Saying Goodbye To A Faithful Friend

Bruno, who would typically throw a fit if I took one of them without the other, seemed to sense the moment and sat staring from the gate.

Upon arrival, the vet said she would handle it and I could leave. But I refused and said I would hold him close to me until his very last breath.

She was very understanding and could see the kind of relationship she was dealing with. She put a blanket on the floor and I guided him to it. I held him tightly around the shoulder, kneeling beside him.

The injection began to impact him and his eyes panicked for a moment as he looked up and fell forward into my arms. I pulled him closer and laid him to the ground covering him entirely in an embrace.

As I spoke softly to him, his tail gently wagged as it always did when he heard my voice.

I said, “Thank you, Lucca. Thanks for loving our family and watching over us all those years. Thanks for making our family so happy and giving out all that love. Don’t be afraid. I am with you like always. I will miss you every day old friend. Sleep now — just rest. Don’t be scared. I got you.”

The vet put her stethoscope to his heart.

“Is he gone?” I asked.

“Almost,” she said.

“Just let go buddy,” I said, squeezing him more tightly. “I got you.”

And as those words hung in the air, he heaved a final sigh.

My sobs were silent. I owed him that dignity.

I slipped his collar off and held it tightly. The vet respected the moment and I covered him with the remainder of the blanket. I nodded a thank you to her and drove home in silence.

When I got home, Bruno was waiting patiently at the gate and saw me get out of the car alone. I sat down and pulled Lucca’s collar out of my pocket. Bruno smelled it, licked it and looked at me. He went back to the car as if to make sure he hadn’t missed something.

He has barely eaten in the days since, but seems to be coming around as the recent days have passed. I would expect him to mourn as I have been, too. Handling loss is a very personal matter, and I have given him his time.

But this morning began a new day, and as I watched Bruno get on with things and romp a bit as the morning sun rose, I thanked God for the time I had with Lucca and the memories he made with our then developing family.

How he loved those kids! The dog of your children’s youth becomes a teacher in many ways. When I reflect on the lessons he gave us — kindness, generosity, faithfulness, loyalty and unwavering love — I cannot do his life dishonor by feeling only sadness.

He was family. He was love. He will be missed but more than that — remembered.

Ron Ciancutti is the Purchasing Manager for Cleveland Metroparks. He is not on Facebook, but he can be reached at

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7 comments on “Saying Goodbye To A Faithful Friend

  1. Billy Moore on said:

    Ron, what an awesome article. Dogs may be the best creature God created. I have had and currently have that special dog. Your article, while being hard to read without shedding a tear, made my day. My dog Crackers will get a special hug today. Thanks

  2. Evelyn Shoemaker on said:

    You put into beautiful words the touching story of your family member, something I (and many others) have experienced several times over. It does not get easier but we can count on time to be a “heeler”. Our memories will never fade and contnue to make us smile. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

  3. Chuck Snider on said:

    Ron, what a touching and truthful article. I too have a special dog who sounds very similar to Lucca.

    Thanks for sharing.


  4. David Noble on said:

    Ron’s story was right in line with the love many of us have felt for our family pets. If you are interested in reading a very entertaining and enlightening book on this issue written from the dog’s perspective, I strongly recommend reading “The Art of Racing in the Rain.” Once you begin reading this book, you will be unable to put it down. It is a must read for all parents who bring a dog into their family’s life.

  5. Gail Miller on said:

    Thank you Ron for sharing your story. I know exactly what you mean about how our pets tell us when it is time. Animals who share their lives with us are truly healers of the soul.

  6. leslie k green on said:

    Hello Ron, I loved your story, so touching. Please check out our new site I would love to have your story on there. May I please share your story on our site? Thank you for your time.

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