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We weren’t even halfway home from Texas before I knew that this little sleeping bundle of floppy ears and puppy breath was mine and I was hers.
Andy, my dad and I had come across the litter of half-hound and half-who-knows-what puppies while visiting family across the country, and my dad decided to bring one home to my mom. He picked the salt-and-pepper one because he liked her one solid black leg, and I declared myself her caretaker for the 12-hour road trip home.

Andy warned me not to fall in love with her, but we both knew where this was going.
I was living in an apartment where pets weren’t allowed, with two more years of college in front of me and just getting used to the feel of an engagement ring around my finger. But 12 hours on the road was more than enough time for the hot puppy breath scent and warm weight of her soft fur cuddled up beside me to seduce me and meld us together. We got home and found my mom didn’t want another dog, but it didn’t matter – it was already clear who she belonged to. Andy didn’t even fight it; he made space in his house with his roommates and she settled in to the craziness just perfectly.
PicMonkey Collage
Her laid-back, easy-going demeanor earned her the name Marley, after Bob of course. She was the perfect dog: no awkward crotch-sniffing, no accidents, just full-on puppy enthusiasm and wholehearted desire to please. (And, of course, supernatural wisdom about the workings of the world.)

For all the major life changes of my twenties, Marley was the constant. Andy and I got married and moved in together, then we set out across the country to start our lives. We paid twice as much in rent because we wanted Marley to have a nice fenced yard in which to play and chase her poor, ragged tennis balls. In the evenings, we took her for walks… in the mountains of Colorado, through the orange groves of Orlando. She bounded freely through our neighborhoods, hind end running at a faster speed than her front, a blur of tennis balls, drool and flying fur.
She was the perfect dog for us: outdoorsy and adventurous during our childless and free years, but always steady and devoted. When the years piled up and we brought home a crying little seven-pounder who demanded our time, energy and sleep schedules, Marley settled into her new diminished role with grace and understanding.
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I don’t know how to find the words to explain how she belonged to me and I to her. She was part of my story and I was as much hers as she was mine. She’d been around longer than my marriage, for nearly a third of my life, and I just didn’t know adult life without coming home to her wet nose on my leg, giant dinosaur tail thump-thump-thumping her joy.
Then the cancer tore through her body with the force and speed of a hurricane.

By the time we got her diagnosis a couple weeks ago, it had already claimed her lungs and liver. We grabbed hold of those last few days with white knuckles, trying to squeeze a few more moments of happiness for her out of her tired, failing body. I took her for a walk, but she stopped a few houses down and waited in the street for me, tail thumping weakly, unable to go on.

We set up a spare mattress downstairs so she could sleep comfortably, and we watched the sickness take over in just a matter of days, heartbroken and helpless to stop it. I curled up with her at night, rubbed her soft, floppy ears and told her what a great job she’d done, what a wonderful dog she’d been.

Today it was clear we’d be selfish to ask any more of her than she’d already given. We took her to the vet one last time, held her head and rubbed her ears while she fell asleep for the last time. And then she was gone, and all that was left were the years, and the memories, and the space she took up in our lives and our hearts.

I guess I’m telling you all this to say, that’s why I’ve been quiet the last couple weeks. And maybe I just needed to talk it out a bit, so thanks for accommodating. 🙂

Let's connect


  1. I am in tears and my heart is broken for you, Kelly. Hoping you find peace and comfort. Much love, friend.

  2. I have my first dog of my story, Bailey Rose and I completely understand how sad this must be. I am so sorry for the loss to your family.

  3. Kelly, I am so, so sorry. I choked up reading this. Peace to you and your family.

  4. Praying for peace and healing. If dogs truly don’t go to heaven, I’d like to go where they go <3 Love, from a faithful follower.

  5. Oh Kelly, I am so sorry to hear this. What a sad day for you and your family, but what an amazingly beautiful tribute to her that you just wrote. Virtual hugs.

  6. I’m so, so sorry. My throat is all tight for you. When I lost my cat, an old man told me, “Animals help us keep our hearts soft.” For some reason, that was a huge comfort to me. In the light of those words, it was okay to cry and give in to the softness of my heart. And do I think pets have a “rightful place” in heaven? Pshh…no, but I think Jesus can do whatever the heck he wants and won’t be surprised at all to see Guido (or Marley) up there. 🙂

  7. So sorry for the loss of your beloved Marley. I went through the same thing 2 years ago, so I know your pain. It sounds like you will always have wonderful memories of her to carry with you. Peace to you.

  8. I have an aging dog that can barely see where he is going and can barely keep his food down without having it prepared a certain way. It’s been difficult watching him so weak and fragile but we’re still in denial that anything is going to happen to him. Having been in my Husband’s life for seventeen years (more than half of his life, he’s 30), it’s difficult and heartbreaking to imagine otherwise. Having said that, I can’t imagine what you must be going through. Just the thought of his time coming hurts so, so much.

  9. As difficult as it is to put those memories into writing, you’ve accomplished a loving personal memorial for you and your family. Sensitively observe your kid’s feelings, too, during this time of transition and comfort them as you can with your wisdom


  10. My heart breaks for y’all! What a sweet girl and beautiful post. When my buddy Buddha died a few years ago, I was so broken. It’s amazing how pets become your best friends. I still expect to see him at some point each day. Jack sees pictures of him and calls him Boooodie. I ask him where “Boooodie” is and he says, “In your heart.” I know Marley is in your heart as well.

  11. Ok, I so I do not have the words but this literally brought me to tears, sobbing and ugly ones. I’m a huge dog lover and know what it’s like to loose a dog who was apart of you. I lost my childhood dog at 17, she was all I ever knew! Now, I have another dog, who is 7 and a pain in the bum…but I love him anyway and know the pain I will feel when his life ends. Missing you in the blog world. Praying for you, the fam. Slowly the pain will fall away but Marley will always have a piece of your heart that remains.


