This may or may not be the mea culpa that you’re looking for….

It’s been eight days since I had to put Cocoa to sleep, my sweet, needy Cocoa.    It’s been an interesting week and quite a learning experience for me.

I published that open letter to Cocoa’s former owners just 20 minutes after I got home from taking her to be put to sleep.  I was sad, I was mad, I was frustrated.  Cocoa was the second oldie I’d had to euthanize in seven months.   I was a bit touchy.  I was writing a letter that would normally be seen only by my Facebook friends.  Ever heard of a blog called “A Day in the Life of Lunchy” before all this?  I didn’t think so.

The people who normally read my blog know me and they know the person behind the words.   I had no idea so many thousands of people would read that letter and not know the person behind it.

Since the letter was posted, I’ve been called names.  I’ve been told I have no right to voice an opinion on animal rescue if I eat meat.   I’ve been told that I’m a selfish idiot for spending my money on a dog instead of humans.  I’ve been told that I must be pro-abortion to have written the letter.  I’ve been told that I should shut up about dogs and go adopt a baby instead.

This week has certainly been an exercise in restraint (a day late and a dollar short, some of you may think).    I don’t owe anyone an explanation or itemized list of how I’m helping the world but suffice to say I help the humans, too.

I do have to give the prize for funniest comment to the person who asked if I rescued the high horse I was riding from that same shelter.

I’ve also been accused of  taking a sick dog from the pound and keeping her alive and suffering for my own selfish reasons.  Cocoa had pancreatitis two weeks after I got her.  It went away in a week or so and Cocoa was a happy little wooly mammoth running around my yard with the boys (which, by the way, are dogs to those of you who thought they were my sons).    When I brought her in that last time, the vet told me I was suffering watching her more than she was suffering, but it was best to put her to sleep before the suffering started.

I was also accused of only approving the favorable comments on the original blog post.   In fact, I approved every comment except one that wished physical harm on Cocoa’s former owners.  That was the only comment I censored.

You know what they say about opinions.  Everyone’s got one.

And that letter voiced mine.  I’ve had hundreds of people tell me that I have no right to judge Cocoa’s former owners because I don’t know their story.

I disagree.  I have every right to form an opinion of someone.

I, Jamie, could never take my 12-year-old family pet and leave them at a shelter.  I especially couldn’t take an old, highly incontinent dog to a shelter.    I couldn’t handle the stress of not knowing what happened to her.  If you take a cute puppy to the shelter, it stands a much better chance of being adopted.

But an old, white faced girl that stunk because she’d been lying in her own urine doesn’t stand nearly as good a chance.   And I couldn’t stand to move on, not knowing what would happen to her.

This is me.  This is my story.   The not knowing would make me crazy.

When I got Cocoa home and realized she was extremely incontinent, we had a few weeks of adjusting.  Every morning when I woke up I had to wash all the dog beds, because she only had accidents while she was sleeping.  I would have to bathe her before work.  I would come home and have to do all of that all over again.

I’m not telling you any of this for praise for taking care of Cocoa.  I am telling you because I want you to know how frustrated I was.  I got angry.  I would never hurt any of my animals but I know that Cocoa could sense my frustration.  I could see it on her face when I’d pick up the dog beds.

And it makes me really glad that she came home with me, and not with someone who might have gotten angry with her and punished her as a result.

See, that’s the part that sticks in my craw.

I know there are people who have to surrender dogs.  I hope to be lucky enough to never have to do that.  I figure I will be, because I have an extensive network of dog-loving friends and family who would gladly take my boys if anything happened to me.

I don’t agree with what Cocoa’s former owners did.  Had she been my dog I would have taken a different route.  And that is what I was trying to convey in my letter.

Here’s the thing.  Along with people calling me all sorts of names, like self-righteously indignant twat (what?!), I’ve also had people call me an angel and that’s problematic, too.  I’m far from being an angel.  Way, way far from being one.  In fact, if you were to weigh my angel to devil ratio, well…. let’s just say most of the time the devil’s got the wheel.  I am loud, I am ornery, I am chronically overweight, I have a hair trigger temper (as you’ve seen), and I have a big mouth.

But here’s what I am good at- I am a good daughter, I am a good sister, I am a good friend and I am a good pet owner.  I may suck at a lot of other stuff but at these few things I rock.

So would I ever turn my 12-year-old dog into a shelter?  No, I would not.    No amount of arguing and name-calling is going to get me to understand.    I’ve tried.  I’ve had people tell me I should extend the same empathy I showed Cocoa to her former owners.   I think that requires a level of Zen Master that I may never achieve.

Should I have lashed out at Cocoa’s former humans?  I  was within my right to talk about something that upset me.  Could I have handled it better?  You bet your sweet bottom dollar I could have handled it better.    My path is littered with good intentions gone awry.   This isn’t  the first time I’ve lost my message in the delivery.

I suffer from what I call the Sally Field Syndrome- I just want people to like me, really like me!!!     To be viewed as an internet bully stung.  Well played, universe.   I get it.

But here’s the part that I regret most- I regret saying anything in that letter that casts shelter workers or rescuers in an unfavorable light.  Sure, I know there are some people working in shelters that are burned out but I believe in my heart of hearts that people working in shelters do so because they love the animals and want to help them the best they can.  When I talked about Cocoa possibly dying on a cold shelter floor with someone who may or may not care how her life ended, I think I hurt a lot of people who have to deal with dogs dying on a daily basis.

And for that, I am truly sorry.  My heart aches to think that I might have hurt someone who works in rescue or in a shelter.  I have respect for people who do a job that I could never do.  I walk around with my heart on my sleeve like an exposed nerve, constantly being bumped and bruised by the world.  I couldn’t do what so many people selflessly do on a daily basis.

To all the people who were able to look past the delivery and understand my frustration, I thank you.  To all the people who shared their stories of adopting the old and broken ones, thank you.  I read them and my heart hurt with love for all of them.    I’m a sucker for the oldies but at this point I have to take a breather from adopting anymore of them.  My heart needs to heal a bit.  Boo Radley and Cocoa Loco took some chunks with them when they died.

