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Kodi, 1997 – 2010

In 1998, Krissy decided that we should have a dog. This precipitated a philosophical discussion between the two of us as to what constituted a “dog.” Krissy, whose family had had a number of smaller dogs over the years, was inclined toward something in the shih tzu or maltese direction of things. I, however, steadfastly maintained that if one is going to own a dog, then one should get a dog — a large animal, identifiably related to the wolves whose DNA they shared, who could, if required, drag one’s unconscious ass out of a fire. More practically, there was the fact that at the time I owned a 30-pound cat named Rex, whose default disposition was such that a dog smaller than he would be in very serious danger of being either eaten or being sat on and smothered in the night. It wouldn’t be fair to bring a small dog into our home.

And thus, it was decided that, indeed, we would probably get a big dog. And as it happens, when this decision was made, our good friend Stephen Bennett mentioned to us that, as we were looking for a dog, he knew of a puppy that was available. A friend of his had put down a deposit on an Akita puppy from a local breeder, but then moved somewhere pets weren’t allowed. So an Akita pup was up for sale, at a substantially discounted price. Normally the phrase “discount puppy” is one fraught with danger, but Stephen had heard good things about the breeder, so we gave her a call.

It turned out that actually two puppies were still available, one a boy and one a girl, so we went over to the look at them. Krissy had originally wanted the boy puppy, but he seemed distant and diffident and didn’t seem to want to have much to do with us. The girl puppy, on the other hand, went right up to Krissy and seemed to be just plain delighted to see her. Five minutes later, it was decided that the girl puppy was our puppy. As it happened, it was indeed the pup Stephen’s friend had planned to buy, and in anticipation of that, the breeders had already started calling her the name that not-actually-former owner had planned to call her: Kodi.

Having bought the dog, I then went home and researched Akitas, and just about had a heart attack, because it turns out that Akitas are a dog that can go one of two ways: They can be an utterly delightful dog, clean and intelligent and devoted to family, or they can be twitchy neurotic creatures who were originally bred to hunt bears and will be happy to challenge you for alpha-hood in the family if you give them the chance. What made the difference between the one and the other? Basically, how much time you spent socializing them. Spend enough time and attention to socialize them well, you get the good Akita. You don’t, and you don’t.

Fortunately, if you want to call it that, something happened that allowed me to spend all sorts of time with my new puppy: I got laid off from AOL. Thus, during Kodi’s entire puppyhood, I had nothing better to do with my time than to spend it with our new pet. Partially as a result of this, and partially out of her own good nature, Kodi became the best of all possible dogs, or at the very least the best of all possible dogs for for me and for Krissy. Athena came along, almost exactly a year younger than Kodi, and our dog took to her immediately, sensing a younger sister rather than competition for affection.

Kodi was a good dog for all of us, but it’s fair to say that while she loved me and Athena, she adored Krissy. I like to tell the story of how I went away on my book tour in 2007, and I was gone for three weeks, and the day I came back, Krissy went to the airport to pick me up. When we got out of the car and opened the door to the house, Kodi came out and greeted me in a way that translated into oh, hey, you’re back. Nice to see you. Then she went over to Krissy and greeted her in away that translated into OH MY GOD I THOUGHT I WOULD NEVER SEE YOU EVER AGAIN AND NOW YOU’RE BACK AND I LOVE YOU SO VERY MUCH. And she had been gone for maybe two hours. I once told Krissy that the very best day for Kodi would be one in which Krissy came back home every ten minutes. Krissy was Kodi’s world, her sun and her moon, her waking thought and her dream.

Krissy never took that for granted, as one being given unconditional love might. She returned that love. She delighted in the fact that Kodi was her dog, even in its most exasperating moments, such as when the dog couldn’t stand to be more than five feet from her and was simultaneously having deep and abiding intestinal issues. You take the bad with the good, the cat litter breath with the soft, happy puppy sighs, the dog farts with the unalloyed happiness that a dog who really loves you provides. Krissy loved her dog, and loved everything that went with the dog, from start to finish.

Kodi’s love for my wife amused me and I would occasionally feign jealousy, but I never doubted that Kodi loved me too, and cared for me as well. To explain how I know this I have to tell you about two separate events. The first happened the night of the day my daughter was born. The second was a few days after my wife miscarried what would have been our second child. In each case I was home while Krissy was somewhere else — in the hospital recuperating from giving birth for the first, and at her work for the second — and in both cases I was suddenly and extraordinarily overcome by my emotions. For the first, the indescribable joy that comes in meeting your child for the first time. For the second, the grief that comes from knowing you will not meet the child who could have been yours. And each time, I was frozen, unable to process what was happening to me, or what I was feeling.

Both times, Kodi did the same thing. She came into the room, saw me, walked over to the chair in which I was sitting and put her head in my lap. And both times I did the same thing. I petted her head, slid out of the chair and on to the floor, and held my dog while I cried, letting her be the one to share both my joy and pain, so I could go on to what I had to do next. Both times she was patient with me and sat there for as long as I needed. Both times my dog knew I needed her. Both times she was right.

I haven’t written or spoken of either of these before, even to my wife. They were something I kept for myself. But I want you to know about them now, so that you know that when I say my dog loved me and I loved her, you have some idea of what that actually means.

Akitas are large dogs and live, on average, for nine or ten years. Kodi lived for almost thirteen, and twelve of those were very good years. In the last year, however, age caught up with her. She slowed, and she panted, and finally it had become clear that she had begun to hurt. While Krissy and I were in Boston this last week, we got a call from the kennel where we boarded our dog when we traveled. Kodi had had to be taken to the vet because she was listless and she wasn’t eating. X-rays at the vet showed she had a tumor in her abdomen, which was likely causing internal bleeding. There was some question whether Kodi would make it until we got home. We asked the vet to do what she could. She did, and yesterday afternoon we drove straight from the airport to see our dog.

In the end it was simple. We walked Kodi into the sunlight and then Krissy laid down in the grass with her and held her dog close and let her dog go, both at the same time, bringing to an end a journey that began with Kodi walking up to Krissy and into her life, and our lives, twelve years before. I’m thankful our dog waited for us so we could be with her. But I’m even more thankful my wife could hold her dog one last time, feel the happiness Kodi felt in her presence and she in hers, and to have her arms be the last thing her dog felt in this life as she passed into the next.

Now she is gone and we miss her. We are glad of the time she was with us. She was loved, by my wife, by our child and by me. I wanted to share a little of her with you, so you might remember her too. She was a good dog.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

506 replies on “Kodi, 1997 – 2010”

Oh John, Krissy and Athena,

My heart goes out to you all. I am so sorry for your loss. Having never met Kodi, you made her a part of everyone’s lives through the Whatever.

I will miss her too.

Big hugs to all of you.

John, Krissy, & Athena;

Thank you for sharing Kodi with us, and your wonderful memories of her. I’m so sorry for your loss, but glad that she was able to be with you at the end.

I could feel the emotion in this, and I couldn’t help but tear up as I finished reading.

Good bye, Kodi. You were a wonderful dog.

sorry for your loss john. i have lost several grat cats in the last year, they are not just like family– they ARE family, i still miss them. be well

Athena, Krissy, and John — what a wonderful friend you’ve had. I’m sorry for your loss, and glad you have such joyful memories to fill a tiny part of her space in your lives. Would that we were as good as our dogs think we are.

What a wonderful tribute to Kodi. She clearly has enriched your lives and will be forever remembered for the loving family member that she was. My heart goes out to you and Krissy and Athena.

Thats a beautiful tribute and i know a lot of us understand how hard it is when a beloved pet does. When we our first cat, who had been with us almost our entire marriage, died, my husband and I both cried daily for a week. Peace be with you.

John, my heart goes out to you, Krissy and Athena. Kodi sounds like a very special dog. Thank you for sharing your memories of her, even though you made me cry. May the three of you take comfort in all your wonderful memories of Kodi.

Our sympathies and best wishes to your family. Thank you for your honesty and sharing these stories, even though I’m pretty much a mess now. I’ve had the same experiences with several dogs; being able to say goodbye in the sunshine and up close did make a difference.

Your recounting of Kodi’s life and passing reminded me sharply of my own experiences. My dog, an Akita/Labrador retriever mutt, also died from an abdominal tumor. He was 10.

My deepest, most heartfelt condolences to all of you.

Kodi sounds like a great member of the family, and condolences on her loss.

My wife and I lost our dog almost exactly a year ago. I’d always been a cat person, growing up with two cats, and he was my first dog. I never knew before that how dogs viewed their humans as their pack. I remember Huxley occasionally getting exasperated with us, because we apparently weren’t listening to what he was saying, or being overjoyed to see us when we got home, but we were his family, as you were Kodi’s family. As much as our cats love us (‘cuz hey, we feed ’em), Huxley saw us as packmates. It’s a very different bond, and I still feel honored to have been part of his pack.

It sounds like Kodi was happy to be in your pack. She had a good family.

John, I’m so sorry. It’s hard to lose a pet, especially one that is as wonderful a companion as Kodi obviously was. You’ve given her a very moving tribute.

My heart goes out to you, Krissy and Athena. Sorry for your troubles, as we say.

You have my deepest sympathy for your loss. I cried so hard when I read this – I started to tear up when I saw the title of the post, actually, knowing what was coming.

Oh God, I’m so, so sorry. For all that Kodi had a great, long life with you all, it would have been wonderful if you could have had her happy and healthy longer.

I’m incredibly glad that she held on until all of you, and especially Krissy, could be with her before she left this earth.

That was absolutely beautiful and extremely touching. I think any dog owner can relate to those emotions at some type of level. Kodi sounds like she was an amazing and loving dog, and you were truly blessed to have her in your life. And no, I am not crying, it is just my allergies.

Thank you for sharing your story. I cried.

I’ve been there for my pet family members when they’ve passed. To love them and comfort them and let them comfort me.

Condolences for you and your family.

I’m so sorry. I hope it helps to remember how much she loved you and how powerful a force for good you were in her life. No one can ask for more than the devoted love of a living thing.

What a beautiful account, from happy beginning to sweet, sad finish. Whatever aching is left by Kodi’s passing will, I trust, be accompanied by some fine, lovely memories that you all can enjoy, together and individually.

Please accept my condolences.

Sharl

That sucks, I’m so sorry for all of you. =(

This is a beautiful eulogy, though. I understand what it is to be loved by the best of dogs, and what it means to lose her.

I offer non-creepy internet hugs to your whole family. So sorry for your loss.

