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To Birdie, With Love.

Birdie died this year. We made the decision to let our sweet old girl go on April 4th.

Birdie had kidney disease for months, but in the final week of March the disease finally began taking its toll on her little 15 year old body. We didn’t want her to suffer, so we said goodbye.

Just a month before that, our cat Gus died suddenly of congestive heart failure.

Losing Gus and Birdie back to back was devastating. 2017 was a really hard year.

birdie back porch

I’ve wanted to write a loving tribute to Birdie for months.

Since 2011, I’ve been sharing stories about my life with her on this blog. I felt like I owed it to her to write about her death here. And to write something spectacular, because she deserves that and then some.

I haven’t been able to do it. Writing about her death makes it feel so real. Like losing her again, on another level. Up until now it just hurt too much to do it.

And nothing – NOTHING – I write now feels good enough.

But now the year is coming to an end, I feel like it’s the right time to say goodbye to her here. To wait any longer feels wrong.

Many of you read about Birdie’s experience with physical therapy on this blog and I hear from lots of you through email, asking for updates on how Birdie is doing today.

I haven’t been able to reply to those emails all year. Now you know why.

birdie swims.jpg

Thank you for letting me share my life with Birdie with all of you. Losing her has helped me to realize that it’s time for me to bring my writing here to a close too.

This chapter of my life feels like it’s come to an end. I have loved writing this blog more than you know, even if I haven’t written much here the past couple of years.

I guess I was avoiding this ending too.

But I want to honor my girl and this space with a real goodbye.

I shared a version of what’s written below with friends and family back in April. I thought I could and should write something better for the blog, but I haven’t been able to do that. Maybe I don’t have to.

Birdie was a straightforward dog. Loving her was not complicated.

So I’ll keep it simple and true:

Birdie’s 15 year old body was ready to rest, but we were not ready to let her go. We would gladly take another nine years with her.

Birdie spent the first six years of her life in a shelter in Arkansas and somehow, in this world overflowing with dogs and people, she found her way to our home, just two months after we moved to Maine.

That was almost ten years ago.

Thank you Universe for keeping her safe all of those years until we were ready for her.

Birdie belonged with us.

She was the sweetest, gentlest, old soul.

This is what she loved:

Taking naps in the sun, rolling in the grass, going on vacation with us in the summer, digging holes to lie in and munching on bugs in the dirt, being our co-pilot in the car, taking walks to smell all the smells, meeting little kids, and having her ears rubbed.

Not once did she let me forget when it was time for dinner.

Which was 3pm. On the dot.

If we weren’t home at that time, we’d drive home laughing and shouting up the road, “We’re coming Bird! Dinner is coming!”

Birdie barked once every other year, just so we would know she could.

She mostly snuffled at us. I hope I never forget that sound.

There are so many details about her body, her personality, our life together. I want to share them all as some sort of public declaration and documentation of how much she was loved.

But I know I don’t have to do that.  So I’m going to keep those tiny treasures for myself. 

Birdie was a tough old girl. She lived until the wheels came off her busted little body.

Our hearts have been broken all year with missing her. 

Birdie Dog, we love you.

Thank you for waiting so long for us to find you, so that we could be your family.

Until we meet again sweet girl.

birdie sniffs

Thank you to Almost Home Rescue for bringing Birdie to us. Thank you to her foster family for caring for Birdie. Thank you to the staff at Lone Pine who cared for her for 6 years. Thank you to Gayle for taking care of Birdie’s aches and pains and for holding her head up so she could swim. Thank you to the staff at Pine Point Vet Hospital for taking such good care of Birdie (and me) all the way to the very last moments. Your kindness will never be forgotten. Thank you to everyone who cared about Birdie over the years. Thank you. 

One last note: This is almost it. I have one more blog to write here at NFADW, so I can share where I’m going in 2018 and how we can stay in touch. So I’ll see you again in this spot once more.

Lots of love to all of you in this new year.

–  Jessica

birdie fence

  1. Mary Anne #

    Safe journeys, Birdie. Now we will all miss you…

    December 31, 2017
  2. SNowy #

    so very sorry…….thoughts are with you…..

    December 31, 2017
  3. Laureen #

    So very, very sorry. Loss for words in response to your loss. May 2018 be a slow healing time.

