The Death of a Dog

I knew it as soon as I walked out on to the porch last Sunday night.  Our 12-year-old yellow lab, Fisher, was struggling to breathe, could not stand up, and would not eat or drink. I looked at Darren and said "I think it’s time," as my voice began to break. Just the day before he seemed fine, but we had known for a while as we watched him age that his time was coming. We just didn’t know it would be this day, this sudden. 

I knew it as soon as I walked out on to the porch last Sunday night.  Our 12-year-old yellow lab, Fisher, was struggling to breathe, could not stand up, and would not eat or drink. I looked at Darren and said "I think it’s time," as my voice began to break. Just the day before he seemed fine, but we had known for a while as we watched him age that his time was coming. We just didn’t know it would be this day, this sudden. 

A few hours later we were sitting on the floor at the emergency vet, rubbing his head and telling him how much we would miss him as he breathed his last breath. The vet gave him the meds, whispered "He’s gone," and left us alone with our old friend. And there we were: two rational, professional adults, sitting on the floor, weeping uncontrollably. 

Darren bought Fisher as a puppy a little over 12 years ago when he was still in college. When I showed up on the scene a year later, Fisher was thrilled and happy to be spoiled by me. I would sneak him inside while Darren was away and one time I walked the streets of College Station when he escaped until I finally found him. Over the years we had two cats, both of whom thought they were dogs and Fisher was their mother, and then added another dog, Dixie, who is today missing her old friend even more than we are. When the kids came along, Fisher tried to be indifferent, but I would catch him sneaking into their room at night or naptime to "check" on them or laying patiently as they crawled over him and he always came running when he heard a cry from either.

Fisher was the quintessential dog: fiercely loyal and protective and overflowing with unconditional love. Fisher’s been with Darren and me since the beginning of "us" and with Darren since before me! He was always happy to see us, eager to just sit in the same room with us, and instinctively knew when something was wrong. We were honored to have such a great dog in our family and we do and will miss him terribly.

I think one of the greatest gifts God gives us through our pets is such a physical embodiment of unconditional love and loyalty. Seriously, who else really likes us that much, all of the time? So thanks Fisher for spending your life with us; maybe we can all learn to love like you–with no bounds, prerequisites, or expectations.

Here’s a few pictures. One is after the kiddos have read him books and given him all their favorite stuffed animals for his nap!


  • Heather A. Goodman

    So sorry for your loss! I
    So sorry for your loss! I know it hurts. A dog like Fisher lavishes love on us. I can’t help but wonder if when God recreates this earth, if he’ll use the same materials. If we’re going to have lions and lambs and other creatures, such as dogs, why not the ones we already love?

    • Jeff

      I am not a woman, and I am struggling with my spirituality at this time, but I came across this site searching for “dogs in heaven”. I am a Marine Viet Nam combat vet and thought I was a pretty hard case until last week, when we had to put Mandy to sleep. I cannot get over the grieving, it’s like 40 years of pent-up emotions are pouring out. I hope someone will respond to this…

      • Terri Moore

        Hi Jeff! I’m so glad you

        Hi Jeff! I’m so glad you found our site (men are more than welcome here!). When Fisher died a few months ago, a good friend emailed me and reminded me that the loss of a pet is a real one and a deep one. We mourned at our house for a long time and I remember my husband saying one night, "I just wish I knew where he was." The Bible has much to say about us humans and our eternal destiny, but very little to say about the animal world and this really leaves us feeling lost when our animal friends die–especially our loyal canine ones. I really like Heather’s comment above. We know that the Lord will re-create a new heaven and earth, maybe we will see our old friends again? We can’t know for sure, but it is comforting to consider. I believe what we can know is that our pets are/were truly wonderful gifts from God and that He can and does use them to show us something about Himself.

        I know I’m not giving you any great answers here, but grief is complicated isn’t it? Two things I would suggest to you: First, don’t deny your grief or be ashamed of it. Like my friend said, this is a real loss and your grief is legitimate. Second is that you should "listen" to your grief. The loss of Mandy and the pain you are feeling may, like you said, be allowing you to feel those pent-up emotions that for some reason or another you were not able to deal with in the past. This could be just the time to process and deal with some difficult things you have not addressed in the past? It helps to have someone to talk to, so seek out your family, friends, and pastor–and don’t count out talking to a proffesional. They can be very helpful as a somewhat neutral party in helping us work through our emotions.

        Also, please let me know how you are doing! It’s been four months since we lost Fisher and I can say that time has made things a bit easier.

        • Jeff

          Thanks, Terri. Today was a
          Thanks, Terri. Today was a sad day; I picked up Mandy’s ashes. But I think we (wife and I) let out a lot of grief. She is especially anguished that she made the wrong decision. We have two more senior dogs (almost 12 years old – Mandy was 14) and one VERY senior cat, so we’ll be doing this again all too soon.

          We are thinking of beginning to attend church again.

          Thanks for responding and thinking of me. I go to the VA for counseling.


  • Steph at the Red Clay Diaries

    Sorry you had to say goodbye to such a good friend.
    Reading your post, I was reminded of our “waiting game” with our old dog. I think we’ll be in your situation pretty soon, since she’s 12 and slowing down a little more every day.

    Thanks for the reminder of the gift that our dogs can be to us. I know we will all weep when we lose Callie, just like you did with Fisher.

