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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

The facts – and the rest of the story

June 10, 2012

Sad news. Our sweet Josie dog died yesterday. She was just 3. We still can’t really believe it, but they say facts never lie. In this case, I wish they would.

Josie was fine yesterday morning. After breakfast we went on a hike and as was her custom, she went off for a bit on her own on the trail, then came back to us when we called. She was fine. Happy. We finished the hike and walked back home. Within moments of our being back in the house, she began having seizures. We had no idea what was going on. It had never happened before. We called our vet and were directed to the emergency animal hospital in San Rafael. We carried her into the car. David drove and I held her in my arms in the back seat, the whole time comforting her while she kept having seizure after seizure. I thought, “She’s not going to be able to take much more of this.”

About 10 minutes into the ride, she had yet another seizure. But this time, her legs, which had been rigid throughout, when limp. At first I thought the worst had passed. She had relaxed and it was easy to believe she was napping. But something told me she wasn’t, and  I said to David, “I think she just died.”

Five minutes later we were at the vet hospital. Two doctors came to the car. They confirmed what we already knew. Their best guess from our description was that she had ingested something poisonous and very very toxic. Even if we had gotten her there 10 minutes earlier, they could not have done anything. We’ll never know what she ate.

Anyway, that’s what happened yesterday. The facts as we know them.

David and I are very sad, but we’re ok. The rest of the story is what I learned from having Josie as my friend:

  • Encountering humans is a cause for celebration. It makes any moment better. And often, when you show those people how happy you are to see them (even if you’ve never met before) you brighten their day too.
  • Sitting and observing helps you get the bigger picture. You never know when you might have a chance to be helpful, so keep looking.
  • Being outside is always a gift. Take the opportunity whenever it’s offered. The natural world (backyard, neighborhood, hills, creeks, forest, beach) is filled with indescribable wonders. To be out there in it, taking it all in with eyes, ears and nose wide open… is to be alive. At least once a day get up from the computer and go for a walk, a run, or a hike. Do.
  • Play is essential. Anyone who wants to play with you is, by definition, a friend. The game itself doesn’t need rules… though it often involves a ball. Sometimes it’s simply a game of chase with no special requirements, except the spirit of fun you bring to it.
  • Sticks are cool, though no one is sure why. Holding a good smooth stick while you walk along a trail can make you feel like a top dog.
  • Having a family that loves you is the best feeling there is. Knowing you belong with them and they are there to take care of you and keep you safe, helps you relax. Relaxed and happy, you are your best self, which inspires others to be happy too. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Thank you, Josie. Up, up, up!



Filed under: Parenting — Tags: , , — Annie @ 2:39 pm


  1. Dear Annie… I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Pets have such an important role in our lives and mean so much to us.

    Don’t give up on dogs. There is no doubt they are our best friends.

    )))))))))))))))HUGS(((((((((((((((( Paul

    Comment by Paul (Minutrition) McConaughy — June 10, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

  2. My heart is so heavy as I read your post today. May Josie be with other angels in doggie heaven. I’m sure there is no accident Josie chose you for a family. hugs.

    Comment by RPR — June 10, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

  3. Paul, you are so sweet to post this comment. Thank you, my friend. No, I don’t think we’ll “give up” on dogs. You’re right, they are wonderful creatures who give us so much love and, as I’ve learned, teach us so much about life.

    Comment by Annie — June 10, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  4. Thank you, RPR. You are a real human being. She’s playing “the Chase Game” in doggie heaven, for sure.

    Comment by Annie — June 10, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

  5. Oh, Annie & David,

    I am so sorry to hear this! What a loss! Sending you lots and lots of love.


    Comment by Jeanne — June 10, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

  6. Dear Jeanne, Thank you for reaching out to us. Your kindness is appreciated. Love, Annie

    Comment by Annie — June 10, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

  7. Oh I am so sorry for your loss…dogs are truly our “best friends!” I too have lost a “best friend,” many years ago; it was a very sad day for me, as well. But something very interesting happened on that evening when Shannon passed…that evening, at our doorstep appeared a dog, a dog I had never set my eyes on before. He sat on the step for several minutes and before I could welcome this strange dog into our house, he walked away and disappeared into the night. It was such a strange thing to have happened…my thoughts were that this dog came by our house as maybe Shannon’s ” angel.” We’ve never seen that dog again. That explanation kind of helped for a little while….and now we have Sasha who is a sweet dog, but can never compare to our wonderful Shannon!!

    Comment by Fran O. P. — June 10, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

  8. Hello, Fran. Good to hear from you. I hope you and Sonny and Danielle are well and (maybe) planning a trip west some time soon. Thank you for telling me about Shannon’s angel. It’s a great story. Lots of love, Annie

    Comment by Annie — June 10, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

  9. Annie and David,
    I know how important Josie, and the rituals you shared, were to you both. I’m so sorry for your loss.
    I’m sure that hiking will have a different meaning now. I’m also sorry that I missed a hike with the 3 of you.
    HUGS to you both.

    Comment by Sharon Silver — June 10, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

  10. Hi Sharon, Thanks for stopping by and providing me and David with a warm hug. Much appreciated. You’re right, lots of shared rituals. David and I were just talking about that and how we have an opportunity, now, to create some new rituals with just the two of us. Tomorrow the plan is to take the ferry to the city and work at a cafe and trip around as well. A new week-day ritual! Thanks again for your kindness. Hope you and Howard and well.


    Comment by Annie — June 10, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

  11. Dear Annie,

    We are so very sorry for your loss. Hugs you very tightly.