  12. Yesterday, I read a post about losing a mother. I was sad but I didn’t cry. Well you made me cry and miss my Chocolate puppy (a yellow lab, the chocolate lab, Vanilla, and black lab, Strawberry, still live with my parents. Well, Vanilla does. Strawberry prefers to split his time with the neighbors.) She died a couple months before we moved out here and I still keep expecting to see her when we visit my parents. She was one of the calmest labs I’ve ever seen and she used to try to make herself as small as possible when a small dog or young child was around so she could make friends. She died the Sunday afternoon before we were going to have to take her to be put down. She was so old and sick. I was there that Saturday and had say with her, knowing it’d be soon.

  13. I’m crying in my coffee 🙁 We lost our cat Awesome to cancer a year or so ago and he was our Marley. What a sweet post about your precious pooch <3

  14. OMGoodness. This story is so sad and well-written. I don’t know what it is but stories about pets dying is sadder to me than stories of people dying. Sounds like you had a lot of great years with Marley. Take care!

  15. Kelly, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. That must be so difficult and unbearable. Big hugs and thanks for your lovely tribute post to your dog. She sounds like the best dog ever.

  16. My heart is aching for you! Your words are so beautifully written and deep with meaning. We have been there too, gentle souls who pitted patter into our lives at the most surprising of times. They steal our love and find home in our hearts. Love you like no other and truly fulfil our lives. Loosing a pet is no easier, no less than losing any other member of the family. Celebrate in Marley’s life, love the times you have and be at peace that she is too. Feeling for you!

  17. Oh Kelly, I’m so sorry for your loss! That made me cry.

    I have no doubt you gave Marley the best life she could have wished for and I send you a big hug.

    Annie XO

  18. Oh kelly, I am so sorry for your loss. Dogs have a way of quickly becoming a real person in your family, I’m glad you wrote it out to get just a little bit off your chest. 🙂

  19. She was a wonderful part of your fam. So sorry she was sick 🙁 Big hugs! xo Kristin

  20. Oh, I’m so, so sorry! She was such a beautiful girl, and I’m so glad you two found each other.

  21. Julia @cuckoo4design says:

    Oh Kelly this made me cry. I so feel your pain and I really can’t tell you how sorry I am but I’m also glad that you had such an awesome family member and that Marley was loved so much! I have been thinking of you guys a lot this past week.

  22. So glad she blessed your life with so many beautiful memories. Sorry to hear you had to let her go.

  23. I’m so sorry for your loss 🙁 I’ve always thought it’s kind of cruel that pets can’t be in our lives longer. They become such a part of your family, it’s like losing a human family member. That was a beautiful post to honour such a sweet pet.

  24. Oh, Kelly. What a beautiful life you and Marley gave each other. Aren’t mutually beneficial relationships one of the most wonderful thing ever?! My heart is just breaking for you right now. We went through this with our Leonard 3 years ago and it is still nearly as raw. I’ll be thinking of you guys and praying for peace. Hugs!!

  25. What a beautiful tribute. I am so sorry.

  26. Kelly Palmer says:

    So very sorry for your loss Kelly. My prayers are with you!

  27. 🙁

  28. Kelly- Thank you for this post. You so eloquently put into words a beautiful tribute to your sweet fur baby. I was really touched by this post!

  29. I’m so sorry Kelly…I’m writing this through tears and my heart is broken for you. Really. I have a little dog who’s 5 and honestly, she is my third child. Marley had a lovely life and was loved. She couldn’t have asked for more. Hang in there girl…

  30. I am so sorry for your loss, I know how hard it is to lose a beloved pet. This was a beautiful tribute.

  31. Kelly…that was the sweetest most heart touching post…I am in tears and my heart breaks for you. Hugs to you and your family…you all are in our thoughts.

  32. Kelly,

    I cried through this entire post. I’ve been there. I feel your pain and your heartbreak. And I’m so sorry that you and Marley are parted. You’ll always have those memories … and she will always know how much you love her.

    I’m so sorry.


  33. nooooooooooooooo!!!! ack, I can’t even speak. my heart hurts for you. :*(

  34. Kelly, I am so sorry for your loss. I loved how you wrote about Marley. What a great dog and great memories. May those memories comfort you and bring you smiles. Thanks for sharing.

  35. I’m in tears and can hardly see to type. I’m am so sorry for you. What wonderful memories you have of Marley and a beautiful tribute. My sweet baby Boogie is 17 now and slowing down every day. He’s been such a comfort to me after the kids left for college keeping my nest not so empty. The wet kisses have already decreased and he doesn’t enjoy walks anymore. His senses are diminishing and he is easily disoriented. I know any day we will be making the trip to the vet and it’s so difficult. Your story, though sad, makes it a little easier. Thank you for sharing. Know that Marley is pain free, chasing tennis balls in dog heaven.

  36. I’m so sorry, tears in my eyes knowing what you’ve been through and will have to go through before feeling better.

  37. I just realized why the death of a pet is so profoundly sad: because we love them with all our hearts. They are such a big part of our lives. And they bring so many smiles. You expressed your feelings so beautifully. This was a lovely share.

  38. :HUG: It’s so hard to let go of a puppy you’ve had for over a decade. I’m so sorry :'(

  39. I can’t speak, but only to say, i’m sooo sooo sorry for all of you! (((big hugs))) <3

  40. This brings back sad memories. My baby, Cricket, was born on my 15th birthday. My aunt bred Maltese dogs. She gave me the runt for my birthday gift. Cricket was my sidekick; I took her everywhere. She was great at letting me know which boys she didn’t care for. If she didn’t like one then the relationship wasn’t going to work out! Cancer took her when she was 11. It was heart wrenching to watch her wither away. I felt like I lost a child, which many people couldn’t imagine. But not everyone has a dog like that. You’re one of the blessed humans to have had one! I’m sorry for your loss.