Well, I’m one of the people crying with you guys. Anyone that’s ever had a fuzzy little person in their lives knows how it feels. What we share is wonderful, and it hurts so much when it’s time to say goodbye. I’m glad that Kodi went easily, and surrounded with love. No one, dog or cat or human, could ask for more.

I’m very sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you, and especially Krissy, who bonded so strongly with Kodi, and Athena, who has never before known a world without her.

Goodbye and Godspeed, Kodi.

I’m so sorry for your loss.

I’m sitting here in tears, thinking not only of your loss but of our dog Fraemie, who passed away this winter at the age of sixteen. Your description of Kodi’s bond with Krissy reminds me of Fraemie’s bond with my wife Lisa. Fraemie was Lisa’s dog before she met me, and was a constant in our lives as we dated, married, bought our first house, had kids, and moved across state to build our lives the way we had envisioned.

There’s a cold rational part of my mind that thinks it’s remarkable how we bring animals into our lives and give our hearts to them, but then, Fraemie loved us and we loved her. She was as much family as family can be.

I wish you and your family the comfort that only loved ones can give.

Very few humans can expect or deserve such a simple but meaningful epitaph as “She was a good dog.”

Dogs, our partners for tens of thousands of years or longer represent ideals of hope, love and duty that we aspire to. If we can live up to the expectations of our dogs, perhaps we can be good people, too.

I’m in tears because I know that I am just behind you with Max, my 13 year old labrador retriever. He’s having trouble breathing, particularly in this hot Seattle weather, tho’ the chest xray was clear. We both have paralyzed vocal cords together but his is getting worse.

My deepest sympathies to you and your family. Dogs make us better people.

Awww, that’s so very hard. My sympathies to all of you. Thanks for sharing those two special moments in this touching euology. I had times like that with my dog too. My family and I had to put down our Nikki (aka “Devil Dog”) two years ago. It was heart-wrenching, especially because I was stuck in Boston when she got really sick and weak. I didn’t want her to suffer for another few days just so I could fly back to UT. So I couldn’t even be there in person to say goodbye. All I could do was listen and talk to her over the phone.
And just as Kodi was *Krissy’s* dog first and foremost, Nikki was *my* dog. So having missed being there for her at the end is still upsetting to me. All the best to you and your family.

John, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. It’s really hard to lose a four-footed friend, and you’re fortunate enough to have realized how blessed you were to have her. I’ll think good thoughts for you all.

I love dogs, and a dog that is loved, always loves their humans.

I see how my brothers dogs treat my toddler nephews. They are all pack, the boys are pups, the girls (the dogs) are guardians, the interaction is human. It’s beautiful.

A good dog, is basically a WONDERFUL human who can’t speak an understood language, and the lose of a dog, isn’t the loss of a possession but rather the loss of a member of the family.

They do sense mood, they do sense what you need, and they ignore their desire for more food, and they come up, and they console their pack.

Hell, in some cases, a good dog, is better family than some peoples family.

There is nothing in the world as pure as a dog’s love.
There is nothing quite as peaceful as loving a dog.
Kodi chose you as her family. I think she chose well.

From one dog family to another, our deepest sympathy.

That was a moving tribute. Well said.

The animals are a part of the family and I’m sorry for your family’s loss. But it sounds like Kodi had a life well lived and that’s the important part. One hopes that we can all be so blessed.

Best,
Billy

Reminds me of our dog Boots. You miss them, you are sad, but the sadness never overwhelms the fact that you are o so glad to have had them in your life. Kodi is gone, and yet, she will remain forever a part of your life. Thank you for sharing a bit of her life and yours. You bum, you made me cry.

with fond remembrance,

–Jerry

I am so sorry to hear about Kodi. Your story sounds a lot like how our dalmatian Sheila went. She waited for me to come home from college to say goodbye to her. We got her when I was six and my sister four, and she always viewed us as packmates. Count me among those who teared up more than a little bit at this post – it’s patently obvious how much you loved Kodi and she loved you and your family. She had a good life, and that’s what really matters in the end.

(not to be egocentric, but I will be) even people who are NOT pet people, are taken in, while forced to “tolerate” pets, and when the time comes for the pets to pass?

Even the most cynical “owner” because a bundle of tears.

That is why we have them, that is why we love them, despite them being pains in the ass, they are wonderful creatures who love us, and us them.

I am so sorry. But I am also glad – you had a good time, and you all gave Kodi a good life, and in the end she lived longer than most of her breed live, and sometimes that happens just because of love.

Thank you for sharing, even if it did result in me leaking saline everywhere.

I am so sorry for your loss. Kodi was a very special dog, that’s for sure. My first dog was a hundred pound German Shepherd gal. She eventually became my dog too over the years. So smart, so expressive. Sounds just like Kodi.

I am very sorry for your loss.

We just lost our dog, Sammy, a 14 year old Springer Spaniel, last week under nearly the same circumstances. I thought I was finally getting over the grief somewhat, but reading this post started the tears flowing again.

http://tinyurl.com/sammy-rip

I am so sorry for your loss. That was a beautiful tribute to Kodi, and to dogs in general. There’s no way I could go through life without them.

One of the reasons I lurk around these parts is because I enjoy your the stories and pictures of your pets, and Kodi’s gentle eyes were something I always looked for. I lost my darling Peabody four years ago, but it feels very fresh right now, and your story of Kodi’s comfort has me in tears. What a lucky dog to know such love, received *and* given.

They say all good dogs go to heaven, and I’d like to imagine Peabody will be keeping an eye out for Kodi and showing him all the best things to nom on and chase after. My sympathies to you and your family.

I would have never *truly* understood this if I hadn’t spent the past year in a dog-human relationship much like Krissy and Kodi’s. But I have and I do, and my heart goes out to your family as you experience that bittersweet mix of a life well lived and the ending of it.

Thank you for sharing these intensely personal and beautiful thoughts.

Ohhhh…my deepest condolences and sympathies on your loss. I’ve recently lost two cats myself – one a senior, born in the first year of my marriage; the other a youngling not quite a year old.

It is a painful, and bittersweet to lose a beloved family member. But I like to believe that they’re hanging about somewhere, keeping an eye on us – and with the love you all shared with Kodi, I’m sure she’s keeping watch over you still.

The Trumitch’s send our deepest sympathies to the Scalzi’s. My husband has been through similar things with his beloved dogs, and I have been a bit heartbroken to be too allergic to share them, and to keep my daughter from knowing them too.

Goodbye Kodi. You were always such a beautiful lady, always looked like you were smiling in those pictures!

So sorry John.

Having gone through this twice in the past two years, I know how hard it is to live with the big empty this makes in your heart and then to write and tell people all about it.

I’m so sorry to hear you lost your beloved Kodi. Your beautiful farewell brought tears to my eyes.
Thank you for sharing your memories of Kodi with us.

I, too, am sorry for your loss. That was a lovely write-up/story, thank you for sharing. It had me tearing up (as I imagine it would for anyone who has lost a pet).

We lost our german shepherd after 14 years this last fall. It’s good to have the time with them, and sad to see them go :(

My heart goes out to the three of you John, Krissy and Athena. Your losing Kodi… has me in tears.
Thank you for presenting her to us and for that heartfelt tribute to her life and times.

Our dog died last year of nearly the same consequences, my feelings are with you.

I was sitting here, studying in my room for university, when i read your blog entry, and now i’m nearly in tears because this remembered me so much of Tess.

But, as hard as it sounds, be sure that you did the right thing. A dog is a companion, a friend, a pillar in life maybe, and does not deserve to suffer.

I was with our dog as she died, in our home, with family around her. With dignity and a stubborn pride.

I think i never realized how much i missed her until i read about your loss right now.

Be strong. I wish i could be.

Aww, that sucks. I know how I felt when it came time to have my cat put to sleep – and she had been with me 18 1/2 years. I still miss her. My condolences to you and your family.

My condonlences. I recently lost my best friend of 17 years and wasn’t with my family to say “good bye.” I feel for you.

Akita are great dogs. By now, the story of the most famous Akita, Hachiko has made it’s way around the world, but is a prime example of the nature of attachment to it’s family.

What everybody else said. My sympathies to you and Krissy and Athena. Your post brought back memories of the best dog I ever had, who died three years ago. (Of course I tell the current dogs that THEY are the best dogs ever.) Made me cry all over again.

John, and family,
Accept my condolences. It’s helped me to read your remembrances of Kodi. Last summer, my wife and I said goodbye to a big yellow dog named Daisy, on an equally sunny day, outside, curled up with her for a few minutes more of our shared lives together, until she passed on from her pain into stillness. Our kids, away in their adult lives, were not there, but I wish they could have been.

The really good dogs remain with us, in memory, a big swatch of cloth in the crazy quilt of our lives.

Thank you for sharing Kodi with us.

My heart goes out to you John. I’m crying right now cause this reminds me of my family’s golden retriever, Merry. She was diagnosed with 6 tumors this last year, and the only reason we could tell was because she stopped eating. This dog was so stoic and loving at the same time, it took six damn tumors to stop her from being her.

Merry’s first instinct when anyone was upset was to go and comfort them. I remember, not too long after my family had moved, one of the neighbor kids ran into Merry and was freaked out by meeting a dog bigger than him. He started crying, and Merry’s reaction was to start liking his face, kind of a way of saying “Hey, don’t cry. I’m friendly.”

I still visit my parents at least once a week for dinner with the family, and each time I did while Merry was alive she’d be right there at the door to greet me, tail wagging away. I still miss seeing her when I go there, and a part of me is expecting for her to be at the door when I arrive, and still misses her each time.

Again, you have my condolences. Kodi sounds like she was as awesome as Merry, or even more so.

I am so sorry for your loss!
Your words really made me tear up and I don’t tear up easily. Many people don’t realize that a dog is not only an animal companion but also a real friend and a family member, a being you love and share your life with. From your tribute I can tell that Kodi was a very lucky dog. Your family loved her and gave her a wonderful life. You cared for her and you were with her when she passed away. That is the most important and wonderful thing you can give to another being. Be proud – and be sad! Kodi will always be with you and thanks to you she will always be happy.
I offer my condolences.

It isn’t easy to lose a pet who you’ve loved and has loved you, but I’ve always found the joy my pets brought to my life to far outweigh the inevitable sorrow. My condolences to you and your family.

We know when we get them that we’ll outlive them, but that’s the trade we make: all the years with them for the pain when we have to let them go.

I’m sorry for your loss, and thanks for sharing her life. Good on you and Krissy to do what was best for your pal, and to give her that final service. Hope Athena’s doing OK.

