An Honest Dog

My good dog Tweed died today.  He got a swift and ugly cancer, and he was hurting, so I let him go.

I have no words of eloquence for my good dog.  He was a simple dog, and so I mourn his loss simply and without fanfare.  He was honest.  When he had an opinion, he shared it. When he had a feeling, he let it be known.  And when it was his time to die, he asked me to let him go.

I know what loss is – I feel it keenly now.  I know what luck is, because I was lucky that he was my dog for *exactly* 15 years.  I know what love is, because we shared love deeply.  We grew into one another, and although his body is gone, we will never be apart.

Thank you to all my friends at the Regionals that I could not participate in, who shed a tear and hugged him goodbye, because he inspired that kind of fondness in people who were not his own.  Thank you to Auntie Heather, for taking care of the bits that I could not.  Thank you to Auntie Kim for the roast chicken that was the last food he ate.  And thank you to Dr. Jeff Bowra, for releasing from his painful body.

Thank you Tweed, for being part of my very soul.

Valar morghulis.  Dogs too.  Even mine.

Tweed May 6th 2000 – June 8th 2015.


  1. Janice in GA says:

    The Tweed Fan Club in Georgia grieves with you and weeps at the loss of another good dog. I am so, so very sorry for your loss. I never met him (I’m on the other side of the continent), but I loved seeing his pictures and hearing about him. Your love for him shone through.

    Run free in the next world, good dog.

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss. He was so clearly such a wonderful, wonderful dog, and I’m glad that you had so many years with him.

  3. Christie says:

    “I’m sorry” doesn’t begin to say how bad I feel for you. Thank you for sharing all the lovely photos and stories of Tweed over the years – he was a special guy.

  4. CarolG. says:

    I am so sorry to learn of your loss. He gave you so many years of love and you will continue to miss him for that many and more. May your memories of him bring brightness to your days.

  5. I am heartbroken for you. I’ve been smiling at Tweed stories for a few years now. He was like my Bodhi, also a cancer victim: one in a million. Gone a couple years now, and I’ve got new furry buddies, but I’ll never be over him. And he’ll always be here, under the table, following me in the woods, swimming in the nearest creek. Sending love and hugs. RIP, Tweed. Good boy.

    “It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, & I will become as generous & loving as they are.”

  6. I am so very, very sorry…..tears are rolling down my face, my heart is breaking for you. I wish I could help you but I can’t. I too had a Tweed – his name was Jester. He left me in 2012 at 13 and a half years old. He and Tweed could have been brothers. Rest in Peace Tweed. Food Lady I send heavy duty hugs your way!

  7. I’m so sorry about Tweed. I loved your stories and pictures of him. He reminded me so much of the first Border that I had, Cory, who lived to be 13 and died of cancer.
    Be at peace that you have done the very best for him, loved him for who he was, and prevented him from having a painful end.

    (Janne, where did you get that wonderful quote? I just love it and I want to use it.)

    “It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, & I will become as generous & loving as they are.”

  8. Hooman, Mitzi, sage, and pickles says:

    Thank you, food lady, for sharing tweed and all your furries with us. We may not have known him intimately, or personally, but we all feel your loss. May you find comfort from the others, and in Tweed, that he was always able to tell you what he needed, including when he needed you to let go. There are few things harder in life, IMHO.

  9. Aislinn, Glenn, Coop and Joon says:

    So so sorry. There are no words for it. Thinking of you.

  10. Clairesmum says:

    Hugs to you and all your dogs…thanks for sharing Tweed with all of us….run wild and free, Tweed.

  11. Caroline says:

    So sorry for your loss Sheena, my heart aches for you.

  12. RachelB says:

    Oh, Sheena. I am so sorry. Sending you all the gentle thoughts.

  13. So sad to hear of your loss, thank you for sharing Tweed with us. We will always remember him.

  14. I’m so very sorry that you’ve lost your beloved, but happy that you spent so many years together. I feel as though I knew him. God speed, Tweed.

  15. Natalie says:

    I’m so sorry you’ve had to let Tweed go.

    Sending good thoughts from the UK and hoping you’ve got lots of people supporting you and the rest of the woofs.