  • Sharifa Stevens


    Oh, Terri. I am so sad for you, Darren, the kids and Dixie, too.

    After a short while, your pets become such a part of your emotional landscape. It’s weird when the daily rituals just end.

    My heart’s sad for your family for the loss of your beautiful Fisher.

    I can’t even mess with the idea that all dogs don’t go to heaven, regenerated and free to roam, splash, fetch and run as swiftly and unfettered as they please.

  • Sandra Glahn

    Made me Cry
    We’re facing the end with the cat we got as a kitten right before we adopted our daughter. Oh do I ever I feel your pain!

  • Jessica

    Oh. Fisher 🙁
    Mindy forwarded me the email, and as soon as I was the subject line, I knew what it was about. Im so sorry. Fisher was an extremely special dog. And thats besides him being, smart, friendly, loyal, and obediant(mostly) 🙂

    Love yall and saying a prayer for you guys.

    Jessica, Jett and Cash

  • Heidi Downs

    Terri, thank you for sharing
    Terri, thank you for sharing your story. My grief is fresh, having just heard the words “He’s gone” yesterday. My dog, Bogey (“Bobo”), was just 15 days shy of being 15 years old. He had been on a slow decline, and putting him down was an agonizing decision. I hope I did the right thing and I pray that I will see him again. I stumbled on this site while looking for something, anything to reassure me that my beloved dog will be waiting for me in Heaven. Altho I am a Christian, I am not very versed in the readings of the Bible. I am desperate to know if there truly is the “Rainbow Bridge” that I have read about. That dog, as only a true animal lover knows, meant so much to me. He was a constant for me in a turmoiled life of divorce and single parenting. At any hour, he was there. I miss my ever present shadow. I do have another dog, and he’s been wandering around looking for his snuggle mate. The silence without their play is deafening. I know all the cliches about time healing and how he’s in a better place. God, I hope that true.

  • Jennifer

    Dogs in heaven?
    I too, as all dog lovers do, knew when it was time to let go of a canine friend of 16 1/2 years. I wanted to believe that there would be dogs in heaven after all why not? One night in a dream I saw my precious Molly running arthritis free in heaven. She jumped up on Jesus’ lap, wiggling and licked Him on the face. He through back His head is laughter. For me, I was comforted in what I had seen. I can’t prove it biblically but it was comforting to me to think that I would see her again as I remember her in her youth.

  • Catherine Stuart Hall

    puppy And mommy passing
    My 2 Staffordshire bull terriers Roxy and Dad Porki Mated 1 year ago not knowing That Roxy had a Brain tumour and Lung Cancer.3 days after the 5 Gorgeose pups were born Sadly Roxy passed away along with all the week pups knowing they were not feeding well.
    Thankyou please reply back 2 me

  • Sandra

    My friend and constant companion
    My little yorkie of 14 years had to be put to sleep oct 17th 2009.Frisky was with me thru all these years.Even the last week of his life he was still excited to see me when I had been gone on tuesday to run and get my car license renewed.I didnt take him with me because I knew he would be hot and uncomfortable .If I had of known he would be gone on saturday I would have had him right there with me , in my lap ,enjoying riding . He loved to ride…He was hardly ever out of my site.My family laughed because he had a bed beside my desk and a bed beside my bed.He slept with me when he could jump and get on the bed in his younger days but as he got older he was content to sleep beside me .He was my shadow.I know this will sound unbelievable but Frisky had a habit if I was asleep and it was time for his bathroom trip, he would do a special little soft bark to wake me.He did it when he was hungry too.He used to ring a bell to go outside when he was very very young but when he got older we stopped using it.He was my life for 14 years….I went on a short trip this weekend and on that first night I was grieving so bad I cried myself to sleep.At the hour that Frisky usually did his little bark to wake me I heard him do it.It was clearly Frisky comforting me.The next morning as I lay sleeping Frisky did the same bark.It was this last past friday night and saturday night.I havent heard his wonderful litle bark since then but I know it was GOD allowing me to know I will see my beloved best friend I ever had in my whole life.We were inseperatable.He suddenly couldnt breathe
    and was taking short breaths and I rushed him to the emergency vet that morning when they opened and they said he had pulmanary edema and fluid and rattling in his lungs and distress on his little heart.It was like one hour he is eating and drinking water and doing fine and then all of the sudden he is in severe distress.I am broken hearted.I see my baby everywhere.I love him so much.I am distraught.I babied him from the day I got him.My daughter ran over him when he was a baby .She let him out the door when she was leaving and I didnt know it.I was actually checking to make sure he was inside when I heard her pulling out the drive.We rushed him to the emergency hospital and they saved him.I had him operated on at the animal hopital and he lived with no problems other then allergys for all these years till he developed breathing problems.I kept him by my side and trusted no one other then my vet.I will grieve Frisky till I die.God gave me the most loving little friend anyone could ask for.It was like GOD wanted me to experience the deepest and most unconditional love that could ever be in a humans heart.I wish I was as good as my little furry friend thought I was…We actually could communicate even thou my sweet Frisky couldnt talk….I pray to see him in heaven ..I have been comforted twice by his presence and I knoW GOD allowed it……I will never be happy till I am reunited with Frisky….Thank GOD I made Friskys life special..because he was special………I am in mourning.deeply deeply sad….GOD ALLOWED ME TO HAVE A SAMPLE OF PURE LOVE LIKE THE LOVE HE FEELS FOR US…..