Oh, and  I may be 45 but I’m not too old to get in trouble with my mama.  She didn’t raise me to talk like that, so I’m sorry if I embarrassed you, Mamacita.


Cocoa Loco







100 thoughts on “This may or may not be the mea culpa that you’re looking for….

  1. I see nothing wrong with what you are doing in fact I commend you on it bless you my hats off to you there are a lot of jerks out there just pay them no mind you just follow your heart

  2. You have nothing to be sorry for. I admire people like you. My son who is 34 brought home a little kitten he found in a shopping Centre. Said he couldn’t just leave it there. At first I thought no no I don’t want a kitten then I got busy and found it a home. I taught my 5 children to love animals and to always help them. I am proud of my kids. Keep up the good work and feel proud of yourself I believe you are a good person hold your head high. Thank you. Carol

    • You are a heroine in my eyes … nothing is harder than saying goodbye to an older sick dog but you at least filled her last days with love and family … thank you …

  3. Oh honey…I wanna hug your neck. I didn’t read it as anything but righteous anger from a wonderfully normal, loving and caring human. Those bitter vegetarians are looking for anyone to holler at, why? CAUSE THEY HONGRY! that’s why. You rock and the world needs more people who see animals the way you do.

  4. You didn’t say anything most of us childless, dog loving, 46 year old, overweight, people with hearts too big for their chest weren’t thinking (not to leave out the skinny, 25 year old, dog loving people with six kids…just speaking for me.). Never be ashamed of how you feel. I do get what you’re feeling and what you mean. I HATE not being liked, but I hate cruel people more. I wish you were in my neck of the woods, I think we’d be friends. BTW it’s not the “bitter vegetarians” cause I’m working hard to be one and felt everything you did. Take care of you, cling to those who get it and keep loving the oldies. Hugs!

  5. As a fellow animal rescuer (I have 6 big dogs), I totally got where you were coming from. I work with the local Humane Society, and I can tell you stories that would really upset you, as can any animal rescuer. It’s heartbreaking and discouraging, and heartwarming and uplifting all at the same time. You had the right to be angry- so don’t sweat it. Some people will never understand, and many many will. I’m one who does.

  6. I don’t think you owe anyone an apology. People judge people and anyone who says they don’t from time to time isn’t being honest with themselves. We all do it. There is enough ‘saving’ in the world to go around for everyone, Haiti, Africa, USA, HIV, AID’s, dog, cats, dolphins, whales, seagrass, the gulf…..I could go on. Like Wes Bradshaw told me, “That’s why they make chocolate and vanilla.” Not everyone is into the same thing. Jamie, I am proud of you, you keep doing what you are doing. Let the people who want to adopt babies, adopt away. Let the people who want to end world hunger plug away at. You are into dogs, I am into cats, and I help save human lives for a living so there are more than enough ’causes’ to go around in this great big old world for everyone to help someone or something. It doesn’t matter to me who got angered by the letter because you and I both know that their opinion is none of our business. PERIOD. We are all allowed to agree to disagree. I love you, I know you, and I don’t want you to hurt over the feedback. Not everyone will like you or me and we can and will be OK with that.

  7. I read your first post and I had no problem with what you said. I was able to read the message. I am sorry that you were called names and accused of wanting to see a dog suffer for your own selfish reasons…which I do not believe of you, even though I do not know you. I think you did right by her and I am so sorry for your loss. May your grief be brief but your memories long for the good you do do and try to do. Thank you for giving that por girl more love than she probably received in her whole life.

  8. I started to follow your blog because what you said resonated so deeply within my soul. I do not understand how anyone could ever abandon a geriatric pet into a shelter. You do not need to apologize for your anger and frustration. Always remember you can’t please everyone, sometimes you can’t even please yourself but if you can sleep at night and live with your choices then all is good with the world. Somedays it is easier to piss off the world than it is to please one person. Keep up the ‘tude and let the rest eat cake.

    From another exhausted rescue person who is sick of seeing cruel people and is just waiting for the zombie apocalypse to take out the judgmental stupid ones.

  9. People who were angry, or felt they had the right to judge you and be indignant will never understand. It’s funny how some jump to the conclusion that because we love animals we don’t love humans..why does loving one have to exclude the other? Check out my blog here The Twisted Typist…particularly my post called “The Human Race?”

  10. I still think you’re an angel. I’ve had to take rescued dogs to be PTS, and one of my own. We, as the humans who accepted responsibility for these animals, owe it to them to stick it out til the end, and to hold and comfort them as they leave this earth.

  11. My little dog Jesse died 4 months ago.She was a part of our family for 12 years, just 6 weeks old when we got her. She was very sick and we did what we could to keep her comfortable and when we couldnt do anymore we took her to the vet and I held her and whispered to her as he gave her the injection. We brought her home and buried her in the back yard in her favorite spot ( she had dug out of the fence there a dozen or more times) and we planted flowers. She was like another of my children. The thought of in her last few weeks or days of “dumping” her somewhere is horrifying to me.I think what you did was wonderful and as for anyone that thinks differently…….get over it!

  12. For what it’s worth, I totally understood your frustration and anger. It’s a sad thing that too many folks were too quick to judge, instead of trying to understand where you were coming from. A difference of opinion does not require a personal attack, folks. Glad you will take a break and heal. Best wishes to you.

  13. We foster and rescue every animal that happens to find its way through our yard. It is like we have a homing beacon for lost four legged souls. I could never turn them away, nor could I forgive an owner that would abandon a faithful companion. Of course there are situations where there is no choice. Things like that happen every day. But having spent many years working in a veterinarian clinic, I learned that the majority of abandoned animals are that way because they were cute and cuddly until they became a chore. Once they became a chore they weren’t wanted anymore. People really need to look ahead and prepare to take their pet through the end, with grey hair, tired joints, incontinent bladders and so much more.

