so sorry for your loss.
    How wonderful that you got to know him. And wonderful tribute you wrote to him.

  50. My heart. Daniel, I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your beautiful loving journey with Linus.

  51. You have such a gift with words. Thank you for sharing the story and your lovely journey… you’ll always cherish the memories made with Linus, and because of you- he had a happy ending. Thinking of you!! So sorry for your loss.

  52. Beautifully said. If the world was filled only with those who honor and care for animals as you have, it would be a perfect place. RIP Linus.

  53. Daniel this was beautifully articulated and heartbreaking to read.
    I’m very sorry for your loss, but also glad for Linus, that he had someone who loved him so fiercely and looked after him with such care in his most vulnerable years.

  54. I am so sad for your loss. Love.

  55. Daniel my heart breaks for you. Its so, so hard to lose a pet. You two have had such a beautiful story together and you wrote about it so well.

  56. gorgeous memorial.

  57. You’re the best, he was the sweetest – thank you for sharing!
    I’ve missed you!

  58. I am so sorry, he was so lucky to get to live with you.

  59. So sorry, Daniel.

  60. I’m so sorry, Daniel. Thank you for sharing this story.

  61. Just so very sorry. You were the best ‘ person’ for him. Such a beautiful story. My heart goes out to you.

  62. This is so incredibly beautiful and while I’m aware of how useless any of my words would be in return, I do feel I couldn’t not say how moved I was by your and Linus’ story.

  63. Love, Love, Love to you!

  64. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I’m not sure the pain ever truly goes away, but I hope you’ll be able to remember his years with you joyfully.

  65. Thank you, Daniel. My two 14 year old dogs and I know just what you are saying and we send you our love. I’ve been through this too many times in my 75 years and it won’t be long before I have to go through it two more times. It is an honor; a heartbreaking honor. XO

  66. So very sorry for your loss. We’re right there with you, understand the pain and heartache, as well as the joy of looking back on all he is in your life and you in his.

  67. I have no words. what a beautiful tribute. *tears*

  68. “It’s weird, trying to fill that time when there’s an actual countdown. It feels really fast and really slow at the same time.”

    So true – fast because you want more time with your loved one, slow because you don’t want them to suffer any longer.

  69. Oh Daniel! I am so sorry for your loss. He sounds like he was a sweet little dog and you loved him very much. He loved you too, it seems. There is nothing more pure than a dog’s love. :(

  70. I’m so sorry for your loss, Daniel.

  71. UGh, it’s so hard and I hate it for you and him. The joy in loving a dog is also a curse in which they will never live as long as us. His story was fantastic though and he would have never been so lucky had his path taken a different turn. You and he were fated to meet, just like my last dog, Bella and I were.

  72. Oh my god, I read this at work and shouldn’t have. Because now I’m bawling. Happy sad ugly tears. I’m so glad you had the time you did with him, and so sad that he’s now gone. I’ve been following along since you found him, and I always loved hearing about and seeing him with Mekko throughout the many years on your blog. Thank you for sharing all your stories about his amazingness here with us. I’m glad I had the chance to know him even in that small way. :)

  73. Oh wooooooooow god help me I should not have read this at work. You did right by this little guy, Mr. Kanter.

  74. My parents just had to make this same decision a couple of weeks ago with one of our childhood dogs, a miniature pinscher named Spyke (so named by my then-11-year-old brother) that we had since he was 3 weeks old. Going over to give him one last treat and snuggle, and seeing my dad (who works from home and spent basically all day every day with Spyke) holding him close to his chest with tears in his eyes just about undid me. Spyke was about to be 16 (maybe 17?) as well, and was one of the most spoiled dogs alive. It’s so good to be able to give them a life of love, but so hard when it’s over :-(

  75. Dear Daniel,

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I cried the entire time while reading it. I completely understand how you feel and what you have gone through. I offer you my sincerest condolences but know that you have a special angel watching over you forever. I’m sure you gave Linus the best years of his life and the most precious gift, pure love. We are here for you. Hugs, Amanda.

  76. So very sorry for your loss. A beautifully written tribute to Linus. You gave him the golden life he deserved.

  77. I’m so sorry for your loss.
    My pets are my family too.
    All my love and support.

  78. Daniel, I am so sorry for your and Mekko’s loss. I can relate so well to what you wrote. And you wrote it so very beautifully.

    I know his memory will be for a blessing.

  79. Ahhh, Linus. I loved you too from afar, you sweet old gentleman. Thank you, Daniel, for writing about him so beautifully. I’m sorry you’ve lost him, and I thank you for loving him.

  80. O Daniel. I’m so sorry for your loss but I appreciate your story. This blog arrived in my inbox today, the day we decided it was time to put our 12 yo girl down. You’re so right when you say it goes so very slow and so very fast at the same time. This read is just what I needed to help me understand that what I am doing is the right thing for her. Thank you for doing the hard thing by writing this blog so it can be a bit easier for me. I’ll spend the next few days with her as close as I can feeding her cheeseburgers and ice cream <3

  81. There are no words and yet words are all we have on offer. This quote was sent to me and I’m sending it on to you:
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened” ~Anatole France

  82. Daniel you really are my hero. I remember when you got Mekko, and not long after ended up with Linus. I loved that you decided to keep Linus and even used your apt. therapy prize money to get him dental care. You’ve always been so selfless with those dogs and I’ve loved reading every bit you’ve shared about them. This was such a truly beautiful tribute you shared with us today and I agree with other commenters that Linus is probably somewhere bragging about you. I’m so happy Linus found you and that you were together at the beginning and at the end. Hugs to you and Mekko.

  83. this is a beautiful tribute. dogs are the best. you did right by Linus, for your whole life together

  84. That was incredibly beautiful and heartbreaking. And I’m so sorry your time together has come to an end. Big hugs to you.

  85. What a gorgeous and moving tribute. All the love in the world to you and Mekko. Here’s to you, Linus!

  86. Daniel, I’m so sorry. I’ve had old cats, rather than old dogs, but the experience is so much the same – making our homes a safe space as they age, and then sending them on to their next adventure with love. And sometimes there’s that one who just has an extra big piece of your heart, like my Milo, like your Linus.

