I was going to make a regular post today, recipe and all, but I didn’t know how to work what happened over the weekend into talking about food. It didn’t seem right. I wasn’t sure how to handle it, or what to say…so I suppose I’ll just dive right in. My dog, Tessa, died over the weekend. I went back home to visit two weeks ago, as we weren’t sure how long she had once we found out that she was sick, so I am really thankful that I got to see her one last time before it happened. My whole family, Kramer included, doesn’t really know what to make of it. My mom says that she looks around and it’s like she’s still there, only you call her name and you don’t hear the tap-tap-tap of her paws on the floors as she comes running around the corner. I guess in her old age, she wasn’t quite the same dog that I grew up with, but she was still my dog, and even though I moved out 5 years ago, she was always there to greet me with unabashed enthusiasm; wagging her tail furiously and nuzzling her head into my shoulder as I bent down to give her a hug.

Everyone loves their dog and thinks that their dog is or was the best – that is no different in Tessa’s case. She was quiet, obedient, and extremely loving. On my most recent trip home, even though she wasn’t feeling well, she would still come over to me and want to be petted or let me squeeze her, and that’s something that not all dogs are willing to do. When I lived at home, I could always count on her to sneak into my room at night and wiggle her way under the covers. She, like a human, wanted to be snuggled up in the sheets. Tessa would climb up onto the backs of the couches, much to my mom’s chagrin, and roost up there like a cat. I guess she liked to be tall. She wouldn’t necessarily beg for food, but she’d always be sitting at your side, waiting for something to drop as you ate or cooked, but was sometimes finicky about what you gave her. She loathed the smell of orange peels and would do a crazy little dance if you put one near her nose, and she’d chew and spit out grapes if you offered her one. Everything else, though, was fair game, and even when she was sick, when she couldn’t eat, you could tell she really wanted to.

I miss her so much. I kept busy this weekend, trying to put it out of my mind so that I wouldn’t drive Kramer insane with constant tears, but it’s really hard. I keep thinking about how I wish I had spent more time with her, how I wish I had gone home earlier so I could have seen her before she got sick. I can’t decide if I remember her as a puppy or if I remember her as I saw her most recently. I feel like all of my memories of her are a jumble right now, and all I can think about is how desperately I want to wake up and find her curled up at the foot of my bed like I always did in high school. I am doing my best not to cry, but then something reminds me of her and I can’t help it. I know that it will get easier with time, and that she was in a lot of pain when she died, so I’m glad that she doesn’t hurt anymore, but it doesn’t make the fact that I will never see her again any easier, despite what I keep trying to tell myself. I loved her unconditionally, the same as dogs love you, without any judgement. I could always wrap my arms around her and she’d stay there for me until I was ready to let go. She was patient and loving, and I hope that whenever the day comes for me to get my own dog, that he or she will be half as incredible as Tessa was.

Edit: Thank you so much for your kind and supportive comments. It means a lot, and it helps tremendously to hear your stories and know that others can relate. My family and I have been reading each one and they are all so touching. You’ve all helped us remember that it will get better with time, but that it’s still okay to cry.

As a puppy. I don’t think this was the day we got her, but probably on the way back from her first set of puppy shots.

I think I took this for my 8th grade photography class.

Running around.

I love this one because it not only reminds me of the one above, of her a few years earlier, but really shows Tessa in her true form.

Putting up with crap from my brothers.



But she’s happy to do it.





So regal.



This was her when I last saw her, afraid of the camera and with her little shaved belly and IV bandage, but still loving as ever.

But I prefer to remember her this way. I love you, Tessa!

70 Responses

  1. Magda says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I know how terrible it feels.
    It looks like she was a happy dog, Tessa, I’m sure she lived a full life with you and your family surrounding her with your love.
    Hang on in there…

  2. Diane says:

    So sorry to hear about your lovely Tessa. Wonderful pictures and a beautiful animal, I’m sure her doggie spirit will stay with you. I hope this makes you smile… As I was typing this, my dog, Piper, slowly stretched and rolled over- as only a Viszla can do…. She then fell of the bed in slow motion. She sends you an embarrassed kiss and all of her Viszla love!

