From time to eternity

AddieAddie has died. I’ve sat here at my computer for a while now looking for the right words to start this post with and can’t come up with any. But as that first sentence is why I’m sitting here, it seems reasonable that it is where I should start.

Reason. Ration. These are vile words when you’ve lost a loved one. Words that, like some linguistic drug, offer you an escape from the pain you’re feeling by masking it with purpose and order.

But, and continuing with the metaphor, they’re circular. Rationalizing the death leads no where. There’s no reason. It’s just happened and now she’s gone – leaving us with an unanswerable question: why?

I can ask the pet shop why they sold us food that killed our dog. I can ask the distributor why they didn’t take better precautions in the food’s storage, allowing it to develop the poison that killed our dog. I can ask the manufacturer why they don’t hold more responsibility over their distribution network, and why they’ve not even commented on the fact that their product killed my dog.

But none of their answers will mean anything. No apologies or compensation will put substance back in that void that has been left in our home today.

Nothing they do will be able to remove the scar that has been left on me for having to watch my dog die, having to feel with my own hands her heart slow and then stop. She didn’t go to sleep, she didn’t slip away, she didn’t benefit from any of the euphemisms that I now envy. She died.

I can’t put to words the sadness I feel.

44 Responses

  1. sad.really really sad.
    I can understand your feeling.Your words reminded my loved dog, but he left me forever in my 12. I can still feel the pain in my heart now.
    I am not going to raise another dog any more. I can’t endure the lost of it.

  2. I suppose it’s fair to say that it wasn’t what you gave to her, it’s what she gave to you and Maggie in her short life, which should have been at least 10 years of fun and wholesome play.

    I’d sue someone most negligent in the loop to teach them a lesson. Didn’t the pet food company make empty promises that they would compensate all her medical bills and compensate you for the loss of your beloved Addie (if it occurred)?

    Perhaps I’m reading your post wrong – have they really backed away from their word?

    Sounds like lesson time if so. A: Unfortunate, painful consequences. B. Inadequate product testing before wholesale then retail. C. Empty promises of compensation.

    D. Lies. Ass-covering. E. Time in court with them as the defendant.

    If you were in the US, you’d get millions in a no-contest suit.

    I don’t wish to aggravate your personal situation right now “but” you might just want to release Addie without too much fuss.

    Me, I’d make a fuss. Media, papers and help/warn others in the same awful situation.


    RIP Addie.

  3. Just as you struggled to find the right words to start this post, we too struggle to find the right words to say how sad and sorry we are to have lost a special and dear friend. Addie was the best dog in China and she was lucky to have had such great and loving owners. You two gave Addie more love and care in 1 year than most people would give a dog in their lifetime.

    Goodbye Addie you will be truly missed

  4. Having grown up with pets my entire life, I’ve watched several die, some naturally, others not. Some I can’t remember, others will be with me forever. No matter how it happens, it’s never easy. Nothing is more tragic than having a loved one taken away before their time.

  5. Very sad news indeed. As I said in my SMS to you earlier, I thought she’d make it, with youth and energy on her side, but it was apparently too serious for that.

    Also a huge pity that you could only enjoy such an awesome dog as Addie for just about one year, but you & Mrs M will miss her for years.

  6. This really sucks man. I never met her (or you for that matter), but I feel like I know you guys through the blog and from what I can tell, she a more than awesome dog. I know you guys also must have treated her great. At least she had a good life.
    Although she was definitely not deserving of such bullshit.
    My hear goes out to you guys

  7. A very sad day for you, Ryan. I wish you a lot of strength to get through this difficult period.

    The fact that is was caused by dog food that turned out to be poisonous because of Chinese storage issues makes it even more difficult to accept. We all read the stories in the papers about contaminated Chinese food, but it all seems so far away until it hits you personally.

    I feel very sorry for you. All the best to Maggie and you.

  8. My sincere condolences for your loss. It’s just a damn shame… what happened to Addie, the corruption in the system, everything. I’m sick with anger…

    However, I’m also feeling great appreciation for the beloved animals in my life (some of them human). So I’d like to thank you; thank you for letting us ride along with you through this turmoil. It may not seem pertinent at this very moment, but you’ve definitely done all of us a great service by writing so thoughtfully and honestly about death and dying. That’s a talent that so very, very few possess. I consider it a gift you’ve bestowed upon the public.

    Thank you, Ryan, and take care.

  9. I know I don’t post here often, if at all, but I have been following Addie’s story from the start of this terribleness and hoping that she would pull through. My thoughts are with you.. I know that doesn’t mean much of anything..

  10. I’m so very sorry to hear this, Ryan. I recently lost a cat who had been with me for 19 years. It’s a different kind of loss than when you lose an animal this way, prematurely, because of a chain of negligence. I wish I had some comforting words for you but there are none, except that you had her companionship and love for the time that she was with you, and from the depth of your grief, I know that you had an incredible bond with her.

