A Sad Time at Waggy Tales


I’ve written this post several times now but can’t seem to find the right words.

On 17th August 2020 we lost our little dog, Holly.

I’ve been dreading that day for several years now because she was the grand old age of seventeen.

It doesn’t matter how you try to prepare yourself the pain is agonisingly raw.

I promised her I would be strong.

So that is what I will be!

Not many people can experience so many years with a dog and I am hugely thankful for that.

It also comforts me to know that she never experienced pain, never went to bed hungry, shivered from cold, or felt unloved.

There are thousands of dogs who sadly never had that luxury.


Holly - Loss of a dog blog post
In Her Prime



2002 – 2020

It would have been easy to overlook Holly because she really was such a good little dog. She saw many dogs come and go, many stayed for a few weeks until they went on to forever homes. Others lived by her side for years.

Holly and Alfie were a totally bonded pair so when we lost him suddenly I didn’t think she would survive. Instead, she showed strength like I couldn’t believe and gave us all the courage to face life without him.

She took absolutely no prisoners in life, if another dog upset her she would let them know. However, she only ever acted in complete fairness and moved on as if nothing happened.

One thing is for sure, I will remember her every time I cook sausages. She knew within minutes if they were in the oven and wouldn’t leave the kitchen until she got her slice.

Mornings won’t be the same without that little body yapping at me to wake up and start the day. I’m not much of a morning person but her enthusiasm was infectious, she was just so happy to wake up and enjoy her day.

It was always a little a joke in our family that I never got to train Holly any useful commands. It wasn’t that I didn’t try, but she was adamant that dog training wasn’t for her. We did have a secret code though, she would catch my eye across the room and stick her little pink tongue out and I did the same back. Then she would wiggle her nose and I found myself doing the same. It took me a long time to realise that she was actually training me!

Considering she was such a small dog she has left a massive void in my life. Somehow home just doesn’t feel like home anymore. I keep wondering where she is all the time. I think for months my mantra has been “Where’s Holly?’. She would potter in the garden happily for hours, the rain and cold didn’t stop her ( unlike her brothers, who refuse to go out if there’s a hint of drizzle!)

She was always happy just to be close to me, usually perched on the sofa just behind my head. Recently I noticed her distancing herself from me physically. It was extremely subtle but didn’t go unnoticed. I think she was preparing me for this time when I have to continue without her, waiting for the time to be right.

This year has been so, so hard. Not just with the fear of a global pandemic but family heartbreak and my own health struggles. Holly stuck with me throughout and now she leaves me, far from alone…but scared and lonely.

Wherever she is now, I hope there are tummy tickles and sausages at the click of a paw!

Cuddle your fur babies tight. Don’t be grumpy when they get under your feet and walk mud on your kitchen floor.

Because, they’re not here forever.


This is a poem I wrote for Holly.


The Empty Chair

Not large in stature but strong and wise

With a curly tail and soulful eyes

A face that always seemed to say

‘Don’t worry, it will be okay’

A silent presence at my side

Guiding me through this bumpy ride

A reason to smile, laugh and cry

Together we watched the world go by

Throughout it all, you were always there

Soothing and guiding from the back of the chair

My mentor, my anchor, my port in a storm

My little protector, gentle and warm


Kate Hanford

Holly aged 17 years and 6 months - Loss of a dog blogpost
The Last Photo – July 2020


Every pet loss is different and everyone copes differently.  We still go through the emotions of deep sadness, guilt, and even anger, just like when we lose close friends and family.

I have lost a dog suddenly, through old age, through illness, I even had a foster dog die in my arms…but they all hurt just the same.

If you are struggling with the loss of a pet, these posts may help a little.

A Chat About Dog Bereavement

What To Say When A family Dog Has Died

Farewell Harvey

Please feel free to comment below about the wonderful dogs who have sadly passed away.

As a tribute to Holly, I would like this post to be a place to remember and share grief for dogs who have been a massive part of our lives.

Hollyand Alfie - Loss of a dog blogpost
Soul Mates Forever

















48 thoughts on “A Sad Time at Waggy Tales

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      1. My wife said she would never get another dog after our Boo Boo passed, my wife cried every night for months, I told her “We are dog people and we need another dog in the house” It took months put I finally convinced her that the joy far out weighs the pain. We’ve had our new dog 10 months now. We who are on this site our blessed to know the joy a pet can give.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Mercy me!! I can relate to every word you have said. When we lost our Tibetan Spaniel- his name is Woji – nothing had ever been so heartbreaking. I light a candle by his picture the moment I get up every morning. It’s been 2 yrs now. We have four Tibetan Spaniels still – I know I have further heartbreak to come – but imagine never having experienced the love and loyalty from our precious puppies. ❤️ It’s hard but the memories are engraved in our hearts 💜

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It never gets easier and even if you try to prepare yourself it is still painful beyond words. All we can do is think about all the good times, the laughter and the love …and it really is worth it xx


      2. Totally agree Karen. I can’t imagine a home without a dog, but the devastation we feel when they leave us is unbearable. It just shows how wonderful dogs are because we continue to have them as companions. All we can do is cherish all the happy memories. Take care x


  1. We are just heartbroken for you, but what a lovely tribute to a very special little girl. Your words are beautiful and have brought tears to my eyes.
    I have not yet had to face such a loss. The Fab Four are still only five years old, so we’re hoping we have many more happy years together, but I dread the day…
    We’re all sending you lots of love and licks.


