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

















27 thoughts on “A Sad Time at Waggy Tales

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  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.


  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


  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


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