On this day, April 3, 2019, your last, the sun was shining for you, sweet Fiona.
You were just ten years old… dad and I had just talked about how we had at least another five with you and your brother, Tucker, and how wonderful it was our kids would know you. But the cancer you had was as aggressive as they said… we had hoped for months. Seven weeks was all we got.
Just a week ago you still seemed ok… we knew you were slowing down when the stairs started to seem like too much work. Then you repeatedly had an upset stomach when we took you out. In the next couple of days, our walks got shorter and shorter, until one day you didn’t want to walk at all… it broke my heart into a million pieces.
We tried to make our last few weeks together extra special. You got new toys to tear apart – and boy did you. You saw all of your friends – Petunia, Louie, Sparty, Belle. You saw all your grandparents. You slept on a giant pillow next to our bed; we invited you up on our bed every night, but we think you were more comfortable on your own. After years of kibble (which you did love), we got you the finest food in all the land… beef and broccoli and then fresh food delivered weekly. No more grooming, no more doctors visits. Just fun and relaxation. We took family photos with sweet Suzy who came over as soon as we called with the news…we also made paw and handprint ornaments with Tuck and Henry. I’ll cherish those forever.
On Sunday, when we knew it was almost time to say goodbye, we visited the park on the lake where we used to go play when you were little… you didn’t have much energy for walking, but you made it to see the water and then back to the car. It was cold; I’m so sorry it hasn’t been warmer. I know how much you loved warm, sunny days. Monday and Tuesday you surprised us by continuing to get up when Henry ate – you stood underneath his high chair and waited for treats to drop. I’m so glad you got some special treats in. Yesterday the sun came out, and you got to lay on your giant bed on the deck and feel the sunshine. We also took one last nap together in the big bed – me, you, and Tuck. Just like old times.
But then last night you refused dinner; a first in your life… again, it was so heartbreaking to see and made me cry. And we knew you were telling us it was time. The last thing you ate was licks of peanut butter that had your medicine on it. I hope it gave you some relief in your last hours. I know breathing got difficult.
As we said goodbye this morning, you laid in the sunlight on your favorite spot on the couch on top of a cozy down comforter. You looked like you were floating on a fluffy white cloud. You looked beautiful. We opened the porch door so you could feel the fresh air and we listened to the birds chirping. Tucker jumped up to cuddle you one last time. He, Dad, and I were all with you… you were very tired and uncomfortable… I took these last photos of you just before the doctor came. He was a kind man.
I’m so so sorry it happened so fast. You were ready in those final hours – but you lifted your head one last time and looked me in the eyes to say goodbye, then laid it back down… and I kissed your forehead. I never stopped petting you. It was very peaceful. We miss you so much, already.
I don’t know what to do now really. Tuck and I are sitting in the sunlight wishing you were here. You’ve been our best best friend for ten years. A part of my daily life. Flowers keep arriving… they are all lovely and sweet – just like you. Everything I’ve read about coping says to write… and I lose anything I put to paper so here it is. My memories of you. I wanted to write you this letter because I never want to forget any detail of our last weeks together. But right now I don’t feel any better… It all came much faster than I could have expected. Maybe in time. Maybe.
I’ll love you forever, my Fiona, Fi Belle, Fi Bella, Lady Fiones, Peanut, Pean, Gilly, my lady.
Just a few of the many things we loved about you that I never want to forget…
You lived for food, and you’d know when it was time for breakfast or dinner like clockwork.
You were always underfoot in the kitchen waiting for a scrap to drop.
You loved basking in warmth: fireplaces, space heaters, sunshine – you were there.
You always found the coziest spot… the sofa wasn’t enough. It had to be the blanket on top of two pillows on top of the sofa.
You were a fierce cuddler. Always the little spoon to big brother Tuck. But cuddled on your own terms.
You could always figure out how to open the car windows to stick your head out – a favorite past time.
You were exceptionally fast and could outrun Tucker.
When you ran, you almost kept your two front legs together like a puppy prance hopping around excitedly… it was adorable.