  3. Jane M says:

    Im so so sorry for your loss. I teared up reading this post. R.I.P dear Tessa. Hugs to you.

  4. Leah says:

    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” – Roger Caras

    Wishing you comfort in this time. Tessa was truely loved by all who knew her!

  5. mary says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. My dog passed away 1 month ago and as a dog lover I can relate to what you’re going through. I thoroughly enjoyed scrolling through your pictures of Tessa. We will see our babies again one day :)

  6. Aun says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my first dog 2 years ago. I was overseas and my father called me to tell me that my golden retriever had passed away. I was at the airport about to board the plane back home — it was one of the strangest, most surreal flights of my life. I had gotten that dog with my now wife when we first started dating — it basically grew up as we grew together as a couple. So it was pretty strange to think about a life without her. Oddly enough, even the toughest times can have a silver lining; by some strange coincidence, my wife and I found out she was pregnant just 2 days later. One love leaves and another enters.

  7. Lindsey says:

    so sorry for your loss of Tessa, my heart goes out to you and your family! there is no love purer than that of our four legged-friends, and no loss harder felt when we have to say goodbye. she was a gorgeous dog, and I hope time will make it easier. xx

  8. Anthony says:

    My sympathies; losing a beloved pet is never easy — it really is like losing one of the family. :(

  9. mrsblocko says:

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your furry friend. Looks like she was a wonderful poochie. I’m sure she is looking down on you from doggy heaven with not a grape or orange in sight!

  10. Corry says:

    So sorry to hear about your loss. As you say it will get easier over time but the memories will never leave you. You are lucky to have had such a good dog and she is lucky to have had such a good and loving family. Thinking about you. x

  11. Heather E says:

    So sorry about the loss of Tessa. I know how it feels to lose a dog…


  12. Megan says:

    Oh I’m so sorry, Sydney. It’s so hard to deal with. Sending love to you guys.

  13. Georgeanne says:

    I am so, so sorry, Sydney. She looked like a great dog and you gave her a wonderful life. <3 Sending you all my good energy.

  14. Shannon says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my first dog, Sneakers, in 2003. My mom told me when I first left for college he would lay outside my bedroom door as if to say, “Um, you do realize she’s not here, right?” He was my pal. It does get easier with time, but any time I read something like this, I miss him like crazy all over again.

  15. Danielle says:

    poor sweet baby, I am so sorry for your loss. at least she is not in any pain anymore and you were able to say goodbye to her. I had a cat I grew up with who loved sleeping on my pillow and, like Tessa, loved getting under the sheets. he had a brain tumor so I had him put to sleep but it took me three years to recover from his loss and even now I still tear up thinking of him. just remember the good times and that they are not suffering anymore. hope you get to feeling better! rip Tessa

  16. kdiddy says:

    Oh, I am so, so sorry. Losing a pet is so tough. Hugs and love to you.

  17. Emily D. says:

    I am so sorry. She sounds like an incredible dog.

  18. Jill_R says:

    WHat a beautiful memrial. I am sitting here crying at your loss and I fell horrible for you. I don;t know what ot say that doesn’t sound patronizing or sappy, except that she will never be gone, as she lives on in your heart forever.

    There are well wishes and strength being sent yout your way.

  19. Rhonda says:

    We lost our beloved dog last summer and it was devastating. I am so sorry for your loss and know what you are feeling all too well. Tessa was beautiful.

  20. carolyn says:

    Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing Tessa with us. As a dog owner and true dog lover, I cried as I read this. Is it not amazing the joy that dogs bring us? That is a memory you will always have and in time, you will smile when you think of her.

  21. I am so sorry to hear this :( Tears for you. Tessa looks like she had the best life ever with a family that loved her beyond words <3

  22. My heart goes out to you Sydney! I’m so sorry to hear about Tessa.
    Thank you so much for letting us into your life. I have thoroughly enjoyed following your blog and hearing about the adventures you & Kramer create together…and I obviously love love LOVE all the recipes you share. My friends think that I’m some sort of culinary genius now (I could only wish!)