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie–
Perfect passsion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart to a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find–it’s your own affair–
But … you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone–wherever it goes–for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-term loan is as bad as a long–
So why in–Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

The Power of the Dog
by
Rudyard Kipling

My condolences to the 3 of you.
Whenever I lose a beloved pet, cat or dog,(24 so far) I always find comfort in the following;-

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

My condolences to you and your family for your loss. You shared a great deal more than you needed to and I would just like to say I appreciate it. I’m sure Kodi is safe on her next journey yet still waiting for you guys at the same time.

Aw. I’m sorry to hear Kodi’s passed on. But I agree with everyone, that was a beautiful tribute.

I will never forget Kodi’s completely relaxed way of napping, splayed on the floor with her paws out, or when she first came out to greet me at the car and I called out her name and reached out the window to say hi, and there was a beat before I remembered that she and I had never met before, yet it felt sort of like we had, you had introduced her so well here on your blog.

You don’t need any of the rest of us to confirm she was a good dog, but I’m glad I got to know her a little, and I’m glad she was such a significant and wonderful part of your lives. All my sympathy as you celebrate her life and mourn your loss.

My fianceé and I went through a similar situation last summer with our (my) oldest cat, Mooch, who was only ten, and decided to tell us she had cancer by throwing a massive blood clot into her right front leg. (Spinal cancer. Ugly.)

I’d like to say that a year later that I’m better and over it. Hell, I thought I was. But I’ve discovered that the hole left by a beloved pet is one that never quite fully heals, and can never quite be properly filled by another animal. (As soon as I saw the picture of Kodi with the port in her leg, I started sobbing. I couldn’t help it. Bad memory.)

Kate (the aforementioned bride-to-be) and I really wanted to pass on our condolences to you and your family, John, because we know all too well how difficult this must be for all of you. We both hope that the pain will gave way to happier memories soon.

Sorry for your loss…over the years has been my joy to share some time on earth with some great dogs. Always sad when they leave us, but the wonderful memories of time spent with them never does. A great dog is never forgotten!

Thank you for sharing those memories. When an animal loves you, it’s such a wonderful thing. I’m glad that Kodi could be with Krissy at the last. My 18-year-old Very Special Cat died in my arms in April, having waited just long enough for me to come home from a trip, too, and I will always be grateful that she waited around long enough to say goodbye. Best to you and Krissy and Athena and the cats.

Thank you for sharing the story of your wonderful dog with all of us internet people. I’m so sorry for your loss and my sympathy is with you and your family. I’m one of the many who teared up reading this; the love your family and your dog shared is very evident.

So sorry to hear that John.
Our dog is starting to get to that age and reading this is making me tear up a little.
It’s good that your dog knew she was loved.
My favourite quote on dogs is one I always think of when I see mine “I want to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.”

Thanks for the story John. We dog folk love to read these things. Dogs seem to vary almost as much as their human symbiotes, but I think the first dog for a young family can be pretty special.

I’ve long wondered why there isn’t a “market” for longer lived mid-sized dogs. At least one Australian cattle dog lived to age 29 (though most live 13-14 years).

Seems like we could breed for a 50 lb dog with 20 years of active life [1]. Hasn’t happened yet …

[1] My 1997 usenet post on the topic …

http://groups.google.ca/group/rec.pets.dogs.misc/browse_thread/thread/390d8bb8a4d4ac5e/67860b460c679aa2?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=breeding+a+long+lived+dog

John, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. I know how hard it is to lose a loved one and especially a canine family member. They are like people but in their very dog-ness they somehow transcend simple animal being into something wholly more wonderful and powerful. Your tribute to her and her love for the family but especially Krissy is very moving and reduced me to tears. I’ll go hug our dog a bit more now.

Be it animal or human, when a loved one passes away, I like to think that they are in a place free of the physical condition of their body at their death and returned to something more youthful and vigorous. No doubt this is where Kodi is and she’s able to do all the things she loved to on this Earth. And perhaps she’s cool with being so far from Krissy.

Again, my condolences to your family.

Kodi, you were a good girl. John, my heart goes out to you, Krissy, and Athena. Your love for your family, including its four-footed members, that comes across so clearly is a big part of the reason that Whatever is a daily stop for me.

Ending the pain of a long-beloved pet is one of the most difficult and important task of a pet-owner. My heart goes out to you and all of your family, John, whether four legs or two.

Vaya con dios, Kodi. You touched lives across the world, and will be missed as widely.

I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. I am sitting here with tears running down my face. I’ve been reading your blogs since the AOL journal days and have enjoyed the pictures/stories about Kodi during that time. Because of those pictures and stories, I feel as if I too have lost a dear pet.

It is so hard to lose one of the furkids, but Kodi loved and was loved in return. I’m glad she waited for you to return to her so you could be there for her, and she for you at the end. I not only work with animals, I have also always had pets my whole life, and I think each animal takes a little piece of your heart with them when they leave.

Sorry, not a strong enough word, but effective. Our pets are family, through the pack bond, or through empathy or through whichever, but they’re family. They know it and you know it and it’s always sad when we lose family.

Read about your loss on Joe Mallozzi’s blog and just wanted to reiterate what so many here have said. What a beautiful tribute to your dog and to your family. May sweet memories remain.

Funny about the way Kodi greeted Krissy after you had been away for a long time. My Shadow is the same. When I come in after having been gone for days, he’ll often raise his head to acknowledge my presence. When my wife comes back in after having stepped outside to water the garden for five minutes he goes apeshit, waging his tail from the waist down, and running for toys, and whining and peeing on the floor. I always credited that to the fact that I was the pack leader, and was granted deference, while the wife and son were peers, and were OK to play with.

I’ve always been the “it’s just an animal” type of pet owner, but these guys worm their way into one’s heart somehow, and no matter how I deny it, when Shadow goes, I’m going to be a wreck. My heartfelt condolences to your family, John.

John, I’ve never had a pet, but I could feel the love and sorrow in this post, and your pictures of Kodi made me love her too. She’ll be missed here.

Bright blessings for your healing and your family’s.

O Great Scalzi,

The Executive Committee of The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club expresses its deep sympathy for your family’s loss; and, a quorum being duly assembled, hereby RESOLVES, that

A Thirty-day Period of Mourning Shall be Observed and,
That the term “Anteater-Thing” Shall henceforth be respectfully Retired.

:-(

The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club

PS – Your images were perfect, including the final heartbreaking one.

I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. When the dog I group up with passed away it was one of the saddest moments of my life. Be assured the memories (and the dog hair) will be around for much much longer.

I’m going to join the long list of people expressing condolences. Even if in your head you expect that your dog (or cat) will only live ten or twenty years, it still hurts to lose them — in your heart, it never quite sinks in. And Kodi sounds like a dog among dogs. Thank you for sharing her with us.

I’m so sorry that Kodi had to go. My dog, just a little older than Kodi, went in October and I was able to lie on the living room floor with her just as Chrissy did for most of her final day. It’s the best and the worst, I guess.

Safe travels, good dog!

Dear John, Krissy, and Athena,
I am so sorry to read of the loss of your beloved dog. I have a dod to (Molly) who came to live with me after my Mother passed away. She is my constant compaion and I love her greatly. My heart is breaking for all of you. I do not know what I will do when something happens to Molly. I cried when I read your post about Kodi. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time.

Aw man, I’m so sorry. ((hugs)) to Krissy, and to you. It’s never easy to let a pet go, even when you know it’s time.

I’m now living with a 13.5 y.o. Australian Shepherd who is officially The Sweetest Dog in the World. He’s starting to do the panting and being-in-obvious-pain thing, and I dread the day we take him to the vet for the last time. When he goes, it’ll be the end of an era, because he’s the last of the 4 dogs we got not long after my husband and I got together. But he’s still eating and interested in things, so hopefully we have a while yet.

Jesus, I am crying like a baby. I am sorry for your loss. Your description of Kodi reminds me of the old bumper sticker saying “God help me to be the person my dog thinks I am.”

I lost my Siberian Husky a little over a year ago. I’m still a little surprised when I don’t see her face in the window when I get home in the evening, and I miss her still. But it has been worth every second of pain to have had the love and the joy (and the kitty litter breath).

My thoughts and prayers are with you, and I am so glad that Kodi was able to have her people with her at the end.

John, Krissy, and Athena, I am very sorry to hear that Kodi is gone. She was a beautiful dog and very photogenic, and I am glad you have shared her stories with us.

Goodness given is returned tenfold. The love you all shared is a wonderful gift and I hope that at some point you can experience its like again. I lost my heart dog last month and know how much it hurts. I know that somewhere in time is another being who needs to share that love with me, and that actually helps me get through the pain right now. Be open to love.

John,

An overwhelming tribute that shows not only the depth of love Kodi had for you, Krissy and Athena, but that you had for her. If only all dogs could be that blessed. My condolences on your heart-wrenching loss. But again, your gift with words has shone through, and the beautiful nature of Kodi is obvious to everyone. The Whatever won’t be quite the same, will it?

Genuinely sorry for the loss of a valued family member.

During the week of 9/11/01, a princess of a mini doxie named Allie (after Steven Brust’s Aliera) was playing with my son on the floor. They bopped heads and she fell awkwardly, hurting her back. Her rear legs didn’t work after that, and she passed two days later. It was the last time I really wept. I didn’t want that dog (being a cat guy) but she wanted us. After a motorcycle accident in 2000, I spent three weeks sleeping upright on our couch. She ignored my apathy for her and slept with me every night, showering me with unconditional love, melting my cold heart. I became a dog guy because of her.

We bought two mini-doxies after that in a fit of pure emotional rebound, a brother and a sister. They’ve been a joy to have around. Aliera opened the door for them.

John, I’m so sorry for yours, Kissy’s, and Athena’s loss. It well and truly sucks when you have to perform the hardest task of being a pet owner. I am glad that you all had the opportunity to be with Kodi at the end and that she passed in the loving embrace of her family.

I’m very sorry that Kodi has passed, but I’m also happy that you had twelve very good years (and only one only somewhat-less-good year) with her.

My cat Clint had cancer, which was diagnosed in March of this year, and I was able to take him in and help to ease his passing, and it’s been … huh, 3 months to the day. I still expect to see him around the corner or sneaking up to sit on my chest while I type. For a week or so after his death I was aware of his presence, or the habit of his presence, at odd times.
I hope that Kodi will haunt you in the benevolent way for a few weeks so you can become accustomed to things, and that the cats won’t be too upset as they adjust. My sympathies also to Krissy and Athena.