  87. I’m so sorry for your loss. I had to make the same decision for my 11 year old rabbit this summer. She lived about a month after the vet said the end was near and I cried every day, having no idea when I would know when the “right time” was was the hardest part. But the “right time” did show up, and we were both at peace with the decision once it was made. So hard to say goodbye, especially when you have to make the call. Very brave and kind to make the right decision for Linus. How lucky that you had each other for the loving time that you did. Hugs

  88. So sorry for your loss and what a beautiful tribute to Linus and what a dog does for our life.

  89. From now until forever, I’ll be sending this essay to anyone that loses a pet (including reading it myself). It is a privilege indeed and it’s what we all need to be reminded of when the guilt sets in. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  90. This is beautifully written and heartbreaking. We have been there and understand. Their presence never leaves us.

  91. O Daniel! Like others who have commented, I’m in tears…. what a lovely tribute to your little buddy. (I’ve been there with my own dog and several cats over the years and I think it is truly one of the most challenging of life events to lose a pet, and be left trying to figure out how you’ll go on without them.) Linus won the doggy lottery when he found you, and I’m sure he would tell you that, if he could– how grateful he is and how he wouldn’t have changed a thing. The one thing we owe our pets for their special love and companionship is a good death– this takes great courage and selflessness, to know when it’s time to say goodbye and face the prospect of life without them. I wish you peace and perspective on your grief and sending the very biggest of hugs……

  92. Oh Daniel, I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you so much for sharing Linus with us and for giving him such a beautiful second chapter of life. We should all be so lucky as to experience the love of a dog like him. xoxo

  93. Because of you, Linus had a worldwide fan club. Cat people, dog people, generic animal people, non-animal people–his story, his stalwart heart, his irresistible cuteness reached us all.

    Many of us probably suspected that Linus’ deteriorating health had something to do with your media silence and simply hoped you’d return when you felt able. Also like many, I’ve been reading since before Linus came into your life, voted for you in the AT contest that covered some of his vet bills, and have been in that situation with a beloved senior pet.

    We are all so very sorry for your loss, yet grateful that you and that little bundle of love had the chance to care for each other. Also grateful that you were willing to share the end of the journey with us. Finding the words couldn’t have been easy. I hope they helped.

  94. I am so, so sorry for your loss. I have always felt like your story with Linus mirrored mine with my old man PJ. I understand perfectly that internal turmoil that surrounds the end of life decisions for these old, sweet souls.
    We lost our old man about a year ago. We adopted him at 8ish in rough, rough shape from a family that neglected him. When he left us I was so distraught at losing my “spirit animal” but my boyfriend reminded me of our first vet visit and being told that he wouldn’t’ have made it much longer if we hadn’t brought him in. He pointed out that we had given PJ 5.5 more years to be a spoiled, loved, grouchy old asshole. And that’s what you did for Linus (though, it sounds like not the asshole part.) And as my boyfriend told me, “5.5 extra years? That ain’t nothing.”

  95. What a beautiful thing, his life – and passing – with you. I’ve lost elderly dogs the same way and your words are both familiar and comforting. Thank you for sharing this beautifully written tribute. I did know his story; your dogs are why I originally followed you, only to be sucked in by everything else! I’m sorry for your loss, I know it cuts deep. Much love to you.

  96. I am so sorry for your loss and so grateful that you gave your little man your best.

  97. First of all, I love you. And I loved Linus. You know that, but let me say it again: I LOVED THAT DOG. I loved him from the minute you sent me a text message in 2012 saying you found a little dog and he was locked in your bathroom and you had to give him a haircut and what in the world were you going to do with him? And then there was a photo of him—matted and filthy, with a rope around his neck, but still smiling somehow. Obviously a scrapper. I’ll never forget driving from Brooklyn to Newburgh with then-stinky Linus in my lap, on his way to a temporary home with my mother and Bernie, who would then also fall in love with him. Everyone fell in love with Linus, because he was furry example of the the best any of us could hope to be. He was a trooper, a lover, a survivor, and an all-around good sport. You both hit the jackpot when you found each other. Thank you for everything you did to give Linus the best life possible. It was an honor to know him (and to be licked by him, and even to have him poop in my bed). xoxoxoxoxoxox

  98. Thank you

  99. So sorry to hear of your loss. Linus had the best life ever with you, I’m sure. Thank you for writing this…it brought tears to my eyes, not only due to your beautiful story but also because it reminded me of my little Benji, who I lost to congestive heart failure a couple of years ago. All the best to you and Mekko.

  100. So, so sorry for your loss. You two were obviously meant to find each other, and this is such a moving piece that honors your time together. Thank you for being a good human. We will all miss Linus <3

  101. Daniel and Mekko, sympathy and hugs on the loss of Linus. I’m sitting here, at work, trying not to cry after reading your beautiful tribute.
    When I discovered your blog years ago, I went and read from the beginning, so perhaps, I have read every beautiful word. Thank you for sharing your wonderful pets with all of us.

  102. Aaaaand now I’m crying. What a beautiful write up for your boy.

  103. What a beautifully written entry, Daniel. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. Having gone through the same loss earlier this year with my beloved dog Charlie, I am now sobbing at my desk at work and sending an outpouring of love your way. I can’t tell you it gets easier, but it is at least comforting to know they are no longer suffering from their ailments. Much love to you. <3

  104. I’m so sorry for your loss. They are with us for such a short time, even when they join us young. You were both lucky to have found the other.

  105. Daniel, such a beautiful and loving tribute to your Linus. Having rescued my Jack many years ago I know that the connection is even stronger because they know that you saved them.