  41. I’m so sorry about Marley. My heart breaks for you…

  42. I’m so sorry for you Kelly. We have a doggie we love more than anything except each other and though he’s still young, someday we’ll be where you are now. Our doggies have short lives, but they make up for it by giving us enough love for ten human lifetimes. I’m so glad you shared your grief with us. Marley sounds like a wonderful dog.

  43. I’m so so so sorry about your loss. Our pets definitely become a part of our family and it’s really like losing a limb when it’s their time to go. We had a dog named Zeena that we had for 13 years. We got her when I was about 10 years old. We lived in Hawaii at the time and she traveled with us to VA when we moved some years later. In a way we didn’t chose her, she chose us. She came running up to us and we just couldn’t resist. When she got to be around 12 years old I moved away with my now husband to NC. Before I left I realized Zeena had this fatty tumor type of thing on her leg so we took her to the vet and found out that’s exactly what it was – a fatty tumor. It was benign and was more so just an uncomfortable thing for Zeena to have to deal with. The vet said they could do surgery to remove it but it wasn’t guaranteed to not come back. Seeing as she was already twelve we decided not to do the surgery. Well after I moved to NC, one time when I went back to visit with my family I noticed that Zeena wasn’t doing well at all. Her tumor had gotten HUGE and she could barely move around. She eventually just got “old” and was losing control of knowing when she needed to use the bathroom so she would just randomly go in the house (she NEVER did that). I always read that when dogs are ready to go they will go away by themselves for awhile. I noticed when I let her out in the backyard she would go to the very far corner where we couldn’t see her. (This could be my imagination but she never did this before.) She always came running back to you when you called her name to bring her in too. Well I called for her and she didn’t come so I went out to get her and she slowly made her way back to the house. About a year later I got a call from my mom that they had to put Zeena down. It was the saddest thing. I didn’t even get to see her again before she passed but it was time to take her out of her misery. It would have been cruel of my parents to keep her going just because we weren’t ready for her not to be around. Sigh** It’s definitely a sad thing and I’m sorry it happened to you. Be glad for the time you had with them though. <333

  44. Kelly, I am soooooooo sorry to hear this. I am sitting here crying as I read this…What a horrible thing it is to lose a dog. Praying for peace over your heart… Hugs

  45. kelly, I’m so so sorry. i had the same experience with my last dog, and it’s worst thing not being able to do anything. praying for you and your family.

  46. oh my goodness, i am bawling. i am so, so sorry. i went through the same thing a few months ago and it is tremendously hard. my girl, ruby, had been my constant for 14 years. She was there during the hardest years of my life, through the biggest changes and into the best years (so far) when my now-husband came along. she moved across the country with me several times, and she was a trooper. we finally had to accept that she was 16 and just too ill to keep going, and made that hardest decision of our lives. most people don’t know what its like, or think its crazy to be so sad because she was “just a dog,” but it just isn’t true. i hope it gets easier for you soon. i had to learn that the stages of grief are not linear, and i will never truly be over losing her. but the more time that passes, the more i am able to talk about her and remember her without tears. those are good moments. i know you will get there too. my heart goes out to you.

  47. I’m so sorry, Kelly. I know that our pets become family and love us unconditionally. It’s so hard to say goodbye to them. Thinking of you, my friend!

  48. Oh Kelly – I am so sorry! You know how I fell in love with your Marley when I saw her in pictures not too long after our Army dog (aka Marley’s twin) left us. I think we share a brain because my good-bye post was so similar to yours. There are no words to hold that hurt or your great memories of Marley, but you obviously loved her so well. Hugs from San Antonio!

  49. “Tribute to a Dog

    The one absolutely unselfish friend that a person can have… the one that never deserts you and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is your dog… He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if they were royalty. When all other friends desert, he remains.”

    from a pleading before a jury by Graham Vest.

    May your Marley sized hole soon fill up with the memories of years of loyalty and love and push out the sadness and make you whole.


  50. So sorry for your loss. We lost one of our dogs this summer, and my 5 year old told me that she went to dog Heaven, where there are a million dogs and ONE person to scratch their ears (but a different person everyday). I know that Marley, and our Zoe, are enjoying their reward for being good dogs, even if they have to wait their turn to have their ears scratched. Hugs to you and your family. <3

  51. Tears are streaming down my cheeks. It’s clear that you loved Marley and was loved in return. Sending you happy thoughts and a hug to help cheer you up, even just a smidge. 🙂

  52. I am sitting here sobbing. I’m so sorry for your loss. I knew I should’ve stopped reading when I realized that Marley was an older dog and not a puppy. But for some reason I didn’t stop. In the spring, we discovered that our 12 year old dog Lucy had cancer. Just like you, we clung desperately to the days we had left with her although our hearts were breaking every day as she deteriorated. Being with her at the vet in the end will forever be one of the saddest times in my life. The love of a good dog is a joy that no one should miss. My heart breaks for you and your family. But also rejoices for the joy you had with Marley for so many years.

  53. I know this kind of love and my heart is breaking for you, my friend. I’m sorry you and your family are having to go through this loss. There’s a lot of love in this post, it’s beautiful. Sending you thoughts and prayers today. xoxo, Sharon

  54. Kelly, while I enjoyed reading about the wonderful life you shared with Marley, I dreaded reaching the end of your post, because I knew in my heart how it would end. Knowing that, with every sentence you wrote, my heart broke just a little more. By the time I was finished, I was in tears… It is so very hard to lose a beloved pet.

    I am so, so sorry for your pain. I know nothing I can say will ease your grief, but know that I am sending you a virtual hug. Marley knew she was loved and now she waits for you at Rainbow Bridge.