    Lots of love xxxx

  16. springahead says:

    Dear Food Lady-
    We are so sorry for your loss. Tweed will live on in in your heart, and the hearts of so many of us forever- through your true words and beautiful photos.
    Take care,
    Michele and The Pack

  17. Dayle, Bobby & Ginger says:

    I am so sorry to hear this; he was a great, great dog.

  18. I’m so sorry. Tweed was a very lucky dog and you were a very lucky person to have each other in your lives.

  19. May all the Dogs Above keep good watch over him & each other
    for you know your beloved Tweed must be right there with them,
    that beautiful spot where all our dear four-paws go.

  20. I am so very sorry for your loss. After reading all you have written about tweed, I felt as though I knew him. Knew his mind, knew his body, but only a lucky few knew his soul, and you were the luckiest of all because he shared it all with you…or maybe you were lucky enough to share it with each other. RIP Tweed, there are fields to run, balls to chase and water to splash in at the Bridge

  21. Silvana Bevilacqua says:

    Dear, dear Sheena, We are so very sorry for your loss. xoxoxo Silvana, Colin and Meika

  22. Thank you so much for sharing Tweed and your other furries with us. I know all too well the agony of making that decision and the emptiness that is left behind. You have given him the greatest gift you ever could – the gift of a painless passing. Hugs to you girl. RIP Tweed – run free and happy darling boy.

  23. Dang it, I’m in tears. I will never forget my favorite “Woof”. Thank you for sharing Tweed with us and so very, very sorry for your (our) loss.

  24. I’m so very sorry. I’m sure Tweed leaves an enormous hole in your heart – how could a dog so full of heart himself do anything but??? He touched a lot of people through your blog, and we all mourn him with you.

  25. Rest in peace, beautiful Tweed. He was a wonderful dog and you gave him such a good life. Thank you for sharing him with all of us, I’ve been following you for a long time and I will miss him as well.

  26. SweetCeana says:

    My heart is aching for you. I am so very sorry. Thank you for sharing Tweed with us for so many years.

  27. Andrea/Schnitzie says:


    For the past 9 years, since I first “met” you on Craig’s List Petfo, you have been channeling Tweed. You have so generously lavished me with the enormous magnanimity and humility of this lovely dog. You let me laugh at him with you — because he could be so very silly and funny — and you let me worry about him when he had the weird toe/wonky paw injury.

    And then you let me witness his greatness, his dignity, and your great love for him as it expanded and deepened in Tweed’s later years. Who worries about a 6-year old dog…when Wootie is soaring through the skies after the Wootie toy…and Piper is making Mad Teeth ™…and there are puppies and fosters about? Tweed was always there, in the mix, that lovely burgundy Aussie-BC mix. I smiled and laughed at his “funny uncle” interest in puppies. I took his presence and wellness for granted.

    After Briggs passed, you noticed as Tweed emerged from behind the Red Dog’s shadow. Tweed was never the “Red Dog.” He was burgundy. And like the fine wine, he came into his fully exquisite self as he matured. And you did, too.

    I start to cry just thinking about what is STILL my most favorite essay that I have ever read: “Ode to an Aging Dog,” written when Tweed was 10. I had to dig to find it again…something I’ve now done twice since I first read it:

    You wrote about the moment when your understanding of Tweed shifted to a whole new level, and your attachment to him and love for him shifted along with it. The story about crossing a “sea of boulders,” as you and the pack passed through the dykes, read like a revelation.

    Tweed stumbled and fell…and he looked to you for help. It was a moment when you gently, poignantly anticipated the moment you and Tweed have come to now. You saw that he was aging, and his limitations had started to show.

    Your description of what you recognized about Tweed in that moment makes the tears stream down my face just to remember it… Even as he stumbled, Tweed looked to you and trusted that you would help him. And when you pulled him up, he stuck his nose in your pocket and barked happily at you as you laughed. He liked that you thought he was funny because Tweed was a good dog, and he was “so full of try” as well as full of “why?”

