When you love a dog…. You’re willing to sacrifice.

You hurry home from work, because you know he/she needs to get out to go to the bathroom and go for a walk.

You go home earlier than you’d like from a social event because you need to “take care of the dogs.”

You worry when you have to leave them in someone else’s care… well, because no matter how good that someone else is, you know that is it not the same as home and that makes you a little anxious.

You tolerate drool and hair, or muddy paw prints. Sometimes with a sigh…because even if you’re a neat-nick and it adds extra clean up to your daily routine, you realize that what your dogs give to you in emotional support and companionship is worth every bit of that effort.

You share adventures together. Whether it is walking, hunting side by side, traveling the country, swimming, hiking trails, or simply playing fetch in the back yard, you delight in just watching your dog be happy.


When you love a dog, you learn from them. Each dog that comes into our lives has something to teach us. It might be that we learn the meaning of perseverance and patience, to laugh more or to live in the moment. Sometimes they teach us to be still and sometimes they teach us we Should be excited to find out what is on the other side of the door!

Dogs are amazing. Once you have made the commitment to have a relationship with them, they give you back more than you might imagine.

And when you truly love a dog, you will someday have to face letting them go. That moment will be one of the hardest in your life. It will feel unbearable.

I am facing that unbearableness with my Tommy. He is my 13.2 year old Malinios, that many of you know from my videos and Youtube clips. He has a cancer diagnosis that does not bode well considering his age and other structural problems that complicate his mobility.

I’ve made lifelong friendships because of Tommy and his ability to make me look skilled and competent. He did 90% of the work, I just had to show up!

So I am filling up whatever remaining time we are given, with light and affection, slow walks, and his favorite toys to tug on. That is what we do when we truly love. We give until it hurts and until we think we will shatter. But we won’t.

And when I am certain that he is ready and I have to make the ultimate decision to send him up, I will do it for him and I will be by him for each passing second.

I’m not sharing this story because I need sympathy or to leave anyone feeling sad. I share it to remind people that to love a dog means to celebrate that dog and support them until the very last breath. When the final days come, do for your dog, what your dog would do for you.


Addendum: Robin lost Tommy prior to the publishing of this article. He passed on 6/29/17


17 thoughts on “When you love a dog…. You’re willing to sacrifice.

  1. Robin, I’m so very sorry. I am sure you did your very best for Tommy and that he knew it. I know that no matter how good you were to him, human nature often focuses on what we didn’t do or those few times we sloughed off a little. Don’t do it. Tommy was loved and he knew it! It has been 8 months and I am still reeling from Orflaith’s loss. Very few days go by that I don’t ask myself ” could we have gone on longer? Did I euthanize her too soon? She had stopped eating and was barely drinking. She hardly got up. She was doing everything in her power to tell me it was time but I couldn’t and still won’t ( emotionally) let her go. We just don’t want to be left bereft. I understand. Blessings.

    1. Thank you Geri. Letting go is so hard, but also what we must do to be kind on their behalf. You did right by her and know her spirit moves on to another place and you’ll be together again someday.

  2. Robin, so very sorry for your painful loss of your precious Tommy. As a pass client, I know what a beautiful partner he was for you. There is no easy way to get through this…..just inch by inch, day by day. Thinking of you with a broken heart for you as you go through these painful days.

    1. Thank you Ann. We’re taking it a day at a time. I appreciate your kind thoughts.

  3. So sorry to hear about Tommy. Hero and Jazz were lost about the same time and age. Now it is Tommy and Dude. As I sit here writing this, all I can think of is that Tommy has the best life any dog could want. I wish my Dude was half the dog Tommy was not that Dude wasn’t a good dog, he was. You have always done right by all the dogs that I have come to with for help. Maggie to learn sign language, Booter to come when called, Jazz just because and Lilli because I just enjoy a dog that has the training to make her loved by all. Dude and Tommy were learning at the same just as Hero and Jazz were. It is the hardest thing in my life to make the call, but could not stand to think they were suffering because of me wanting to not let go. I still think of them and cry as if it just happened. I wish I could take the pain away or to ease it for you. I will be thinking of you .

    1. Thank you Kim. Many years, many dogs, many loving memories. Hugs to you.

  4. Robin,
    We are so sorry to hear of your beloved Tommy’s passing. Loving a dog and having that love returned is a wonderful blessing. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers .
    John and Robyn Jackson

    1. Thank you, I appreciate your kind words and prayers.

  5. I’m so sorry, Robin. Tommy was blessed to have you as his mama. Sending you hugs & prayers at this most difficult time.

    1. Thank you Kari.

  6. Robin

    I’m so to hear about your loss of Tommy, he was a incredible dog. Rest In Peace Tommy may you always have a slobbery tennis ball in your mouth. I’m Sorry

    1. Thank you Anna.

  7. I am so sad to hear this news about Tommy. He is a beautiful smart dog who was so lucky to have you for his owner. I have had to put 2 of my beloved dogs down and it is truly the hardest most heartbreaking thing I’ve done. I so strongly agree with your last paragraph of your article. I didn’t know if I would be strong enough to stay by the side of my dogs until their last breath but I did and I have never regretted my decision. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Ron.
    Jodi Lukens

  8. Hi Robin,

    I never met you nor your dog, Tommy, in person, but I celebrate the bond you developed and the happiness you shared.


  9. Hi Robin, So Sorry for your loss. I remember Tommy from my time with you learning to become a better dog trainer. What an amazing dog. What a great life Tommy had living with you. Someone who truly understands and loves dogs. For those of us that truly love dogs we feel the pain of your loss. May God bless you and in time give you great happiness in your memories of your time with Tommy in tell you see him again.

    1. Thank you Gary

  10. You rocked a lot of worlds, Tommy. Belated sympathy and love, Robin.

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