I am so sorry… she was a member of the family. I knew an Akita while I was growing up and she was like the neighbor’s kid. My brother and his friends would knock on the door and ask if Suzi could come out to play. I’m hoping somewhere Suzi is showing Kodi around and helping her play keep away with the angels.

Very sorry to hear about Kodi. We have 2 of our own, both middle-aged, so they’ll be with us for a while longer. Sometimes we wonder if we should have just stuck with one dog, but then we think of all the funny, whacky, sweet, and endearing things the two of them have done and there’s really no more wondering after that. Sounds like your family shared similar experiences with Kodi.

John, my thoughts are with you and the rest of your family. I am sad to hear of your loss.

Hershey was a cat who was timid and shy but somehow always knew when I was hurting, and would seek me out and offer comfort. He helped me, and later my wife, through some rough times.

Meredith, our wonderful vet who knew Hershey almost as long as I did and who helped us through Hershey’s last difficult days sent us this poem after he was put to rest:

Grieve not,
nor speak of me with tears,
but laugh and talk of me
as if I were beside you…..
I loved you so —
’twas Heaven here with you.

The poem was written by Ilsa Paschal Richardson and I recognize that it may not be high art, and that our vet probably sends the same card several times a week. Even so, it comforted us at the time, and I wanted to share it now.

I grieved anyway, and I cried too, but I was also glad that Hershey was loved and had a good life while he was with us. The best we can do for a loving pet is to be worthy of them.

I’m sitting here tearing up just thinking of my two previous dogs, especially my first. My parents got her about a year or two after I was born so she was my friend for many years. If I went outside and sat in the shade upset over something she’d come over and sit with me too.

I’m glad Kodi was able to hold out until the you guys were able to see her again. I’m sorry you’ve lost a member of the family.

I’m so very sorry for your loss. It hurts so when they leave us.

I lost two pets in quick succession a couple years ago – Murphy, a hilarious and sweet yellow lab/Aussie mix, who was only three when epilepsy stole him; and Schiller, a sleek, black, bossy Siamese and who-knows-what cat that I had hand raised from the time he was just two weeks old. Schiller was 20 when he passed, stubbornly fighting intestinal lymphoma because he figured we were too stupid to care for ourselves without his help. We still miss them so much.

Love and gentle hugs to a bunch of critter lovers, from another bunch of critter lovers up here in Toledo. You and yours are in our thoughts.

John, I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face. You wrote a beautiful post about Kodi, and my thoughts are with you, Athena, and Krissy right now. Your family had a wonderful dog… and Kodi had a wonderful family. All of you couldn’t have been luckier in that regard.

Thank you for sharing your stories about Kodi. My mom and I had 2 cats, half-brothers, Beau and Pooh. Beau was smart and was very opinionated, and he was clearly my mom’s cat. Pooh was not a bright cat. We used to say that he didn’t have more than a half a brain cell to rub together, and the light bulb didn’t go on very often for him, but he was the most loving cat I have ever known.

For a while, I was really sick, and that cat would stay glued to my side. He knew when I was having a rougher day with my illness, and when he would lay his little head on my hand and look up at me, I could tell he was trying to tell me that it would get better, and that he was with me, as long as it took. I don’t know how he knew that I was doing worse on those days, but he did.

We got those two cats in 1992. I moved out of my mom’s house in 2000, and I didn’t see much of the cats after that. When my mom called me to tell me that Pooh had passed away, in 2006, I cried for a couple of days. Because he had been right – I had gotten better. And I know part of it was because I had Pooh in my life.

Beautiful tribute to your furry family member. My sympathies to you and your family on your loss. It is never easy to lose a pet, because as you so eloquently described, they are family.

My ex and I had a cat from a month after we first lived together to the month before we separated.

Normally, I avoid saying “I know how you feel” when this happens (especially when it’s a relative that passed on), but your stories about Kodi brought all that rushing back.

So I do know how you feel (A rare exception to the rule). And I certainly feel for the three of you. Love the surviving cats as much as you can, the way I took to my wife’s dog when we were dating.

An animal’s love is something different and special. It’s as close to purely unconditional love as you can get.

I can’t say how sad I am to read this post. And you made me cry, thinking about all the loved ones I’ve lost, even the little puppy that died in my arms when I was 12. But how lucky you were to have had such a wonderful relationship with Kodi. Anyone who has had such a relationship, like I had with my poodle who died after defeating the odds at having heart failure and living for 3 more years instead of the 6 months the vet had thought. I had 17 wonderful years with him, and indeed it was more like having a little brother than a dog because he was sooooo intelligent. Actually, knowing him made me realize how much I didn’t know about dogs and how he really could surprise me with how much he understood. I was 34 when he died, which meant that I’d literally had him for half of my life. Even now, I miss him because he fit into my life so well and it’s not the same without him. He was just a good dog. He never tore up anything (not even his own toys), he loved everyone (people, dogs, cats, our rabbits, everyone), and really I can’t imagine a kinder soul than his.

So the point of this is that I can empathize and I know how hard it can be to lose someone you’ve known for so long and come to rely on. I offer my condolences and I hope you and your family are well. I saw this quote once:

“Pity he who knows not the love of a dog.”

You are, indeed, very lucky. I am so sorry for your loss, as is probably everyone else. Take care.

I’m so sorry for your loss, and also so glad she was such a wonderful part of your lives.

As a side note, I found you and your books through Kodi, when a friend emailed me to say, “is John Scalzi’s dog an Akita like yours?” and I said, “John who?” I googled, found Whatever, found a photo of your dog (who at the time was part of the photo collage on the page), and decided a guy with an Akita was a guy worth taking a chance on a book by.

Further proof that our dogs do us more good than we can always know.

I grew up with a dog, and just recently got my own little puppy. Just thinking about the day when I outlive him is enough to make me choke up.
So please, know that my sincerest condolences and my heart go out to you and your family.

One of the most beautiful pieces I have ever read–and a fitting tribute to a loving and wonderful friend. My sincere sympathies to the Scalzi clan, including the kittehs.

Dear John,

You have caused a problem for me! I am a therapist, and was scheduled to see a client. As I waited for him, I read your post about Kodi’s life and death. You can imagine the strange looks that come when a client meets the therapist whose eyes are red from tears, and who is blowing her nose! Explanations, anyone?! We have a thirteen year old Brittany/collie mix, who stole out hearts after we rescued her from euthanasia more than a year ago, who will soon be saying good-by to us. Although she has not been part of our lives as long as Kodi was part of yours, we can anticipate our pain, even as we share yours. You, Krissy, and Athena have our deepest sympathy. Carol Crawford Rowe, Mannington, West Virginia.

Thank you for sharing such a personal and moving tribute. As a fellow akita owner I understand your joy in the times spent with Kodi, and I feel the pain in your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family.

The love of a dog is an undeserved blessing, and I’m glad beyond words that the three of you had Kodi’s love, and she had yours. I remember dogs that I lived with from forty and more years ago with love and appreciation, and pride that I was allowed to be part of their pack.

My sympathy to you all.

I new what was coming and you still made me cry like a baby. I feel for you and your family. You have made me remember more vividly than usual life with, and the loss of, my own beloved animal friend.

Thank you for sharing her story. Our dog, Maya, who is part Akita just turned 12. She is slowing considerably, and I know that her day is coming. She was there when our daughter was born and has been a constant guardian and nursemaid for all of us. Your story had so many similarities to our own journey with Maya that it made me cry for your family and for mine. Take care.

John,

I came to this site quite recently since my library had your book, Your Hate Mail will Be Graded, in the new arrivals section. I had the honor of being the very first borrower of said, wonderful book. It led me here. I will be a daily reader. This is my first reply.

Kodi was very beautiful and a lucky dog to be so well loved. It gladdens my heart that she passed feeling safe and comforted in Krissy’s embrace.

My Sheerah, 14-year old, female Samoyad reached her last day, by my decision, with arthritic hind quarters that had erased her love of living. We went to The Cove, here in Seaside, Oregon and spent an hour or so watching the surf. We both enjoyed it and Sheerah even stood up under her own power, with ears perked and an alert expression on her beloved face. The Cove was her favorite spot on the face of this earth.

We then went to Dairy Queen and Sheerah had a soft-serve ice cream cone. The vet did what was necessary and Sheerah passed away in perfect peace with me at her side.

Her ashes rest in the sand-filled, memorial grave of the unknown sailor, who washed ashore at The Cove in 1865. I visit her, on occasion, and smile with the delightful memories of our time together.

Godspeed to work through your grief at the loss of Kodi with Krissy and Athena.

A brand new admirer,
AneMac

Thank you for sharing your memories of her. She sounds like a truly magnificent dog, and I’m glad you & your wife were able to be with her at the end. I lost my dachshund last year, and she was also the best dog in the world … Funny how that happens.

And I don’t even mind that you made me cry, because Kodi sounds like such a great personality & I’m glad to have read about her.

Dear John, Krissy and Athena,

I’m so very sorry to hear about Kodi’s passing. All of us strangers who come here on this blog have always delighted in stories about the gentle giantess.

There’s a hug included in this note.

Now, I’ll go hug my dog and won’t complain when he farts next. No matter if he smells as if he’s eaten pickled eggs all week…

Nathalie
p.s. I’m the woman who brought you a Coke Zero during your panel at the Romantic Times con in Columbus. You looked thirsty :)

I’m deeply sorry for your lost. I know what it’s like to loose a family dog, they become less of a dog in the family and more of a person in your family. As years go by. Thank you for sharing about Kodi and may all the great wonderful memories be carried on to love and rejoice in her love that she gave to you.

I’ve never not had a dog…the longest stretch was my first two years in college. I moved out of the dorms into an appartment and got a dog within a few weeks.

When Trouble passed at 17, I was at the shelter an hour later getting two new puppies. I simply could not picture not having one in the house.

Besides who would keep the kitchen floor clean when I cook.

Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferosity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
BOATSWAIN, a DOG…

Epitaph to a Dog, Lord Byron

Aw, Kodi. :(

My family’s first dog was a year and a half older than me. He was a St. Bernard mix with an estimated lifespan of 7-8 years, but lived to be almost 16. When he died, it felt wrong for months that O-dog wasn’t in the backyard anymore.

I feel bad for you all, but I especially feel badly for Athena. I’ve been there. It’s hard when the Forever Dog is not forever anymore.

This was a powerful and moving piece. I was supposed to be starting on some homework reading, but read this instead, and came choked to tears. As an owner of a part-lab part-shiba inu of 3 years of age and a new father these past few months, I realize that the story told here is much the story of my future in many ways.