When we went to the park, your tail never stopped wagging. Literally. It was adorable. You at your happiest.
You loved chasing birds. And butterflies. And squirrels. And toys. And anything really.
You could jump SO high. Often flinging yourself into the air for a toy or treat but not even getting close.
You didn’t looove swimming but you did love running around the beach and would at least try to go in the water – up until your feet couldn’t touch anymore. Then you’d turn right back around to me.
You were always very sweet to Henry, especially at the end when he would come up to you, which surprised us since you were very afraid of most children.
You had beautiful, sweet face with freckles, a short snout, and your ears sprouted from the top of your head – people always thought you were a puppy.
Your tongue often was sticking out but you had no idea.
You hated the rain. Refused to go out in it – hated walking on wet grass. You’d rather just hold it. It was such an adorable quirk.
Sometimes on walks, you’d just plop down on the warm sidewalk to sunbathe.
You’d sit in the nursery with me when we brought Henry home… thank you for keeping me company.
When we got you in December 2009, you were the last one left in your litter… a cockapoo with shedding fur. Special right out of the gate. Hah we thought we were getting your brother and we were going to name him Finn – but we ended up getting you – the most special of them all. Our first female dog.
So we named you Fiona. We were so lucky to know you, you sweet girl.
We love you always. Thank you for being ours. We’ll never forget you.
Some favorite photos that really capture you, my Fiona, in no particular order…
I’m so, so sorry to hear about your loss of Fiona. She was truly loved and such an important part of your family, as you can easily tell from your pictures and the way you speak about her. We too are saying good-bye to our family dog this week, and it is so, so hard. Saying good-bye is difficult. I am sending lots of love to your family and hope you are finding some comfort. ❤️
Your letter to Fiona is absolutely beautiful…I’m so very sorry for your loss…Sending you and your family my sincere condolences 💕
Oh Alaina, this is so beautiful. I wish there was something more eloquent and comforting that I could say than “I’m so sorry.” It’s so hard. You gave Fiona a beautiful life and I can tell that she truly brightened yours too. This is a wonderful compilation of memories of her. Thinking of you xx
I am so sorry, and sending love to your family. Fiona was so loved and lucky to have you all.
Such a sweet testament to such a wonderful little lady. Dogs are the best.
I have tears running down my face as a type. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. What a beautiful letter to your little lady. May she be pain free and sunbathing in that special place that all doggies/kitties eventually go. I wish you strength during this difficult time.
Sweet beautiful Fiona. All shewanted was to be loved and that she made easy to do. She will always be in our hearts.
I’m so sorry to read this and hear about Fiona. Having followed your for years, it is easy to tell how loved she was. Saying goodbye to a beloved pet is one of the most difficult things to have to do, but what can bring us peace is the fact that they are no longer in pain. She lived the best life and that is thanks to you. My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.
This made me cry like a baby, I’m so sorry for your loss ❤️.
Well, this hormonal pregnant lady is bawling in bed. What a beautiful tribute.
I’m so sorry, Alaina. You were great with her and I’m sure she knew that. She’ll always be with you. Just look for the little signs…they’ll be all around you.
Oh Alaina. Writing and communicating are so wild. I have never met you, never met your husband, never run into you — but because you have always written so beautifully about your life and your love for Dan and Henry and Tucker and Fiona and your families, I am sitting here crying thinking of the loss you’re experiencing,
I am so so sorry for Fiona’s sickness and passing. And so happy that she was in a family that loved her so much and made sure she had such a wonderful life.
Sending big hugs to Chicago from Paris,
Alaina, I could barely finish reading this because I started crying at work. Thank you for sharing; losing a dog is one of the hardest things. Thinking of you and your family during this time. <3
This is such a beautiful letter and tribute to Fiona – I cried! A lot! Such a lovely pup and clearly so very well loved.
Thank you for sharing your letter to Fiona. I lost my treasured Zoey almost a year and a half ago and am still missing her so much. Your story inspired me to write her a letter and I am hopeful it will bring me some peace. Dogs are such special and wonderful companions. I am so sorry to hear of your loss.