  106. Hi Daniel, I’m so sorry for your loss.
    You called Linus your soulmate a while ago. We have a new young dog since june this year. I feel like I now know what you meant by that (even though he is our fourth dog).
    Khalil Gibran has a saying that joy and sadness are connected, that great joy also contains the potential for great sadness. Over the years I have come to see that allowing that sadness it’s rightful place in our lives is a way to honor the love and joy. Remembering is ‘her-inneren’ in Dutch, literally it means letting something inside you again, our sadness really is love in another form.
    Mr. Gibran also remarked that we should remember, when sadness sits at our table joy will be waiting for us in our bed.
    I myself realise that our three previous dogs helped open my heart toward allowing our fourth dog inside it so completely and unconditionally.
    It’s a brave thing to allow yourself to love. I hope you and Mekko can find some sort of consolation in each other.

    • PS while walking our dogs (2) this morning I thought about this post. I cannot escape the impression -based on your description of his character- that someone has loved Linus very much before he came to live with you. our eldest dog was a stray when they found her, our new dog was born in a dogshelter from a pregnant stray dog. Our eldest dog has a very strong detection system for unreliable dogs and a healthy distrust of a lot of people (especially men). When we first had her she knew nothing about living in a house. Our new dog has a similar character to what you describe about Linus. He loves everybody and because of that everybody loves him, immediately. He is love of life in the form of a dog. He even galopped toward two swans this morning.
      So I think, if Linus had been a stray for all his life up until the moment you found him, his character would be totally different to what you describe. He would not have been so trusting, happy and open.
      Anyhow, like other people have said being responsible and caring for and loving animals, it is our -at times heartbreaking- privilege, joy and honor.

  107. Oh Daniel, I’m so sorry to hear that. I remember when he first found you (could it really have been 6 years ago?!) and his particular, silly ways have been so lovely to read about over the years. You were both lucky to find each other. My sincerest condolences. xo

  108. He was so very lucky to have you save him…he was loved.

  109. Sending a big hug, Daniel. This is an universal story, a dog and his person. Love, laughter, companionship, loss, memories. Maybe soon a smile when you remember.
    P.S.: I said it before, what an extraordinary writer you are. Please keep writing.

  110. I am so sorry for your loss. You did right by him. I heard an interview with an animal psychologist who said that dogs live in the present–they don’t get nostalgic about the past and don’t look into the future. I think you made his present as good as possible–even better–and that’s what counts.

    • I love that. We should all be more dog-like (in so many ways). Thank you for sharing this.

  111. I have so missed reading your posts, and hearing about your life, and now I understand why…………at least partly anyway. :( I’m so terribly sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is one of the hardest things in life to go through when you love animals………….it’s a pain like none other. Thank you for making his final years safe and happy ones! You’re a good guy Daniel.

  112. (((hugs)))

  113. I’d been wondering where you were. I’m so sorry for your loss and sorrow. I can remember having to make a similar decision and understand how painful it is. Wishing you find comforts in the days ahead.

  114. You write so beautifully! (And funny and clever, as well.) I’m so very sorry that you had to say goodbye to Linus. You certainly gave each other many wonderful years. That’s all we really have after letting someone go – the knowledge that we loved and were loved in return. I’m glad you have that! XOXO

  115. A bit of my heart cracked when I read of your loss. I recalled the grief I felt for the pets I had lost (some in their sleep and some because of my decision), both elderly and young. That remembrance awakens the tears of grief but also the smiles of joyful memories–the young cat who loved retrieving a thrown ball or the dog who was great with anyone who had been introduced by me and a lunger/potential biter with anyone who had not been. One in particular grabbed my heart and has still not let go and it sounds as if you have had the honor to be the human companion for one like that.

    My great sympathy for your loss…..

  116. I’m so very sorry! But what a beautiful tribute to a wonderful little pup! I have no words of wisdom to offer, but my thoughts are with you.

  117. It’s so hard to lose your beloved fur-baby.Whether it’s a cat or a dog.They ‘know’ you.They love you unconditionally.That one special pet,of which,all other pets(no matter how much you love them)will be compared to.
    Much love to you.

  118. Just a note to let you know that we just went through virtually the same thing, but substitute Linus for a cat: at 7, kitty Mabel, who had been rescued from the snowy outdoors as a kitten, was diagnosed with the most severe form of congenital heart defect. In March. Of 2016. Like you, we were told to be prepared for sudden death at any time. And there were a couple of times I had to call the hospice vet because she looked pretty bad (not in pain, but *bad*)…but she rallied: once for three months, and another time for one month. We gave her 3 or 5 pills every 12 hours. Have you ever tried to pill a cat? Every day; every 12 hours. For 19 months. (Cats should be like dogs and eat generally anything, right? Ha!)

    Well, we miss our girl like crazy, but she did give us a tremendous gift: every purr, every hop, every time she sat on our laps, we focused on the moment, focused on really loving her, because we knew we wouldn’t have her long. We could appreciate every funny, naughty, angry or happy thing she did, in the moment. We should be more like that with people, no?

    Heartfelt condolences.

  119. MAN! Linus was so lucky & so are we Daniel. Thank you
    Love & comfort prayers to you!

  120. Now I’m crying again. Losing your buddy is so heartbreaking. Lost my Zoe an English springer spaniel Monday of thanksgiving week. We always watch the dog show and cheered for the spaniel in the finals. Cried a lot too. We humans are so lucky to have had them in our life. Trying to keep that celebration of life in mind to stop the tears that keep flowing. Hugs and peace. Linus was blessed.

    • I grew up with Springers and we always watched the AKC show and cheered for the Springers, too! In the 90s, one named Robert won and we were over the moon!

  121. I´m so sorry for your loss Daniel. You and Linus were lucky to have found each other.

  122. So sorry Daniel

  123. Just want to leave you and your bae a virtual hug. It was clear in your post how much this little guy loved you and you loved him. (((hugs)))

  124. So sorry to hear the news.

  125. Thank you for this. I’m sitting on a train trying not to cry because this is my story too. My little elderly rescue pup died earlier this year. Heart murmur, diapers, getting lost in the backyard etc. He was with me for 10.5 years and I miss his little face all the time. I’m so sorry for your loss but thank you for expressing it so eloquently.