I had the same reaction to the movie “Marley and Me”. It’s a sad fact that the lives of these faithful and loving companions is but a flash and a moment as compared to our own. In many ways, their lives are a pure reflection of all our lives, of the power of pure love and of the overwhelming sorrow for loss.

My heart goes out to you and your family at this time.

John, my heartfelt condolences on your family’s loss.

I’ll cry for a while longer here, some tears for your Kodi, some tears for Susie, my 13-year old German Shepard. Susie’s been gone for 25 years, but today it feels like yesterday.

John, Krissy, & Athena, my heart goes out to you at a rough time. So sorry in particular that the news had to come while you were traveling. We had much the same experience with a beloved cat, with the vet keeping him out of pain and going just long enough for us to be able to say goodbye. It makes one of the hardest things even harder. Take care and be well.

I’ve never had any pets, but I still had a sudden severe case of allergies upon reading this post…

Condolences to you and your family.

Condolences to you, Krissy and Athena on the loss of your family member, Kodi.

My only dog died when we were away on summer holidays when I was thirteen.

Since then, as an apartment dweller, I’ve only been a doggy aunt to my sisters’ dogs – it’s hard when they’re gone.

This. Right here. What a moving eulogy for her.
Kodi sounds like she was a wonderful member of the family. I’m so sorry for you and your family’s loss.

It was a hard thing to do, I know, but you and Krissy did it exactly right. I have two big dogs, one of whom (and yes, it’s “whom,” not “which”) will go that way in the not too far distant future. I hope I do it as well as you did. Much sympathy to you, to Athena, and especially to Krissy.

Sorry for your loss. It’s amazing how dogs fit into our lives, and are really meant to be “man’s best friend”. I swear they know everything we’re saying. Ever since my son was born he’s our dog has been very good with him, even saving him from a pretty nasty fall one time. Stepped in front of him and stopped him from going over a small ledge. I think dogs realize that we need them just as much as they need us, so it ends up being a win win situation! I’ve been in your shoes with my childhood dog, and its not easy. I have a scar on my chest where my dog scratched me when I was younger and we were swimming in a lake together. Sounds crazy but every once in awhile I can’t help but see that scar and smile, because she was an awesome dog, and my best friend. I know you’ll have that moment for Kodi as the years go on.

So sorry for your loss, but so glad you had such a wonderful life with her. Our family has had the same experiences — and will have them again in years to come. Good dogs are just so precious. Thanks for sharing your sadness & joy with us.

Condolences to the Scalzi family on the loss of its beloved Kodi; and an extra hug for Krissie, as Kodi’s Best Beloved.

Kodi lived what had to be a near-idyllic life for a dog: lots of room to roam, territory to call her own and hunt in, and a human family to protect, adore, and be adored by. It doesn’t get any better than that.

We also have a big dog who has a projected lifespan of 10 years, and he’s nine and a half. He also reacts to me (“oh hey, how’s it hanging?”) vs. Ian (“YOU WERE IN ANOTHER ROOM FOR THIRTY SECONDS! HOW CAN I COULD POSSIBLY GO ON LIVING”?) the way it sounds like Kodi reacted to Krissy vs. you. And he also let me cry into his fur after I had a miscarriage, I guess knowing that for once, I was the one who really needed him. So I’m of course crying like a baby reading this, and I can only imagine what this must feel like for you and Krissy. But Kodi had the best life a dog could have asked for, and lots of love. You were so lucky to have found each other. I am sorry for your loss, and thank you for sharing this. It’s truly a beautiful tribute.

Don’t ask me why I started looking at early Scalzi.com pages at the Web Archives….but I found my way to your Athena page from 1999 – and there is a picture of Kodi gazing down at your baby daughter with the caption “Kodi watches to make sure dingos will NOT run off with this baby”
Now I’m getting teary-eyed again. :)

I am so very sorry to hear about your loss. You write a moving tribute to a lost companion. It hurts that our companions mostly live so much faster than we do, so that we are left behind. I have immense respect for your ability to share this sort of moment, and for Krissy’s strength in helping Kodi’s passing. All of you take care of each other and know that this has touched all of us.

Oh, John. Much love, sympathy and hugs across the e-ways.

Our furry ‘kids’ steal a bit of our heart when they leave us so soon (from our time-point). But what a dim, dark world it would be without them. I, for one, wouldn’t make the exchange.

And you made me cry but that is not too hard to do. (Ask Jim.)

I know the pain you’re feeling, John. (May I call you John?) I also know that commiseration doesn’t help ease the pain. All the same, I am so *very* sorry for your loss.

I, too, lost a twelve-year-old dog to abdominal tumors and my wife and I had a very similar experience. Reading your tribute brought back the horrible drive to the vet in a way that I thought I’d put behind me, but I don’t regret it one bit. Mage (my Chow mix) was the first of two furry children–the only kind my wife and I will ever have–and I need occasional reminders that our lives were forever improved by knowing her and the love she brought into our home.

As fate would have it, I finished reading the second half of Sharon Creech’s ‘Love That Dog’ to my nine-year-old nephew last night, so I may have been…well, sensitized is the only word I can think of. The tears that your lovely obituary brought to my eyes and cheeks were bittersweet and copious, and I’m going to go give my wife a long hug right now. I hope you can feel a bit of the comfort that it will bring me.

Thank you for this, John, and please accept my condolences.

I still have a few Kodi loldogs on my hard drive from years ago. She always seemed like a great dog. Thanks for sharing her with us. The death of a dog is always hard, but knowing she had a good life and exceeded factory specs in doing so has got to help.

Kodi was a “good and loving dog” in the same sense as my Star was a “good and loving cat.” Star passed from this vale of tears nearly two years ago, and only two days after I brought my new fiancee back from Arkansas to live with me. She had been listless and unwilling to eat all weekend, so I made an appointment to take her to the vet on Monday. I got her into her cat carrier and we all drove there…and, by the time we got there, she was gone.

She had been nine years old when my ex-wife and I first brought her home, in 2001. She got seven years of good life she might not otherwise have had…and repaid that with her love in full measure. And, in the end, it was like she waited until she knew I was no longer alone, and then said, “My work here is done.” She even spared me the need to make the awful decision to put her down. Greater love hath no cat for any human.

And it’s clear that greater love hath no dog for any human than Kodi did for you and yours. As certain as I am that Star now enjoys the Eternal Catnip Fields, I am that Kodi has entered forthwith to the Happy Hunting Grounds. But my condolences go to those three (meaning you) that she left behind.

Having lost my 18-year-old cat Daisy back in April, I know what you’re feeling, John. But neither she nor I had/have cause for regrets, because she was loved and cared for without limits or conditions. It sounds like Kodi would say the same about the Scalzi family.

I’m sorry to hear of you and your family’s loss, John. I think most people know what it’s like to lose a pet. We open our hearts to our pets, knowing full well that they will not live as long as we do, but knowing also that they will give us more love during their time with us than anyone has a right to expect.

The stories you shared about Kodi are beautiful ones, the type of stories that any pet owner has, but which, at the same time, are unique to each of us.

My heart goes out to you and your family. Thank you for sharing this with us, and know that we all are thinking of you, and your family, and especially of Kodi.

As soon as my gf’s son wakes up and opens his bedroom door, where the dog has decided to sleep AT ALL TIMES for the last year or so (he was left with us about 5 years ago .. we think he’s about 8 maybe 9 now .. :( ) i am going to go and give him the giantest hug he’s ever had. When he was first left with us, he attached to my gf a little bit, then to me like we were completely inseperable .. and then when we moved to the house we’re in now, shortly after, he attached to the eldest son. His old owner didn’t really do anything, we don’t think. He refuses to understand things like dog toys and bones and even playing. He always has seemed a little neurotic, but he loves all of us (except maybe the youngest child, who whenever she calls his name, he goes and hides in either the oldest son’s room or our room). He’ll be gone in a few years, and I don’t know how I’ll feel. Probably like I do when I go to my parents house, and the dog that we bought when I was 10 doesn’t come to greet me – he passed 8 years? ago i think .. and i nearly cry every time i go home.

Your life with Kodi has clearly been a rewarding one and that is my experience of dogs because the more I learn about people, the more I love and admire dogs. Even the most average dog is so trusting and unflinchingly loyal in a way that only the very best of people can aspire to, at least that is my humble opinion on the merits of the species. Please don’t think I have a low opinion of mankind because I acknowledge that men and women can be amazingly intelligent, compassionate and loving; it’s just that while we all strive and strain to be those things, dogs seem to have the innate ability to show us how it should be done without raising sweat. My condolences to you and your family on the loss of Kodi – may you always keep a dog in your life and never forget your precious memories of her!

Again, folks, thanks very much for your kind thoughts.

I’ll note that this entry has been linked to by FARK, which is very nice (I have a TotalFARK account myself), but which also means there will be the occasional new visitor from there or elsewhere who will feel the need to try to dump all over the entry, my dog, or me, because, you know, trolls are trolls.

I’m not in the mood for those sorts of comments, so when I see them I’ll just be deleting them (and yes, I’ve done so already).

If you see one of these sorts of comments, don’t bother responding to it; I’ll be along presently to remove it. Also, don’t respond to this post; this thread should not be about how some people are twits.

If you’re the sort of person who is moved to snark at someone’s dead dog, well. Do it at the FARK comment thread, because it’ll get zapped here.

Your words beautifully captured much of the experience I had and all of the emotions I felt for my dog (the world’s greatest abandoned to the pound Alaskan Malemute), Shadow. For nearly 13 years he raised kittens, loved his family, fearless defended and endlessly entertained my then infant daughter. 100 pounds of love.

My condolences on your loss. May we all get to share in that kind of love.

John, my heart goes out to you and your family. Last month I had to let go of my beloved German Shepherd/Husky mix, Daisy. For 11 years she was my best friend, and in the end she had the same issues as Kodi. I stayed in the vet’s office as he released her from her pain, and the last thing she felt was me petting her and kissing her on the top of the head, like I used to do when I got home from work. It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but I owed it to her to be with her at the end.

Your family was fortunate to have such a wonderful member as Kodi, and you have years of wonderful memories of her to get you through this. The last line of your story is the highest compliment you can give her, and it applies to my dog Daisy as well; “She was a good dog.”

I would like to add my sympathies to everybody else’s. Thank you for sharing some of your precious memories with me.

I know how you feel because I have lost furry loved ones in the past that tore at me.