    1. Thank you so much, I hope you have many, many more happy years with The Fab Four. Enjoy every single moment and give them an extra special hug today xx


  2. So very sorry for your loss. My beloved Roofie was with us for sixteen years & now my heart is broken. I keep reminding myself that great loss comes from great love. You are in my prayers.


  3. I’m sorry for your loss. They truly are our best friend. I know exactly how you feel, we lost our Boston Terrier in February . I think about her every day.


  4. I lost my beautiful 15 yr old cocker Dylan a year ago. He was a clever empathetic old man and life is just not the same without him.


  5. I lost both of my dogs this fall within a month of each other. One was 13 and died suddenly one morning with no real warning. The other one was 16 and had dementia and we had to have her put down just 4 weeks later. It has been very rough at times. People who don’t have dogs sometimes just don’t understand the grief we face as pet parents
    My grandmother was pretty sick and home bound for the last 3 years of her life and I helped take care of her for a lot of that time. I think I never really grieved for her until both of my dogs passed away and then it all just got me at once. Some days it was just hard to have any motivation and even get out of bed. I am working through it, but it isn’t easy. Thanks so much for sharing about your sweet pup. Glad to know that others feel the same way that I do with this grief.


    1. Thank you for sharing your story Angie, I’m so sorry for your huge loss. I do understand completely because I was caring for my mum when I lost Holly and they died within weeks of each other. I still have two dogs and they have got me through, but I will never find a soulmate like Holly. I hope you take comfort from how well you took care of your grandmother and also for giving your dogs long, happy lives. Take care and all the best for 2022.


      1. Thank you so much for creating a place that gives people a chance to talk about the tremendous void in their lives and the wonderful friend(s) who made it. Mine was made by a Springer Spaniel named Candy. I’ve never had a closer relationship with anyone, human or otherwise. She was, and still is, part of my soul. No one can ever tell me that it wasn’t divine intervention that brought her into my life. I will never have children but thanks to her, I know what it’s like to literally ache with love when you look at someone. It’s been years since I had to let her go but the bond has not lessened. She’s one of the first things I’ll look for when it’s my turn to go. I am so great full the God loves me enough to have made my sweet Candy Spaniel.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bless you, your beautiful words bought me to tears. Candy was so lucky to have you and she will be waiting at the Rainbow Bridge. Take care and thank you for sharing your story xx


  6. I am so sorry. I lost my sweet baby girl Belle this past April. She looked very much like Holly, a Maltese, so beautiful and sweet. Always there to greet me ..always by my side ..my soft, gentle baby ..and then one day…just gone…Leaving a huge gap in my heart that can never be filled. Her brother Buddy, a pit bull, was so very distraught for some time as well and we have bonded more as a result. They say dogs don’t have feelings. The day she passed he walked by wirh his head down and afterward would literally go to her bed and cry with his head against it. We grieved together and still do and we are both a little better ..much closer..but there will never be another Belle and nothing will ever take her place in my heart. She lives on in tribute in our home and in our hearts. I pray to be reunited one day 💕


    1. I’m so sorry for you and Buddy. I’ve fostered Maltese and know what sweet, gentle dogs they are. Buddy sounds like a very sensitive boy, I cried when I read about his pain. Poor, poor boy! You will come through this, together and stronger, but it takes time. Take care xx


      1. Our lil’ boy Boo Boo was 11 years when he passed, He was going through some medical issues and I was thankful that we were able to provide the best possible care for him. Boo Boo passed away on his Ma ma’s lap as she dried him from his bath just before he was scheduled for a visit with the Vet. Boo Boo looked up at mom and put his head down.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I just lost my baby yesterday – we had to put her down. I was looking up grieving dog loss and your blog popped up. This looks JUST like my cinnamon. I scrolled to the bottom and there’s a picture of a black & white dog that looks JUST like my other dog Domino! Crazy!


    1. That’s such a coincidence Amanda. The black and white dog was called Alfie. We lost him very suddenly and whilst I was grieving for him I got the inspiration to start this blog. I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending love and hugs xx


  8. My Paige looked alot like your Alfi.. I lost Paige one week ago . She was with me for almost 12 years . Everything you said in this poem is exactly how Paige was with me . I don’t know how to be without her . Thank you for putting into words what I haven’t been able to yet .

