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Sending you hugs and love. ♡

Oh Tonz. Oh, no. I am so sad to read this. What a sweet, wonderful, amazing boy and friend to all of you. Thanks for sharing your goodbye. Tons of love.

No Christy...it never gets easier...sorry to say. We love them while they are with us and then we let them go...

It never gets easier. It is snot running, hard to breathe painful. I was crying once I read your title. In ten years you might see another dog like Tonsina and be prepared to be reduced to tears like you have right now. If they weren't so freaking amazing, it wouldn't hurt so bad. Hugs Christy, hugs to the whole family!!!

"To all who have lost a dog, does it get easier?"
No, not really. Every time it hurts to say goodbye, particularly when you weren't ready for it or there wasn't much warning or preparation.

I'm so sorry for having to say goodbye to your sweet pooch.

We’re so blessed to have these sweet, sweet beings in our lives. I’m not sure the missing them goes away, but the relief that they’re not in pain anymore helps. Maybe it’s odd, but I miss my beloved Derby-girl now, almost two years later more than I did in the first year after she died(we were blessed to have her for 16+ years, she was a miracle lab!). Big hugs to you and your family, and free, easy running and playing for Tonsina ❤️

Anatole France once said "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened". The fact is, no matter how hard we try, or how close we come, we can never quite give or receive the truly unconditional love that our dogs freely lavish upon us.

So sorry for your loss of a dear dear family member. It doesn’t get easier,
But it does make our heart bigger.
You have honored him as he entrusted in you to come home everyday, say his name, and share your love and energy for life.
He was one lucky dog!
RIP Tonsina with all your favorite toys, sticks and small rodents to chase.

Well, I guess I’m going to be the chin-up friend in the group. We just lost our dog Victor, my baby, to cancer in February. He didn’t even make it to his 10th birthday. Our family feels robbed and the house is far too quiet. We are all still grieving hard, but it’s only been a few months...
Do I miss Max, my childhood dog? Sure, yes, but it’s not a raw, daily pain. So I have to disagree. It does get better, Christy and family. The hard shock of loss does wear down to an ache... eventually.
Tonsina grew up with your kids. Just like our Victor did. And that is a family unit that can never be replicated or replaced. So we pour through photos to remember, celebrate and mourn the very special dog who is woven into the fabric of our kids’ childhood. We are grateful and heartbroken. We are also deeply bonded with these beautiful, loyal creatures, and I swear, their spirits do not stray from the ones they loved. Just breathe and feel it. ❤️

I'm so glad that he died in your arms and that you cried huge tears for him. There was real love there and the vice around your heart will lose its grip a little each day. A new puppy is the only thing I have ever felt truly helps. That is my honest truth.

Thank you all so much for giving me the gift of your words.

This is my first death of a family dog and the first time I've witnessed a soul I love pass. It was profound, both heartbreaking and beautiful, to watch him leave in our company just the three of us lying on our front porch at 5 in the morning.

And the grief just keeps rubbing against me, as Tonsina would. He was BorderCollie mixed with Lab or Retriever and we use to say that side dumbed him down making him less intense then our other Border/Shepard mix. He was a lover. Even as an energetic puppy I will always remember coming home from the hospital after a miscarriage and crawling into bed where he found me, looked me in the eyes and stayed in bed and snuggled me till I was done crying. He was so patient with the kids, even when Olive tried to ride him or Elias grabbed his face. And just always with us, for thirteen years.

I 've spent the past two days working on his new garden, pouring myself into soil and seeds and transplants. Its good therapy. Thanks again my friends for letting me know you understand.

I’m so sorry for your loss. I think one level of difficulty is the loss of their physical presence. That is hard enough, but what really wrecks us is the loss of their unconditional love and that feeling, like you mentioned, of wishing we had been able to match it, to pet them enough, give them enough time to make sure they knew how much they were loved in return.

