I wrote in my book about our family getting our first dog- I was 20 and my Mom had fallen in love with a sad little Schnoodle at a pet store in the mall.  No one wanted him and he was days away from probably being euthanized, but my Mom saw something in this pup’s sweet eyes that made her want to save him.  We had only had cats until that point, so to get the call while at college that we had gotten a dog, finally, was a bit of a surprise.

Tucker was a funny looking little pup- with spotty skin and wiry hair, but the sweetest disposition.  After lots of love and good meals, he filled out, his hair grew in and he transformed into one heck of a cutie. Tucker and I had a special relationship- even though I was out of the house, I was in school nearby and we spent lots of time together.  He’d get so excited when I pulled my car down the driveway, as would I. I would venture a guess that he would say that I gave the best doggie massages on the planet too.

But the best thing Tucker ever did for us was show us how much better life is with a dog.  He turned a family who had never had a dog before into some of the most solidly dog-crazy people out there.  He opened our eyes to the incredible gift of unconditional love and companionship.  How much more joyful things are with a furry friend by your side.  My parents went on to get three more dogs, and as you know I have two (and would have twelve if I realistically could). One of my brothers has gotten one as well and at Christmas we would have SEVEN in one house all at once. And it was awesome.

Yesterday Tucker went to doggie heaven. He was almost 16, blind, deaf, arthritic, in diapers and covered in tumors. It was time, but even so, making the call to say goodbye is such a heartbreaking one and I don’t envy my mom for having to do it.  But it was the right things to do before his life got really painful.  I got to spend last weekend with him and give him lots of treats, some walks and lots and lots of ear rubs (he had the best ears to rub).

He had the kind of life all dogs could only dream of. My parents gave him the best of the best and I know plenty of people who hope that if they are reincarnated they come back as one of their dogs. And while his life was long, it feels too short at the same time. I know he knew how much we all loved him and hope he knows how much he’ll be missed.

Thanks for being our first dog Tucky. We were lucky to have you.







  1. It’s hard to do, but you know when it’s time. And you make sure their life was filled with love and kindness. And afterwards you miss them every time you sit down and no furry little body curls up next to you for belly rubbies.
    Good bye to all my animal buddies from over the years. You gave us such joy.

    Good bye little Tucker. You were loved.

  2. Losing a pet is so difficult. Hopefully your mind can be at ease knowing he is in a better place.

  3. I’m so sorry, Erin. This is such a beautiful tribute to the years of love given to and received from this adorable puppy. You make such a strong case for dogs – and my kids and husband have been begging me for one for years. Today’s post really makes me think more about the possibility. Thank you, as always, for sharing the ups and downs of life with us.

  4. I’m so sorry for the loss to you and your parents. Having to make that decision is never easy. I always say to my friends who have lost a pet, that all of our well loved animals, who have passed over that “Rainbow Bridge” are waiting for him with open arms. Tons of treats, open fields, warm beaches, ear scratches and belly rubs forever and ever. xoxo

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss. The pain of losing a beloved dog is excruciating, but the joy they bring to our lives is immeasurable. Your blog reaches so many people, I hope todays post will inspire more people to adopt. I have two ragamuffins my husband and I brought home from Anquilla. Best decision we ever made (beats bringing home a keychain or magnet). We are madly in love with them! Anguilla Animal Rescue Foundation (Aarf.ai) is a wonderful organization if anyone is interested. If not, there are plenty of needy dogs here in the US.

    1. So sorry for your loss, Erin. Making a decision about quality of life for a treasured member of the family is one of the hardest things a pet owner can do. The little holes they leave in your heart eventually fill with memories of their love and joy of life that you carry with you, but still, you miss them …

      Thank you, Karen, for your nod to adoption and rescue. Every day 5,000+ dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized in our nations’s “shelters.” Just like Tucker, virtually all of these animals would thrive in a loving home like Erin’s. Tucker was likely in rough shape because pet stores get their dogs from the deplorable, substandard conditions of puppy mills and backyard breeders. No matter what they tell you, no reputable breeder would ever sell to a pet store or over the internet. I hope readers will always consider adoption as a first option … it’s a wonderful way to save the life of a deserving pet and honor the cherished life of another that has passed.