    December 31, 2017
  4. Janet Paxson #

    GOD BLESS YOU! My heart goes out to you. On Oct. 5th, 2016 we lost our beloved 52yr old son, John with Colon cancer which had spread. He fought it for 13 and 1/2mos.. Then in April I lost my BFF of 30 + yrs. When I felt my heart was beyond repair. We lost our only fur-baby one day before her 14th b.d. . She had had us 12 1/2yrs.. Now my hubby (Larry ) 81yrs is ill. We are waiting for the reports on the tests of his heart and lungs. We have been married for 55yrs..

    You can get in touch when ever you want. I’m here for you. I can relate.


    December 31, 2017
    • Oh Janet, my heart aches for you. Every loss is hard, but it’s even more painful when we lose so much at once. Sending love and light to you and Larry 🙏❤️

      December 31, 2017
  5. dawnrubick #


    December 31, 2017
  6. Meredith #

    Oh, Jessica. Thank you for sharing your love for Birdie and your grief. It’s New Year’s Eve and I am crying again as I grieve the loss of my baby girl, Lucinda, a few weeks apparently before you lost Birdie. It’s been a pretty horrible year, all the way around — and that doesn’t even begin to factor in the worldwide pain and devastation from war and famine and cruelty and prejudice and fear … May your 2018 be better and bring you joy and peace. May all Beings know freedom from fear and want. Peace to Birdie and to you.

    December 31, 2017
    • Thanks Meredith – I hope 2018 brings you lots of joy and healing too ❤️❤️

      December 31, 2017
  7. hunter carlin #

    Our prayers are with you and Birdie, confident that you will meet again over the rainbow bridge.  Thank you for sharing your sorrow and most importantly, your lives together.  We have been there and hope to love our dogs as you loved her.

    From: notes from a dog walker To: Sent: Sunday, December 31, 2017 2:34 PM Subject: [New post] To Birdie, With Love. #yiv6323274280 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv6323274280 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv6323274280 a.yiv6323274280primaryactionlink:link, #yiv6323274280 a.yiv6323274280primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv6323274280 a.yiv6323274280primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv6323274280 a.yiv6323274280primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv6323274280 | Jessica Dolce posted: “Birdie died this year. We made the decision to let our sweet old girl go on April 4th.Birdie had kidney disease for months, but in the final week of March the disease finally began taking its toll on her little 15 year old body. We didn’t want her to su” | |

    December 31, 2017
  8. Lorrie Ferrari #

    OMG! Thank you for making me cry 😢 I LOVE that dog!
    Thanks for the wonderful tribute. She was beyond perfect (even her pissing on something whenever she came here) 😁

    December 31, 2017
    • Thank you for being such an important part of our life with Birdie and for loving her!

      You know, I’m not sure we would have found her if you and Pumpkin hadn’t told us about Almost Home. So double thanks! ❤️

      December 31, 2017
  9. From what you have written, there has to be another out there for you to love. Birdie would want you to love again and I’m hoping she will put a dog to love in your path. Be watching! It will be suttle at first…be open…

    December 31, 2017
  10. I’m so very sorry for your losses! I’ll miss your posts. I hope that you adopt another homeless pooch!

    December 31, 2017
  11. Marjorie A. Douty #

    I’m so sorry! We love almost as much as they love us!

    December 31, 2017
  12. Liz Anderson #

    Fly high, Birdie 💗

    December 31, 2017
  13. Birdie knew love💜🐾🐾

    Gentle nose nudges,
    CEO Olivia

    December 31, 2017
  14. Catherine #

    Tears flowed as I recognized your pain at Birdie’s loss. I’ve had dogs all my70 years and totally understand your delay. May you find peace in this Season. My thoughts are with you.

    December 31, 2017
  15. Edie Chase #

    I’m sorry for your loss.

    December 31, 2017
  16. Thank you for sharing your loss with me today, Jessica. It caught my eye in my email because we lost our “birdie” this past year, too. Hazelnut was with us for 15 years as well, and one of my nicknames for her, especially in her last years, was “birdie. I loved her more than I ever thought I’d be capable of loving a dog. She was my “one”. She was with me almost 24/7 for the full 15 years. I work at home, you see, and she was my constant companion, guardian and unconditional love factory. We finally let her go on July 11, peacefully at home, with her head in my lap and her eyes looking out of the patio window where she liked to spend her days in a sunbeam. It’s taken me months to get over the loss, and I’m still working on it. I grieve for her with the same intensity as I grieved for my mother, who was my best friend. Reading your post helps me realize that this is not unusual or something to ‘get over’. It takes time, and the loss can’t be trivialized or forced from my mind.