  126. I will always remember your description of Linus as a “tiny little old man in a lamb costume.” We all knew this day would come but it still doesn’t keep the sadness and sorrow away. Thanks for being such a loving pet parent.

  127. So sorry for you loss Daniel. Your tribute to him was really beautiful and it was always obvious that you were the best thing that happened to him.

  128. Your writing is beautiful, so was Linus, and this post just about killed me. I think its one of life’s biggest cruelties that we don’t get the animals we have, and keep them until we go ourselves. They’re amazing little creatures who actually family members in furry coats. Sending you all the love and light <3

  129. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  130. I’m so sorry for the loss of your little dog boy.

  131. Oh Daniel, I’ve been dreading this news for so long because Linus was a old dog but I loved his little adorable self. Always looked for pictures of him to be sure he was still with us. It’s like a miracle that you found each other and he was able to receive so much love in his last years. I’m so sorry for your loss and so glad you opened your heart to him even as you knew the time had to be short. Hugs.

  132. I’m so sorry for your loss – what a lucky fellow he was.

  133. I’m so sorry to hear about Linus, Daniel. It is hard to let our buddies go, even when it is the right thing to do. I’m thinking of you as you adjust.

  134. In bits at this. Beautifully written for your beautifully loved wee man. He was very very lucky… but I reckon he knew it. ❤️

  135. Your words are so well arranged, and it was as if I was reading a well written book. Am truly sorry for this loss, but, as you know, you did all the right things. I have lived in multi Cat households for decades. I insist on being with them whenever I’ve had to put any of them down. Its difficult, but I always know its a blessing. Be Well, Cousin.

  136. I think your post about finding and adopting Linus was one of the first blog posts I read on your site. I remember it so well and it warmed my heart that you took him in. He seemed to fit so well into your household! Such a little treasure fell into your life that day. I am so sorry for your loss, and although I’ve never met you or Linus, I shed some tears for all of you today. Much love from the west coast!

  137. I’m crying Daniel. I follow your writing because I love how authentic you are, your voice seems familiar to me even though we will likely never cross paths. Thank you for sharing, and I am sorry that Linus has gone. What a lucky pair you were to have found each other.

  138. Thank you for sharing this heartbreaking tribute to Linus so that we, too, can grieve with you. He needed you so much when you met him and you gave him your heart along with loving care until the end of his days. A dog couldn’t ask for more than that. Hugs to you and Mekko. — Ginger

  139. Daniel, I know how painful this was for you, and the courage it took to allow Linus decide. How lucky he was to have found you, and how privileged you were to love him. Peace for both of you!

  140. Oh I’m so sorry Daniel. Goodbye sweet Linus

  141. Daniel,

    What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful soul. I’m devastated for your loss. It is one we face soon and it terrifies me. Our fur babies are so dear and it hurts so bad to lose them. It is always such an honor to care and love these gentle souls. I’m so glad Linus found you and you found him. My Kui is a 14 year old toy poodle that my wife is unreasonably attached to, and has become ever more attached to him over the past four month. They have been almost constant companions through a huge life change for the past four months. When he leaves us, my wife will be inconsolable. I’m so profoundly grateful they have had one another, but the blow will be severe. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with your reading fan base.

    Please, be kind to yourself.

  142. Dear Daniel, I am so sorry for your loss.
    The story of how Linus came into your life and you into his has stuck with me since the first time I read about it. You two and Mekko have been through a lot together, and I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to write these words and to just get back to a routine without him.
    It is a beautiful tribute, you did everything you could and you deserve the love Linus gave you, you really do.
    I missed your posts but I know it takes time to heal. I wish you and Mekko all the best.

  143. Beautiful tribute. Take care and hold on to the memories.

  144. Daniel,
    so sorry to read about your loss. As a Crazy Cat Lady I can absolutely relate to your feelings about loosing dear Linus. Thank you for sharing his beautiful tribute to him with us- your words captured my heart just like all the stories and pictures you shared about Linus.He was truely loved and marvelously cared for and I am sure he knew it. I wish you all the best- take care of yourself and Mekko.
    Hugs from Vienna!
    Lis

  145. Beautifully written and lived. I understand.

  146. Oh, Daniel, my heart is breaking. May I suggest a small book with your Linus writings and pictures?
    I have been there but never could write like you do. Love, Cindi

  147. Oh Daniel. I am so very sorry. I have no words. Just my deepest condolences. Rest in peace Linus. You managed to spread your love all over the world. xxx

  148. Oh Daniel, I’m so very sorry. Thank you for sharing Linus’s story with us all. When my dog George died suddenly a few years ago people told me, “he was so lucky.” But I knew that I was the lucky one. Lucky to have spotted him at the shelter and lucky to have brought him home and loved him for three years (the perils of an older dog rescue!). I’m now facing the end with my own Linus, a 19 year old cat who is literally skin and bones, with selective hearing and eyesight, wobbly legs and confusion. But he’s not yet ready, so I watch and I wait and I love. I don’t have your gift with words, so thank you for sharing them, I hold them–and you–in my heart.

  149. That was worth the long wait, Daniel. So well written, so poignantly true. We had to say goodbye to our dog too. Painful as it was, we would do it all over again. Thanks for sharing

  150. I am so very sorry for the loss of your dear friend, Daniel. We went they the same process with our sweet German Shepherd, Fly, about two months ago. This is an exquisite, beautiful tribute to your loving companion.

  151. Terribly sorry to hear Daniel. I remember reading that first post about Linus and crying then. I would say what a lucky boy he was to have found you, and he was, but at the same time every pup deserves the kind of family you gave him. Praying for you (and Mekko) as you grieve. Xx

  152. Dear Daniel, a brilliantly written tribute to a powerful relationship. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  153. Oh I am so sorry about the loss of your sweet little Linus. I have always loved the story of how you found him/he found you! Love and hugs from indiana.

