real life

Pass the tissues: Three love letters to pets no longer with us.

More than just pets, they are family.

When the phone rings, in the middle of the night, we hold our breath and brace that sinking feeling of inevitable bad news. One night, as I reached to answer the phone whose ring cut through the silence nothing could prepare me for what was waiting. Mum’s voice whispered that our little Maltese terrier had passed and in that instant my heart broke in two.

The words my sister wrote on his passing always have me believe that he was more than just a pet, he was family. “In our hearts you hold a place no one could ever fill, if tears could build a stairway and heartbreak makes a lane, we’d walk the path to heaven and bring you back again.” Many furry friends have etched their way into our hearts, leaving heartbreak when they pass. Many celebrities have written love letters to pets and used their heartbreak as a way to immortalise that love for their lost companions. Here are three of the most moving love letters to pets written by celebrities. Pass the tissues.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Revolution. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

Love letters to pets #1: Malcolm Turnbull’s eulogy to his little terrier Mellie;

Malcolm Turnbull and Mellie

Mellie, our little terrier, died yesterday. She was nearly eleven and had been very sick for the last few months. Dogs know a lot more than they let on, Mellie could always sense if we were a bit down or worried and she would make sure to hang around. She could tell when she was needed and her calm was always reassuring. Are dogs wise? Or do we just imagine it, transferring to them virtues and qualities we would wish for ourselves?

Yesterday she slipped out the dog door. When she hadn’t come back after a little while I looked out for her. Often when I did that I would see her snuffling around in the garden, looking under bushes, rustling around in the undergrowth having little doggy adventures of her own. But this time, the last time, I could see her lying there, in one of her favourite places, quite still. Mellie was dead.

Why do we love dogs so much? Is it because they are loyal and loving? Is it because they love us for what we are, without judgement?  How can it be that in a world of so much human tragedy, so much momentous and terrible change, we shed tears over the death of a little white dog? Is it because, as Byron said, our dogs have all the virtues of man, without his vices?

Dear little Mellie, you were such a brave, fond and loyal friend. All your pack will miss you and never be quite the same without you.

Love letters to pets #2: Sarah Silverman’s letter to her beloved little Duck;

Sarah Silverman and Duck

Duck “Doug” Silverman came into my life about 14 years ago. Since then we have slept most every night together (and many lazy afternoons.) He was a happy dog, though serene. And stoic. And he loved love. Over the past few years he became blind, deaf, and arthritic. But with a great vet, good meds, and a first rate seeing-eye person named me, he truly seemed comfortable.
Recently, however, he stopped eating or drinking. He was skin and bones and so weak. I couldn’t figure out this hunger strike. And then, over the weekend, I knew. It was time to let him go.

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The doctor came and Kyle, my sister, Laura and I laid on the bed. I held him close – in our usual spoon position and stroked him. I told him how loved he was, and thanked him for giving me such happiness and for his unwavering companionship and love. The doctor gave him a shot and he fell asleep, and then another that was basically an overdose of sleeping meds. I held him and kissed him and whispered to him well passed his passing. I held him so tight. And then finally, when his body lost its heat, I handed him over.

14 years.
My longest relationship.
My only experience of maternal love.
My constant companion.
My best friend.
Duck.

Love letters to pets #3: Fiona Apple’s open letter to all her fans, cancelling her tour to stay at home with her dying Janet;

Extract from Fiona Apple’s letter

I’m writing to a few thousand friends. I am writing to ask them to change our plans. I have a dog Janet, and she’s been ill for almost two years now. Janet has been the most consistent relationship of my adult life. She slept in bed with me, her head on the pillow, and she accepted my hysterical, tearful face into her chest, with her paws around me, every time I was heartbroken, or spirit-broken, or just lost, and as years went by, she let me take the role of her child, as I fell asleep, with her chin resting above my head.

She’s my best friend and my mother and my daughter, my benefactor, and she’s the one who taught me what love is. When I got back from the last leg of the US tour, there was a big, big difference. I know that she’s not sad about aging or dying. Animals have a survival instinct, but a sense of mortality and vanity, they do not. That’s why they are so much more present than people.

But I know that she is coming close to point where she will stop being a dog, and instead, be part of everything. She’ll be in the wind, and in the soil, and the snow, and in me, wherever I go. I will not be the woman who puts her career ahead of love and friendship. I am the woman who stays home for my dearest, oldest friend. 

Many of us these days, we dread the death of a loved one. It is the ugly truth of life that keeps us feeling terrified and alone. I know that I will feel the most overwhelming knowledge of her, and of her life and of my love for her, in the last moments. I need to do my damnedest to be there for that.

While many of us sit here and sob into our tissues, with these letters tugging on old wounds of heartbreak that never quite heal, those who have never had pets may not be able to understand the sadness. Losing a pet can be one of the toughest things in the world as these love letters to pets so articulately portray.

Share your own love letters to pets no longer with us below. 

 

 

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