I’m so sorry. I’m not sure easier is the right word, but it does get less sharp. We lost our Lola in 2017 and I still say, at least once a week, that I miss her. It will never not suck that she’s gone, but I don’t cry anymore. And I can enjoy the memories without being overwhelmed.

I'm so sorry. I am a lifelong animal lover and Crazy Dog and Cat Lady. A couple of things have made it easier for me over the years. First, know that from Tonsina's perspective, at 13, he lived a full complete life, almost all the time he would have to live. As far as he is concerned, he lived about as long as any dog could hope to, and you are like a mythical Tolkienesque elf who lives five times as long as he does and goes on to care for many of his kind.

Second, it would never be enough time. Not if you had one more year, five more years or 25 more years. It's okay for the last day to be a good day, or to happen during a good week. Most of the pet owners who have animals that live a long time and ultimately get put to sleep after a long battle with cancer (or similar)... They don't regret putting their pets down too soon. They regret waiting too long. It's okay to say goodbye like this, in his own time, with his favorite people by his side.

It may actually be preferable to having to make that choice for him, or to weight the costs and expenses of x-rays and interventions for a very old dog, feeling guilty about worrying about the expenses of vet treatments when you would only increase the number of his days but not the quality of them. In a way, Tonz passing in his own time without you having gto agonize over what you could or should do for him is the beautiful final gift from him to you. What a good boy.

Third, know that Tonsina is utterly irreplaceable. There's no other pup like him, and it's so hard knowing that you had so much more love to give him. However, there's a pup somewhere out there tonight, in a shelter or on a street or in a foster home or with an owner who knows knows there's a hard choice coming due to allergies or job loss or impending eviction. There is a dog, somewhere, right now, that would lap up all the love you wish you could still give Tonsina, but can't. You have the chance to give that love and care to a different dog in Tonz's honor.

I've learned that, for hardcore dog people, we can have wonderful dogs in each era of our lives. Canis was my childhood dog, my parents' practice baby. He died when I was Olive's age.

Bella was the dog of my 20s. I found her the first day of fall semester my senior year of college. She was my roommates and mine with the agreement she would go with me after graduation. We packed up and moved to Florida when I was 22, driving 2,000 miles down 1-95 for our next adventure. She was a flower girl in my wedding. I so wanted her to meet my babies and lay under a high chair. It wasn't meant to be. Pregnancy took longer to happen for me, and she died at 13 before they were born.

Molly is my Baby Years dog. She's a family dog, my children's Canis. She is young and gentle and playful, and honestly, better suited to life with little kids and their well-meaning but ham-handed affections than Bella would have been, with her arthritis at the end.

Each dog is a privilege, a kindred spirt, a protector and a gift. We save each other. Another dog, if you so choose, with so many hikes and jogs and adventures in the Alaskan woods, will be so damn lucky to have your family, when you're ready. It won't be the same, but it will be wonderful in a new way.

Last thing- I've had cats and dogs living together in a duo or trio since 2003. It's great, seeing them snuggle and love each other up. Two new fur babies who come into the same family at about the same time will form their own pack. It's pretty great.

I'm so sorry. I remember when Tonsina got between you and that bear. Good boy, that Tonz.

Such helpful thoughts thank you. As much as I am sad that he went so quickly and we wonder if we had brought him to the vet sooner if we could have saved him I also am relived he went so quickly and on his own front porch with both of us and Lola with him. You are so right Angie that we would have struggled with all the decisions involved. We had called our local house call vet the week before he dies but she isnt doing appointments due to Covid and recommended we consider an X-ray up in Anchorage. In many ways its a blessing that we didn't start that process if I can ditch the guilt.

And yes, there will never be another Tonz. We love our Lola but she doesn't replace him. very different personalities. He was our steady mellow lover. She is our protective unpredictable worker dog. Both wonderful and so different. And now we have Spruce Tip a chill by day terror by night cat. Another dog will find its way to us I know. Not sure when but we will find each other when the time is right.

So much love to all--thank you.

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