  154. I’m so very sorry for your loss, Daniel. What a beautiful tribute to your wee fellow. I too was faced with the brutal non-choice choice in October. I miss my dear, needy old Clancy dog every single day. May you have more good days than bad and more happy memories than sad as time marches on. Some things are meant to be and you were obviously meant to belong to Linus.

  155. Daniel, I am so sorry for your loss. I only became a dog owner for the first time after graduating from college, and I’m dreading the day that I have to (hopefully a long time from now) say goodbye. When I do, I hope I have the strength to face it as you have-with love, sharing of stories, and the time to properly grieve. As others have already mentioned, you have a gift for words, and the way you told this story was beautiful.

    I came pretty close to a full-on, Marley and Me, ugly cry in public while reading this.

  156. So sorry Daniel. They are family. He had a good life there with you.

  157. It is so heartbreaking to lose a pet. Makes you feel so helpless. Unfortunately it happens to most pet owners and the fact that you made his life happy is what matters. Great memories, great joy and happiness they leave in our hearts. Rest in peace Linus.

  158. I shed some tears today. Linus was so lucky to have found you and you were privileged to have him. You took care of each other. Wishing you peace.

  159. Daniel, you are such an exceptional person. What a beautiful tribute to Linus. When you first found one another, I felt grateful for the grace of serendipity; you were meant for one another and the care you gave him and the love you shared was such a joy to witness. My heart grieves for your loss.

  160. I’m so sorry, Daniel. Sending lots of thoughts your way <3

  161. Linus’ transformation was one of the coolest things. I’m glad he found you. I’m sorry
    for your loss. One of the unfair things in life is how short a dogs life span is.
    RIP Linus.

  162. Blessings on you both.

  163. OH sweet little boy, that lovely Linus. I am so sorry, Daniel. I had to do that last summer for a cat who arrived in my life at 8 years old, and lived another 8. They choose us, and we let them go in the gentlest way possible. Peace to both of you, and Mekko.

  164. Everything everybody else said. Please never stop writing; your words are such comfort in this sometimes dark & unforgiving world. Thank you for sharing your life & stories. Love & farewell to your little man. Condolences to you & Mekko.

  165. I’m so sorry for your loss. The death of a beloved dog is absolutely awful.

  166. Beautiful memorial, befitting such a fine friend. Sympathies, love and light to you. xoxo

  167. What a gift Linus was to you, and you to him. And what a gift to us, your ability to capture and convey the paradox of love so beautifully. Heartfelt condolences on Linus’s passing, Daniel. You did right by him, from beginning to end.

  168. You have a way Daniel, with words and dogs. Thank you for writing this and giving me glimpses of Linus over the years. I hope Mekko and you have a lovely Holiday.

  169. I’m sorry for your loss. This is one of the most beautiful stories of companionship I’ve ever read.
    Long time reader – first time commenter.

  170. From your writings, it is obvious that you and Linus were meant for each other, and I’m very happy you found each other. I can’t imagine a more loving way to leave this life than in the arms of the person I love.

  171. I am so so sorry for your loss.
    We had to put our three year old dog down in June, he went into very sudden kidney failure, and I was shocked at how incredibly hard it was for us. We adopted him at year old, and never had any idea that anything was wrong with him.
    There is not much to say that will make anything better – just know that you gave Linus exactly what he needed: safety, love, and a family.
    Wishing you all the best

  172. oh man i am sobbing so hard i can barely see to type this. i know you know you were a wonderful human for your buddy – and that he knew it. what an incredibly loving tribute to him and you.

    my first cat died in my arms in a similar situation. since then there have been others but she was the hardest because i got her the month after i broke up with the man i thought i was going to marry… sixteen years later she passed in my arms – one never forgets that moment of life ebbing out … as i sit here with another wonderful cat curled up on her bed on the stool right next to my desk chair…well, we move on, accepting other animals into our hearts and yet we never forget…never. i hope Mekko is some comfort for you in this time.

  173. so beautifully written- i’m so sorry daniel. for those of us that have gone through this- you capture it perfectly. i’m so very glad that you two found each other and were able to love each other. big love to you.

  174. So sorry for your loss, and also so glad you both were such wonderful buddies to each other. We all – humans and animals – should so blessed. Thank you for sharing this with
    all of us.

  175. Oh, Daniel, I am so sorry. Linus was ckearly such a good dog, and you were such a good person for him. It’s never easy, but this is the sweetest tribute.

  176. Thank you for taking in Linus when you did, and for giving him 6 years of love and care. My sympathies are with you.

  177. Daniel, may I have permission to share your story of Linus with SAAP (Stray Animal Adoption Program). I believe you both will be an inspiration to those on the fence about adoption, I general. Linus may yet have something left to give. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the story of his life could save the lives of countless others?

  178. I’m so sorry for your loss. Look after yourself.

  179. Oh, Daniel, I am so sorry! What a great little guy he was and how wonderful that you two got to spend that time together. Rest In Peace, Linus.

  180. ಥ﹏ಥ

    I’m so sorry for your loss… Words just can’t. Thank you for sharing your experience, and I hope you find some solace soon

  181. I went through the same thing this spring, with my sweet old girl. It’s all coming back after reading your post. I just wanted to say, you’ll be in my thoughts. May we continue to learn from their graceful, patient, unconditionally loving examples forever.

  182. I’m so, so sorry. I lost both of my senior boys this year. Monkey managed to make it a little more than a year after his diagnosis of stage V lymphoma with CNS involvement (which was pretty much unheard of), but it still broke my heart the day we took him in. Goji followed a few months later with kidney failure. Both of them we had to make the decision that it was time. It sucks. It hurts, but I would never consider not being there with them right to the end. They taught me a profound level of patience and acceptance. No matter what Linus went through before you got him, he was a lucky little dude.

  183. I still remember reading your blog when you found him (or he found you). It was moving then, and reading this now brings tears to my eyes as my puppers lie at my feet. What a wonderful life he shared with you.