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I lost Mr. Muggles, my little Maltipoo in June. You know, I lost both parents and my beloved Grandmother that lived to be 110. The grief of all 3 of them combined (whom I loved very much) didn’t come close to the grief of my little guy. He got diabetes and was blind the last 3 years of his life. When he lost his eyesight his sense of smell kicked in. He knew where I was at all times and he was right there with me. I’ve never felt more alone in my 65 years of life. I miss him desperately. I found a beautiful urn necklace and carry his ashes with me always. The love of an animal is an absolute gift from God.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I lost my Lilly last month. I got her at Animal Care and Control after hearing of her being left in a house after her owners moved out. She was 6 at the time and they told me had many health issues. I took her anyway and had the best dog for 12 years. I am still crying every day. She was her normal self up until the very last day and passed overnight in her sleep at 18. I live alone so the house has been so quiet but I am no where near ready to get another dog. My heart is so broken, it is so hard to even think about. Thanks for your beautiful words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 18 is an amazing age for a dog, no wonder you miss your sweet Lilly. You gave her a wonderful home and never let her feel pain, that’s a great achievement. You will know when the time is right to welcome another fur baby, until then, take care xx


  11. I lost my baby Grizzly a few weeks ago to cancer. He was only 7 years old and truly the sweetest most gentle dog I’ve ever met. We had no idea he was even sick. He was perfectly normal and healthy and happy and then one day suddenly he just got this really distant look in his eyes and wouldn’t get up from the front door, so I rushed him to the emergency vet and they told us his abdomen was full of blood from a tumor that ruptured. He never even made it to his emergency surgery that night. I still feel like I’m in shock. One moment my life was perfect and the next I felt like I was the most miserable I’ve ever been in my life. I never thought anything could hurt this much. It was so traumatizing. He was my baby, and boy he knew it. I can’t think of any moments spent in my home that he wasn’t right there beside me. It feels like part of me has died with him. I just still can’t wrap my head around how it all happened so fast. I miss him so much. I wish I could go back to that night and just hold him and tell him everything is okay. I was in so much shock that night I couldn’t even think straight. I’ve been struggling so much. I found this page on Pinterest and have just cried and cried at all of the beautiful tributes to our sweet babies. May they always know how much we adore them. One thing i know for sure is that if love alone could have kept my grizzly bear alive he would have lived an eternity. Thank you for making this space. It is special. I am including you all in my prayers that we find healing and comfort through these difficult times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your lovely Grizzly. At seven years old you never think about them leaving you so I understand the shock and great pain you are experiencing. Thank you for sharing your story, this page is all about supporting each other and your words will help others. Take care and try to remember all the good times xxx


  12. nd so she stayed. Mikki knew from the start that she wanted to stay with us. She had a few more tumours that came up on her body , some benign some malignent. Oh how I loved this little one. She got sick, and started having seizures, with meds were controlled but I just watched her fade away in front of my eyes. I couldnt let her suffer any more so gave her her wings, her vet thought she could have had a brain tumour. My baby girl had fought all her life to be on this earth.
    Four days later another of my foster fails Mindi was outside playing with our other dogs and our shepherd bit her on her head, just playing she wasnt out to hurt her just doesnt realise her strength. All it took was one bite and her vet couldnt save her, she passed away in my arms as did Mikki 4 days earlier. Even typing this I have tears running down my face.
    Mikki and Mindi I miss you both every day and love you so much. I dont think I will ever get over this and was even going to give up fostering, it broke my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry to hear this Bronwyn. Losing two dogs in such a short time must be unbearable. I only hope that Mikki and Mindi are together, reunited and waiting for you at Rainbow Bridge. Please, please don’t give up fostering, just take a break for now. I fostered myself and I know how hard it is, but it is so rewarding too and good foster mums are hard to find. Take care xxx


  13. I just lost my baby 16 days ago. She was 11, I had her since she was 10 weeks old. She was not a pet, she was family. My heart is broken. I like how you mentioned how Holly became distant to prepare you. I never thought of it like that, but I think that’s what Mimi was doing. Unfortunately because I didn’t get her spayed, she ended up getting an infection in her uterus. My poor baby was so strong, but too strong because I never knew something serious like that was wrong with her. She was dying in my arms. The hardest decision I ever had to make was letting her go and putting her to sleep. I didn’t want her to be in pain. Her uterus had ruptured. I wanted her to stay alive so bad but I didn’t want her to be in pain. Every now and then, I feel like she’s here and it’s just very hard right now having to go through this. Before she took her last breath, she let out a whimper, I know she was telling me goodbye. I can’t quit thinking about that. How were you able to go forward? I’m still just so sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry Whitney, I can tell how devastated and lost you feel. There are no words to help you right now but I know that you absolutely did the right thing for Mimi and, if she could she would thank you for that. As the days pass by you will begin to remember all the good times you had together and what a good life you gave her. Try to talk to someone who has gone through something similiar and don’t be hard on yourself. Remember you were a fantastic mum to Mimi ,,she was loved and cherished and she wouldn’t want her mum to be sad. Take care


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