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November 19, 2015

On Losing A Dog – One Year Later

Tomorrow marks exactly one year since my brother lost Dutch, his beloved German Shorthaired Pointer.  At the time, I wrote about the incredible bond Dutch and James shared I ended that post with this thought: “Today we cry and howl. Tomorrow we wake up and change the
Tomorrow marks exactly one year since my brother lost Dutch, his beloved German Shorthaired Pointer. 

At the time, I wrote about the incredible bond Dutch and James shared

I ended that post with this thought:

“Today we cry and howl. Tomorrow we wake up and change the world the same way Dutch did – one small act of selfless love at a time.”

Today is the tomorrow I wrote about. This anniversary seems like a fitting day to talk about those small acts of selfless love. And there is no better way to talk about that love than the story of Doc, the senior Pointer James rescued earlier this year.

When James picked up Doc last winter, none of us was sure what to expect

Doc had an anxious energy and he was often lost in his own world

Eko and Penny would sniff at a statuesque Doc, as if looking for a button to reset the frozen pup

But there are no reset buttons. We can only make the most of the present, and both James and Doc have certainly done that. Together.

Over the past nine months James helped bring Doc to life

The jittery, nervous dog we first met has now discovered some serenity

There is no doubt in my mind how great James is for Doc and Doc is for James. It was so moving to see the two reunited after James returned from out of town.

Doc practically jumped into James’s arms with excitement 

In no uncertain terms, the love Doc and James share is a gift from Dutch. Eleven years ago there’s no way my brother would ever have agreed to adopt a nine year old dog. The fear of imminent loss would be too great.

Ten years with Dutch wasn’t enough time. But it taught James the value of a relationship is not measured in time, but in love. With Dutch’s lesson in his heart, James joyfully welcomed Doc home.

This love is Dutch’s legacy

The ache of loss always stings, but it also reminds us to earnestly share love in the present moment. Here’s to Dutch for teaching us that lesson, and here’s to Doc for showing us the value of living that lesson.

Comments for On Losing A Dog – One Year Later

  1. Another poignant and precious post on love’s legacy. So happy for James and Dutch. They seem like the perfect ‘couple’ to carry on Doc’s life.

  2. Kismet says:

    There was no better way to honor Dutch than to take in one of his kind that was in need.

  3. Pat says:

    You got a few tears out of me on this one. Sad and happy. I think most of us here have said good by to an animal that has loved us unconditionally. James is a hero in my eyes, for taking on this wonderful older dog to make his declining years the best. Way to go, Doc! 🙂

  4. NM says:

    Dutch?…Doc?…Dutch…ooh I got lost in the maze of names…and then that last picture of James with Doc said it all. Just beautiful. We find ourselves almost at the tip of welcoming another loving soul into our homes…and then we back out at the last minute, clearly we are not quite there. We seem to go back to missing our dearest ‘perfect’ pup of 11 yrs who we lost to cancer 2.5 yrs ago. Thanks for these amazing posts to keep our hearts afloat in the meantime…Thanks….

  5. That was wonderful that Dog came to your brother … and it was great for Doc that he found your bro and your fabulous family. Sometimed the perfect match really exists :o)

  6. Christy Joslin says:

    So good Will!!!

  7. Beautifully said, Will. Doc and James are an amazing pair… And Dutch is watching over them both with great contentment.

  8. Doonzer says:

    I’ll raise an Irish Whiskey to brothers-in-(dog)-arms watching each other’s back. Nicely done.

  9. Emmadog says:

    No dog will ever be replaced, but each dog will carve out their own special place in the heart of their human. These two are doing amazing!

  10. There is always room in your heart and home for another …. even though the one before took a piece of your heart with them.

  11. LifeLoofah says:

    This post, and your previous one on loss, are brilliantly written. They made great memories of our previous pup come to the surface, like I’m sure it did for many others readers. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Once again Will, you have brought me to tears. Our Leo, Orflaith, is beginning to show signs of dementia and is already having arthritic issues. I know our time with her is becoming finite. It breaks my heart. It seems so unfair that our dearest companions should have such short lifetimes but then I look at Doc’s story and I know that there is another lost life out there just hoping for a home and someone to love them. So we get a chance to help a few, if only we can open our hearts enough to brave the pain of inevitable loss. Blessings once again to James, Dutch and Doc.

