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Mark Pincus says goodbye to his beloved dog Zinga

January 9, 2009 | 10:54 am

Mark Pincus and his dog ZingaPlus je vois l'homme, plus j'aime mon chien.

Anyone who has loved a dog can appreciate the old French saying, which roughly translates to, "The more I see of man, the more I love my dog." And of this, there is no question: Mark Pincus, the well-known San Francisco Internet entrepreneur, loved his American bulldog Zinga.

She lent her name to his company and her company to his days.

In 2007, this is how I led off a story about the emerging Facebook economy:

Mark Pincus may hold a winning hand with his latest Internet venture.

More than 130,000 Facebook users a day play an online version of Texas Hold ‘Em that the San Francisco entrepreneur created at his kitchen table while his American bulldog, Zinga, slept at his feet.

Zinga, who appeared to be happiest at Pincus' feet, beat cancer three times, the first at the age of 6. She finally succumbed last week. "She died with her head in my lap as I watched her big smile turn into a quiet rest," Pincus wrote on his blog.

Zinga was 13 years old and had watched as Pincus built several start-ups. She counted among her admirers Craigslist's Craig Newmark. She had graced several publications, and Pincus named ...

... his social gaming network after her (with a slight spelling change). Zynga works on the pages of popular sites such as Facebook and MySpace, and it has attracted high-profile investors including Peter Thiel, a Facebook investor and board member, and Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn.

In his online eulogy to her, Pincus wrote:

Zinga was the one constant in my life. When I first got her, people said it wouldn't work. A frenetic entrepreneur who is never home should not have a dog. But we adapted to each other. She learned to sleep in chairs and under desks and acquired a taste for restaurant food and small prop planes.

Pincus said she taught him an important lesson: to be here, now.

That's something we could all learn from Zinga.

-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: Mark Pincus and his dog Zinga. Credit: Mark Pincus via Flickr

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