  184. Oh Daniel so sad for you to lose Linus. We usually all have pets in our lives but sometimes one of those little animals is extra special and completely captures our heart. There will never be another like Linus but as you say it was a privilege that you made his last 6 years so good for him and enriched your own life too. We have a small 8 year old dog who is devoted to my husband and always has to be near him. Murray is home most of the time as he is retired while I still work. When my husband goes out Tess lies on our bed looking out the window waiting dor his return. If he is away overnight she is totally depressed until he returns. We both love her to bits and dread the day of her passing which we hope, won’t be for a long time to come. My husband says she is the most special dog he has ever had. She understands everything we say and totally runs our household. Just like your Linus from the sound of it. I think the best thing you can do for a pet is to hold them and be with them at the end. It is a hard thing to do and when you feel them limp in your arms it is devastating but you have done right by Linus and given him everything that every little dog should have but rarely does. It is good that you have Meikko as a comfort. She will be missing her little friend too. Give her big hugs and lots of cuddles and shed a few tears in her fur.

  185. I never usually comment, but as I sit here crying at my work desk, I feel compelled to.
    I am so, so sorry for your loss. You have paid Linus a beautiful tribute and it is clear that you have done your very best for him, throughout your life together.
    Thank you for sharing both your exciting renovations and your harrowing moments. You are a good human.

  186. What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful dog. Thank you for letting your readers share Linus’s story all these years.

  187. You must be in so much pain right now Daniel. You were so lucky to have each other. I am sending you love and light and the hope that things get a little bit easier.

  188. So sorry to hear of your loss, Daniel. Thoughts with you and Mekko

  189. Thank you for this. I had a sweet little old dog that looked a lot like Linus, only more grey. We used to all him zombie dog because he seemed to always come back to life after medical events that I thought would surely take him. Nearly 2 years ago, cancer finally got to his mouth and ate half of it in what seemed like overnight. I needed to make the decision I never wanted to make, and part of me felt like I gave up on him because of his propensity to bounce back after so many things. It also ended with him in my arms, trusting me, and something about your post has given me peace in that decision. Thank you for sharing your heartbreak, and I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  190. So sorry for you loss! What a lovely tribute.
    Truly they are part of the family. I’m so glad you found Linus and gave him such a good life :)

  191. I’m so sorry for your loss Daniel! I’d been wondering about your prolonged absence from blogging and Instagram… and I’d hoped that it wasn’t because of something too serious… I know it doesn’t seem like much of a consolation in these situations, but you gave Linus a good life! And most importantly you also gave him a “good death” (that’s the litteral translation of euthanasia). And both take a lot of courage and a really good heart! #rescue #adoptdontshop

  192. Thank you for writing this. I have my own now elderly rescue dog so it hit home.

    My boy has much of the same grace and sweetness that Linus had, despite being badly mistreated before I got him. I like to think that he must have had a good start in life, to be have become again in adulthood so friendly with other people and other dogs (cats not so much), and this is some comfort. I would like to think that the qualities shown by your Linus also mean that he had many good times before things went wrong for him.

    The other thought that I have is that sometimes humans start to fail in their ability to look after themselves, for reasons both mental and physical, and that if there is a pet involved then the pet suffers without any intention on the part of the human but because of their lack of planning and support. I would rather think that my boy’s previous mistreatment was due to inability rather than deliberate cruelty, as compassion is an easier emotion to deal with than an impotent anger.

  193. A beautifully written tribute to Linus. I am so glad you found each other..

  194. Oh, Daniel, I’m so sorry. Your adoration of Linus was evident in every word you wrote about him. I remember back in the day, being halfway through your post about meeting him and thinking “there’s just no way this dog didn’t end up with him, he clearly loves him already.” Linus was so lucky to have you to care for him and appreciate him in his old age. It’s a bittersweet thing to find love in a dog you know won’t live very long, but it’s such a gift to be needed like that.

    My own rescue dog (Luna) is just the same in the way she greets the world—helicopter tail and all, just so thrilled to meet everyone. I honestly think it’s made me a better, kinder person to see people through her eyes. It’s impossible to articulate the love we have for them, but you did a beautiful job here. You and Mekko are in my thoughts.

  195. Daniel, I wish I could offer you any real comfort. I remember the first time you wrote about Linus; I remember being so happy that he found you to be his family. I have dreaded and accepted this post’s inevitable appearance for a long time, but I’m sorry that it’s now. I’m sorry that it’s ever. He had such a good time with you. I’m going to sit and have a cry and hope that my affection for you both, limited as it is by the weirdness of only internet-knowing you, makes it out your way.

    Big love to your weird little man.

  196. I’m so very sorry for the loss of your little ‘fur-iend.’ These bundles of fur come into our lives and provide us with all kinds of purpose and meaning. While the pain of your loss is great, I hope the tender moments of the life he shared with you provide some measure of comfort. Rest in pease, dear Linus.

  197. My 90-year-old grandmother had a stroke over the weekend, and I really needed to read something like this. Thank you.

  198. We had a little dog who had “health issues” he wasn’t expected to live to be more than 4 or 5 years. There was the special diet (though not as special as your beasty’s) the many pills several times a day. He was such a weirdo. His hair was always thinning and scraggly, he just didn’t look right, was always a bit more nervous and worried than he needed to be, but as the vet and all who met him said he was a sweetheart, and the healthiest sick dog they ever met. He lived to be about the same age as Linus. His name was officially Anubis, but it was also obvious to us that this soul was around for the first time and he was never anyone other than Nubie. Miss him every day.

    Now we have a rescue dog, she is the sweetest and kindest…grateful, but I get the whole “who rescued who?”

    (we also have Mo! who’s name does include the !, he mostly barks at the TV whenever there is an animal, a puppet of an animal, a cartoon animal, or when someone mentions an animal… he’s mostly loud, but he loves his new sister)

  199. What an incredible tribute to Linus. I’m so sorry for the pain of his loss but so happy that he was able to spend his senior year in warmth and comfort. Being loved is all any of us truly want and you gave him that love.

