from the blog

Goodbyes and Pleasant Surprises

I love when people surprise you in an awesome way, and that happened to me this week.

Last Saturday, we said goodbye to our dog Lucy, who we’ve had for fourteen years, since a few short months after my husband and I got married. She broke us into parenthood by preparing us for sleepless nights (she was a small dog and her bladder was tiny as a result, so she needed to go out in the middle of the night for many months. That required taking her down an elevator and into the Boston Common in the wee hours, which helped pave the way for sleepless nights with children.), and our kids never knew life without her. She was a big personality in a small body, the alpha dog in our house full of them (she was one of three by the end). She barked the loudest, snuggled the closest, and kept the other dogs in line. As she declined, she started to lose control over her small bladder, and for months we blamed our puppy for ruining our rugs, when it was really Lucy’s doing.

Though we could see the end coming, nothing prepared me (or any of us, I think) for how hard it would be to see her decline and to say goodbye. On Sunday, after we had all cried more tears than I could count, I shared the news of our goodbye on Instagram. And I was stunned with the response.
Dozens of people responded with condolences and heart-felt messages.

Many people shared their own stories of Lucy (in one surprise addition, my husband’s former assistant remembered how she had worked to get Lucy on a plane with my husband when we moved to San Francisco, and that she had been thrilled to find out we were “dog people”).

I was so moved by the outpouring. At a time when the social media algorithms are causing less engagement rather than more, I was stunned at how many people reached out.

Losing a pet is a searing experience, and it was so nice to see how many people empathized with that pain. And each message meant so much.

Just a few weeks earlier, an acquaintance of mine whom I knew only through his business shared about his dog’s passing on Instagram. Most of his posts tend to be about his job (I think that’s why he started his account), but the news of his dog’s passing and his personal reflections on his loss made me see him in a different, more full and human light. I noticed that my feelings toward him changed in a positive way after learning more about him and his pup.

All of this has me feeling both more raw, but also more encouraged by the kindness of the people around me (including people I didn’t know terribly well before this incident). I love being surprised by people in this kind of way. And, though I love to focus on the ways I can bring a little bit more kindness into the world, it felt so lovely to be on the receiving end of such kindness.

Thank you, Lucy, for this last gift of yours. I am grateful for this glimpse of the goodness of humanity around me. And grateful for the kindness I experienced this week. Yet again, it turns out the little things mean so much.