  55. Oh honey I’m so, so sorry about your fur-baby. My heart hurts for you. I have a wonderful, pre-marriage old fur-baby too, and I know that our time is swiftly coming to a close. I’m not ready, but I don’t think I ever will be. Thank you so much for sharing your grief in such a beautiful way. I’m sure Marley is running free and happy now, just waiting for a chance to go for a walk with you again…

  56. Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry that shes gone. I loved your story and have been in your shoes more times than I’d like. Dogs are such wonderful companions and yet little heartbreakers when they leave us. I’ve got a wonderful Lad-Mastiff mix right now and could not bear to let him go. Hugging him a little closer tonight.

    Thank you for the reminder.
    Much Love, Justynn

  57. Tears and prayers for you. I am so sorry for your loss. That’s one of the hardest things, losing a fuzzy child. Been there. Hate it. Hugs for you and your family. 🙁

  58. Oh Kelly, I’m so sorry to hear that you guys had to lose Marley. I know how hard that can be. Hugs to both of you!

  59. I am sorry for your loss. It’s so hard to lose a pet when they have always been there for us and they are our best friend. May God soothe your suffering.

  60. I’m so sorry. She had a beautiful, sweet face.

  61. What a beautiful tribute for a wonderful friend. Big (((((hug))))).

  62. I am so so sorry to hear about your loss:( Big hugs. XO

  63. What a wonderful love letter to Marley. They just completely take over our hearts. We have an older dog with ailing body and mind that will be leaving us in the near future, so this really touched me.

  64. sending hugs to you and your family today…so sad to find this in my inbox – I know how much a part of you dies when your beloved pet does…hang on to those memories – they will live on in your heart

  65. I can only imagine the sorrow and void you and your family are feeling. I cry for your sadness just as I recently did for my dearest neighbor’ dog knowing that one day in the future I too will come to know your heartbreak. I pray that your memories sustain you and serve to remind you how Marley made you smile each day.

  66. Kelly, I am so sorry for your loss. I am sobbing like a baby reading this. Dogs are more than pets, they’re part of the family. My Lilly is like my baby and I cannot imagine life without her. I’m praying for peace and healing for you and your family during this difficult time.

  67. I’m so sorry friend. I’m sobbing at lunch reading this. Hang onto those precious memories. Hugs!

  68. She sounds like such a good dog, and you gave her a blessed life. So sorry for your loss. Sending up prayers for you and your family.

  69. Oh Kelly, I’m so sorry! I’m sitting here crying big ugly alligator tears for you knowing the pain you must be feeling. It’s so hard to say goodbye to our animals. Hugs to you and your family during this difficult time. :*{

  70. Oh, my heart breaks for you…pets are such a huge part of our families…and Marley looks like the most wonderful dog. I know you will all miss him terribly. This was a beautiful tribute post. Sharing tears and sending prayers for comfort…XO

  71. Susan Takeda says:

    My heart is breaking for your loss. I lost my own special friend less than a year ago to lymphoma. It takes a special kind of grace to say goodbye to our precious family members in a vets office. Dogs like Marley and my Maggie are hard to come by but live on in our hearts forever. Thank you for sharing with us.

  72. Kelly, poor Kelly. My husband once said that it doesn’t hurt to bury a dog in the rain because no one can see how much you cry. Seems all of us commenting identifies with your pain. You may never love or be loved quite like that again. A dog is truly your best friend, always there to listen, give a hug, dry your tears but never talks back, sasses you or gives advice. Our dogs are pretty sure we are always right (at least the people they truly ‘belong’ to). Bless your hear Sweetie, I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers. Don’t let this keep you from getting another dog. They give so much and ask so little.

  73. So sorry to hear. It’s never an easy thing to deal with. I work at a vet’s office so I know the feeling all too well. My dogs are both very old but nothing will prepare me for when they’re ready to cross over the Rainbow Bridge. You had many wonderful years with her and that’s something to hold on to. Grieve as long as you need to.

  74. Patty Lucas says:

    Kelly I am so, so sorry about Marley. We lost two of ours within 6 months and I told my husband no more. Someone told me the best way to honor our pets is to get another one. It won’t replace the one we lost but it will rescue another animal. Remember the kindness one does for an animal may not change the world . . . but it will change the world for that one animal. That is what you did for Marley and what Marley did for you.

  75. I’m so sorry for your loss, they are indeed part of the family and I am remembering my beautiful dogs patch and benji as I write this, both wonderful and both sorely missed.
    We lost Benji to cancer, a hateful disease if ever there was one, it cruely takes away the dignity of those you love and you did the right thing in saving Marley from that misery.
    May god bless you all in your time of sorrow x x x

  76. Oh, Kelly, my heart is breaking for you. You’ve documented his life and connection to you in such a sweet way. Hugs to you!

  77. Oh, Kelly, my heart goes out to you… when you’ve had such a wonderful companion in life, it’s terrible to lose them. I’ll be praying for you — I lost my dog of 17 years two summers ago. She lasted longer than my first marriage and was my rock through awful trying times — and some pretty darn good ones, too. Hold on to the happy memories!
    xo Heidi

  78. I am so sorry for your loss. Rest in peace, sweet Marley.

    I love, love, love dogs and the only hard thing about them (in my mind) is that their lives are so short compared to us. It is heartbreaking to say good-bye, but it does get better with time.

    Our prayers are with you.