      1. Erin, I am so very sorry for the loss of Tucker. It’s obvious he was greatly loved and I’m sure he knew it.
        Denise, I completely agree with you. Rescued dogs are the VERY BEST! Over the past 48 years my husband and I have rescued several dogs. We currently have the sweetest, most loving rescue that shares our life. And every day she reminds us of how very grateful she is! There is nothing like the love of a dog!

  6. Sounds like Tucker had a wonderful and full life filled with love. Sorry for your loss, Erin! RIP Tucker.

  7. Spell DOG backwards and it all makes perfect sense why the love is so pure and the loss so heartbreaking!

  8. I’m so sorry for your loss. I know what it feels like. I went through the same thing last June. The advice that helped me the most was: remember the many beautiful moments that you had with him and cherish them. Rest in peace Tucker.

  9. I was so sorry to read this. We recently had to make the heart-wrenching decision to put our yellow lab to sleep, and even though our vet reassured us that it was the right decision, it was still a hideous one to have to make. And we still miss Stanley daily.

    Tucker sounds like he had a wonderful life with your family, and was so loved. My sincerest condolences to you and your family!

  10. Tucker is an angel dog, and he will be waiting for all of you. That concept will make sense when you read Cynthia Rylant’s wonderful “Dog Heaven.” Go get a copy for your parents. It looks like a children’s book, but it is a reassuring story for all of us who have loved and lost a forever friend. My floppy black lab Burleigh and I send you comforting wishes.

  11. It is amazing how much dogs open our hearts to an abundance of love for all living creatures! So sorry about your dear Tucker. I know how grateful you are to him for not only the years of joy but for leading you to a dog-filled life. Lots of hugs. I know just how tough this is. Lovely photo of such a beautiful boy!! xo

  12. So sorry for your loss. It’s heart wrenching. My little Emma(cat) has just a few weeks/months to live the vet just told us. We adopted her at 6 yrs old and she’s now 14. She sleeps on my neck every night.
    Our other cat is 16. You are losing a family member :(

  13. It seems to me that the photo you posted of sweet Tucker was him to a tee and i have never met him. It made me smile. I am sorry to you and your family over his passing. It sounds like he led a life filled with love and was able to give back to you all ten fold. It is amazing the way a pet can tell exactly what you need at the time, a cuddle, a laugh, even a walk. You are all in my thoughts. Kudos to your Mom for taking the time to see something in him.

  14. I am so sorry, it is obvious that he was provided with all of the love in the world and then some. What a sweet and happy boy! I have a Tucker at home, now I just want to leave work and snuggle up to him. Much love to your Mom and family

  15. My the sweetest of memories of Tucker harbor your thoughts in the upcoming days and weeks ahead. During the grieving process, somehow those memories can overshadow a broken heart. Our thoughts are with you all during this heartfelt moment.

  16. I am so sorry for your loss, Erin. My parents have a sweet Schnoodle named Tug. I will squeeze him extra next time I see him, for your dear Tucker.

  17. I know how hard it is to have to euthanize your pup. It makes me tear up every time I think about when we had to do it. Just know that he’s in a good place, probably getting treats galore! You know what the best cure is to help end that sadness? Adopting another best friend :)

  18. Erin – I am very sorry to hear about your family’s pet. I myself was never much of an animal lover until my family adopted a cat when I was in college and then a dog. They really do make your family complete. I bet doggie and kitty heaven are just amazing…lots of snugly little guys who expect only what they give, love and good snuggles. My best to you and your family.

    Take care,

  19. This breaks my heart! Making the decision to put down a beloved pet is never easy. We had to put my mom’s dog down this summer as well, coincidentally named Tucker. I’m glad both of our Tuckers are no longer in pain, but I know the loss has to be hard on your parents and family.

  20. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Tucker. I understand how hard it is to lose a family pet. Please know in your heart, that Tucker knew he was truly loved. Keeping you in my prayers!

  21. So sorry for your loss. It sounds like Tucker had an awesome life with lots of love, which is really only what dogs want. He was very lucky to have your family, and vice versa.

  22. This is so sad. Tucker knew that your family gave him a wonderful life filled with love. Hugs.

  23. Your post is a wonderful tribute to Tucker- It’s obvious he was loved a lot and will be missed terribly- Such sad news makes me cry bringing me back to my own loss of a much loved dog-So so sorry –

  24. I’m so sorry for your loss. I got a puppy in the fall and have been frustrated at her today…for doing puppy things and for bringing a deer tick into the house (which I know isn’t her fault). Your post reminded me about all the good parts. :) RIP to your sweet Tucker.