    January 1, 2018
  17. Reena Davis #

    That is a lovely tribute to your lovely girl. I’m sure you miss her terribly but it sounds like you loved her very much and that’s the best a dog – or any of us for that matter- can get❤️

    January 1, 2018
  18. I’m so very sorry about dear Birdie. It’s always hard to say goodbye to our beloved pets. I stil grieve for my sweet Callie more than two years after her passing, but most days now I smile at the memories. They leave their paw prints on our hearts and our souls. May 2018 be a better year for us all.

    January 2, 2018
  19. I’m so lucky to have been able to know the sweetest little old lady there ever was. Sending a lot of love to you Bird, and hope you are having fun in a place where it’s perpetually 3pm and there is endless goodness to sniff.

    January 2, 2018
  20. I am so very sorry about Birdie, and Gus! At times my eyes leak when I think of my sweet Callie – who got her angel wings in 2015 – so I understand, too. My heart goes out to you. One day the memories will make you smile more often than cry. They leave their paw prints on what’s left of our hearts when they go so we have their unconditional love to help us through the tough times.

    January 2, 2018
  21. Thank you for all your kind words everyone – losing our pets hurts a ton and it helps to know so many people understand and care. Lots of love to all of you!

    January 15, 2018
    • Carol #

      I am heartbroken for you, I’m reading this news just now and am so sorry you are going through this. Our precious dog started limping and we just thought she sprained something and would get better. She still was happy, running playing etc. She is very active, almost 24 lb Jack Russell mix ( she is a rescue so not sure 😊). The vet told us Tuesday that she needs surgery for a torn ccl. I have been researching all week and just came upon your story about Birdies conservative management. I tried to find you to ask how she ended up doing after all the rehab, if it helped or if she ever needed surgery. I have gotten so much mixed opinions I’m scared and confused. I don’t know if you will be able to give me your advice since you are still grieving, I’m not sure if you are even going to see this but I thought I would try. I want to tell you that the heartache you are feeling, even though you can’t believe it sometimes, it will ease over time. My precious dog left us 5 years ago this spring. I’m sorry to say I was pretty bad for months, but now I am good. Just like with anyone we lose, they will ALWAYS be with us, they are in our minds and in our hearts, forever!! As time goes on we can cry less and start to smile at the happy memories more, which is what our loving pets and family would want for us. My mom passed 3 years ago this spring and my dad last July. I think my saving grace was the fact that we had gotten another dog, (our daughter did 😊,) a few months before our 15 year old girl got sick. She was a great blessing during our loss. I pray you will start remembering her with less tears and more smiles. I wish I could take away your pain but it is a road we must all travel, somehow it makes it easier when we accept the fact that it won’t be easy, our sadness is justified and we will get better in time. I do hope to hear from you. Thank you for your wonderful blog on no surgery no problem. Carol 😊

      March 10, 2018
      • Carol #

        Wow, I’m sorry, that was really long 😳

        March 10, 2018
  22. This is so sad, sorry for your loss. I need to hug my dogs as soon as I get home.

    March 29, 2018
  23. Hello. I just wanted you to know that your words are perfect. I’m sorry for your loss. I have no comforting words. It’s a beautiful tribute.

    April 18, 2018
  24. Lillie #

    Going back to Birdies rehab instead of surgery, I’m wondering if the lady who helped with Birdie was free of charge? I mean you said the money was an issue? I’m glad I read your story about Birdies rehab without surgery, this coming week my mini Yorker will be having her ACL operated on, what kind of fish supplements were you buying, can dogs take the same as people supplements, and how much of it for an 8 pound dog? Did your Vet give you the regimen or did you figure all of it out yourself? This will be our dogs second ACL tear but her other hind leg! Sounds like you were Birdies Best Mom, God Blessed You with Birdie!

    November 3, 2018
    • We paid for her rehab and I’m not sure what kind of supplements we used back then. We worked with our vet and the rehab specialist to come up with a plan. Best of luck to you and your pup!

      November 9, 2018

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