    Just remember that you always have the memories of Tessa to hold to. Having lost my mom to breast cancer at 9 years old (26 years ago), I don’t have many memories to hold to, but those I do have keep her with me everywhere and always.


  23. Jessica says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. :( Dogs can just give you so much love and affection and become a massive part of your life, even if you do move away.

    We lost our Chocolate Labrador in January of 2010. It still hurts. My one regret is that I didn’t get to see him one last time before he died, because we moved across the country in 2006, and he stayed in California with my parents (my dad needed him as a companion). I did have my sister hold the phone up to his ear so I could tell him goodbye, but it wasn’t the same as being there for him in the end.


  24. Rachael says:

    So sorry to learn of Tessa’s passing. Losing our four-legged babies is one of the worse things in life we can go through as humans. *HUGS*

  25. Joy says:

    As the others have said before me….I, too, am so sorry to hear about Tessa. I know it tears at your heart. My sweet Wally is a 16 year old Lab who has never caused any problems, even as a puppy. Right now he has a hard time walking and can’t see very well, but still wants to be in the room with us. I hope you are able to get through this quickly. Like I said, I know it is hard for you. Just remember what a great life she had! From the pictures, I can tell, she was happy and loved your family.

  26. Zoe says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your love for her comes through so clearly in this post. *hug*

  27. Very sorry to hear about your loss. This is such a lovely tribute to Tessa.

  28. E says:

    Tessa was smart, grapes/rasins are toxic for dogs. They cause renal failure. So do onions, garlic, walnuts and more.

  29. Grace says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Hugs and may the happy memories you shared with her comfort you and your family.

  30. Stacy says:

    I’m so very sorry for your loss Sydney. Thank you for sharing your precious pictures os Tessa with us.

  31. Louise says:

    Oh Sydney, I cried my eyes out when I read your post….in fact I am still crying. I am so sorry for your loss and I know what you are going through. Just cherish the memories you have and remember that Tessa KNEW you loved her! Our dogs worm their ways into our hearts and stay there forever! Hugs to you…..

  32. Skye says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. One of my beloved cats, Yoda, died in 2006 and I still cry every once in a while when something makes me think of him and miss him (even though, like you, I didn’t live with him anymore). I’m so glad you got to visit Tessa one last time. It sounds like she had a wonderful, happy life- and that’s what I tell myself when I get sad about pets having such short lives- all we can do is make sure they are happy and loved while they’re here. I hope your happy memories bring you comfort. I’m glad you skipped the recipe today and honored Tessa’s memory.

  33. Elizabeth R says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss Sydney. Tessa was the best dog that I knew growing up. She had such a big heart, and her excitement for life and the people that she loved was infectious. I’m glad you got to come home to see her. I will be thinking about you and your family, and I will always remember Tessa.

  34. Mary Ellen says:

    Oh I’m so sorry to read this! Take solice in knowing you’re not alone in this feeling at all. On top of everything everyone else has written I’ll share that I know it’s not easy to be away from home when a much loved furbaby dies.

    Before I left for China in August 2003 I had to take my ailing baby to the vet clinic as the rest of my family had already gone west for my bro’s wedding; I knew it was the last time I was going to see her and I so wished that she had been in better health. I think she knew it too which is what made it so heart-breaking…even to this day. You don’t lose that pain because it still makes me cry. You do find comfort in knowing you did what was best for them. And you take heart in all the amazing things they do for your life without ever using a language we’re conditioned to understand.

    Tessa was an amazing furbaby to be sure. Big hugs and take comfort with Kramer; men are fantastically sensitve to a woman in helpless heartbreak.

