College of Veterinary Medicine Home Pet Loss Hotline

This is the first story of this type that I have ever written, but I have just lost my pet dog, Diego, after being together for almost 14 years. I hesitate to use the phrase "my pet" because Diego and I were best friends from the first day we met.

Diego was a black lab mix given to me by my best friend and was about 1 or 2 months old. He was so tiny that I didn't first see him on the floor when my friend gave him to me. So I took him home and had a little trouble finding him in my car because he was so tiny he fit under the car seats.


When I took him into the house to break the news to my wife, she also did not immediately see him on the floor next to me. But when she finally did see him she immediately fell in love with this beautiful little animal.

My wife had never had a pet before and often told me that she could not believe how much love she felt for Diego and never would of believed she could have such feelings for an animal. But that's what Diego was all about. I never saw him not getting along with any person or animal. He somehow projected his love to all he touched, young and old.

The one story about my relationship with Diego that regularly comes to mind is during the one and only time my parents came to visit my wife and I for a weekend. I wasn't allowed to have a dog when I was growing up, so I proudly introduced Diego to my parents when they arrived. Diego wasn't one to do "pet tricks" and I never attempted to teach him to "fetch" or other such games. All I asked of Diego was that he listen and respond when I call for him, which he always did. But this one time during my parents visit, as we all were taking a walk through the local park, I picked up a tennis ball from the ground and threw it for Diego to get. And with my parents watching, Diego did just that, he got the ball and brought it right back to me! He never did it before or since, but we both knew that he did it when it mattered, as my parents watched.

For almost 14 years, Diego gave me his unconditional love, for which I will always cherish. I taught him a few things but he taught me many things. He was a good dog and he made me a better person.

Diego died yesterday, just 2 months after he was diagnosed with a malignant tumor on the back of his tongue. He lived a little more than 1 month longer than his doctor's prediction.

I'm coming to grips with our loss and trying to put the grieving behind and focus on all the good in Diego's life. He was with me on Earth for almost 14 years but will be in my heart and thoughts forever.

I love you boy.

Attached is a photo of Diego taken just one month ago, already diagnosed with cancer but still the most beautiful boy in the world.  

Revised March 13, 2007     |     Printer Friendly Version