  13. OMG I am bawling my eyes out. I can’t believe it has been a year already. I agree that both Doc and your brother are gifts to each other. They were BOTH rescued. Just beautiful!!

  14. Victoria says:

    and here’s to your brother for taking all of that in and opening up his heart and home to Doc –

  15. Ogee says:

    The loss of a dog breaks our heart…and simultaneously, makes it stronger. Helping Doc only honors Dutch. Your brother is a good man for making room in his heart for both.

  16. Karen Sharp says:

    I began reading the blog daily after your writing about Dutch’s death. The words, the emotion conveyed were truly touching. Just as what you said today is.

    I have had pets all my life. And now have the pleasure of sharing my world with a couple of seniors. I know how this all works but would never want to change anything. The joy. The sorrow. They give us so much even if they do leave too soon. I enjoy each and every day with my boys. Just as I enjoy the blog.

    Thank you.

  17. Measuring not in time but in love is a great way to see it. You made me see it….

  18. DZ Dogs says:

    So sweet, it’s awesome that he adopted a senior!

  19. coastingnz says:

    Ok so I saw the heading and thought wow it has been a year since you had me bawling my eyes out at the loss of the beloved Dutch and heartache I knew James was going through. At least this blog I won’t be reduced to tears – yeah right! Bawling my eyes out again. Both in memory of the beautiful Dutch, the pain of remembering the loss of our loved pups and the joy and love James and Doc have for each other – I want to say both thank you and Gosh darn you Will!!!! lol.

  20. Will I cannot believe it has been a year already! I am so glad that James was brave enough to love again and bring Doc into his (and our) lives! Thanks so much for sharing every day with us!
    Kelly

  21. What a beautiful tribute one year later. I too can’t believe it’s been one year. I set the notifications to alert me each time there was a comment on that very touching post you did. I got so much out of everyone’s comments. Death is something you don’t want to happen anytime soon, we all know it is going to happen all we can do is learn from it and live life to the fullest.

  22. Wonderful post (as always). Doc looks great. I lost one of my dogs the beginning of this year, your comments about changing the world by one selfless act of love really struck a chord. I rescued Dills, but got so much back from him.

  23. You brought a tear to my eye. Losing a pet is horrible and we’ve been torn about our choice to adopt seniors…they go too quickly. I like your philosophy of not measuring in time, but in love.

  24. Elisa says:

    I lost my beloved Rhodesian Roxy in September to lymphoma and it’s rough. She was 11. We thought long and hard but my husband and I decided to get another Rhodesian. Abby is now 11 weeks old. There is enough love to go around. Would love to send a pic but don’t know how. She looks a lot like Penny when she was a pup. Will, I found your blog the day after Roxy passed away and I think you helped us decide to get Abby. Thanks!

  25. […] past posts on loss I’ve written about grief, recovery, love and perspective. But today I’m drawn to think not about who dogs are when they’re with us, but […]

  26. Ann Gulau says:

    Love your writing and the sentiment behind it. I agree with the others who said how much they liked the notion of measuring not in time but in love. I have taken in many senior rescue GSPs who were abandoned by their previous owners, and a number of them have stayed with me until their time had come (vs. being adopted by another family). The seniors are so appreciative of the love we share, and so willing to give back in return. I’ll take a senior over a young dog any day of the week!
    And thanks so much to your brother for giving our ISR alum Doc such a loving home!

  27. Margie Gilmore says:

    We lost our beautiful and brilliant 8-year-old rescued mutt Maisie to a thunderstorm and busy road just under three months ago. We still have our 6-year-old rescued and deeply adored mutt Maya, but my husband has not yet recovered from the loss, and absolutely refuses to consider adding another girl to our family. The continuation of James’ story gives me hope that, with time, we can welcome another lost soul home, and carry on Maisie’s legacy. Thank you for sharing this.

  28. Paula blazek says:

    Love all your articles.

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