Loving Sydney


In all my thoughts and posts and ruminations about what we leave behind when we move, I never mentioned our faithful dog, the seventh member of our family, Sydney.

Sydney's been with us for ever so long – since before we even had any children. He was a great comfort to me when I was finishing up my dissertation, struggling to start our family, and making a home in all the various places we have lived. No matter where we were, he always valiantly adjusted and made himself at home, because home to him was food, a warm place to sleep, and most importantly, us. He was enthusiastic about everything – swims in the pond, trips to the ocean, games of frisbee in which he could go on longer than any human could. He sweetly welcomed each new family member, though he may have been confused as he watched each baby grow bigger and bigger over time. He was an amazingly cheerful and resilient dog who was just happy to be nearby.

Now I sit here, so sad, because we left Sydney in Japan with my husband (who still works there) for what we thought would be a temporary amount of time until we got permanently settled and could bring him home. In the back of my mind, I had visions of him in our new house and thought that we would be able to give him more of the loving attention that has gone by the wayside as life got hectic and busy. I thought we could comfort him in his old age. Now I know we probably won't have that chance, because he is very, very sick. We don't even know if he'll make it until we go back for a visit in a few weeks. And he's most certainly too sick to make it on a plane ride back to the U.S.

I've had dogs die before, and that was really hard. But now I know that the only thing harder than having a dying dog is having a dog dying far away from you, so that you cannot give him a last hug, brush his fur a last time, take him on a walk in the sunshine, and comfort him as he says goodbye.


20 thoughts on “Loving Sydney

  1. Alexandra

    I can only imagine how upset your kids must be! Very sorry to hear this news. We had cats, when my kids were growing up in France, but leaving them over vacation in itself was a drama for one of my daughters.

  2. Janelle

    When we moved into our current house 11 years ago, I was looking forward to my 9 yo Keeshond (Shelby) having a big yard, stability, and comfort in her old age. About 4 months later, she was hit by a car and died. I was really devastated. My mother helped me a bit with this explanation: Shelby was with me through some very tough times in my life. She was the piece that kept me holding on at times. She knew now that I was going to be okay and her spirit was free to move on. I still miss her terribly (crying now) but I treasure the relationship we had and the time we had together. I had never before had such a bond with an animal but once you experience it, you are never the same. I am sorry for your current situation and will pray that you have peace.

  3. Helen Salter

    I just started subscribing to your blog, and am so sorry to hear about your dear dog. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. XXOO

  4. Nancy

    May your love transcend the miles to Syndney. He knows he is loved. You will see him again. If not now, then at the bridge. Blessings. The happy memories will help the tears.

  5. Sheryl

    Sydney (adorable!) looks amazingly like my dog, Chloe, who is also old and sick. I’m so sorry that you can’t be with him, Christine. I know how hard it is to lose a dog and how much like a family member they become. I do hope he hangs in until you get back to Japan.

  6. Nancy

    I’m relatively new to being a dog person, and, like most converts, I’ve fallen hard. Your story makes me cry. I’ll be thinking about you and Sydney, hoping you’ll reunite in time. Hugs.


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