  35. Leticia says:

    I’m really sorry for your loss. *HUGS*

  36. Nancy L says:

    I am so sorry about Tessa. We just went through losing our sweet Kelby just a little over a month ago. I still break into tears just thinking about him. My last memory of him is him trotting into the vets office with the assistant as sweet and willing as ever. It is so wonderful to have such sweet souls in our lives that want only to be with us and love us. I miss him terribly. I don’t know when it’s going to stop hurting, but I know it will eventually. I keep thinking if only I had done this or that, then maybe we would have had him here with us for a few more years, but I know you can’t keep doing that. And I have so many good memories of him, as I’m sure you have of Tessa. Our Vet gave us this poem that is so sweet. http://petloss.com/rainbowbridge.htm I hope one day we’ll all be united with our sweet friends! I made a picture book of our Kelby on my blog…I bet he and Tess are becoming friends right now!

  37. Valerie says:

    My heart is simply….breaking….for you and your family over your beautiful little angel…. ALL of you were very very fortunate to have had each other to love and enjoy life with….I am just so very very sorry about your loving girl… I send you a BIG hug from British Columbia….sincerely, Valerie xo ~ Thank you for sharing Tessa’s story with us….

  38. Dee says:

    What a beautiful dog. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  39. Lisa says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

  40. Beth says:

    So sorry to hear about your sweet Tessa. I lost my 13-yr Lab just three months ago to bone cancer and I can totally relate to what you’re going through. There is nothing like the unconditional love our dogs give us, and I know you will cherish your memories of her forever.

  41. Alaina M. says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve always been something of a cat lady, but my now husband had a great Austrailian cattle dog that just makes my life. He’s 7 now and the thought of him not being around… I don’t want to think about it. Hang in there. My thoughts are with you.

  42. Carly says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you had a wonderful, loving pet, and you will always have great memories of her. I wish you and your family the best and peaceful thoughts.

  43. Olivia says:

    I am so sorry for your loss – my dog passed away a little over a year ago, so I know that this is a hard time for you and your family. You’re in my thoughts.

  44. Gabrielle says:

    I am so sorry for you loss. I love my dog, Tori so much… I don’t even want to think about how much of a wreck I will be when she passes away one day. These pictures and your story were so wonderful. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I hope we can carry your pain a little bit <3.

  45. Mindy says:

    Oh man, I knew right when I saw that sweet face what this post was going to say. I hate that you have to deal with such a sad, sad thing. Losing a pet is one of the worst hurts ever. My heart just aches for you and your family. I don’t know why they can’t live forever.
    I’m so sorry Tessa.

  46. Colleen says:

    I am so sorry. Such a beautiful tribute to Tessa. You were blessed to have each other even though I know how badly it hurts now.

  47. JulieD says:

    Sydney, I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how this feels and it’s just so hard. All I can say that there will be a lot of crying but there will be a time when the times between the crying becomes longer. I tried to write down memories of my dog, Cinder, when we lost her almost four years ago…you’re afraid you’ll lose them, so type them up or write them down. Huge hugs to you and your entire family. xoxo

  48. Jena says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like she had a great life and you had lots of wonderful memories with her.

  49. Lynna says:

    Take your time with everything. I’m truly sorry about Tessa. She looks like such a loving and beautiful dog.

  50. Mom says:

    It is so comforting reading all of the encouraging posts and wonderful personal stories….Thank You! ;). From me and our Tessa.

  51. Ruth says:

    I have to admit that reading this post has me bawling my eyes out. Beautiful Tessa. We got a german shorthaired pointer last year – in fact it was her first birthday on Sunday – and she is so similar in body shape and facial expression to Tessa that I got choked up at the first photo. She is jumping around the room trying to catch a buzzing fly as I type this, which is making me laugh, even through my tears. I simply can’t imagine how the loss must feel, but I really dread the day when the inevitable happens for us too. On the other hand I am convinced that they do know how much we love them – I think they know a lot about love – so don’t be sad about the times you wish you’d spent, just be happy for the times you did spend – as Tessa definitely was. Hugs. x

  52. Aathira says:

    My dog, who I grew up with had to be put down 6 years back and I still cry when I think of the last time I hugged him but I really wanted to put him out of his pain. We knew it was the right decision, but the most difficult decision ever.

  53. Deb says:

    It is so difficult to lose such a good friend. I must say your lovely photos and story brought tears. But sharing Tesss’s life with us is a beautiful way to cherish her story. May the pain you feel be gently replaced with all your joyful memories.