  79. Christopher says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I also lost my best friend to cancer. She was diagnosed the day after mother’s day 2010 and fought a hard fight through chemo and lots of Dr. visits. Then we got the call on September 2nd with the vet saying we should come right away. She had been at the office having treatments when she turned for the worse. When we got there she was so weak she couldn’t lift her head, so the decision was made. That was the hardest day of my life. My thoughts are with you. Someday though, you will be ready for another best friend to be by your side. Mine came about a year after I lost my dear Mona who was an Australian Shepherd. Now I have a Shih Tzu named Olliver, and I swear that he is Mona! The similarities are uncanny!! Sorry for the rambling, even after 3 years, I still get choked up and can go on and on about a dog! Only other dog people understand.

  80. ohhhh Kelly I’m so sorry 🙁 I was dreading reading this, having a feeling what it meant, but you really told Marley’s story beautifully and it just goes to show that while pets can take a diminished role once kids come, they still have a very special place in our hearts. You did the right thing taking her to the vet today, as hard as it must have been. Sending hugs down to you guys.

  81. Well I’m glad I’m not the only one bawling 🙁 I didn’t even know you had a dog, these stories always get to me. Not looking forward to the day my boxers have to go to doggie heaven. Sending you hugs from Iowa!

  82. My heart breaks for you.
    Your tribute was beautiful. For those who are not animal lovers they will never understand the bond you have with your pet. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  83. Jean Marmion says:

    Oh my sweetheart – I am so so sorry! No one understands unless they’ve gone thru it and felt the pain. Many will never understand it if they are not pet people. I worked for the LA County Animal Care and Control Department for 4 years. It is one of the hardest things a family goes thru. You go thru the entire grieving process. I am a firm believer that some day you will be together again. God loves all creatures great and small. Your Marley is in heaven, pain free. And until then, may the memories help ease the pain of your loss. And remember your readers are here for you! Hugs~~

  84. Oh, Kelly, my heart breaks for you. I lost my cat, who’d been with me since I was 13, a few years ago. I still think of him often, even though I am still owned by a pack of other kitties. It hurts when you lose a companion that you love so much. I will be thinking of you and hoping you start to feel better soon. <3

  85. My heart goes out to you! You are in my prayers!

  86. Sending so many good thoughts your way. I’m a twenty-something living alone looking into getting a canine companion so I understand what that bond can mean and what a great loss this must be. My heart breaks for you and I wish you any comfort you may be able to find during this terrible time.

  87. Holy hell, Kelly…I am bawling. This was the most heartfelt, poetic ode. I’ve never had a dog – can’t say I REALLY know your pain – but your words made me feel it; how much you loved her and how much this hurts. So sorry, sweetheart.

  88. I’m sobbing in my tea reading this. What a beautiful post paying tribute to the magic and eventual heartbreak of sharing our lives with pets. As an animal lover, I’ve been in your place, so I’m sending you a big hug across the web. I fell in love with love with Marley (what a face!) just from reading your story, I can only imagine the depth of your feelings after sharing so many years together.

  89. I’m. So. Sorry…..I have a 13 year old golden….so hard to say goodbye. Prayers:)

  90. So sorry for your loss. May these words bring you some comfort – ‘What we have once enjoyed we can never lose; All that we love deeply, becomes a part of us’.

  91. Heartbreaking! I’m so sorry.

  92. i’m so very sorry, my heart breaks for you and your family. it’s so hard to lose the furry members of our family, and so hard to explain why to those that may not understand. may you be surrounded by those who understand, and enjoy the photos and memories you have of marley.

  93. I haven’t been a follower for long, but just wanted to say that I’m so sorry to read about the loss of Marley. She was a gorgeous dog, and as the owner of a furry guy, I know that dogs become part of the family and grieving is very real when we have to let them go.

  94. Beth @ incomplete guide to living says:

    Reading this with tears in my eyes….sorry for your loss!!!

    ~Beth xx

  95. Kelly, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I have an ol’ girl too, that has graciously accepted her new role with a toddler in the house, but it’s so hard. They become such a part of our lives, loving unconditionally no matter what. Knowing that she had the best life and best family ever is comfort, but she can never be replaced. I always believed that our furry friends have a small window into our soul and capture our hearts completely. This is an amazing tribute to her. May you rest in peace sweet Marley girl. 🙂

  96. So sweet and so sad. When I had to make that last trip to the vet with my sweet golden Max, they told me that Max lived his whole life for us, and now we had to do this for him. He would not want to let us down, and would not leave us on his own. I understand how difficult this day was for you.

  97. Kelly – I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is so hard. I’ll be cuddling my furry friends a little more tonight cherishing the joy they bring to our family.

  98. what a sweet pup and a touching story. dogs are such a big part of our families. Marley was so lucky to have you all, and you are lucky to have had her. so sorry for your loss 🙁

  99. Im so sorry! We lost our cat Midnight in March to kidney disease. We didn’t know he was sick until 2 days before he was gone. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss him like crazy. We only had him a year, but he will live on forever in my heart. Just like your Marley will in yours.

  100. Dear Kelly, my heart breaks for you. I know what you are going through. Last year we lost our 13 yr old Hobbes, our big boxer baby, to cancer too. The same with your Marley, by the time we knew he was sick it was too late. I held him while he died, and told him how much we all loved him and thanked him for all the joy he had brought to our family .He was the one that got me through losing my mama, that terrible day, 9/11, an empty nest, and then losing my daddy. He always knew when I was sad, he would crawl in my lap like he did when he was a pup, and my tears never bothered him at all. I still look for him when I open the front door. It does get better, but give yourself time. Thinking of you and your family.

  101. Oh, my!
    I am in tears and my heart absolutely breaks for you. I lost my golden, Jackson, to brain cancer. Pets are family and it is the hardest thing to say goodbye. I’m so so sorry for your loss 🙁 May Marley rest in peace!

  102. I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine the pain and sadness you are experiencing 🙁

    How did you know she had cancer? Were there any signs or symptoms??

