Goodbye, old friend

It was the first day of spring, 1994, when I adopted you into my family. For the next thirteen years, we were there for each other through good times and bad. Through it all, you never complained; all you wanted was to be accepted as part of the family — and in every way, you were just that.

Of course, I’m talking about my dog, Thea. To say she was a good dog is an understatement. She epitomized what a best friend is: loyal, reliable, unwavering in her commitment. She was in all ways a people dog: she was a bully around other dogs, and adored every human who crossed her path. She was a healthy, happy, active, youthful dog for a long time. Even when she was 11 years old, people would think she was a puppy.

Everything changed a year ago, when her health started to deteriorate quickly—the result of a degenerative spinal disorder. We knew then that it was a matter of time, and on October 4, 2007, that time came to an end.

Putting down a dog that is a part of your life for so long is hard; hard enough for me that I’ve rewritten this blog post three times in the past week trying to get it right. Words can’t describe what it’s like to hold your beloved family dog’s paw in your hand, petting her ears, in her final moments. I wish it ended some way other than it did, but I’m glad it ended how it did; she was comfortable, with the person she loved most. It’s hard saying goodbye; instead, I’ll say, “until we meet again.”

Thanks for everything, old friend. You’ll be missed.

Thea, my dog
Thea DeMarzo, Jan 13 1994—Oct 4, 2007

Thea with a party hat
Always the life of the party
No snow was too deep for her
No snow drift was too deep for her!
Thea with her dad
Her favorite place, in her dad’s lap

0 thoughts on “Goodbye, old friend

  • I know what it is like I had a dog that I had to put down, I got him from his birth. My
    mum was breading the poodles and I was 12 years old, I was getting ready for the
    up comming baseball season and oiling the old mitt, then there was some compications
    with the birth of the puppies, as they took the mother into thir arms to take her to
    the vet I saw a little lump fall. I made the best catch of my life as I dove accross the
    floor and saved the little guys life. 3 weeks later was my 12th Birthday and there he
    was in a box with my name on it….Some 15 years later I had to put him down and as
    irony would have it I had to coach a little league game 3 hours later….I dedicated that
    game to him and we won in extera innings. I still miss him even now 9 years later,
    Peppy was a good friend.

    My thoughts are with you

    Sithlord LightSaber and blaster league

  • Robert Palmer says:

    Sadly I know all to well this feeling and my heart goes out to you and your family. It’s taken me 10 years before I’m able to say I want another furry friend, And Ironically that is what is taken place just before I read your BLog my sons are at the shelter right now looking at another Dog.
    Life cycles around and nothing adds comfort more than a cold wet nose snugging to your heart

  • A friend just sent me this message, which he wrote after he lost his dog “TJ” back in 2005. Definitely worth repeating here.

    Tie-Joshua Ayre (August 1998 – October 2005)

    Whether you have heard or not, The Ayre family has lost a much loved member. The Great T.J. Ayre passed away peacefully on Tuesday October 11th in the company of our family and our family’s long time veterinarian.

    For those of you who have lost a dog before or those of you lucky enough to have your dogs still around you all know that they are not just pets, but Brothers and constant companions. They are not “like members of the family” they are family. Please remember that a dogs whole life is you, the owner. They don’t ask why and they don’t have ulterior motives in life, their love for you is absolutely unconditional. The joy that they can bring you is remarkable and they give us something in return after all that, their undying loyalty…..right to the end. If I had dime for every time I told that bloody dog to shut up whenever someone walked by the house I’d be a millionaire, but what I wouldn’t give to hear him bark one more time. I guess what I’m telling you all is to never take your dog for granted, because I can assure you they won’t ever take you for granted. For those of you who still have your dogs and those who will have one again, Don’t leave anything behind. When they leave you for the last time, you don’t want to have any regrets about your love for them.

    I just remember the love in their eyes….. from the first time I picked him up as a puppy, to the last time I held him while he left this world.