    Comment by Amelia Picklewiggle — June 10, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

  12. Thank you, Amelia. I feel that lovely hug. :O)

    Comment by Annie — June 10, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

  13. Sending David and you major hugs! Xo

    Comment by Louise — June 10, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

  14. Annie, I am so sorry to hear about your dog. I just lost my dog in February had her for 11 years since a puppy and it was horrible. They become part of your family and it is so hard when they are not there anymore. You learned a lot by having Josie as a friend all beautiful lessons to cherish. (((((HUG))))) Cindy

    Comment by Cindy Springsteen — June 10, 2012 @ 6:54 pm

  15. Thank you, Louise. We appreciate your support and empathy.

    Comment by Annie — June 10, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

  16. Cindy, I’m sorry for the loss of both of our sweet pups. I hope your heart is healing well. Thank you for your kind words.

    Comment by Annie — June 10, 2012 @ 7:28 pm

  17. Beautifully written Annie. I have never owned a dog, so what would I know? But from your writing, and form my experience, I know how it feels to lose a friend. I am so sad to hear this.

    Comment by Satyajit — June 11, 2012 @ 1:10 am

  18. Oh my gosh, {HUGS} to you and your family! How terribly sad! We lost two kittens last year (one called Josie, as well) and it was just so devastating, so I can understand your pain. So sorry for your loss, but so glad you had those years with her – she sounded like a wonderful friends and furry family member!

    Comment by Marisa — June 11, 2012 @ 7:51 am

  19. Annie – I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. This is a beautifully written post.

    Comment by Lynnee — June 11, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

  20. Oh, Annie, I am so sorry to hear this! My heart goes out to you and David. Josie inspired some wonderful reflections on life–those were good reminders to read.


    Comment by Elena Meredith — June 11, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

  21. I have a giant lump in my throat right now. 🙁 I’m so sorry to hear of Josie’s passing. She looks and sounds like a beautiful, smart, sweet dog. Sending you a virtual ((hug)).

    Comment by Adriana Ryan — June 11, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  22. Satyajit, if you’ve experienced losing a human friend, then I would say that this sadness is akin. Thank you for taking the time to share your kindness here.

    Comment by Annie — June 11, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

  23. Marisa, your loss touches my heart as well. We open our hearts when we welcome an animal friend into our family and they give us so much love. For however long they are with us, it is a gift. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings here.

    Comment by Annie — June 11, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

  24. Thank you, Lynne, please know that your kindness is so appreciated. Be well.

    Comment by Annie — June 11, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

  25. Thank you, Elena. When it comes to love and loss, we are all connected, aren’t we?

    Comment by Annie — June 11, 2012 @ 9:44 pm

  26. I certainly cried as I wrote it… yes, Josie was all those things you picked up from reading the blog: smart, affectionate, super friendly and joyful. Just what anyone would wish for in a friend. We were lucky to have known her.

    Comment by Annie — June 11, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

  27. Dearest…

    I am just devastated for you both. After I hung up with David, all I could do was cry, and hold my dog Quincy, and imagine myself sitting there in the car with you both. How you must have felt, and feel. I am deeply sorry for your loss. I love you both so much, and am so sorry for the grief that you must be feeling. She was so young. But she did live a very full life. Full of fun, happiness and pure love that was showered upon her. And the love that she gave in return – well there is just nothing like it in the world.

    Surrounding you both with healing, warm and loving light.

    Comment by Shane — June 11, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

  28. Dear Shane, thank you so much for these words. They are so empathetic and loving. David and I are touched. Really. Much love to you and Quincy. We hope to see you before too long. Love, Annie

    Comment by Annie — June 12, 2012 @ 7:26 am

  29. I am so sorry, I am a huge dog lover myself and have had dogs my entire life. I know how this must hurt. Hugs to you both.

    Comment by gary — June 13, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

  30. Thank you Gary. Dogs rock! We appreciate the hug.

    Comment by Annie — June 13, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

  31. Dear Josie ~

    I am very sorry for your loss. Like Satyajit I do not have a dog but have experienced profound loss and, thus, can understand the depth of your feelings.

    FYI—I just happened to stop by as a result of following a link from another Website. As well as extend my condolences, I wanted to comment on your impressive Website and blog. It is well-written, aesthetically pleasing, and full of valuable information. Well done!


    Comment by Jo C — June 14, 2012 @ 7:32 am

  32. Our hearts ache for you! So sorry your sweet girl was taken from you so early but I’m sure she was one lucky four-legger to be loved so much by your family. Sending hugs, VickyandJen

    Comment by Vicky — June 19, 2012 @ 8:44 am

  33. Annie,
    Sending you hugs and prayers. Our pets are our best friends, our personal trainers, and so much more. So sorry for your loss.

    Comment by Sue aka D. S. Walker — June 22, 2012 @ 2:06 am

  34. Thank you Jo. Tomorrow it will be 2 weeks since Josie’s passing. David and I are, and always will be, warmed by the love and good times we shared with her.

    Comment by Annie — June 22, 2012 @ 8:48 am

  35. Dear Vicky and Jen,

    She was a lucky dog to be part of our family. And you know something? I’m pretty sure she felt that way. Otherwise, why was she always smiling? :O)) We were lucky too. Win-win. And dealing with the loss has a poignancy to it, that makes me more aware of the sweetness of love.
    Thanks for your kind words.

    In friendship,

    Comment by Annie — June 22, 2012 @ 8:52 am

  36. You are a darling, Sue. Thank you for your message of support. I look forward to our conversation.

    Comment by Annie — June 22, 2012 @ 8:53 am

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