At least your wife had those last moments with her.
I have a dog (ok my daughter’s, which she will never get back) that is so precious to us too. I always thought of myself as a cat person but since we have had this dog I am beginning to change my mind. I know that all animals have the sense to know when their loved ones are hurting both emotionally and physical but dogs I think are more in tune with it.

If I feel down she is just there for me to pet and hug up on. She knows and I thank god for her. I also had a poodle that I gave to my mother due to not having had the time to spend with him due to work. I know that he saved my life and saved me from a depression so severe after my separation and subsequent divorce. I never would have made it without him.
Whenever I go to my parents home Chad is there whining and just waiting for me to pick him up. Pets are a joy, dogs are even better.

Your post (noted on Fark) amazingly enough has been posted at an amazingly coincidental time for me. Our 11 year old Akita, Louie, passed away yesterday, July 17. As I sit here grieving for my own loss of a dear friend, I can honestly say, I feel your pain. Best to you and your family.

balled like a baby

Your dog is/was my dog

putting a dog down
is the hardest thing to do

you feel like you are killing them
for their own good

IT FUCKING HURTS
and this was 4 years ago for me

did you ever get a another dog

you dopn’t replace a dog
but
I dunno how to put this
damnit
I had a great dog german shepard ‘riah for 13 yrs
and about 2 years later we got a pupu 1/23 german 1/2 australian shepard
pepper
and she is THE dog now
I can’t imagine haveing a family without a dog
but yeah
the old dog isn’t replaced it’s a new family member
I ain’t doing this righrt
but get your self a new pup
and use what Kodi taught you about being a dog owner to make another great dog
I did

What a beautiful story of love and devotion. I share your experience with my beloved doberman, Gretchen. She left us five years ago at age 13 with the same abdomenal tumor. She, too, waited for my husband to get back from a business trip.

I still miss her.

Blessings to you and your family (human or otherwise!).

Such a great story. Thank you for sharing and making me think of the dogs I had in my life as I have grown up. I’m going right now to throw the ball for my fox terrier. Bless you and your wife.

I lost my Mr. Black December 1st, 2009. He was a black and tan dachshund, only five years old. I went to my doctor for a weeks worth of Xanex to help me through the first week. Dumb. I should have asked for three months worth. She called me back the next day for additional meds. On the way, I thought, what a great doctor! When I got there she handed me an 8 week old black and tan female dachshund, (what a GREAT doctor)!! Her name is Xaney. I grieved pretty hard for three months. I finally was able to lay it down at a Tony Robbins seminar that I went to specifically to help me quit grieving. But it’s Xaney, the Dachshund, Ling-Ling the Chihuahua and Kissy the Shepherd/Rottweiler that have given me back the joy in life. My daughter said, “3? It’s taking three puppies in 3 sizes to help you get over one dog?” I said, “well yeah, you knew Mr. Black. He was the biggest dog in my life.” So my recommendation for you and your wife, get a dog or two or three and eventually you’ll be fine too.

I’ve never been to this blog before, I came across this post on Stumble Upon. What a wonderful and tear jerking story. I have a 9 year old German Shepherd, female, her name is Angel. As with Krissy, Angel is my dog. She adores my four children and has grown up with all of them. We got her just a few months after the Twin Towers went down, she was only 6 weeks old. Angel is still doing well, but it scares me that we are getting closer to the end, and saying goodbye.. which I just don’t want to do. I know it’s inevitable. In fact, just a few months ago I had to say goodbye (same reason, tumors) to my 17 year old cat. Pets become part of your family, it’s so true. Your Kodi was beautiful and obviously brought great joy into your life. This post is a wonderful tribute to her.

I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is losing a member of the family, because maybe to other people it’s just a dog or cat or what have you, but to you it’s a brother, sister, child, friend. I am glad that Kodi passed with her best friend so close by and I am glad she was fortunate enough to spend her life with people who obviously loved her so much.

Good people raise good dogs. Pets give us so very much and ask so very little in return. We owe them a good life, and, when the time comes, a good death as well. It is just a shame that 12 years goes by so quickly.

My suggestion, as one who has had to do the same thing, is to get a new puppy asap. It is not a betrayal of your love for Kodi.

We had an female Akita/ Mastiff named Obi. 13 years of loyalty. Her ashes are on the mantle.

I am in Afghanistan right now. The Afghans treat dogs like we treat Philly pidgins. I now have a 116lb Swissy named Cody (no joke) waiting for me when I get home. Can’t wait.

I understand. I’ve had and have several dogs. My favorite was a welsh springer spaniel, a happy outgoing dog I adopted when she was 10-14 months old in late 1991. I won’t go into all the details of a long relationship. She died toward the end of 2008 at about age 18. Her last two months she was blind and unable to stand up, living on a pad of sheets and newspapers in the livingroom and on the front porch. She would bark when she needed to turn over or get a drink or go out on the porch.
I tried to give her the happiest dog life I could in exchange for the companionship and devotion she gave me — as I do with all my dogs.

Our small and not-so-small friends are indeed members of the Family. And the loss of a family member is always a tragic and heartbreaking experience. Thank you for sharing Kodi’s story with the World. I especially liked the part where you explained how you knew that she loved you as well as your wife. Dogs can tell our moods. It may be that they can see our auras, (if there are such things). More likely: they are incredibly observant and pick-up on our feelings that way. However they do this, it’s a fact that they KNOW when they are needed in a special way. My dachshund knows my moods to a Tee and responds accordingly. She is a wonderful companion and my best friend. I dread the day I lose her. In the best of worlds, our pets would grow old with, us and we would go into the next phase together, alas this isn’t the case. And if we are animal lovers (I certainly am) we have to endure these losses several times in our lives. This does not stop most of us from bringing a new friend into our life, because Love is not a finite thing that has to be doled out carefully. Love is Infinite and there is ALWAYS enough to go around! I hope you and your family will recover quickly from this loss and find a new member to love as you loved Kodi.

If someone already posted this my apologies. I found this poem makes me think of your story. It made me cry when I first read it, and it made me cry when my pug passed over the rainbow bridge last year.

I explained it to St. Peter, I’d rather stay here outside the pearly gate,
I won’t be a nuisance, I won’t even bark, I’ll be very patient and wait,
I’ll be here, chewing on a celestial bone, no matter how long you may be.
I’d miss you so much if I went in alone, it wouldn’t be heaven for me.

We had a very similar thing happen in late April. Our Akita (Freya) at 13, developed a tumor on her spleen. Her health suddenly went downhill and we had to put her down a few weeks later. Her last morning we opened the patio doors where she was lying in a pile of blankets. She pulled her head up to listen to the finches chirping and smell the air from the garden.

Akitas are just not the same as other dogs. We will never forget her.

We’ve come extremely close to putting our young-ish cat down due to medical issues that kept reappearing, and the expense that follows. After the last time 7 months back, I finally said screw the cost and send him into surgery. As much as I hate paying huge vet bills, the money meant less than he did. Currently, he’s hiding under the bed next to my feet so the thunderstorm outside doesn’t get him.

Sorry for your loss, but at least you’ll always have the memories of Kodi.

I want to let you know that I feel your sorrow, my late wife and I had an Akita (named Bear)that looked almost like your Kodi several years ago and I must say he was probably the best friend we had at the time. When our dachshund wandered into the street and got killed two years ago, my nine year old son ask me if dogs went to heaven, let me say that if there is a doggie heaven both our Bear, Rusty and your Kodi will be there. God bless you and your family.

I was always a cat person. I thought I didn’t like dogs. Then a year and a half ago, I fell in love with my parents’ Siberian husky puppy. So I dimly feel an echo of what it must be like for your family. I hope that there is consolation in knowing that you all gave Kodi the best possible life, full of love and affection and care. And you have given her the best possible tribute with this post.

Now I have to tell my wife my allergies are acting up. Dogs are our companion species. They’ve been with us for thousands of years to serve and protect; they read us so well, you’d swear they know us better than we know ourselves. Yet, in all that time, not one has ever demanded anything in return.

Wonderful story and my heart goes out to you and your family. As the owner of five Boston Terriers, I know every time we lose one, its the same as losing a treasured member of your family because that’s exactly what it is.

I read this with my new puppy asleep with her head on my foot. I’ve loved and lost dogs before, but I could never be without one.

Thank you for sharing a story that beautifully illustrates why this is so, so that all of the people who think we are crazy for loving our dogs so much will maybe understand a little better.

You’re right, she was a good dog, and she was lucky to have such a good family.

John, I can’t say anything that all these other lovely people have penned, but I am so very sorry for your loss. We have so little time with our beloved pets, yet that time means so much. Please know that you, Krissy, and Athena (as well as Kodi) will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Thank you for writing and sharing that with us. Your tribute, and many of the preceding comments, cause tears…

I read about Kodi yesterday, but hesitated to share the experience of losing our border collie last year, thinking that’s the last thing someone who’s just lost a well loved pet wants to see. Then I remembered having gained comfort from the sharings of others. So here’s Wee Mac’s story:

http://mycodehere.blogspot.com/2009/11/wee-mac.html

He was the only family we have ever had. Don’t let anyone say they’re not really “family members”! Their loss can be exactly like bereavement. Take solace in all the life that’s closest to you.

I’m so sorry for the loss of your deeply loved friend. I’ve never read your blog before and like others I was directed here by Fark. In the last two months I’ve lost my two best friends in horrible ways. I’ve never grieved a death before, ever. My 17-year-old cat Kissyfur was diagnosed with malignant cancer on May 3 of this year, and later that evening he had a massive stroke and I had to rush him to the emergency vet. I had wanted him to pass at home, but at least he got to be surrounded by friends and family and held in my arms as I told him repeatedly how much I loved him. I got him when I graduated college and got my first apartment. Before I got furniture I got him.

Two weeks ago my four-year-old black cat Ramone went in for a routine bladder stone removal. Unbeknownst to anyone, his heart murmur was actually an indicator of heart disease and the stress on his body threw him into heart failure. He died a deflated, tired, non-responsive version of himself five days later.

There is a giant cat-shaped hole in my world that I don’t think will ever be filled again, even though I have three others.

Your last photo is beautiful beyond words. Thank you for sharing your beloved’s time with us.

It’s always extremely sad to lose a member of one’s family and truly Kodi was a much loved member of your family. Many of those reading your post have experienced the joy and sadness of having and losing a companion such as Kodi. But we take heart and will always remember the wonderful times we had together as we cherish those memories we created together. Although I know from personal experience your close friend Kodi can never be replaced, if and when the time is right for your family, remember there are many more would-be companions in the world looking for the right family to call their own and your family appears to be an ideal choice to accept another one into its fold. May god bless you, your family and Kodi.