    We take care of them their whole life, I just hope that the big guy is taking care of him now. So please say a prayer for him and I’ll see you again T.J., one day – You were are 110 lbs of best friend.

    Happy Trails Pal.

  • Billy McCreight says:

    I may not be a household name on the message boards, but i read this and had to
    write a comment. First of all, beautiful dog. She looks like exactly like the dog i see
    every time i walk to work. And ya, full of energy is the first thing i would say to
    describe that dog too. Second, i can’t imagine the pain of having to make the call
    to put down a dog you love so much. My mother had to make that call about 5 years
    ago. Our dog was healthy as a…well dog i guess and suddenly just developed cancer
    in 3 organs and soon had to be put down. I would never have been able to do it. It
    takes a real owner to be able to make that decision. As much as you know it hurts you
    to say “yes pull the plug”, you know you’re pain saying goodbye is far less than the
    dogs if you don’t goodbye. I admire anyone who can do it regardless because it is
    such a hard call to make. Sorry for your loss, and always remember the great times.

  • Sorry to hear it.

    One note I’ll add, if you adopted Thea then you at least can be comforted in the fact that you gave her a wonderful life that she almost certainly would not have had. So you certainly helped each other out in many ways!

  • Brian I can only imagine how you may feel. It was sad to read about Thea and looking at the pictures made it even harder. I can see how loved she was and how happy she was to be a part of your family. I had met Thea on a couple of occasions and know how hard this decision may have been for you and your family. As you said, it’s not goodbye… Until you meet again.

  • I have said it to you a number of times already but I am very sorry to hear about Thea. She was a great dog and the decision to do the right thing could not have been an easy one. Like some have mentioned you gave her a great life and she gave you a great friend. My little guy turns 3 in November and I couldn’t imagine being strong enough to make the decision you did, even if it is the best one. If in fact there is a place for us to meet again, at least you know she will be waiting for you, tail wagging and ready to pick up where you guys left off as best friends.

  • @romans:

    Yes, I adopted Thea. I’m a big believer in adoping dogs, not buying dogs. When you take a dog from a shelter, you give it life. Considering what the dog will give you in return, it’s the greatest bargain in the world.

    @Robert Palmer:

    Your quote — “Life cycles around and nothing adds comfort more than a cold wet nose snugging to your heart.” — has been added to this blog’s random quote list. 🙂

  • Brian, I know how you feel. We had to say good bye to our family dog, Sally, this spring after 15 years with our family. Its sad to lose a close family member like that but fortunately you have many happy memories of her.

  • I’ve cried a handful of times in my life….”Rudy”, “The Natural” and now this. Please accept my deepest sympathy…I have a soon to be 4 year old yellow Lab (Salinger) who does nothing but what to be there with me and for me….You are lucky to have spent 13 amazing years with a companion who wanted nothing but for you to say “good girl”. People could learn alot from dogs…Lets Raise our Glasses to Thea!

  • Brian, I am so sorry.

    If you need to talk about this, I’m available anytime. Some people don’t understand that a dog is a member of the family. I will always remember Thea. She was a good dog.

    You have my deepest sympathies.


  • I know this is an old post, but this is a topic that will always be relevant.
    My dog was recently diagnosed with cancer in his skin, lungs and liver and will not be
    around for much longer. This post had me in tears when I saw the photo of Thea
    on the carpet with her tongue poking out as she looks just like my dog, Trigger.
    I adopted him from a rescue centre too and am glad to have been able to give him a
    long life in which he has known love and comfort.
    Here’s to all the companions we’ve loved and lost.

  • As much as we all miss our beloved four-legged friends, always remember: Our life — and, hopefully, their life — was better as a result of our short time together.

    If ever given a choice to have my dog and lose her, or to never have her, I’d choose the former without hesitation.

  • Walking to work today I saw a guy walking a dog that reminded me so much of Thea — her gait, her face, her swagger… To say I got emotional was an understatement. It’s been a long time — three years — but my old friend is still with me, and her loss is still painful.

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