  103. I once had a Marley. He was a Rottweiler named Zack who, like Marley, gracefully changed roles from “only child” to guardian and play fellow to 4 children. But he was always mine. We’ve had other dogs but none like Zack. Thinking of him still brings a smile and teary eyes more than 25 years later. I’ll always be thankful for the privilege of being his. Marley will always be a warm memory of love for you that you’ll never get over being thankful for.

  104. I write this with tears streaming down my face. I am So. Sorry. My heart goes out to you. I applaud you for the courage it took to let her go. I got Crystal as a 9 week old pup from the pound and had to take her, at over 17 years old, to be put down. She was in pain daily and I decided, after much agonizing, that I could not keep her alive, in pain, just so I didn’t grieve. It literally broke my heart. I said my goodbyes at home because I was not courageous enough to go in with her, since I sobbed two days while the decision, while walking her to the door and grieved for months after. I had to sit in the parking lot almost an hour before I could drive myself home. I tell you this only so that you know I truly feel your pain. My prayers are with you and I hope your pain lessens quickly. Know that all dogs do go to heaven. I just don’t see how they can’t.

  105. I am truly sorry for your loss. It is so hard to let go.
    Marley’s coloring brought back memories about my own sweet mutt, Aussie. Your words are so touching; what a lucky dog she was to have been so loved by you.
    From, a new (BH&G) reader.

  106. I’m so so sorry to read this. Losing a pet is like losing a family member. Hope she is resting now x

  107. Poor sweet were lucky to have each other. I am so sorry, hun. Sending prayers for you and your family.

  108. Tears stream down my face after reading your poignant tribute. as is clear from the other comments those of us who follow your blog also feel some of your loss. Hopefully knowing so many people care eases a bit of your pain. Thank you for sharing.

  109. Oh I am so sorry 🙁 YOu brought me back to when I had to put my first dog down because of cancer 5 years ago. Similar story. It’s an aweful thing to loose a pet. Hang in there. xo

  110. Kelly, I am so sorry to hear this. It’s just heartbreaking. It’s truly difficult to lose a pet. I’ll be praying for you and the family.

  111. Linda Coleman says:

    Oh the love of a dog! My heart breaks for you and your family. Big hugs!

  112. I’m a weeping mess.. I’m reading this post with my beloved Boston curled up behind my knees. Marley sounds like he was an incredible pet and I bet he felt very lucky to be a part of your family. What a great tribute you shared with us. Take the time to heal. We can wait for posts:)

  113. Kelly,
    You write beautifully. I am in tears for your beautiful Marley, and her family.
    This is a particular agony I have been privileged to suffer many times in my near 60 years. Great and noble souls of canine persuasion. I can offer you nothing to ease it.
    I can only assure you of one thing – the pain eases, the love remains, and it is, still, and always, absolutely worth it. They give much, they teach us some very fine things about fun, about the sensual comfort and capacity to heal that affection housed in warm fur enables. About trust, faithfulness, and the most tangible experience of utter devotion and constant forgiveness that we are permitted this side of God. (the interesting reversal of letters has been noted as not just coincidence ; )
    They add immensely to our lives. They help us grow up, while they help us stay young.
    Your story has provoked many beautiful responses here. I loved the thought shared in one, that our dogs help keep our hearts soft. That is an especially fine and noble purpose, even if it is why their sojourn here is so short. They have so much less to learn about love.
    Don’t be afraid. Marley will be honored and pleased when you risk this adventure again, and open your heart to her successor. They bond with us so closely in this journey for a reason.
    God Bless.

  114. Oh Kelly, this post made me cry. I think we are putting our dog down this week. She is old and something is wrong with her. 🙁 Dogs make their way into our hearts. Take as much time as you need.

  115. I am in tears as I reach out to you. Your tribute to Marley was heartfelt. I am truly sorry for your loss. Take comfort in knowing that she is no longer in pain but in a happy place waiting for the day to see you again. Godspeed Marley!

  116. I feel your pain. Our boy Chief passed away on Friday from cancer. He was our first dog, the ring bearer in our wedding and just the sweetest dog I’ve ever met. I miss him terribly.

  117. oh Kelly, my heart is breaking for you. Big virtual hugs your way as I know this pain all too well. I’ve lost a few animals, but none hurt as bad as my Callie who had a very similar story to my life as Marley did to yours. There are no other words, just thoughts of comfort and love for you, my friend!

  118. my marley’s name was annie. She was more than just a dog. I cried for weeks. and one day the Lord showed me a picture of the moment she fell asleep he was holding her in his arms healthy and happy as a puppy and he said he’d take care of her until i could be with her again. So it sounds like now annie has a playmate, til we get there 🙂 cry it out….it will get better…don’t get another dog to soon (my parents did) you won’t like her as much, no matter how much you want too. thanks for all the great blogs. i laugh (and now cry) reading them. Love and Prayers, becky

  119. So so so sorry for your loss. I know the pain you are going through all to well. Just take your time and know you have a right to grieve. And do what you can to keep her memory alive for you and your family.

  120. Such a sweet post, I’m so sorry 🙁

  121. Oh, I’m so sorry… such a sweet pup. Sounds like you gave her a wonderful life. Now I’m heading home to give my pups extra hugs!

  122. This past June we put down the cat that had been with me for half my life. He saw me through high school, college, broken hearts, and everything else. He lived w/my mom for most of my time away from home, but was always there waiting to be petted when I came to visit. The last bit of his life my husband and I took him on. He saw us through the whole wedding planning process, and greeted us as we came home as Mr & Mrs. He too had gotten sick, and was quickly getting worse. It was the hardest decision ever, but I was glad we were able to be there with him in his last moments. I miss coming home to his crazy meow, but I know he’ll always be with us. The cat he helped raise before he left us has already taken over some of his personality traits. Life may go on, but those memories will always be there. Sending an extra big hug of support to you & your family right now!