  54. Kim says:

    I haven’t read all the comments, so maybe someone already posted this, but here it is anyway: http://rainbowsbridge.com/Poem.htm

    I am so sorry for your loss.

    And it gets better.

  55. Dana says:

    Sydney, I’m so sorry to hear. HUG. It seems like she was a really good dog, and really loved your family as much as they loved her.

  56. Tracy A. says:

    I’m just checking in after having been away and I’m so sorry to learn about Tessa’s death – I really am.

  57. Laura L. says:

    Your post brought me to tears. I am so sorry about Tessa. She was a beautiful dog and she was loved. She lived a great life and I am sure she was thankful for every moment she spent with you and your family. I am sure she won’t ever be forgotten. xoxoxoxo.

  58. Karen says:

    My heart goes out to you and your family. Tessa was exceptional and you are lucky to have had her while you were growing up. I’m sure she was a support to you during the teen years, and she would have felt your love for her also.

  59. Kate says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about Tessa. She sounds like was a beautiful pup inside and out, and your stories about her made me cry.

  60. Sara says:

    pets are absolutely positively family members and losing them is sad and painful. Im a huge animal person and my home is filled with several pets – and Ive lost many over the years. Its always sad, but I try to remind myself what a blessing and a gift it is to share our lives with our furry friends, and how much each and every one of my animals has enriched my life. Perhaps a donation to a local animal shelter in Tessa’s name would be a nice tribute :)
    keep smiling and remembering the good times, and dont wait too long to get another animal companion. Its not a replacement, just an acknowledgement of how much we enjoy having our four legged friends.

  61. Amanda Thompson says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss…I dread the day when it is time for my baby to go…

  62. Sarah says:

    I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of Tessa. Family pets are so special.

  63. Katy says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My dog is getting older now and I worry about losing him. I make sure to give him extra hugs. Enjoy your memories and the happy times.

  64. Maria says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My dog, who was my best friend for 10 years, died this past winter. After reading that post, I’m a tearful mess. Thank you for articulating perfectly the feelings that accompany the death of a beloved pet. When one is grieving it’s often hard to put one’s feelings in order, but your words gave me some much needed mental clarity. It’s just so nice to hear from someone else who is experiencing the same emotions. I know it totally sucks now, but time really is the best healer. I still remember the first day I realized that when I walked in the door I didn’t instinctively expect my dog to be there. It was a pivotal moment in the process for me. You’ll have many such moments over the coming months, and each one will bring you a little closer to healing and moving on.

  65. Faye says:

    Even looking into her eyes in the photo where she was sick you tell she was well loved and led a wonderful life thanks to you and your family. Losing a beloved family pet is hard and you have my deepest sympathies!

  66. Nathalie says:

    Your touching and sad story actually made me cry.. I quickly wiped again the tears, since I am at work. She looks like a very sweet and loving dog, only the pictures can tell you that much. I lost my cat not so long ago, and in the beginning I was brokenhearted. Our dog (boxer) is now 3 years old, and it chills me to the bone when I think about the fact that we will loose him someday.. To loose a cat is one thing, but I personally think loosing your dog is much worse. The unconditional love you get from your dog is incomparable (not like the ‘love’ we get from our other cat, who treats our house as a hotel, and a place to eat whenever he feels like it. Sometimes he is gone for a week, sometimes even two!! Still love him though..) Trust me, the day will come you will not cry when you think of her, but smile about all the loving memories you have.. I wish you all strength you need to give this loss a place. Love from the netherlands

  67. Chris says:

    Very sad to hear she is gone. Sounds like she was a wonderful dog and that you shared many great memories with her. Even though right now it’s all a jumble of emotions and thoughts, you’ll always have those memories of those great times with her. Best wishes during this time.

  68. […] with Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue, which I think will be both good therapy for me after Tessa’s passing and a way for me to finally get involved in helping out in some way – would you […]

  69. […] left thoughtful comments, shared their own stories, and just offered support in regard to my dog, Tessa. I still miss her immensely, but it’s easier to get through the day, now. On Monday, I was a […]

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