A Dog Named JJ

This post is dedicated to my sister’s dog,  J.J. the Zen dog. (6 Dec 1999-12 April 2015).

J.J. the Zen dog. (6 Dec 1999-12 April 2015)

My sister said it best: “just as our lives were immeasurably enriched by JJ’s presence, we are heartbroken by his loss. We loved him deeply and with all our hearts. He was such a gentleman of a dog, so smart and kind.  We will miss you JJ, thank you for being a part of our lives.”

My friend shared these comforting words with me when one of my own dogs passed away: “the sorrow you feel is only matched by the love you shared.”  Perhaps others can find them comfort in them too.

It is hard to find the words to ease the pain we feel when a dog dies. Part of what dogs are about is joyful living, which is why we should continue to celebrate their life and remember all the joy they brought us. Maybe this post will bring a few memories back to life and honor JJ’s spirit.

Since my sister is a philosopher maybe she wanted to see if Plato was right when he stated that “A dog has the soul of a philosopher.”  JJ taught her there are many reasons to love a dog…

Maya and JJ: best friends forever. When a dog smiles your heart sings…at least mine does!

Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift.”  ― Mary Oliver

JJ: I love my new family!

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader.  He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart.  You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.
― Author Unknown

A dog and his boy
JJ, 8 weeks old. JJ is happy because he has his very own boy, Matthew, to teach all kinds of tricks and mischief to make!

“A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.” ― Robert Benchley

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

Faithful friend, companion, and guardian of the family
JJ: ever faithful and devoted friend

“A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won’t be too bad.” — Robert Wagner

Tennis balls are for wimps! Murphy calling JJ to play

“A good dog deserves a good home.” ― Proverb

The next series of photos are JJ’s “canine family” photos. I’m including all three photos because I love the fact that these dogs gather so closely together to pose for the camera. The third photo I took when I was up for a visit . It is of JJ, Murphy and Maya. We had a great time walking through the woods on a fall afternoon.

JJ and his canine family
JJ with some of his canine family

 “Humankind is drawn to dogs because they are so like ourselves—bumbling, affectionate, confused, easily disappointed, eager to be amused, grateful for kindness and the least attention.” ― Patricia B. McConnell

JJ and his canine family

“I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren’t certain we knew better.”  ― George Bird Evans

who doesn’t love a hike in the woods

All animals except man know that the ultimate of life is to enjoy it.
― Samuel Butler

JJ chilling at Elm Creek

“Dogs are minor angels, … They love unconditionally, forgive immediately, are the truest of friends, willing to do anything that makes us happy, etcetera.” ― Jonathan Carroll

Murphy, JJ and Maya celebrating Christmas together
Murphy, JJ and Maya celebrating Christmas together

 “Dogs, however, leave paw prints on our lives and our souls, which are as unique as fingerprints in every way.”  ― Ashly Lorenzana 

Maya, Murphy and JJ : Celebrating Yuki and Matt’s college graduation

“All knowledge, the totality of all questions and answers, is contained in the dog.” ― Franz Kafka

JJ and Murphy

“The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. ” ― Samuel Coleridge

Murphy waiting for JJ and others to return to the backyard

“Golden retrievers … in spite of being dogs, they think they are also human, and nearly every human they meet is judged to have the potential to be a boon companion who might, at many moment, cry, “Let’s go!” and lead them on a great adventure.” ― Dean Koontz 

Road Trip!
Road Trip!

“Dogs are … wonderful. Truly. To know them and be with them is an experience that transcends – a way to understand the joyfulness of living and devotion.”  ― Gary Paulsen

JJ and Murphy at the old homestead, Guilford

“The fidelity of a dog is a precious gift, demanding no less moral responsibilities than the friendship of a human being. The bond with a true dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth ever can be.” ― Konrad Lorenz

This chair was made for giants...
This chair was made for giants…

 “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love” ― Goethe

Boston Winters… a perfect time to play!

 “The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.” ― Johnny Depp

Over the past year there were times when it was just the girls – Murphy and my sister….

Can you do this? Come on, you try it next...
Can you do this? Come on, you try it next…you can learn to dance, promise!

“The average dog has one request to all humankind. Love me.” ― Helen Exley

JJ, Murphy, and Maya

“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made. ” ― Roger A. Caras

Murphy and JJ keeping my sister company in bed….

“We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.” ― George Eliot 

JJ and Murphy Fall 2014 - still lots to smile about in this world, this life...
JJ and Murphy. Even at age 14 JJ still has lots to smile about in this world, this life…

“Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”  ― Agnes Sligh Turnbull

JJ - life is good!
JJ – life is good!

“Properly trained, a man can be dog’s best friend.”  Corey Ford

JJ and Murphy sharing a sunbeam

“He took my heart and ran with it, and I hope he’s running still, fast and strong, a piece of my heart bound up with his forever”  ―  Patricia McConnell

JJ at 15 years old still loved the snow!

“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.” ―Rumi

JJ, age 15 and a half

“We humans may be brilliant and we may be special, but we are still connected to the rest of life. No one reminds us of this better than our dogs. Perhaps the human condition will always include attempts to remind ourselves that we are separate from the rest of the natural world. We are different from other animals; it’s undeniably true. But while acknowledging that, we must acknowledge another truth, the truth that we are also the same. That is what dogs and their emotions give us– a connection. A connection to life on earth, to all that binds and cradles us, lest we begin to feel too alone. Dogs are our bridge– our connection wo who we really are, and most tellingly, who we want to be. When we call them home to us, it’as as if we are calling for home itself. And that’ll do, dogs. That’ll do.”  ― Patricia B. McConnell

JJ you are a star now watching over us… you will always shine bright in our hearts. We will miss you and love you forever


Below are links to a few other pages that continue to tell the love story of our dogs. These pages show how we love dogs beyond measure  and then share our heartbreak when our dogs die. They remind us to cherish every moment – even those times when we are up all night with a sick or worried dog. These pages remind us that we wouldn’t trade a moment for anything and if we could we would love to spend just one more day with our furry friends… because dogs really are the best kind of friends to have.

JJ – thank you for being a part of my sister’s family and a part of my life too. We miss you and will love you forever.

EB White “She Doesn’t Answer the Phone” – this is the letter that he wrote about his dog Minnie  http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/02/she-doesnt-answer-phone.html

Mary Oliver: For I will consider my dog Percy 


Jimmy Stewart:  I’ll Always Love A Dog Named Beau  warning – tissue alert (probably 2 hankies)

 Rainbow Bridge 
Poem:  http://www.petloss.com/rainbowbridge.htm
Background and story:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_Bridge_%28pets%29

These are only a few resources- please feel free to share others by leaving a comment. If you are grieving for a dog, I hope that this page has helped you remember your dog with fondness and joy.


5 thoughts on “A Dog Named JJ”

  1. You had me in tears. I have had the joy of living two golden retrievers: Casey and Roscoe. We lost Casey last year and my heart is still broken. Roscoe is a joyful almost three year old golden whom I cherish every day!

  2. Thank you for such a thoughtful tribute! You’re right that dogs bring joy into the world, through their play, the comfort they offer, the kindness they show. They make us healthier in so many, many ways. We try to return the favor, by taking good care of them. Murphy was lucky to have such a big ‘brother’, and J.J. was lucky to have such an auntie.

  3. What a nice tribute. I know too well about the loss you feel when your dog passes, my dog who was with us for almost 14 years was a significant part of our family. It’s been 2 years and he is still missed every day. I know one day we will reunite and he will be just as excited to reunite as he was every day when he saw me. They truly are a gift in your lives.

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