“Dogs Never Die”

mosey & me at park 1.26.14

I saw this post on Facebook this morning. It is from a website called Dog Heirs, a wonderful site full of photos, information, tips and suggestions about all things dog. They say the author of the piece is unknown so, if you wrote it and happen to be reading it on my site, please contact me directly and I will attribute to you.

I found this post to be beautiful, sad and comforting at the same time. Mosey has had (fingers crossed so as to not jinx) seven good days in a row since last Friday’s scare. The horrible thing about this journey is just when you breathe a sigh of relief that your dog is “well”, you are smacked in the face with the realization that it is a temporary happiness. The “winning the battle but losing the war” saying comes to mind. Comforting stories such as this one really help. But be forewarned…you will probably cry while reading…I did.

“Some of you, particularly those who think they have recently lost a dog to ‘death’, don’t really understand this. I’ve had no desire to explain, but won’t be around forever and must.
Dogs never die. They don’t know how to. They get tired, and very old, and their bones hurt. Of course they don’t die. If they did they would not want to always go for a walk, even long after their old bones say: ‘No, no, not a good idea. Let’s not go for a walk.’ Nope, dogs always want to go for a walk. They might get one step before their aging tendons collapse them into a heap on the floor, but that’s what dogs are. They walk.

It’s not that they dislike your company. On the contrary, a walk with you is all there is. Their boss, and the cacaphonic symphony of odor that the world is. Cat poop, another dog’s mark, a rotting chicken bone (exultation), and you. That’s what makes their world perfect, and in a perfect world death has no place.

However, dogs get very very sleepy. That’s the thing, you see. They don’t teach you that at the fancy university where they explain about quarks, gluons, and Keynesian economics. They know so much they forget that dogs never die. It’s a shame, really. Dogs have so much to offer and people just talk a lot.

When you think your dog has died, it has just fallen asleep in your heart. And by the way, it is wagging its tail madly, you see, and that’s why your chest hurts so much and you cry all the time. Who would not cry with a happy dog wagging its tail in their chest. Ouch! Wap wap wap wap wap, that hurts. But they only wag when they wake up. That’s when they say: ‘Thanks Boss! Thanks for a warm place to sleep and always next to your heart, the best place.’

When they first fall asleep, they wake up all the time, and that’s why, of course, you cry all the time. Wap, wap, wap. After a while they sleep more. (remember, a dog while is not a human while. You take your dog for walk, it’s a day full of adventure in an hour. Then you come home and it’s a week, well one of your days, but a week, really, before the dog gets another walk. No WONDER they love walks.)

Anyway, like I was saying, they fall asleep in your heart, and when they wake up, they wag their tail. After a few dog years, they sleep for longer naps, and you would too. They were a GOOD DOG all their life, and you both know it. It gets tiring being a good dog all the time, particularly when you get old and your bones hurt and you fall on your face and don’t want to go outside to pee when it is raining but do anyway, because you are a good dog. So understand, after they have been sleeping in your heart, they will sleep longer and longer.

But don’t get fooled. They are not ‘dead.’ There’s no such thing, really. They are sleeping in your heart, and they will wake up, usually when you’re not expecting it. It’s just who they are.

feel sorry for people who don’t have dogs sleeping in their heart. You’ve missed so much. Excuse me, I have to go cry now.”


May 6th, 2015 update,

I received the following email from the “unknown” author. I am so happy to be able to credit Ernest for his beautiful words:

Name: Ernest Montague

Comment: Hi:

I saw your posting of my piece, “Dogs never die.” Thank you for offering to credit it. I wrote this a while back about my old Pit Bull, Bolo, and sent it to several friends when their dogs died. Then an acquaintance posted it on Reddit and it has seemed to go slightly viral. In any case, credit or no, I am so pleased to see so many people touched by something I wrote. 

I still can’t read it without crying, BTW.


3 responses

  1. My Hadley was diagnosed with a chemodectoma in May of 2012. She was presented to the Veterinary School at Texas A&M to undergo tomo for 30 days so we moved to College Station from Feb 25 – March 25 of 2013.

    I understand chemodectomas generally do NOT metastasize but as of Feb 6th (three days ago), the radiologist has found three nodules in her chest. We began Paladia on Friday. Obviously there is no way to test the heart based tumor to confirm it is indeed a chemodectoma but it was assumed. Please note that the tomo has shrunk the heart based tumor, albeit VERY slowly, so to learn of this new situation was quite unexpected.

    How is Mosey handling the Paladia?

  2. Oh Kelly, I am so sorry you are going through this too. Mosey was not a candidate for any type of radiation except a palliative version. His tumor was too big and wrapped around too many major organs.

    He has 2-3 tiny, tiny nodules in his lungs…so small they missed them at first, thus the Palladia. They hope the Palladia will keep the nodules from metastasizing further and, hopefully, slow down the progression of the chemodectoma.

    It is comforting to hear that you guys have had almost 2 years! I know this must have been such a stressful time but the radiologist told me we may only have a month or two …although the oncologist is a bit more optimistic. Mosey is tolerating the Palladia well. No side effects although he got so sick from the radiation that we had to take him off the drug for 2 weeks. We just put him back on last Monday…so 4 doses in, he is on a Mon-Wed-Fri protocol. What is your dose schedule?

    Let’s stay connected and compare notes. You are the first person I have met through this process also dealing with chemodectoma…a rare cancer. And, if you have any learnings you would like to share on my website, please send them my way. I am still in the “beginners mind” phase of this fight.


  3. I would like to speak with you by phone. I believe you have options your vets have not made known to you. My email is kelly@heitkamplaw.com. DONT GIVE UP AND DONT GIVE IN. I have information that could help Mose! Please let me help! We are treating at Texas A&M. They have a new cutting edge piece of equipment.

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