    In that moment you realized that Tweed would not be with you forever. And from that moment on, in all of your blog posts and updates on Facebook, it was clear that you were celebrating and treasuring every moment with Tweed, culminating in his magnificent 1st place championship at Regionals, at age 12. What a triumph that was, and all of your fans (yours and Tweed’s) exulted with you.

    I am not aware of any dog who has lived as full and marvelous a life as Tweed got to enjoy with you. Like you, I lost a beloved pet whose decline and departure came within days, due to the sudden emergence of cancer. I still can’t believe that my boy, Dee Doo, is gone, and I feel the same shock and disbelief with respect to Tweed. Like Tweed, Dee Doo looked as strong and tip-top as if he did when he was ten years younger, even if that beautiful appearance concealed the disease that would claim him.

    When the diagnosis of cancer came for Dee Doo, there was no agonizing over treatment or palliative measures, no question about whether to attempt to prolong his life. All I could do for him was to spare him from acute and worsening pain. I often think that Dee Doo made it easy for me, even as my heart aches for missing him and having such a short time to say goodbye. In that respect, Tweed did the same … because he was such a good dog.

    I am so glad you had all the years since that beautiful essay to appreciate and celebrate Tweed for the magnificent character he was. I hope that will be a comfort for you, even as you and all Tweeds admirers miss him so.

    Godspeed, Tweed, you philosophical, funny, and lovely good dog.

    Andrea, Viola Rose, Norman and Abby.

  28. Aw, Tweed. What a good, good dog. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    There will be an extra round of treats at our house tonight, in honor of the bond you shared.

  29. Life is always beginning and ending and if we are so lucky or blessed or just dammed in the right place, a beautiful soul fills the middle.
    I knew your boy from pictures and words…I was lucky❤️❤️❤️❤️

  30. Good bye you sweet sweet boy, :'(

    Don’t Cry Because It’s Over
    Smile Because It Happened

    Dr Suess

  31. Carol B says:

    I know how much you will miss Tweed. I enjoyed reading about him. Sorry for your loss but you will remember every time you vacuum; or in my case with my bc Tie, every time I use a shovel, hose, broom, etc.

  32. Michelle says:

    My heart goes out to you. So sorry for your loss.

  33. Sheena, so sorry for your loss.
    It’s just never long enough.

  34. I am so, so sorry.
    I know I never leave a comment and it’s been several weeks since this happened but I loved Tweed and the stories about him and his pestering of Dexter. I am really sorry and I am glad it was fast and hopefully painless for him. I know it wasn’t for you and I am sure the rest of the gang will miss him.

    Best of luck and best wishes.

  35. Tweed’s adventures and happy faces got me through many a boring work day. He was truly one of a kind. Thank you for sharing his stories with us❤️

  36. Mary Ann Daniels says:

    I’m so sorry, I am just doing some blog catch up–i did not realize you had lost Tweed. My deepest sympathies. He was a beautiful guy.

  37. I somehow missed that Tweed had passed away. I am so sorry for the loss of your special boy.

  38. Bill Black says:

    I put this remembrance id of your Tweed in my saved posts shortly after you wrote it, reading it every few months in preparation of the day I knew was coming with my Border Collie Angus.
    Angus came to us via the city dog shelter already old, and badly abused by a former owner. He was on the e-list, but a woman working there kept trying to get him adopted. It was my wife’s suggestion to take him. We had just lost “her dog” of almost 16 years. I saw it as an act of charity.

    The people at the shelter said he probably wouldn’t live more than a couple of years; but he made it more than twice that. For the first three years, he was like Benjamin Button, growing younger and more energetic with every warm season we lived in Vermont.

    About 9 months ago, Angus started telling me about his pending end. It was hard for me to listen at first, he still loved the same old things (walks, back scrubs, cookies, etc. ), and his calm steady presence was comforting in some difficult family changes. After each trip to the vet, I would say “not yet, not yet”. But he became more insistent, and finally, he suffered a middle of the night seizure this past January 1. He told me that night “I’ve suffered enough for you:. I held him close and told him ” I believe you” and let him go later that morning..
    Angus was never recognized as a great dog by anyone but me and the perhaps woman at the pound. But he was, and as it turned out, he probably saved me every bit as much as I saved him.

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