  14. You sound like my twin, 45, big mouth, over weight, loves animals more then ppl, and can’t understand how in the hell anyone could give up their dog and just walk away. I have a 15 yr old I rescued 8/21/1999, his end is coming, I’m cleaning up after him all day every day, yes it does get frustrating but I see it in his eyes,if he catches me cleaning up his accident, he looks so embarrasst and I jut tell him what a good boy he has been. He has good and bad days, but he still manages to follow me to every room, greet me when I walk through the door. I look at it this way…. I chose HIM so he became MY responsabilty until his last breath. It’s hard, it’s frustrating, but that boy loves me UNCONDITIONALY and I feel the same towards him….
    You rock!

  15. Jamie:
    Koodoos to you for, firstly, writing your letter in the first place and, secondly, for sharing again what has occurred since. I believe that the “zen masters” of this world were lucky enough to learn their lesson early and that if there were none left to be indignant over the treatment of those unable to care for themselves then the world would be a much sadder place! If only more of us would speak our minds with the eloquence you used how much more straight forward would the world be? If our furry family members were able to take themselves home, purchase their own food and love themselves I may find some agreement in the statements you shared from the naysayers! But they are not! When we take them in to our homes and our hearts we make a commitment to love them AND take care of them until their time on earth is done. I, for one, heard what you were trying to say about Cocoa dying in a shelter; true, obviously the works care for animals or they wouldn’t be working/volunteering there yet we realize the volume of pets who go through these places and how the work there MUST become overwhelming!
    It’s simply a shame those who negatively replied were incapable of feeling YOUR pain instead of taking on some imagined insult to their way of life! Angel? Sometimes I think the only angels here on earth are those furry family members who work their ways into our hearts and homes! Please know that my heart tells me your Cocoa is happy, healthy and wagging her tail waiting for YOU at Rainbow Bridge!

  16. Oh I thought the letter – and this post – and your obvious love for an unwanted dog is fantastic, touching, heartbreaking and amazing. So few do something for nothing, people work to benefit themselves as a general. I’m vegan, I appreciate you, stuff the critics and be proud of yourself! Lots of love xx

  17. I get that you were angry and sad and frustrated. I assumed you had written the open letter shortly after Cocoa had been put to sleep. I’m an all around animal lover, and I’ve rescued many, many cats and dogs. Most I’ve kept, some I found good homes for. I’ve never abandoned an animal, and I pray I will never be in a situation where that might happen. I criticized your open letter – not because I didn’t understand your emotions, or because I don’t care about animals – but because of your threatening language towards the woman, and calling her a piece of shit. Your apparent lack of understanding that sometimes things just get f*cked up, and people have to make ugly choices really bothered me. You sound like a very passionate woman, who cares deeply. It’s too bad your words written in haste during moments of extreme pain, ended up causing so much pain for a lot of other people.

  18. I to had called you an angel and I truly believe it..My god I felt I wrote that letter lol… 46 overweight and I speak my mind and I love and rescue animals… You don’t owe anyone an explanation or apology and sorry you felt you should do it.. Your great and you just keep on doing your deeds.. And kudos to mommacita you raised a good gal there….

  19. Are you kidding? People crapped on you because of your brutally honest, totally real post? I’ll tell you why so many of us were affected by it: YOU SAID WHAT WE WANTED TO SAY. Our stories may be somewhat different but we all have been frustrated when the frailties of our souls come up against the inevitable physical frailties of our loved ones. I’m so happy to have found a fellow traveler in you. Hugs to you and your pack!

  20. I didn’t comment on the original letter, but I’m commenting now. I have three dogs of my own, and an ever increasing number of fosters. I work with an animal rescue and volunteer with a rural shelter – I’ve worked at animal hospitals and have seen this stuff from every angle.

    All three of my fur kids were owner surrenders (different owners). Someone gave up the three souls that make my life what it is.

    It isn’t productive to judge, it’s always more productive to figure out how to get them out and make their lives even better. It’s always a second chance at an even better life.

    However, your letter voiced everything I have ever actually felt. I could NEVER under any circumstances leave my dog at the shelter. It would tear my heart to pieces. I would forgo food and shelter first. I’d be homeless with a pack of dogs outside McDonalds. No joke.

    Why? Because as you’ve demonstrated with Cocoa, they are FAMILY. It doesn’t matter if they have two legs or four.

    Thank you for writing what you wrote. It made a difference in my day, and it’s nice to know that someone else understands commitment and love.

  21. Complete internet stranger here: I just happened to see your letter, and someone’s reply letter on their blog – in the comments you linked to this, I now forget the name of the site – and just wanted to say kudos for writing this and taking responsibility for your words online, it’s unfortunately rare. Personally speaking, you didn’t offend or bother me, and I’m glad that Cocoa had a loving home for the time she had left.

    I, too, have felt internet backlash (though never on such a scale as yours, given how massive your audience became) and think you handled it like the aforementioned Sally Fields – classy. 🙂

  22. I understood where you were coming from and thought your letter was thought provoking and good. The fact that you care enough to write again to clarify so as not to hurt feelings of others is very admirable. The internet opens you up to all those opinions you never asked for. Ignore the ugly. You’ve done a good thing encouraging people to think about older dogs and the love and dignity they deserve. Best wishes to you.

  23. I just commented on your first post about Cocoa and I still think you rock! I read some of the other negative, nasty comments and responded to that in my original post as well. Keep doing what you’re doing and saying what you’re saying! I have always thought that the animals that are meant for us find us and I’m sure that Cocoa will send you someone else when you’re ready again

  24. I simply LOVE what you said and I would not give 2 shits what the hatters of the world had to say. It must have been very painful to lose Cocoa,we need more people in this world like you not less! Keep up the good work and God Bless you for helping that poor baby. Oh and by the way I think you should have called the person out by name! So much of our society has slipped away we stopped calling people out on their actions and look were we are 😦

  25. I read both of your letters. I laughed and cried right along side of you. Your witty, sometimes gritty style of writing is priceless. Whether you agree or not, you are an angel to many of us that understand just how deeply you feel about abandoned animals. I’ll never understand how some people can turn their backs on those that would give their very lives for them.