  123. Christine @ Casa-de-Christine says:

    Kelly- I am crying at my desk at work. I have been here and my heart breaks for you. I’m seriously struggling to hold in a full on ugly cry. So sorry you’re going through this. You gave her a great life though and you were there when she needed you. Remember the good times. Hugs to you.

  124. hugs to you. We lost our family dog Ollie a year ago and I still cry about her sweet puppy face. it’s hard to lose any family member, furry or not! just remember, all dogs go to heaven!

  125. It’s sounds lame and flat, but I’m so sorry to hear about your dog. Those beasties are such sweet and special friends, one of those “good and perfect gifts” He gives us. And the last days are so hard! *hugs*

  126. I’m so sorry for you and your family! I’m sitting here sobbing, tears running down my face. My college roommates and I adopted a kitten and 13 years later she’s so much a part of my life I can’t even think what I would do without her. Just this past weekend we had a big health scare and it seems it’s not as serious as I feared, but just the thought of losing her…I can’t even finish my sentences or write coherently. Losing pets is so so hard, because they are there every single day and see us at our worst. Keep remembering your good times with Marley and how much you loved each other.

  127. I lost my Akita, Yogi, when I was 6 months pregnant with my son. I have wonderful memories of my faithful companion, who saw me through my husbands first deployment, but I still mourn the memories my son will never have with our gentle giant. Losing pets is the emptiest feeling because they fill such a huge part of our days and lives. Thinking of you and praying for your family.

  128. So sorry, Kelly. What a blessing and a joy to have had a dog in your life that you loved that much!!

  129. it’s been five months now since I had to say farewell to my own furry soulmate…and it still hurts when I think of the last couple of hours we spent together….but hopefully these pictures will vanish oneday giving place for the old memories, the happy ones. Iknow EXACTLY how you feel, and I am sorry. Not for the good time you had with Marley, not for the happy memories you will keep…but sorry that you have to feel the pain I feel. And still, although I know it sounds kinda lame, the time I had with my “girl” Shiva is worth the hurting now.
    Bighug from Germany,

  130. I’m so sorry for your loss. Please take comfort in the knowledge that Marley is waiting for you:

  131. My heart breaks for you. You definitely put into words something that is so hard for many people to say. I can tell that Marley was well loved and had a wonderful life. Thank you for sharing her story.

  132. Kelly, You have to go to this site and read this poem. I lost my pal of 19 years, just last year and it still hurts. She was awesome and the love of my life. Someone sent me this poem and it eased the hurt, and made me smile again.
    Also, I recently listened to I think it was “Do dogs go to heaven” . It was an audio book, and the second CD is where it really go interesting for me. I would have sent these in a private email to you but I don’t have your email. Thinking of you. Carolyn

  133. My heart hurts for you. I’ve never been attached to a dog like that but I can see how it would be so hard to let them go. We had to take a kitten to the vet and have her put to sleep because a dog got her and shook her and she couldn’t move her back legs. I cried harder than that kids. It was just so sad the way she looked at us so trustingly to take care of her. I can only imagine how hard it must be to say good-bye to a beloved pet that had been a part of your life for that long. God bless you!

  134. So sorry to hear about Marley. He sounds like he was very lucky dog to have had you as a family! The tears were non -stop as I read your post. May the days start to get a little easier and all the wonderful memories fill you up.

  135. That made me cry. Beautiful tribute for Marley. She was such a good dog. Hugs, friend.

  136. This absolutely breaks my heart Kelly. You perfectly captured the special relationship we have with our animals. My thoughts are with you and your family as you mourn this most painful loss.

  137. Oh honey, I’m so so sorry for your loss and I shed a tear (ok tears) reading through your post. As you probably know, we lost our cat Senna a couple of months ago and the wound still hasn’t fully healed. It’s so hard because pets become a constant in our life and their loss is felt so deeply. So, I’m not pretending to understand but I know I still cry thinking about Sen. Even with a new kitten running around, losing her is still with me. I found it helpful to talk about her, laugh about her and look at the million pictures and videos we had of her and have a good cry together. Sending big hugs to you and your family xxx

  138. Kelly, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve been there with my childhood dog, whom our family had to put her to sleep a couple weeks after I got married due to kidney failure. I’ll be praying for comfort and peace for your family as you mourn the loss of your sweet pup.

  139. Kelly, I am so sorry for your loss. I know what you are going through. I’ve been in your shoes way to many times, and since I will always have pets, I will go through it many more times. It is so difficult, but the love, joy and companionship that they give is one of the best things around. I am thinking of you as you deal with your loss. Marley was a real sweetheart and you gave him a wonderful life.

  140. I don’t really have the words to help you heal and move on, because the day I put my more sweet pup down is still one of the hardest days of my life. I still haven’t let my heart attach to another pet because of the fear of the pain at the end. I will say that time does heal broken hearts, and I fully believe there is a special place in heaven for our furry loved ones, as they are just as much a part of our families as people. LOTS of prayers and love for you tonight. It does get better, friend. <3

  141. You have my every sympathy, I lost my dog in very similar circumstances at the end if last year. Scooby was with me for over 12 years, he was there when my husband proposed, when we brought each of our three babies home from the hospital, when we moved house, when we renovated our house. He was a constant through our early adult life. I still miss him dreadfully and I could feel my stomach churning reading your post. It’s been nearly a year and only now do I think about perhaps getting another dog with a part of me want to stamp my feet on the floor and shout “I don’t want a new dog, I just want my dog back!!”.

  142. Dear Kelly,
    I found your blog via a Facebook link to your laundry room post, and then I read this. I don’t know you, but your tribute to Marley is so thoughtful and heartfelt. Anyone who has loved a dog as much as you love Marley, knows what it feels like to lose a beloved pet and member of the family. I wish you peace and comfort during this difficult time. Hali

  143. Oh, Kelly. I’m so so sorry. My heart just breaks for your family. I know how special animals are in our lives, and it’s so awful when one has to leave us. Marley was so lucky to have you guys. Love you, friend! So so much!