  200. I’m so sorry you have had to deal with Linus death. Both of your lives were richer having the ability to share your love. It’s amazing all of the life lessons you’ve been through with Linus. I know how much I love my two dogs and sincerely hope they outlive me. I truly can’t imagine what loss you must feel.

  201. Oh Daniel. I think it was just yesterday that I sent you a message that asked if you were ok. I guess this is my answer. Linus and you gave each other your best selves. I cried throughout your post, remembering different pets of mine who crossed over that Rainbow Bridge. Geez, I feel so bad for you. Remember the good times, when you can.

  202. Beautiful and true tribute. Now if I can just stop crying…..I’m going to go hug my “little old man” dog . Thank you for a lovely meditation.

  203. Daniel, I was dumb and read this at work yesterday and started crying at my desk. I’m even tearing up now coming back to write a comment! I’m so sorry for your loss but it sounds like you gave Linus a wonderful life even if it wasn’t for his whole life. I’ve been having lots of thoughts and feelings about my own pets’ mortality lately. Growing up we had indoor/outdoor cats and when you live in NH with things like fisher cats roaming around, most cats don’t make it past their 10th birthday. But I have indoor cats of my own now (one that I bottle fed as an abandoned tiny kitten!) and they are now 9 and 10 years old, soon to be senior animals. I hold them tighter each night knowing that while some cats live a long life, nothing is guaranteed. My mom also has my brother’s dog that he rescued (unknowingly pregnant with 9 puppies!!) before he passed. I know that when it’s Charlie’s time to go and we lose her it will be like losing a part of my brother too. I’m glad you still have Mekko to cuddle and I’m sending you any love and support I can through this online community.

  204. Daniel – I’m so sorry. I teared up reading this last night but didn’t have a chance to comment. I know I’m facing the end with my own beloved pup, and it’s devastating. She and I lived alone for nearly 10 years before my husband moved in, and that relationship is just…so incredibly special. My husband has only ever known her as an old dog with health problems and quirks, and he just doesn’t get it, much as I love him.

    I’m sending so much love and strength and peace your way. Your post was lovely and heartbreaking all in one.

  205. I’m sorry

  206. Who the heck brought onions to work!!!! Hugs Daniel. I dont know you, I just read your words, but hugs. This broke my heart.

  207. Daniel, I’m so sorry. My heart breaks for you but, oh, I’m so glad you found each other.

  208. Daniel – I’m heartbroken for you. How fortunate you and Linus were to have found each other to love and treasure. Thank you for sharing your story; it’s clearly touched many of us. Holding space for you in my heart and sending love.

  209. This is so beautiful and also heartbreaking. I went through this with my beloved cat and four years later it is still painful to think about that day. But I know how much I loved him and I really think he loved me too.

  210. I’m sobbing right now. Animals are miracles. They are so hard to lose. I’m sorry for your loss.

  211. Daniel, Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute – so perfectly expressed. I’m so sorry for you and Mekko and hope you’re both finding comfort with one another. I read a quote from Joan Rivers some years ago that said you never know how much you can love a pet until you have you realize they have a soul. That always struck me as so true and beautiful. I send you lots of love and hope that you’ll always feel peace in your heart when you think of your Linus.

  212. Daniel –
    I am so sorry for your loss. Linus found his person in you and was privileged to spend his golden years with someone who loved him unconditionally. Lots of hugs and love from a long time reader who will miss pics of both your loves.

  213. I am so sad to read this. But, be assured that no one could have loved and cared for Linus more. You were both lucky to have found each other. Having experienced almost your exact story, I am now crying for my beloved Lucy, also a star in the dog world.

  214. You have a big heart Daniel. So sad and beautiful at the same time.
    Much love from Brussels.

  215. Daniel, I am so sorry for your loss! Thank you for putting into words what so many of us have experienced. You and Linus were lucky to have found each other.

  216. Daniel,
    You have a good soul and Linus knew.

  217. I am so sorry for your loss. Sincerely.

  218. I’m so sorry. You wrote wonderfully about him – honouring him. Take care.

  219. I’m so sorry about Linus. Was crying as I read your wonderful tribute. Eight years ago, I adopted a 12 year old collie mix named Babe. She was left without a home after my friend’s grandmother passed away. I soon found out that her liver was failing. Meds and a special diet bought us a little time. I had her for just over a year before I had to make that horrible decision. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done and I pretty much fell apart. My only consolation was that maybe I gave her a good last year.

    Always remember that you gave Linus many good dog years.

  220. I’m so happy you got to love him and so sorry for your loss. You gave him the best years of his life and a peaceful sleep into the night.

  221. i’m so sorry for your loss. what a beautiful tribute to linus. regardless of what happened to him early on, you gave him a second chance at a great life.

  222. IM so sorry Daniel

    Thx for charing – and Thanks for seeing the way he went as a privelege, I gasnät looked at it that way. I feel you With everything. Had to say goodbye to My darling this summer due to hedgehog bite. To soon and such a stupid reason.

    Hugs to you

  223. I’m so sorry that Linus is gone. This is one of the most beautiful eulogies I’ve ever read. Clearly you were meant to be a part of each other’s lives.

  224. I’m so sorry. They come into our lives, in all kinds of different ways, & manage to get right into our hearts. I think they know when we need them. There’ll always be a Linus-shaped space in your life, but I hope you know you did the best by him. I loved reading about him & Mekko.

  225. I’m so sorry about little Linus. You gave him a wonderful life. Thanks for sharing his story with us.

  226. Linus was incredibly lucky to find someone who would love and care for him – and who wouldn’t give up on him. I’m so, so sorry for your loss. Take care of yourself and Mekko. Sending you love and peace in trying times.

  227. Daniel – I have to say your words put it so well. Linus knew he was well loved. I’ve had the difficult honor of having to make that difficult decision for our Dexter (15.5 yrs) and Toby (13+ yrs) and it is so draining but at the same time so affirming that they belonged in your life.
    beautiful memorial to a wonderful part of your life.
    Best

  228. <3 <3 <3
    Our dogs are our families. So sorry for your loss. Linus was a lucky dog to have you for a human.