  26. Your original letter hit close to home as an animal lover and also as someone who has “rescued” an aging ailing beautiful pet. You see my ex-husband wondered off to find him self while we were still married and left me with the 10 year old dog he adopted right after his mother passed away. He never came back, we got divorced and I kept his beautiful pet, I was his 4th owner as my ex-husband was his 3rd. When faced with large vet bills due to what comes with age I contact my ex-husband for help and was told to have him put down because he couldn’t afford it and that the dog had lived a good life. I was beside my self. Luckily there was help from friends and family who loved this dog as much as I did. He has is good days and bad days and everyday I’m cleaning up bits of something he has left behind. Never am I mad or frustrated just happy that he gets to be loved and treated the way an old family member should be. We don’t just cast away our elderly parents or grandparents. Pets are for life. You keep doing what you do! Thank you for your raw story!

  27. Well, I sure am glad you rescued that high horse cuz I borrowed it for a ride. I just saw your open letter and commented on it. You have nothing to be forgiven for and I second your anger and emotion. Anybody with a brain could have seen that you were riddled with sadness and frustration and love for Cocoa. I think that too many people treat pets as accessories and it is a sure sign, IMO, that they will treat their friends and family the same way when they too become inconvenient or too expensive. Hold your head high, honey and remember all those souls that you’ve loved live on with you every minute of every day. 🙂

  28. I just read your open letter along with your blog post and they brought me to tears. I totally agree with you, I personally don’t know how anyone could ever do that. I know there are sometimes extenuating circumstances but I would go to the ends of the earth for any of my animals. I have a few names to call you too, caring, kind, awesome and fabulous are the first ones that come to mind. You gave Cocoa the love that her former family should have given her during her last day, the love and kindness she deserved.

  29. I loved reading sweet Cocoa’s story, and understood your frustration. We recently bailed a 17 year old poodle out of the pound, who passed away roughly 2 months later from a brain tumor. He had lived with the same family his whole life, and they only dumped him due to his “unexplained health issues,” which were diagnosed by our vet in one visit. The part of your letter that resonated with me was when you said that the difference between you and Cocoa’s owners were that you gave a damn about her late moments on earth, and I can totally relate. Hugs to you. Keep on keepin’ on, because the animals you are saving are thankful!

  30. dear lunchy

    you alright with me. i was always ok with you. i was never ok with those who couldnt understand your grief and anger. i was never ok with cocoa previous owner and i was never ok with folks who accused rescuers of being self righteous.

    i am just plain righteous thank you very much…and when y’all people making complaints about the attitude of rescue folk have cleaned up as many mutilated fighting dogs, blood, guts and gore as i have, then y’all are welcome to come tell me all about being self righteous. y’all prolly have ta stop ta puke a few times…but thats ok…just keep the car headed on the road to the vets office…and keep getting your clothes at good will so it dont matter if ya cant get the blood out. be nice to the vet…that way…he dont mind if ya pay that 12,000.00 bill ya got this year $100 at a time.

    you righteous to, i think…so just relax and be ok with it. all them folks aint known the love of a dog, wont never understand. i put took two old ones to the bridge this year….i do know how ya felt.


    there are no bad dogs….there are lots of bad people

  31. Bless your heart for loving these fur babies when others won’t step up….You don’t have to justify your actions to anyone, your actions came from a place of “love” and that is never wrong!!…. So many people are unable to understand this because they do not have that “connection” to animals..People who are lucky enough to have this connection can truly understand the depth of loyalty, and unconditional love an animal such as a dog or cat can give us. Nobody gave humans the monopoly on the right to life….we put ourselves up on that pedestal. Animals deserve to live and be loved just as much as we do. I have been loving and caring for animals since I was 2 years old I’m now 55, I will never stop…It’s been a real honor over the years to share my life and love with my various pets….from the goldfish, turtles, rabbit, birds and various cats & dogs. I really believe the old saying…how one treats animals says a lot about one’s character. Keep up the good work and keep on loving and caring for our friends!!…Meegwetch (thank you)…

  32. Lunchable, you rock in ways that English words have no ability to express. There are probably awesome, 13-syllable German words, but I don’t know them. Personally, I love that one of your love-filled rants went viral. More people need to be exposed to your love-filled rants. It’s your blog, keep ranting. I love your rant-aciousness. Personally, I think a lot of people forgot a pair of well-ironed Big Girl’s Panties are a necessary acoutrement when reading anything in the Internet. (and a LOT of your detractors kinda forgot the “ABANDONED AT A HIGH-KILL SHELTER” thingy.) But hey, what would I know?

  33. I wanted to thank you for what you did. I have worked in a veterinary clinic, an emergancy animal clinic and deal with death on a daily basis. It did my heart good to read your letter and follow up. Thank you

  34. Thank you for sharing your loving story with everyone. I’m sorry Cocoa couldn’t live forever, as all good dogs should, and I’m happy for her that she found someone who really cared for her to the end.

  35. You did the right, good, compassionate thing by taking Cocoa in and giving her a loving home. I completely understand that you were angry with her former owners. I would be, too. I despise abandoners, the ones who opt out because it’s too much trouble not to. Love doesn’t seem to feature in their equation. But, this I will add: what you wouldn’t do to your parents, siblings or children — do not do to your pet. I’ve never euthanised a pet, no matter how ill he/she was. They’ve died in their own time, with me by their side. Just as my parents did.

    • Meera … As hard as it is to say goodbye to our fur babies, it is truly a gift to put them down peacefully, relieve their pain, and give them the respect they deserve. Many will hang on out of love but be suffering intensely only because they love you but if you truly love them, you will give them the gift of peace through euthanasia, holding them lovingly while you say goodbye …

  36. Don’t you apologize to a bunch of a$$heads that lost their moral compass. Let them walk a mile in your moccasins and then see what they say. And Meera Pillai – you are wrong wrong wrong about not euthanizing a pet who is suffering a horrible death. Why don’t you try it and see how it is? PEOPLE have the luxury of hospitals and morphine and hospice care. PETS do not. Do you want to try suffering minute by minute by their side without the ability to ease their suffering. Try it and let us know how it is.