  144. Oh, Kelly, I am so very sorry for the loss of your friend! I know this pain all too well, having just been through it with our Brutus, cat of our hearts. My 9 year old daughter wanted to know why we had pets at all, when it hurts so very badly to have to let them go? And we talked about all the times she could remember with him that were good and lovely and wonderful, and agreed that, hard as it is, it’s worth it.

    Sending you and your family soft healing thoughts.

  145. My heart goes out to you. I have been where you are and have a good idea of how you Are feeling. You will see him again, he is waitiNg just over the rainbow bridge for you. Tail thumping and tennis ball ready. Find peace soon, Marley would have thanked you for a good life and For being with him to the end if he could have.

  146. I too write this with tears streaming down my face. So sorry to hear about Marley, Kelly. We lost our dog 4 years ago and it still feels like yesterday. She had a tumor and we were lucky to have her two years more after her surgery. The memories of our pets will never be forgotten. Take time to heal and cherish your memories.

  147. My tears were unstoppable after reading your beautiful tribute. I relived going through the passing of my golden retriever a few years ago with cancer all over again. As much as it hurts to go through it at the end, it’s worth every memory. Nothing replaces the indescribable bond between you and your beloved dog….it’s the purest love of all.

  148. As another dog lover and someone who help their dog on that las goodbye, I know exactly how you feel. This was well written and beautiful. So sorry for your loss, but the thing that made me feel better is that he was at peace, no longer suffering.

  149. Oh, I’m so sorry. I was just laughing out loud about your baby bum art prints, and then I found out about your losing your sweet dog, Marley.

    I guess if you’re lucky, you get the big laughs to help water down the sad stuff. It sure sounds like Marley had a lovely life with you and your family along her way. Thank you for writing such a lovely tribute.

    I still get little pangs of sad-heart when I think of my old pup, Frankie’s last week (that’s him on the frame inserts), so it probably goes without saying that I bawled like a baby reading this post. You have a truly wonderful way with words. Despite my red nose, I’m so glad that I came across this today. I hope it’s as healing for you as it us for us out here in blog land…

    Thank you!

  150. Kelly – I don’t know, and just found your blog. I want to say how sorry I am about loosing your constant companion for the last 3rd of your life. I’m crying my self reading this. We lost our little 4 month old Reese (a Lynx Point Siamese) this past January. We had her 22 days. We adopted her from a rescue group. She instantly had a serious eye injury & my husband and I around the clock every two hours gave her treatment in an effort to save her eye. She had to wear a cone on her head & was really good about pretty much all of it. Then about 3 days after we got the “all clear” from an animal eye specialist (oh my goodness – yes it was an expensive time for us), we found out she had FIP and had days to live. We got the confirmation of this devastating news on a Sunday & by Monday at Noon, she was gone. We both sobbed like children in the vets office. I held her while they put her to sleep, so she would not be scared.
    I know your pain, yet I don’t likely comprehend the depth of your feelings, being we only had Reese less than a month. Our two boys (Riley a 10 year old Blue Point Siamese and Scout a 8 year old Snowshoe Seal Point Sieamese) were heartbroken and went into depression and I though they may die too, because they stopped eating and drinking and just laid around. Thankfully with lots of love, affection and assurance they are doing better. A few months later, we gave it another try. Back to the rescue group and to our joy. We found a 18 month old Lynx Point Sieamese (you would not believe how hard they are to find, Reese was an accident; we just wanted a female Siamese) but now we have Lyla and she is a beautiful girl. We think Reese may have looked very similar to her, all grow up.

    Boy you awakened emotions I though I was doing good moving on from!! Give your self time Kelly, don’t hold back from talking about her. Hug your children and let them help you heal and let go.

    Reese was the last straw for us when at the end of a journey to buy our first house, we did a year ago. Then found termite damage, then had Hurricane Sandy hit us and 6 trees fell on our property. One snapped 30′ up and took out all the power lines and the road. One was 80′ and fell up our driveway crushing my husbands truck and demolished it and hit the house. windows, siding, roof, gutters, chimney – were all damaged. We did not get heat on in our house till Dec lady year as a result. Just in time for Blizzards and a rough winter. Reese was going to be our “bright spot” a cute little kitten to love and nurture.

    Anyway a year now after moving in, I’m finally trying to figure out some decor, we are about to make our center colnial house into an open concept on up the main floor and I’m doing homework by turning to bloggers like you who have some amazing and wonderful ideas.

    Sorry for the rambling. I read about your NY trip too, sounded wonderful. I will continue to look around your site to gleen so e good ideas.

  151. Sarah Elliott says:

    This was such a beautiful tribute to Marley’s life! I was in tears!

  152. Kelly, when I read this post in September, I didn’t leave any comments because I didn’t know what to say. We’ve been going through a very similar situation with our dog, Chase, and like your Marley, he is completely my baby dog & there has never been another animal with whom I felt such a connection. It is absolutely heart wrenching. If it can bring you even the tiniest bit of comfort knowing that you are helping the rest of us with your story, then please know that I am thanking you from the bottom of my heart today. The love that you have for your pup is truly beautiful, and I am so incredibly sorry for your loss.


  1. […] take a minute and say thank you. I can’t tell you how much your notes and emails and comments about Marley have meant to me. I read them all, over and over, each one helping me heal a bit more. It meant so […]

  2. […] whipped up a little deck which basically rocked our (outdoor living) world this summer. Aww, sweet Marley. The deck definitely looked unfinished (‘cuz it was). We had to let the pressure-treated wood […]

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