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Dog's death leaves heart, home empty

Puff_the_dog Regular readers of L.A. Unleashed might recall how columnist Sandy Bank described the travails of her dog Puff. Facing a variety of ailments, Puff grew weak in recent months but appeared to rally. We're sad to report that Puff has died, and in a new column Banks describes the feelings common to many pet owners:

"I pass the meat counter in the grocery store and reflexively reach for the giant package of chicken, then remember I have no finicky dog to feed. I get up from the couch and scan the floor so I don't step on the pooch who's supposed to be curled up at my feet.

"And I walk around the house talking to myself and expecting to hear jingling tags.

"It's hard to explain to people who don't have pets what loving an animal means. There's the cliche about unconditional love. Sure, but that's only part of the story."

Read on for Banks' salute to Puff.

Photo: Banks family

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Oh. I am so sorry to hear that.

The best solution: A rescue dog that desperately needs a home. That's the best way to honor Puff's memory.

Condolences to you on the loss of Puff. It is never easy to lose a pet, but at least you had a little longer with him and he gave you so much during his life. Take the time to grieve and reflect, each pet is an individual and there will not be another Puff. When the time comes, please do consider adopting from a shelter - you will be saving a life. RIP wee Puff, enjoy your time at the Rainbow Bridge waiting until the day when you see your friends again.

dear sandy, i now have two dogs that are the light of my life, but it was not always so. i had a dog when i was eight to eighteen. he was the most remarkable of animals. when he died at eighteen years of age, i too, thought that i could no longer take that chance to be heartbroken again. So from eighteen to fifty-nine i was without a dog . then my son showed up with a Christmas puppy. my new dog taught me something special about grieving. my first dog had died within weeks of my grandmother, who lived with the family. she was my "safe place" in my family . The grieving had been magnified by the memories and the "leavings" of two incredible individuals. grieve, but make room to love.

Sandy -- all of us who have lost a pet grieve with you. One of my dogs is blind -- he also has Addison's disease. But he is doing well. He blindness is recent although a genetic condition (progressive retinal atrophy). When I had to let my 15 yr old GSD go a year ago, it was having my other dogsaround that kept me from being miserable. [All of my dogs are adopted from a shelter or were a stray.] Although in your column you say you don't want another dog -- I hope you will reconsider. Each dog is different and each will bring you joy.

So sorry for your loss. The ony thing that has gotten me through the death of a beloved pet was the other pets that share our home. They know, they grieve and they provide love and support.....adopt another doggy soon!!!

What a wonderful home Puff had! He was well loved. And what a cutie......

They'll break your heart in the end, but our dogs are such special companions. I've lost two dogs over the past year, including Pilgrim, an Australian shepherd who had diabetes. He did well with the insulin shots for 15 months, but then came the inevitable complications. He was 8 years old.

But the memories are great -- and now I have 2 new dogs who, yes, will break my heart again some day, too. But what fun we'll have in the years to come.

My condolences to Sandy and her family.

Sandy and Family: I am so sorry about Puff. I read your column when Puff first became ill and my heart went out to you. I related to everything you talked about: The shots, the change in lifestyle for the family around the dog's needs, the blindness and even buying the chicken as a special treat. We have been through all of this with our dog Riley, a Beagle mix we got at the pound for $60 who suddenly became so ill with the insidious diabetes disease and then blind. He now gets prescription food and his meds and his frequent vet visits but we are fortunate enough to be able to give him what he needs and wants. He is doing well but like you I always worry if he is feeling well and especially if he is happy. We do everything to make him comfortable and happy because this is what he deserves. He has taught me what true love really is. I hope for the sake of another dog who needs a home somewhere that you will eventually be able to adopt another dog as you were a great "mom" to Puff but I totally get the loss thing and hope to avoid it as long as possible. However as though of us who have always had dogs know, a house is not a home without a dog. Thank you for sharing your moving story. May Puff rest in peace. Julia M.


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