    • Thank you Christine … I have put down far too many dogs with such a heavy heart because they tried to stay with me but I could not watch them suffer and waste away … it is truly a kindness for the animal and one of the very hardest things a human has to do for their furbaby

  37. Yes, I did find your blog by seeing the open letter on Facebook. So many people will say shit to you because they’re anonymous and there won’t be any retaliation. What horrible things to say to someone in her hours of grief. This is your space to say whatever you feel like saying. When people want to say negative crap to me, I refuse to read any of it and I will use my favorite buttons: delete, block, ignore. Because no matter how hard you fight it, you will internalize some of that. Please don’t take on their problems. You are obviously a beautiful person with the best kind of heart and soul. I love how cute the babies are, but I usually rescue and adopt the older ones, because I can handle their issues and so many others cannot. Please just keep being whoever you are and fuck that shit!!!

    And I am really glad to have found your blog. I only follow about 3 now and I’m happy that one of them is yours, because you are genuine.

  38. big on wanting attention and raise while really small-minded and judgmental about a dog’s owner. Knowing a thing or two about depression/anxiety-borne illnesses, I can bet there is more than a small chance that the dog’s health decline was a sudden onset case in an aged state. I don’t doubt that the dog’s former care giver really didn’t have any other options but to entrust those at the shelter to try and save the dog through adoption. As they succeeded with you–you could have left it at that. But whining about your unexpected costs and how tough it was just showed that you really lack higher consciousness and compassion for those you DON’T have a true clue about, and that jump to conclusions was your own lousy choice. It filled you with acids and bitterness and likely created your own negative health influences.. All your expectation, judgment and whinyness aside–you did a good thing for saving the dog from dying in a shelter. MANY are unable to keep a roof over their own heads thanks to ahole homeowner/landlords who will not allow pets in their homes while the tenants ay their mortgages. THAT is something to rail and bitch and moan about. Assuming the worst in someone you have never met, clueless as to what life in their shoes must feel like–yuck. That made for a lousy read. I am sure the dog you adopted, like most ANY other dog, was a wonderful soul to know. It always hurts to lose an animal companion. Trust me, I know it too. I have also had to hold an animal as it was euthanized while working in a veterinary clinic, aside from losing my family dog & best friend to a sudden onset of tumors and old age. Try loving people more, and judging less. Maybe you will be rewarded instead of scorned by a disgusted reader.

    • *or hundreds, as it were. Hundreds of people, you say, had the same feeling I did after reading your rude commentary based on brass assumption that someone just lied and “dumped” someone they loved.

      ” I’ve had hundreds of people tell me that I have no right to judge Cocoa’s former owners because I don’t know their story.” you said.

      Well…Having the right to judge, and posting a dogs photo up and badmouthing with a ton of likely incorrect assumptions, with hope that the likely-already-broken-hearted individual will read it all and be hurt by it–are two VERY different things. You are sad, and we are probably all sad for you. But yeah–you earned that judgement in return. Sorry for your loss either way.

      • Dog Lover Too- I am not going to approve your criticism of me on the “About” section. Feel free to move it over here. The only reason people were writing in the “About” section was because I closed comments for one night. I believe I said over there that I wouldn’t keep approving comments over there.

    • One day, a middle-aged cat moved in with me. He was amazing!! When I decided to move to San Fransisco where I knew no one and hadn’t found a place to live yet, I brought my beloved Mr. Cat with me. By then he was approximately 18-19 years old. People told me I was brave for bringing him and my response was always, “Really?? Did you feel brave bringing your children with you when you moved?? Finally at the venerable age of 21 or so, he developed lymphosarcoma, primary site liver, metastisis to his spine. When it was time to let him go, I went into the room with him, put my arm around him and we were staring into each other’s eyes as he died. I can’t even imagine how someone can let a tech hold their baby as it dies!!

      A few years later, a friend of my sister’s moved to another state and agreed to rent her house to us. Her daughter’s 17 year old cat who lived outside because she hated him, wasn’t going with her. I asked her what she was going to do with him and she told me she’d just put him down. No reason except he was no longer convenient. Of course I took him and he loved me to distraction for the next 2 years, until his kidney disease got too bad to keep him alive. Once again, I held him while he drew his last breath.

      These guys had given me so much, as have all my babies since. I cannot feel compassion for people who would abandon a sick elderly dog at a high kill “shelter” because it was messy to keep her. The very least they could have done would be to euthanize her so she wouldn’t need to feel abandoned, confused, and lying on a cold wet cement floor. How can you even presume to justify this inhumane behavior???

  39. The hypocrisy is staggering.

    Your excuse is “I made a rash decision that I now sort of regret” – HEY! Maybe Cocoa’s owner did, too.

    You are upset that people called you names – after a profanity laced post calling a stranger names.

    You post this “No amount of arguing and name-calling is going to get me to understand” and apparently cannot grasp that arguing and name-calling might not be the best way to persuade people who cannot keep their pets to find no-kill shelters or rescues either.

    Your continued insistence that it doesn’t matter what Jean’s situation was remains baffling. It does matter. Context always matters. It’s why we have a judicial system. You cannot judge an act free of its context.

    As with your original post, this so-called “mea culpa” does nothing but make the situation worse. I have lied through my teeth to get people to surrender their animals to a rescue or foster. I have nodded and smiled at their lame excuses, bit my tongue so hard it hurt. Their minds were made up (“no amount of arguing” as you say…) and I wanted the dog more than I wanted to score points. Yelling at them wouldn’t have made them give me the animal, it would have made them find a less judgmental place to dump it. Like the side of the road.

  40. Do not apologize for your feelings. I, too, started to follow you because of your post. Still makes me sad, but you did good!

    • I agree with you. I was aghast at the negativity being expressed. It is her right to do with her money what she wishes, and who are people to tell her otherwise. Likewise about her feelings….who are people to judge her?

  41. Kudos to you for voicing the opinions that many of us keep silent. My house is filled with other people’s ‘faithful companions’. We have rabbits and rats, dog and cats – all surrendered or dumped. We take them in. We give them love. We hold them when they take their last breaths.

    There may be a story behind Jean’s actions, but the bottom line is that she should have taken responsibility for her ‘beloved’ Cocoa. That means making the effort to find a rescue to take her in. Or having the stones to be there while your old and sick dog is put to sleep. No animal of mine dies without me. Period.