  229. Sending you virtual hugs and my deepest sympathy.
    My husband and I had to say goodbye to our 13 year old Brunhilde this week. She was diagnosed with diabetes 6 months ago and had cataracts that progressively stole her eyesight. In the past few weeks she was declining quickly. The night before her appointment with the vet to see if she needed to have her insulin dosage adjusted, as we were getting ready for bed for the night, Bru layed down next to our bed as she did every night; let out a big sigh; and quietly passed on. It’s been almost a full week since then and I still catch myself thinking that I need to take her outside for her bathroom break, and checking to see where she’s sleeping the day away since I haven’t seen her in a little while.
    They fill our hearts and certainly leave a hole when they go.

  230. Omg….you just tore my heart out. I don’t have an elderly dog, but a dog I love so immensely, that I already (at age 3) think about the end. I’ve lost many people in my life so, I think, that is why I’m kind of morbid now…you always see “the end”. You gave Linus many years of comfort and love-and not to sound trite or corny, you will see him again.

  231. I’m so sorry, Daniel

  232. I’m so sorry to hear of Linus’ passing. So many of us have had to endure this, and it is dreadful. Please concentrate on your wonderful memories of your times together, and please give Mekko an extra hug. The ones left behind are feeling the pain too and missing their buddy. Thank you for sharing your feelings.

  233. This was a beautiful read. Thank you for sharing this story. Linus sounds like an amazing little soul.

  234. It was a good day for the world when you and Linus found each other. Thank you for so generously sharing your stories. RIP Linus. Peace to you Daniel as you find your way through this loss.

  235. A blessing for you from John O’Donohue:

    On the day when
    The weight deadens
    On your shoulders
    And you stumble,
    May the clay dance to balance you.

    And when your eyes
    Freeze behind
    The gray window
    And the ghost of loss
    Gets into you,
    May a flock of colors Indigo, red, green
    And azure blue
    Come to awaken in you
    A meadow of delight.

    When the canvas frays
    In the curragh of thought
    And a stain of ocean
    Blackens beneath you
    May there come across the waters
    A path of yellow moonlight
    To bring you safely home.

    My heartfelt condolence on the loss of your lovely Linus.

  236. Daniel,
    I am so sorry about Linus. I hope you find comfort knowing that you two had a wonderful friendship and bond that was amazing for both of you. Thank you for sharing your Linus stories and for letting us get to know him, and experience what an amazing little guy he was.

  237. I am really sorry for your loss. About a month ago (nov 15) I lost my dog.
    She was my heart. And special in so many ways. For one she was either transexual och intersex. Born female, she never behaved like one. Totally uninterested in male dogs during heat. Never did that thing when female dogs turn the tail to the side and what not. She behaved like a male dog, she would prance around my other dog, panting and whining and and climbing on if she was allowed.
    And she was the most polite dog ever. Not that she didn’t beg, cause she did, loudly. In your face begging. I mean polite as she always asked permission for everything, going down the stairs, getting on the bed etc.
    She loved kisses. Like LOVED it. She would stretch and bend her neck so you could kiss exactly the right spot, and she would press her little head into your face so you wouldn’t stop doing it.

    For me it was not a long road living on borrowed time like for you. She died very unexpectedly. She started getting sick on a friday. Monday she was gone. Just collapsed in my arms and died.
    Didn’t mean to make this post about me, just letting you know that I know what you are going through. It has been very hard on both me and my other dog. I am crying right now, and my other dog is in my lap trying to comfort me. We both miss her very much.

    How is Mekko doing with all this?

    *hugs*

  238. I blew it when my little dog hope had IMHA and I needed her to live and be well for my sake. She suffered so. When it was her sister’s time, 5 years later, I let her lead me, to show me when she could no longer take it. It sounds like you did this with Linus. God bless and much love.

  239. Oh, Daniel, I am so so sorry for your loss of Linus, I don’t know you, and have never commented before, but I have followed your writing for years. The way that you write, and have written, about your relationship with your pets has always touched my soul. I hope that you are taking the time to properly grieve, in whichever way you see fit and need. Losing a pet is like losing a family member, and often times an even more challenging experience, since we don’t sleep with our family member curled up next to us, trusting us with their lives. Both your life, and Linus’, was made better by having each other in it.

  240. Daniel,
    I am so very sorry for your loss and I know you gave Linus the most wonderful life in the time he had you and you had him. What a beautifully written tribute and remembrance of him as well as some important thoughts on life. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  241. Oh Daniel, I’m so very sorry for your loss. But what an amazing journey you two had. Such a blessing in the midst of the pain. Praying for you.

  242. Such a beautiful tribute, Daniel. Such deep love between you. So sorry for you. So lucky you had each other.

  243. Like so many of your followers, I too have experienced the loss of older animals. A few years ago, I lost my three “oldster” cats within months of each other. With two of them, I was very sad and felt their absence keenly but, with Ripley, man, my heart broke. He was my baby. The cat of my heart. I thought he would always be with me. Then one day he was sick and in two days he was gone. Not long after, I read a piece that Kevin Smith wrote when his old dog died. He quoted an episode of Doctor Who, ” ‘You can spend the rest of your life with me… but I can’t spend the rest of my life with you.’ And later, when Rose asks Sara Jane if she should go with the Doctor, Sara Jane responds ‘Some things are worth getting your heart broken for.’ ” I’m no fan of Kevin Smith but I found it comforting. I hope you find comfort in knowing that you gave Linus the BEST life and that he was loved by our little community.

  244. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. A pet can touch your heart in ways that no human ever can. There is an amazing bond that can form between two totally different species. Trust and loyalty that are rare in humans. Losing your beloved is losing a piece of your heart….as they take that with them to the Rainbow Bridge. Till you meet again.

  245. I’m so sorry for your loss. It was impossible to read your beautiful post and not remember my dear dog, who passed away so many years ago and is always remembered fondly. In portuguese we have a word for it, which is saudade. And it never goes away. Thinking of you, from Portugal. “This too, shall pass”.

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