  25. Having just adopted my first pup 3 weeks ago (at age 39), I can completely relate to what you wrote about becoming a dog person! They do have such a special place in a family. Very sorry for your loss and all the best to you and your precious pups.

  26. I just had to put down my third dog. ): So hard every time! My sweet Ridgeback was only 5yo and had untreatable liver cancer that had spread throughout her body. It was truly unimaginable and all occurred over the course of only a 2 week period. The following poem has always given me comfort. I hope it does for you, your mom, and the rest of your family. Thank you Erin for always being so “real” and sharing the good with the bad. We are after all in this life together !

    The Rainbow Bridge
    inspired by a Norse legend
    By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
    Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
    Where the friends of man and woman do run,
    When their time on earth is over and done.

    For here, between this world and the next,
    Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
    On this golden land, they wait and they play,
    Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

    No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
    For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
    Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,
    Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.

    They romp through the grass, without even a care,
    Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.
    All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
    Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.

    For just at that instant, their eyes have met;
    Together again, both person and pet.
    So they run to each other, these friends from long past,
    The time of their parting is over at last.

    The sadness they felt while they were apart,
    Has turned into joy once more in each heart.
    They embrace with a love that will last forever,
    And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.

  27. All doggies go to heaven and Tucker waits for you there, just like Toby the schnauzer waits for me.

  28. This made me cry! What a lucky, beloved sweet dog!!! I won’t get into details for fear you’ll send me to the nearest mental facility, but on a trip to Miraval spa in Tucson, I had an opportunity to meet with a visiting medium…as a lawyer and natural skeptic, I NEVER would have believed what she knew about my bichon that died almost ten years ago–NEVER again will I doubt that we will see our pets again one day…nor will I ever question whether our pets understand the love and loyalty your family shared with Tucker!

  29. Broke my heart – it’s so sad when we lose our furry family. I’ve had dogs all my life and I think they are the key to keeping me sane most of the time. Tucker will have gone to doggy heaven knowing he was loved by you all x

  30. Hi Erin,
    My heart goes out to you. It just about killed me when I had to say goodbye to my sweet golden retriever of fifteen years. Tucker was lucky to have a such a good family to love him.

  31. I just came back to your blog for a second time to read this post. Not because I’m a glutton for punishment (cried both times) but because the love of a dog is so pure, loyal and loving that it’s wonderful to be reminded of their power as friends. I will give my Wally extra snuggles and ear rubs in honor of your first guy and send hugs from Austin.

  32. Oh, Erin, I am so sorry for your loss. Anyone who has ever had and loved a dog like a member of the family can empathize with what you are going through. We lost our beloved lab, Max, in 2007 and I still tear up when I think of that sweet, sweet dog. I saw a quote (which is now with his picture and collar) that read, “He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.”
    It certainly sounds like you and your family loved little Tucker with all the love you had to give. How blessed you all, and Tucker, were.

  33. I always get a lump in my throat when a blogger starts off a post with an image of their dog. I know how it feels to lose a pet (mine was a cat) and I hope you all have comfort knowing there isn’t anymore pain but wonderful memories left. Sorry to hear this, Erin.

  34. I am so sorry for your loss. Just reading about this made me cry. Be comforted by the knowledge that you and your parents gave this little guy a wonderful life. It’s true that there is nothing like the pure and unconditional love that a dog gives you. Their loyalty is like no other. However, the pain of losing your dog is unbearable. I learned so many life lessons from my one and only (so far) dog.

  35. So glad that Tucker came into your lives and converted you! It sounds like he adopted the perfect family. I love rescue stories and Tucker’s story is proof of how rewarding it can be for humans and fur-babies! All dogs go to heaven and Tucker will be waiting at the Rainbow Bridge. Take care.

  36. I’m so sorry for you and your family’s loss. Losing a pet, especially your dog is some of the worst pain imaginable. I have no doubt Tucker was the happiest dog that ever lived and your family gave him a wonderful life. They are never with us long enough, but their paw prints are on our hearts forever. Hugs!

Comments are closed.