    It’s simple – don’t buy pets if you cannot afford to look after them properly for their entire lifespan. Sometimes bad things happen and people don’t have a choice but to give them up, but that should be the exception. Pets are not disposable – if more people believed that, we wouldn’t need so many shelters and rescues and I wouldn’t have so many animals in my house.

  42. What you did for Cocoa was wonderful. Her original owner, if this person could not find someone to adopt her, and if she knew Cocoa was sick, the very last resort would be to put her to sleep, to hold her and be with her in that last moment and this person didn’t even have the decency to do that. Every sweet furry one I have ever had, when their time came, I was there holding them, you know that taking that last step, is the biggest show of love, being able to release and let them go. All those people who gave you a hard time in their response, forget about them. We each have our own path to follow. A lot of them like to put out “bait” you know, those comments that get people angry in order to make people respond to their comments, the best thing is to ignore these people. Because no matter what you say to them it won’t matter. Any “bait comments” to my response, I will not respond to. You have a right to your opinion and I have a right not to respond. To all those animal lovers out there, dogs, cats, horses, etc., I send you hugs from me and my felines.

  43. You seem to have apologised to everyone- EXCEPT the strangers you referred to as “Pieces of S@@T” in a letter that ended up in Huffpo.

    YES you are entitled to your opinion- you are also responsible for the hurt that expression might cause.

    People who can’t afford them shouldn’t have pets.

    People who can’t control their temper should stay away from the internet…

  44. My wife and I are nursing our 13 year old “rescue” Choc. Lab tonight after surgery to remove a spleen and 4 pound tumor. We rescued Harley 2 and a half years ago. A month after rescuing Harley he had a throat issue which led to a heart attack and necessitated surgery. The original Vet wanted to put him down and told us he had a 10% chance of making it through the night. My wife told him she would take those odds and to keep him alive till morning!!! We picked him up and took him to the critical care vet where they did surgery and saved him.
    Your story touched a nerve in me as well. I just want to say thanks for being there for Cocoa until the end. You are a loving human being – which is what i want in this world for everyone.

  45. Anyone who “invites” an animal into their home must also be responsible to find a Safe home for their pet if they can no longer take care of it. WE bring these animals into our homes, they don’t ask to be brought there. There will always be excuses and reasons why people can’t care for their pets. The first thing a person should consider before bringing in a pet is if they can afford Vet costs can you afford to get their shots, spay/neuter? can you afford to buy them food?..These costs all add up Its “reality”…
    Many years ago as a single parent I was raising a daughter, we got a cat and even though it was an extra cost for me I made it work!!!!
    When the apartment I lived in changed management and they said NO more pets…Guess what?..I moved!!
    Our cat Rosy was a part of our family there was no way we were going to abandon her or ship her off somewhere, Rosy was 23 years old when she passed away last year, she did not die alone. When she got sick our vet said she could pass at home and that’s what happened. For a week she slept in a little bed I made for her in my room, I nursed and fed her. When she could no longer stand I held her up in her litter box so she could pee. In her last moments I held her little paw, kissed her and told her that it was okay mommy was with her. It was the hardest thing I had to do but it wasn’t about ME, it was what she needed and it was my last chance to show her how much I was grateful for all the love she gave to me over the years. The experience I shared with my Rosy has only made me love animals even more….a greater respect for them.
    I now have 2 dogs and one had a severe case of mange and worms….yes the vet care was expensive but once again I made it work….It’s amazing how resourceful one can be when it comes to the well-being and care of the ones you love!!!

  46. I understand your anger completely and absolutely cannot understand how anyone would take their pet to be surrendered at a shelter–they are yours for life.

    It did however make me feel good to know that there are people like you and I in the world–not everyone is like Cocoas previous owner. *big hugs* I work in FL as a vet tech and its a huge problem down here 😦

    peace. love. pawprints.

  47. Please stop apologizing. Today is Sunday. This past Friday, I had to put my 17+ year old cat down. I had read this post a few weeks before, and I kept chanting the mantra, my animals want for nothing. Because they don’t, but nobody had put it into words like that before for me, the way you did.

    Simple. Easy.

    My animals want for nothing, not even mercy when it’s the very hardest thing for us to do.

    No matter how hard it was, and still is. I am looking at my three dogs right now trying to imagine dumping them off somewhere, to be lost and afraid and wondering when we are coming back, and I just can’t. You gave that dog an ease. You helped ease her last days. You know it.

    Don’t apologize for it.

    I’m so glad I held onto your blog post, because it did help me, and still does.

    • Suzanne, I am glad that something resonated with you and helped you in some way. I am so, so very sorry for your loss. Seventeen is such a long time to be with us. Their loss leaves a hole in the fabric of our homes and our lives. Take care.

  48. Jamie! probably that’s what your name is..i stand by you!!!! I understand how it feels and i understand your pain. Pleas ignore all negative comments!!! they make no sense just like cocoa’s previous owners decision. I really loved “Dee’s” reply just a few post above here. So true!!! We really cant leave a family member in any circumstances.

  49. I am a foster mom that does so not only to help animals but to keep my pain at bay from putting my sweet girl to sleep at 16 years old. She hung on until I was ready and since I haven’t been ready to grow old with another dog yet- I foster. I have been for over 7 years now. I love it and I hate it. I love seeing the joy in the new owners faces when they come to take their new dog home. I love that they send me photos and tell me how great they are doing. I hate it when the sweet little pup I’ve raised for over a month and even longer looks at me confused as if to say… hey- I thought I was yours. At clinics, I know only the “cute, young ones” get adopted first, leaving some of the greatest dogs I have ever known to return to their foster families homes to be loved until one day…… and that is what I hope for them. I am thankful that I can do this, that some families that can no longer keep their beloved animals call me to ask for help before they take them to the shelter- knowing it will be their end but have no other choice to make. I also have been there, holding onto the ones less fortunate, telling them they are loved, petting them one last time because this wasn’t the fate they would have chosen. In the end, it’s awful all the way around.

