My Bulldog, Bagel, passed away exactly one month ago at the age of 12-and-a-half. Below is the eulogy I posted to Facebook that night through a river of tears. It has been slightly revised.
Goodbye to Bagel, my best friend.
April 11, 2006 – October 16, 2018
Bagel died on his own this afternoon, at around 1:00, in the backseat of my car. With a simple twist of fate, Bagel somehow knew — I would venture to say definitely knew — that this evening is when I scheduled for him to be put to sleep peacefully in our home because of his rapidly advancing illness, but I was torn apart at having to deal the last draw of his life from the needle of a hospice veterinarian. And that I absolutely did not want to do it. He passed away on our way home, while the Grateful Dead’s “Built To Last” played over the stereo speakers.
We were on our way back from hiking to one of our favorite Rocky Mountain lookouts high above Boulder, Colorado. The snow was at our feet and on his tongue, and the warm fall sun gave the early snowpack a beautiful afternoon glisten. Because of his ailing body, he didn’t walk much at all, so my friend who accompanied us took turns with me in carrying him so he could experience one more taste of the crisp autumn mountain air. In essence, Bagel died doing what he loved. And we did not have to inject him with anything other than love.
Bagel was, and will forever remain, my best friend. We were inseparable. I wouldn’t stay late at parties, wouldn’t travel too far, and he’d always be at the forefront of my mind’s worries and concerns — about his happiness, health, and overall wellbeing. I loved him so much.
For nearly 13 years, Bagel taught me to live more in the moment, enjoy life’s simplest pleasures, and always give love if you shall receive it.
He was as ferocious an athlete as he was a motionless potato. Many people would stop us on trails to say that they’ve never met a hiking Bulldog. Well, Bagel was the paragon of such a sect.
He traveled with me through life’s greatest challenges, moved across the country, and went to and saw places most Bulldogs don’t get to experience: Telluride, the White Sands, Las Vegas, the south side of Chicago, Acadia National Park, the Arches of Utah, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Grand Canyon, and more.
Today is the worst day of my life. The experience of discovering your dog dead in the backseat and pulling him out with his eyes still open and tongue sticking out is an experience I have zero interest in remembering. Bagel is my only dog. Now and forever. This was excruciating, painful, horrible, and downright traumatic. Thankfully, I have many friends who came over to support and comfort me, especially when the vet took Bagel’s body away. This will haunt me for a very long time.
I want to thank my ex-wife, Lisa, who offered significant emotional support throughout the past few weeks during this terrible ordeal. We raised Bagel together in Maine and she loves him dearly.
The house is empty now. I am sitting at my desk and I look to my right to see Bagel stretched out on the couch, but he isn’t there. I cannot stop crying and I assume I will be sleep deprived for quite a while.
However, one thing Bagel taught me is that no matter how challenging a day can be, don’t let it get in the way of a good snooze. He was a resilient, smart, calm, warm, and beautiful dog. He is my best friend.
I LOVE you Bagel and I will NEVER forget you.
There are times when I can help you out. And times when you must fall. There are times when you must live in doubt. And I can’t help at all. \\\ Three blue stars rise on the hill. Sing no more now just be still. All these trials, soon be past. Look for something built to last. – Grateful Dead, 1989