I am so sorry for your loss. We lost our good dog in January, an American Bulldog my husband rescued from dog fighters. Maisy got him through some extremely painful times, including his divorce from his first wife. I have a painful disability, and every day I was laid up on the couch, she curled up right next to me, just keeping watch. She, like Kodi, just seemed to know when she was needed.

And she blew the best drool bubbles in the world.

Hugs to you all.

We had to say goodbye to our much-loved golden retriever, Jessie, last spring after she’d suffered progressively painful bouts with glaucoma. I wrote the following as a remembrance of Jessie. Maybe it will mean something to you, too…

Much of what I know about being a grown-up — about really being responsible, and accountable, and answerable for what I do and don’t do — I learned from my dog. I learned that you get out of bed in the morning even when you don’t want to, ’cause it’s not just about you. I learned there *are* such things as good habits. And that nobody’s above cleaning up dog poop.

My life has been graced by no small number of fortunate events, and by people with whom I’ve been privileged to share them. For this, I’m grateful. Now there’s a dog-shaped hole in my heart that will never be full again. And for that… for that, I’m grateful, too.

So sorry for your loss. We have an 8 yr old yellow lab named Sage that has begun to have health problems, hips, reflux, allergies. I imagine the day when we will have to cross that bridge of what is the best for his comfort. Thank you for sharing your story. Our animal companions are such a special addition to our lives.

Oh, man. I’m very sorry to hear about Kodi. My wife and I got a dog shortly after we were married. I’d never had one before so I didn’t understand how attached you can get to a dog. He passed away a couple of years ago. It was not a fun time.

Take care and enjoy the memories of your Kodi.

John, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. That was a beautiful obituary, and I’m so glad you shared. I hope the sadness your family feels doesn’t last too long. Kodi sounds like the best kind of dog.

It’s hard to type thru my sobbing tears… that was a beautiful story, and a wonderful end to your dogs life.. i love how you brought her onto the sunny grass and let her go there.. *runs to hug my two dogs*

Wow, I don’t think I have cried that hard in a very long time. That was really nice and makes putting down my dog alot easier, thanks.

I had to wait a bit to start my reply – so I could wipe away the tears. Our family has been blessed with a number of wonderful companions, and your experiences are similar to ours. We still weep when we discuss any of them as they were as much family as our children. Hold tight to each other as you grieve – always remember – and pray for another dog to love. Be assured you will be reunited in heaven. Kodi has to be there! God tells us that “…the lion shall lie down with the lamb…” so why wouldn’t she be?
God bless you all.

I am crying from reading this. How wonderful it is that you found a dog that was always supposed to be a part of your family! I know you will always miss her, but I do believe if there is a Heaven, our soul-mate pets are waiting there for us when we arrive.

Our family wishes yours the best.

I am sorry Kodi’s gone, but I have to admit I had an unalloyed moment of laughter when you were describing researching Akitas. I have a Shiba Inu, which is related to the Akita, and the online background information is quite similar. I also had that moment when I realized “My options are apparently to have a delightful companion or hell on four paws with a curly tail. Oh boy.”

Hugs from us to you.

My husband and I lost our beloved dog Boston on Friday, in almost the same way as your furbaby Kodi. We are devastated and heartbroken, but it has helped us both to read your beautiful tribute. Much love to your family.

John,
Thank you for sharing some beautiful moments of your lives savored together with us lot, the unfortunate who never met Kodi in corpus. My heart and best wishes go out to Kodi, and to Krissy, Athena and you.

I offer a toast:

   To Kodi, for a life lived fully and well;

   to the love and joy which Kodi brought into your lives and shared without limit – and yours, returned to her in kind; and

   to her beloved, who were by her side at her earthly end.

Vaya con Dios!

Having a cat or dog is an amazing gift of God. They help us in many ways, especially for children, in how to deal with many things that when we’re adults, we will eventually face also. I wish all our pets could live as long as we do. I had a dog from ’77 to ’94. Putting him down was terribly difficult and I was there holding him also. I never cried so hard in my life, but yet, I also cannot imagine how much more difficult it is for parents to lose their kids in such a manner. I now have a cat going on 15 yrs old and have begun to realize that maybe in the next five years, I’ll have to do the same. No matter what, I think it is healthy to have pets for the good and bad.

My wife lost her dog of twelve years just over a month ago. Your story touched us both deeply and you have our deepest condolences. We both cried for nearly 15 minutes trying to get through your wonderfully written and obviously emotional eulogy. I am glad I stumbled across it on fark, and am shamed to know hurtful people came from there, to try and tarnish these wonderful memories. We have been talking about our good dogs since then, and will most likely for days. Thank you for sharing with us.

So sorry that your time with Kodi has ended. Thank you for sharing. Grieving is a natural process now so take your time with it. Best wishes to you, Krissy and Athena in this difficult time. We who have shared and/or are sharing our lives with dogs are indeed very fortunate.

Hello John,

I have a dog whose place in our family is exactly matched to that of Kodi’s in yours. Liz(95 lb. cream lab/golden retriever mix) was a foster dog of mine, and she is an old lady. She is almost 10 years old, but still reacts like a happy puppy when I walk in the door, groaning and whimpering in delight when she sees me, even if I have only been gone 20 minutes. She loves my husband and our kids, but follows me around constantly, and does not like to be more than 6 feet away from me. My husband sent me the link to this story, and I am so glad he did. I know that Liz is old, she was old when we got her as our first foster kid from the SPCA. I also know that we will be in your situation sometime within the next few years. My heart goes out to you, your wife, and your daughter, and hers was an excellent choice of a name, I think ;)

I feel your pain, John. Been there, right there, same as you. I thank God, every day, that I had the time I had with my dog, and for what he meant as a member of my family. I miss my Buddy so much, every day, still. We have to be thankful that we got the time we did with our dogs, our friends. Hang in there.

I’m a product of a really rough childhood. Adulthood has been pretty disorienting too. The only constant goodness I have had in my life have been my dogs. They are the beings that taught me what it felt like to be loved and really have a friend. The friendship of dogs taught me to see into the beauty of our planet.

What is magical about dogs aren’t the stories they inspire as much as just being with them. It’s amazing how much dogs fill our lives with love. It stuns me to think that they are farmed for meat or fur in half the world and that some torment them simply for fun. I can’t imagine how someone can miss all the love that is there. It makes me wonder what other beings and things humanity is blind too.

I understand and am deeply sorry for your loss. May Dog bless you again.

So sorry to hear about your dog – Your stories about Kodi were wonderful. What an amazing dog! We lost ours this year too – and had intended to wait several months before getting a new puppy, but five days later….. we were so in love again! We can totally relate to your “heart attack” as we thought our new dog’s curly tail might mean she was an Akita mix. It scared us so badly we hired a dog behaviorist. I wish we had done that for our first furry baby! The best to you and your family!

I am sorry for your loss.
Last week, I laid to rest my best friend Duncan. He was 10.5 years old.
He has been by my side through thick and thin all of this time.
He was diagnosed with Lymphoma back in June. For the first few weeks of treatment, it was like someone had turned back the clock.
He was he goofy, lovable self. Full of life. It looked as if things had finally turned for the better for my friend.
You see, he had a lifetime of health issues. Skin allergies, infections that would crop up in the matter of hours, and many other issues.
As I promised him the day I brought him home, I sought out the best care for him I could, (in my area, it’s Auburn University Vet School).

The chemo went well until 14 days ago. Duncan started slowing down. We had a weekly appointment at the Vet and I discussed the situation with him.
The Vet did blood work and everything came back normal. Yet something was wrong.
By Thursday, Duncan was in very bad shape. I called the Vet again and we took him in. They kept him over night on heavy doses of antibiotics.
Friday afternoon, I picked him up and the Vet said they would know something within the next 24 hours if the the antibiotics would work.
Friday night, I spent the night with Duncan on the floor in my studio.
Saturday came and, I thought things might turn for the better. Duncan was up, drinking and eating.
Again, Saturday night, I spent the night with Duncan because, durning the day, he was not doing well. By late Saturday night, he had stopped eating and drinking.
I called the Vet Sunday morning, (7/11/2010). He asked us to bring Duncan to the office right away.

We took Duncan in. The Vet, (old guy) took his temperature. It was 106. The Vet looked me in the eye and said, “I believe it’s time. You’ve done all you can do for your friend”.
He had treated Duncan since a pup and knew of the issues Duncan had.

Tearfully, we agreed.

At 9:15 AM, while I held him, Duncan was released from his pain. I still cry once or twice a day for my best friend. I miss him greatly.

Duncan is buried in his favorite place in our yard. Under a peach tree that gave him shade durning the Fall days he loved.

In closing, I feel your loss. We are cursed to have such wonderful creatures in our lives only to outlive them.

I wanted to respond yesterday, but I could not compose this without starting to cry, yet again. I lost my beloved cat Hex last summer, just after Confluence, after 16 years together. Kodi reminded me so much of him that I could not help but cry. I was unable to say goodbye to him, and I still cry over that to this day.

I’m so very, very sorry for your loss.

Dogs are the best people there are! Sorry for your loss, been there throughout my life. Their lives are so short in retrospect but so worth it!

There are thousands waiting in shelters every day!
I’ve been partial to Labradors and there are 4600 of them alone in Michigan shelters.

John, I had both the privilege and the burden of eulogizing my mother-in-law’s Jack Russell Terrier 3 years ago. I think I did a fair job capturing what that little dog meant to her family, but I know you brought a dog I never met absolutely to life. And I know that , like my MiL, you, Krissy, and Athena have lost far more than a companion.

My deepest sympathies to all of you.

Thank you for this story, it was heartwarming. It’s great to know that she was loved, and appreciated so much. I have lost animals and it is absolutely heartbreaking.

My thoughts are with the 3 of you.

Asta and Ruby are our two puppies (despite being 7 and 6 years old, respectively). Our first kids. I read your post and just wept and held them close.

We’ve since had two “human” babes, but I still consider the pups to have led the charge.

Your story is proof enough why dogs are just such an invaluable part of us. Thank you so much for putting into words, in such a way, something that I never could have.

I’m so sorry for your loss.

I’m away at my annual writing retreat in Toronto, and I’m just happening the check the interwebs (which I do rarely while away writing) and I see the addendum post about Kodi and my heart sorta stutters because I know what that probably means. THIS post made me cry. I’m so sorry you and Krissy and Athena have lost your Kodi, but I’m glad for the good years you had with her.