  50. Lunchy, most of us – most rational, caring humans – agree with you, and share your feelings 100%. It’s hard to do sometimes, but try to pay no attention to the haters. They are always going to hate, and be negative, and they will try to spread that negativity to others. Don’t let them get you down. You are fantastic.

    • I totally understand about you not wanting to be thought of as an angel. I’ve been rescuing senior shelter dogs for 10 years, not because it makes me a hero, but because it needs to be done. Also, it feels damned good. So being praised for this work always makes me feel uncomfortable. 🙂

  51. you owe no one an apology except maybe the shelter workers but even them..they know what you meant i am sure. that dogs old owners should be held accountable and should be ashamed at what they did, and so should anyone who tried to make you feel bad about helping an old dog.

  52. In the free world you have the right to speak your mind provided it doesn’t incite violence or hatred towards another. Putting opinions out there like you did will always attract opinions back, it’s a brave thing to do. Stand by what you believe, it keeps it real.

  53. I read the first post about Cocoa and cried.
    Cried because I lost my Heart Dog on March 23rd 2013 to cancer…I cannot tell you how many folks councilled me to do **exactly** what Jean did. Dump her at the pound and let someone else worry about her.
    Uh, no!
    Never, ever would I have considered it…through the 4 years she was sick-she was diagnosed with cancer shortly after her 10th b-day, with a outlook of maybe a year left-I never once thought about giving her away. I worried and wondered if I was holding her past her time, but as long as she was eating, running and playing, she stayed. I refused chemo treatments because I knew they would dimish her quality of life, and she wasn’t ever going to be cured. Why make her last days miserable, I thought. Well her last days stretched out to 4 years. Were there trying times? Oh yeah. She hurt, she ached, she had a hard time eating many, many foods. We always tried something new to ease the pain, to help her eat, and for those 4 years, we had to switch many times to keep her comfortable. Every time we adjusted pain meds or foods, I wondered “Is this the end?”

    But it wasn’t until March. When the pain was so bad, and she had a tumor on her hind quarters that broke open and bled…we went to the vet that day it broke, and were given tramadol for pain, and a pronosis of a week. That was the 21st. She was eating pumpkin and whatever else she wanted. I knew, the time was coming. On the 23rd, her bowel had shut down. I knew it was time. She was so hungry, but everything she ate came up smelling like poo. She was in so much pain, but couldn’t keep the meds down. She wanted to be in my lap, but couldn’t lie down because of the pain.

    We took her to a late night vet, who gave us time for our last goodbyes, and I layed on the floor with my Girl as they pushed in the injection. I watched the light dim in her eyes and saw her go.

    I cannot imagine how much she was hurting, how scared she must have been, to be in a new place, knowing what was coming. Even worse, I cannot imagine deserting her and leaving her to have died without the family she’d known since she was a 12 week old pup.

    Those folks who make excuses for Jean are just making excuses. If she loved Cocoa so damn much, knowing her condition, she wouldn’t have dropped her off…she would have stayed and made the Humane decision herself, and saw it through. It’s what we humans are supposed to do, when we take a pet into our lives. Whenever I read about, or encounter someone who suggests dropping an aging sick pet at a shelter, I wonder…would they do the same with their human loved ones?

    • My condolences. I always have waited until my pet told me they were ready to go. I’ve ended up with several elderly cats whose people didn’t/couldn’t be there for them during their dying days. It’s something that I *can* do, so I do it. Bless you for being one of those who can, also. ❤

  54. I am also a sucker for old animals. I have a 16 year old lab and a 20 year old cat with kidney failure. Both of them can be exhausting to care for but I would NEVER turn them into a shelter. I would give away my kidney before I would give away my pets. You had every right to post that last blog and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to read it. I love my pets, and realized when I adopted them that they are a life time commitment. You are a wonderful person for all you do, please don’t ever second guess that.

  55. So glad you clarified. I would have loved to have hit the “like” button but could not find one. I have too much to say in regards to your letter that it may not even be worth mentioning, but since I am here: sounds like you have a heart of gold and are learning lessons along the way. You are lucky you have never been in the position that some have with giving up their dog, but mainly I want to clarify that people who work at shelters see far worse than what you experienced. It must be heart breaking to see tortured animals come in on a daily basis in addition to the overcrowding of the healthy dogs that never get adopted.
    Thanks again for the follow up letter. Well put.

  56. Thank you so much for your warm, wonderful, feisty, heartbreaking, and hilarious posts. I’ll be a regular reader, for sure.

  57. I agreed with you in your original letter and I still agree with you now. There are ALWAYS options. A no-kill shelter was an option. Period. What you did for Cocoa was to give her love and respect in her final days and you let her know love when she needed it most. I applaud you.

  58. Hello, I just discovered your blog through a friend that posted the letter about Cocoa, and it truly touched me, just by luck yesterday I had a somewhat similar story, My dad was walking along the beach with our two dogs, and suddenly he encounter a schnauzer recently shaved abandoned in the middle of the night (1:20am). Of course me and my dad got to working and got him to the nearest hospital tried to get in touch with the owners and nothing. We left our new friend at the hospital making sure he was being taken care of, and today we brought him to humane society for them to take care of him. I really do not understand how people abandon their furry friends just like that. thank you for your letter. there should be more people like you!

  59. I don’t think you have anything to apologize for. You and I are alike, so perhaps I identify with you more. I don’t eat meat, and I don’t see your opinions any less valid when it comes to love and compassion for any animal. You seem to be a wonderful person, stay that way and don’t ever change. I am not a fan of kill shelters tho, don’t see it as our business to be in. To me that tile is an oxymoron lol. Thanks again for doing the right thing. You’re awesome.

  60. So glad Cocoa had you. My family experienced something similar in a little black lab puppy we called Sammie. I can only hope we gave as much to Sammie as he gave to us. Blastomycosis took his sight, we treated him with very expensive treatment. He couldn’t see, but he was happy. It came back and attacked his respiratory system. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. 4 months was all we had with him, but he changed our lives forever. I hope Karma kicks Jeans ass in a big way. People who throw loving, loyal creatures away are pure soulless.

