One Of The Greatest Loves Of All: People And Their Pets

Image 9-9-13 at 4.01 PMLast week, comedian Sarah Silverman wrote the most touching obituary for her beloved rescue dog “Duck” who passed away last week. Sarah and Duck spent 14 wonderful years together.

Here’s an excerpt from Duck’s obituary in which Sarah describes her last moments with him:

“I told him how loved he was, and thanked him for giving me such happiness and for his unwavering companionship and love. The doctor gave him a shot and he fell asleep, and then another that was basically an overdose of sleeping meds. I held him and kissed him and whispered to him well passed his passing. I picked him up and his body was limp- you don’t think about the head- it just falls. I held him so tight. And then finally, when his body lost its heat, and I could sense the doctor thinking about the imminent rush hour traffic, I handed him over. 14 years.

My longest relationship.

My only experience of maternal love.

My constant companion.

My best friend.


You can read Sarah’s entire heartfelt tribute to Duck on her blog, but please have a box of Kleenex handy for the tears you will undoubtedly shed.

Sarah’s beautiful tribute to her beloved Duck tugs at one’s heartstrings because the feelings of love and loss she expresses for him are feelings we all have about our own pets. How broken-hearted do most people feel when they lose a pet? How fearful are most people of losing the pet or pets they already have?

I truly believe that one of the greatest forms of love in the entire universe is the love that people have for their pets. How many stories have you heard about pets helping children (and adults) get through rough patches in their lives, providing companionship to elderly people who live alone, or sheer joy to anyone who lives with one? Who doesn’t cry at sweet animal movies such as “Marley & Me,” or feel bad when they see the sad faces of the homeless animals on the ASPCA commercial with Sarah McLachlin while comparing them to the furry creatures sitting on the couch next to them? Didn’t Leona Helmsley even leave all or part of her estate to her cute little dog “Trouble?”

images-1This beautiful poem, written and recited by the late Jimmie Stewart about his dog “Beau” on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1981, is a shining example of the love and loss so many people feel when a beloved pet passes. Check it out on this video, and make sure to watch it until its bittersweet end.

My heart goes out to Sarah Silverman at this time for her loss. If you have a beloved pet of your own, ever had a beloved pet, or simply love dogs, cats and other animals, please consider this quote by John Robbins in his forward to the book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, And Wear Cows by Melanie Joy, Ph.D. Think about it with all the reason, logic, honesty, and compassion you can muster up. For the record, please note that Sarah Silverman is an animal rights’ activist and a vegetarian.

“…I have a question that burns in my soul. This is my question: Why is it that we love our companion animals so much, animals that we call “pets,” and get so much deep human value from those relationships, but then we turn around and call other animals “dinner,” and by virtue of that semantic distinction feel entitled to treat those animals with any manner of cruelty as long as it lowers the price per pound?”

– John Robbins

Think about it!







  1. I can’t even talk about the loss of my beloved dog without getting emotional. It’s so hard to describe it to someone who hasn’t experienced the amazing bond one can have with a pet. For years, I often made the same connection that John Robbins precisely hits on in that quote without ever truly acting on those feelings. I’m much happier now that I’ve stopped denying the connection with what’s on my plate.

  2. Dear Debbie. I went through same with my beloved German shepherd/husky, 65 pds of baby love
    Lost first my yorkie terrier, from 9/11 it’s blk cinder burnings and from Mosquito spraying with a larger tumor than her 13 pd body weight, she survived removal but within seconds her lil heart stopped.
    Than a year half apart my shepherd with a hooping cough- one day hoop cough for short instant, brought her to vet, he said we must do an exploratory surgery
    She ws on with age, went blind fro fright of losing her sister yorkie, hip displasyia, etc but we all were a family bounded with love n kisses. Where I went they followed.
    Well, I knew she got a tumor, where 6 mos earlier she had clean bill health
    Holding her in my arms and soothing her, one shot n I gasped, oh no my sweet Brandy, second shot she sighed n shuddered. Dr said no turning.
    Just this past April after 10 plus years my loving pumpkin cat-Shadow I had to put down fro pancreatic c. Went to same vet place just different dr. Held my lil pumpkin who I adored and was my
    Lil guide wherever I went he would follow, yet very independent and didn’t wNt to be hugged too long or held. He followed his shadow in circles, that is why we named him.
    Yes, with all my love from childhood, that I couldn’t have a pet due to my mom s allergies, we all loved n love our animals. Say, why, we go and shop for steak, chicken, pork.
    Yet, I can’t see a movie with animal abuse let alone child abuse, etc etc.
    Run in the next room or if I hear gun shot ringing or screeching, I break down and cry.
    Maybe it was our upbringing, like they say down on farm or the woods, you see goats and horses etc.
    Veggies n fruits. They get picked or hunted. Than there placed as meal in front of us. All our pets are by Rainbow bridge- where they are playing and watching over us
    My love is my other cat Bootsy my tuxedo. Love also of my life, best friend and never goes without a moment of head cuddling n kneading blanket beside me. Or just sitting n starring and knocking my mouse to the floor for my attention. Our true loves.

    • So hard to lose pets. Sounds like your love of animals has certainly made you into a compassionate and sensitive human being.You are very lucky to have had so many wonderful pets.

  3. Samuel Braitman says:

    Reading this tribute made me recall the passing of Tasha, our wonderful toy poodle. At age 13 she could not longer see or hear. The quality of her life was so bad that we could not bear to see her suffer. It was similar with our cat, Annie. She had stopped eating and kept falling when she tried to walk. It’s never easy losing a pet. That final trip to the vet is one of the most difficult things we have to do.

    • My heart breaks for you just reading your comment. But think of the love and connection you had with your pets during their precious lives. Yes, that final trip is most difficult, I’m sure.

  4. I loved my dog too and was devastated last year at her passing (a 12 year old Border collie named Sasha) — she was the most wonderful, sweet dog I have ever known and I miss her terribly.

    However: dogs are carnivores. Sure they have adapted to eat some vegetables and grains, but grains especially are not that healthy for them. (My current dog — I only feed her grain-free dog food, even though I have evidence it harmed my darling Sasha….just trying to do the best I can!)

    Dogs can not live safely or healthily on just vegetables, not even legumes. And in their natural state, dogs are cousins to wolves, and are hunters. THEY eat meat, and happily.

    This is even more true of cats. They are obligate carnivores, and will die without eating meat. They all hunt, even your fat indoor tabby who sleeps most of the day. Drop a mouse in her room and see what happens!

    So…..expressing a vegan horror of meat-eating about dogs & cats is ironic at best, silly at worst. Your dog knows the difference between YOU and a rabbit, even though both you and that rabbit are meat and can be eaten. Why is it so strange that humans can tell the difference between dogs — the first domesticated animal, our best friend for 40,000 years! — and a chicken or cow?

    • Oops, no edit feature. I meant to type “I feed my current dog a grain free diet, though I have NO EVIDENCE it harmed Sasha”. My bad!

    • I’ve never read any nutritional science concerning what dogs or cats should eat, so I am not in any position to know what food is best to feed your pet. You may very well be correct. No argument here.

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