I haven’t been able to have a cat or dog for the last decade because of my allergies, and I’m rather dreading the day when my sisters have to call me about either of my two former cats, because I know that will be happening in the next few years. But at least we have the memories.

*hugs from afar*

I feel your pain and love. Sampson just let me have a good cry today too. I can’t bear to think of a life without my brindle Shepard/Sharpee/Pit Bull/Bulldog/Lab best friend.

I’m very sorry for your loss. We lost our cat on Christmas morning, and even though he lived to a ripe old age, he was a part of the family. I hope the time come soon when you can remember Kodi will with a smile rather than tears.

I am so sorry for your loss and I have had many dogs in my life, when I was growing up my parents divorced and we had to give our dog away and he was given to a friend of the family who lived on a farm. After a time unfortunately he was ran over by some farm equipment. We were so sad and could not understand why it happened until I was older did I under stand. Our next dog was one my baby sister picked out of a litter and named him Snoopy, he was a spaniel mix, he got out and ran a few blocks away and got ran over just out side of town. We were lucky that in a small town someone new he was ours and we all cried as we did not get to say good bye. The next dog we got was Tiger, he was small but the bark was worse than his bite, he seemed to think he was a big dog. He was a Pom, we had him for many years and I was not there when he had to be put down because he got sick. My brother could not bear to have him that way, he drove to the vet to have him put down and drove back to my parents home and buried him in the back yard. The neighborhood kids loved him and they gave him a burial service. My Mom and Dad never did get another dog after him. All of us now grown, have had dogs some for a short time and others for a long time.My daughter got a dog from a friend and we had him for almost a year.He was a Yellow Lab named, Lonesome George. We had to put him down, he got sick suddenly and we had his old owners and us in the room we all cried. My baby sister put her Pom down after having him for 13 years, he got sick and she did not want to admit he was and she tried all treatments etc but it was too late. It has been 2 years since but she now has a Labradoodle and he is great. Again the family starts again.

I had a small dog that I got from the local Humane Society, he picked me he was 4 years old. He had a sister but she did not want me. I had him for a year and 2 years ago Christmas, he was scared of people that he did not know well, he was let out but he would not come in and the weather was cold etc. He ran away and I say he was given another chance because someone rescued him. He never was found. I still remember him as he picked me and I will someday get another dog when I can find a place who allows dogs. They are your family unconditionally and always.

OMG, bawling!! My dog, who just turned 6, is my absolute world. She was literally my best friend for a few years when I didn’t even have friends. The day she dies will be so devastating…I can’t even fathom it. Y’all are in my heart.

Thank you for writing this. It’s obvious from the comments how widespread love of animals is, and how many of us have dealt with this kind of loss. You’ve brought that love into relief for all of us.

I lost my husband a few months ago to cancer at 51 years of age. While John was living with the disease, our cats helped by cuddling with him (the older two) or distracting him (the younger two). He often commented about how glad he was that we’d adopted the youngest one, who must have been born just about when John was first going to the doctor with his symptoms.

I asked prayers in church this morning for all those dealing with the loss of beloved pets. (I call myself an agnostic Christian, but that’s another discussion.) I told friends today that pets model God’s love for us in the world.

I couldn’t write yesterday when I first read this because I was crying too hard.

I generally just lurk on your blog, enjoying the witty commentary and The Big Idea (and the amazing quality of the comments).

Today I can’t just lurk. My condolences. It sounds like you had the pleasure of living with one of the best dogs in the world.

I am so sorry to hear about Kodi. It has always sounded like she was living a grand life in the Scalzi house and this blog continues that. My condolences to you all.

“The earth trembled and a great rift appeared, separating the first man and woman from the rest of the animal kingdom. As the chasm grew deeper and wider, all the other creatures, afraid for their lives, returned to the forest — except for the dog, who after much consideration leapt the perilous rift to stay with the humans on the other side. His love for humanity was greater than his bond to other creatures, he explained, and he willingly forfeited his place in paradise to prove it.”
—Native American folktale
From The Lost History of the Canine Race by Mary Elizabeth Thurston, Andrews and McMeel, Kansas City, 1996.

Right this moment, my parents are having to put down the cat that was our household pet for the past 17 years. So I am reading this post and crying, and my heart just breaks for you and your family.

I’m so, so sorry.

I am so sorry for your loss. I, too, recently lost a dog (in fact we have lost 2 in the past year), mostly to old age, but cancer as well. I know how painful it is to let go of a beloved friend like that.

*virtual hugs*
Amy

Hi John,

Loved your books, BTW.

I know what you’re going through. Dogs have a habit of leaving their pawprints on our hearts. I’m glad you “rescued” Kodi and that she became such a huge part of your family’s life. They are with us much too short a time, and we never forget them.

Kodi sounds like the special “once in a lifetime” dog for your family. Rejoice in remembering her love and mourn for your loss.

Our pack of Shelties mourns with you today.

Gregg Bender
Sheltie Rescuer

I knew what I was going to do before I read this story after reading the headline. I cried my eyes out and I can only imagine what you are going through. I’m a dog owner myself and my husband and I do our best to give our dachshund everything that life has to offer him. He is surely one of a kind and we are so blessed to have him. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.

So beautiful and so true. We walked that road with our Great Dane last October 12th and while I know it was the right thing for him, not a day goes by without the feeling of an aching loss. After a few months we rescued two Airedales – partially because we couldn’t look at a Dane without crying. They are funny, silly, everything their breed is. They are not the same.

A tear is sliding down for you.

David

I’m sorry to hear about Kodi. There aren’t words appropriate for expressing the loss of a loved one whether they have two legs or four. Nor can we express the depth of our empathy right now. Just know that we share your pain and will help any way this net of quivering electrons will allow.

Condolences on your loss, for you and especially for Krissy.

Some of us have been lucky enough to have a “perfect” dog in our lives. I think the dog differs for each of us – my perfect dog was the daughter of my mother’s perfect dog. They stay in our hearts for the rest of our lives.

I still tear up when I remember my dog’s last day, like I did when reading your beautiful tribute. I hope that your grief will ameliorate soon, and you’ll be left with the golden memories of your lovely pet.

My condolences to you and your family. You honor your dog well with your words.

And thank you, because I haven’t been paying nearly enough attention to my dog.

Sitting here at work, just having read this post, tears streaming down my face. Good writing + deep emotion = tear-worthy. Thinking of you all as you mourn your beloved dog. Hugs all around.

I am still wiping away the tears. What a great story, and loving family member. I too lost my dog of ten years this past February. He died in my arms as well. We all miss our gentle giant. My 5 year old says he is always with us in her heart. :o)

What a beautiful story.We all know we are going to lose our beloved pets possibly at some point in our lifetimes,but what a wonderful tribute you have put together to to the journey you all had.

Thankyou for sharing your joy and pain with us all .

God Bless you all

@ Courtney #344 – Thanks for that poem. My boss just walked into my cube and caught me weeping into a paper towel.

John, condolences on your loss. Kodi seemed like a wonderful dog.

Damn.. dog stories always kill me. The first time I saw those Pedigree commercials,

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAxOtp4vDJQ)

I cried for 45 minutes straight.

Now if you’ll excuse me….

So sorry, John. I lost my dog Spike two years ago tomorrow, at 17. I still miss her charging through the kitchen when I come in the door. I saw the FARK headline: “Letting go of a good dog, as only a writer can. You WILL cry–the last pic will make sure of that “. I read the story – he was right.
Nick.

Our Doberman is also “my” dog and reading about Kodi and Krissy made me nod my head, laugh and cry all at the same time – my husband feigns jealousy as well. I would be completely devastated to lose my pup; you, Krissy and Athena have my heartfelt condolences. RIP Kodi.

My heart feels your pain. I recently lost one of our rescue dogs, Sheba, and I have been devastated. I loved her with all my heart, soul, and spirit.

May I please suggest to you to ADOPT your next pup or dog? You’ll be saving a life and giving a a dog a much-deserved second chance in life. You’ll never regret ADOPTING instead of buying your next pup or dog.

There are no words that I can share, no voice that you can hear, grief will be what it is and can be cruel. You KNOW Kodi loved you, Krissy and Athena I hope that helps dull the pain even by one little bit. I cry for you now as I write this.. (my co-workers are looking at me funny!!) as there is no loss greater then that of a family member and dear friend.

Please hug everyone just a little closer today because all of us here that support you are doing so with more effort today and for the days to come.

With love,
Penny

Sorry for your loss. I can’t even begin to imagine what an emotional state I would be in if I lost one of my dogs, but I know it will happen someday. What has comforted me in the past is knowing that while they were here I always knew that they were safe and cared for, and not starving in an alley somewhere or worse.

John,

Hi. I found your post on Kodi through a Glenn Greenwald tweet.

I was never a pet person (even though my closest friend here does yeowoman’s work at an SPCA and I now, oddly enough, live in a house with three dogs). But reading your story made me realize something about humans and dogs that really had never sunk in before: the whole concept of pets and unconditional love. The years of warmth and love far outweigh the one crushing, inevitable moment of having to let go.

I hope you and your family are fortunate enough to have another special canine journey someday …

Fran Fried, Fresno
assistant features editor, The Fresno Bee (2004-09)

I made the mistake of reading this at work. Now I am crying, counting down the hours before I can go home to hug my two dogs. Your story was sweet and moving and I am so sorry for your loss. Kodi was one lucky pup. :)

I’m deeply sorry for your loss.

Of all the great pictures, I’m particularly fond of the one in which baby Athena is sprawled out on Kodi’s back. The expression on Kodi’s face is one I’ve seen countless times, whether it be on dogs who’ve been outfitted with antlers for a Christmas photo, or cats who are being cradled in someone’s arms when they’d rather be snoozing in the corner. If it could be translated, it’d probably come out something like, “I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here, but, hey, this is what I do.”

I don’t know what human beings did to deserve animal companions as empathetic and loving as cats and dogs. Probably not enough, by a long shot.

Ahh, hell, John, ‘sorry’ doesn’t begin to cover it. So all that and more to all of you.

Dogs like Kodi do another service to us; they remind us to treat each other well, as members of the same pack, and to remember the days are numbered, few and should be put to good use.

I’m so very sorry for your loss. She sounds like the best kind of friend.

I’m glad she held in there long enough for you to say goodbye. Pets, for whatever reason, seem to be very good at waiting.

I like to think that, as “all dogs (and cats) go to heaven” or whatever hereafter may exist, there’s an open gate with those beloved four foots that have gone ahead waiting for us, ready to show us all the cool things they’ve found.