  61. I’ve struggled with wanting to rent a billboard near our neighborhood to write a letter like this to the people who dumped Richard Parker to die of exposure in the July weather of Oklahoma. They knew he was I’ll when they dumped him. For the first few months we hoped that maybe he had just gotten lost, but as we came to know him, we realized that he is not physically capable of walking fast enough or far enough to simply slip away out of the backyard. All he needed was someone to buy baby diaper for him and pick up the occasional poo when he had an accident over night. The medicines didn’t work for his incontience, so he wears a size 2 baby diaper around his waist like a cummerbund. It’s irratating to know that some family had him for 12+ years just to throw him out like trash because he has sprung a leak. I don’t like to wish people ill, but I hope they have troubled dreams. I hope they feel guilty that they left this 12 year old plus, partially deaf, partly blind dog to die of hunger and dehydration in 110°+ weather of summer. I hope something hurts their heart as much as it will break my 9 year old daughter’s when he does finally pass. Richard will be the first heartbreak of her life. She is the one who ices his leg when he’s sore and hobbling around. She is the one who kisses his old smelling head every day after school first thing because if she doesn’t, he sits there whining until she does. She is the one who came bursting into the house that summer day bawling so hard I couldn’t at first figure out what she meant when she just kept saying over and over “Mom! It’s dying! It’s just dying!” A little dramatic I know, but she had been out bike riding with her best friend and found this dog that looked so decrepit that when we scooped him up and took him to our vet that he told us not to be surprised if he didn’t make the night. I hope their heart breaks like that.

  62. Thank you for sharing all your feelings, good and bad. You put into words what a lot of rescuers feel all the time. What you did for Cocoa was awesome, she was lucky you came into her life. Thanks  for doing the right thing for her!

  63. I just read your story this morning on facebook and it got me. I cried at my desk. About 20 minutes later one of my Facebook friends posted a picture on my page of a cat that needed a home. RANDOM. I think not. I think the world has a way of making things happen. At 6:00 today I will have a new kitty. I’ve never owned a an animal but I’ve wanted one for about 6 months and your story pushed me over the edge. 🙂 I don’t know if you will be able to follow this link but know that because of your words on this random day you have given a beautiful tabby cat a home. I think you are a great writer, keep doing what you do girl.

  64. In your original blog you stated the obvious, the owner could have, at the very least made sure Cocoa was taken to a NO KILL shelter, but they couldn’t even be bothered to do that. So to that, keep on riding that high horse sweetie, you deserve it 😉

  65. You rock! I love what you did and I loved the letter. You stood up for Cocoa who didn’t have a voice! No apology needed- keep adopting.. They need you! XO

  66. I would much rather help an animal than most people. I’ve never heard of a dog committing a B&E for biscuits, Dogs love you unconditionally. Bless you for giving Cocoa a few amazing weeks.

  67. I understand your desire to defend yourself, but you never win with those people. Suffice it to know in your heart that you did the right thing. That is what lets you sleep at night. I felt just like you when I adopted a 10 year old girl a few years ago. Whether she lived 3 mos or 3 years I wanted it to be in a home with love. I, too, found out that she had health problems–congestive heart failure-which required expensive meds. But she lived 5 years, the longest my vet had ever seen a dog live with that condition (he said love was keeping her alive). Like Coco, she died peacefully in my arms.
    The internet is a forum for ignorance that people in the past didn’t have-and most of them wouldn’t have the guts to sign their name to their comments. Shakespeare said “to thine own self be true”. As long as you follow your own conscience and do what you know is right, what others think of you doesn’t matter.

  68. I’m so happy for Cocoa. She finally found someone who really cared about her. Thank you for being a animal lover and taking care of her. There are millions of people in this world who are just like you. I’m one of them. Don’t ever think you done anything wrong by letting people know the story about cocoa. When I read your story I cryed and I’m crying as I write. Thank god for people who care about animals. You need to open your own blog so we can all share stories. I’m a rescue person too and I love animals.

  69. You did the only thing a caring and compassionate person could do. You really had no choice. You saved a girl who had no one else when her real family threw her away like trash. You hurt, she hurt and there is nothing wrong with the way you wrote about it. Keep up the good fight and hold your head high. The world needs more people like you and less of the ‘other’ kind!

  70. 1. We’re gonna think you’re an angel whether you like it or not! and, 2. thank you for not waiting until Coco was miserable and suffering before putting her to sleep. Too many of us allow our love for out animals to cloud our reason, and oftentimes wait until the dog is having a bad day instead of a good one when we make that decision. Better to go out on top and pain-free than after you’ve stopped eating and can’t move anymore. FYI, people EVERYWHERE on FB are loving your letter, and everyone agrees with you (well, everyone on MY friends list!) even if they don’t take the time to comment here. You have no idea how many support you!!!

  71. I loved your original post and I’m lovin this one. You are not alone. There are alot of us out there. The ones (like myself) that have lived in the tiniest; broken down apartments when relocating as those are the apartments which would allow my Molly to move with me. Those of us who truly understand the COMMITMENT that agreeing to take in a pet is. That when we let that furry family member into our homes (and our hearts) it is for life. The one thing I would disagree with you on in your original post is when you referred to Coco as “her” dog. Once she left Coco she no longer has the privilege to call that beautiful girl hers. She was yours… the woman who loved her to the end….

  72. Hi,
    I know you wrote this a while ago. I just wanted to say I support what you said and stand behind you. You spread an important message. The owners could have at the very least left her at a no kill shelter. Anything would be better. As a fellow animal/dog lover I appreciate what you did for cocoa. I know that you aren’t after praise for that, but I believe you did a good thing. I just want to thank you for giving a senior dignity and love in her last yrs and moments. I have done this myself, I think people do t always understand what it’s like-especially when the dogis so damn precious. You just think how, why would someone do this?!?! Then you get over it and just love the dog…but then the day comes and you say a final goodbye and this short but intense friendship ends. It’s devastating. I’m sorry for your loss you and cocoa sound like beautiful souls. I appreciate what you have do e for her and the letter you wrote bringing light to a difficult topic. So thank wishes.

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