  11. i’m really sorry to hear it. i know what it’s like and how you must be feeling. you have my deepest sympathies.

  12. I’m so, so sorry to hear that Addie is gone. I’d been following your blog the last few days with my breath held, hoping for a different ending. My deepest sympathies.

  13. Thanks everyone. The condolences are much appreciated.

    @Jamieson: The company (the Chinese distributor) is still living up to its promise of paying all the vet bills and compensating us.

    To their credit, we’ve been dealing with the president of that company, and he’s been very straight and kind with us. I can’t forgive what they did to Addie, but that they are at least trying to help make it right is one less thing to deal with.

    We’ll be resolving all of that this week, and are definitely looking to avoid litigation of any sort. It’s a nightmare in a country that has rules and values animal life… I can’t imagine what it would be like here.

  14. Ryan, deepest sympathies. Thanks for sharing the story, despite your personal pain, to help others not have to go through the same. So sorry for your loss.

  15. I’m so very sad to hear of your loss, we too have a beautiful Labrador and it has made me think about the issues at hand, the reasons why, etc. Most of all, I’m just sad.

  16. My deepest sympathies for you and Maggie. I’m of a personal belief that there is a greater realm for all of us, including Addie, when we pass away. I don’t know you personally, but it’s obvious Addie was a wonderful dog, and you and Maggie were wonderful parents (and friends) to her. I had a dog named Odie who lived to be quite old, but died while I was still in my teens. To this day I regret not having played with him more during his later years (I was a jerk of a teenager who spent little time with him), and it sometimes breaks my heart that I was not as good to him as I could have been, while you were at Addie’s side in her final moments, and you cared for her and were part of her life in every way for the brief time she was here. Thank you for being such a great pet owner, it truly matters. In the years to come, feelings of mourning will turn to grateful memories of such a wonderful dog. Thank you for sharing her with us through your blog, Addie will be missed.

  17. Ryan, just read this sad story. Just wanted to give my heartfelt “sorry” for what you and Maggie are going through. Hopefully you guys will find peace soon…

  18. I’m really sorry for your loss, Ryan. I still haven’t caught up with my feeds, but I came here just now to see if you’d posted an update. I can’t say I’m surprised, after your last post it sounded like her liver was in very bad shape.
    I just can’t understand why this recall isn’t making more news. I can’t find anything but your posts or posts linking to your posts when I Google “Optima dog food recall”. Didn’t you say your vet was seeing a lot of these cases?
    Also, the irony of U.S. dog food killing dogs in China is just blinding. I think the manufacturer should have a lot of the responsibility to make sure that dog food sold under their brand name, no matter where in the world, is safe. It all makes me very angry.

  19. Really sorry to read that Addie has passed, being part of a 2 dog familly I do know what you must feel ……… just remember the good days, the walks, the playing in the garden, even the house training incidents!…. and finally those special moments with her head or paw on your knee when she was looking for attention.
    Thats what sharing your life with a dog is all about….companionship.

  20. Dear Ryan and Maggie,

    As I was searching the internet for a petstore in Suzhou (we are going to move here next april) I stumbled across your blog. First reading with great joy about the first days you’ve had with Addie. Then realising the other publications,I couldn’t stop reading to find out how it would end…. and then I read you’ve lost your beloved dog. We’re so sorry for your loss and cannot imagine the anger and sorrow you must feel. With us is my cat, 14 years old, that we brought here from Holland. I can only imagine how it would feel to lose him through such a stupid act from the foodcompany. Again we are very sorry for you both…

    Best regards and maybe we’ll meet each other sometime in Suzhou.

    Best regards,
    Ed and Nien.

  21. Ryan,
    I am truly sorry to hear about this loss for you and Maggie. Having had two dogs of my own die in the last 4 years, I can emphasize with your pain.

  22. Ryan,

    My condolences. I can really sympathize. I have been in your shoes and had to hold not one, not two, but three dogs in China as they died. I still remember the heartbreak. It wasn’t the food–two of them died terrible deaths of distemper, and one had a brain problem the vet said was from inbreeding. I know you and your wife are feeling so sad–Kay

  23. Ryan and Maggie,

    I feel your sadness… and it was nice to see you out and in better spirits this weekend. Hope to see you again soon. Still lots of time before July!


  24. Hey, Ryan,

    I’m on vacation and have very little net access, so I haven’t visited the saloon, but I remembered your dog’s situation and wit ha few minutes to spare I came to your site to find out how it was fairing. I’m sorry to hear about her being put down, but wholly understand. At least the suffering is over.

    Take care,

    Spaghetti from the saloon

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  28. Just came across your blog after searching the Internet for a plausible reason why my dog of six years suddenly died last Friday of acute liver disease. I’m still trying to find the cause of his death so that my other dogs won’t suffer the same fate. The only thing I can think of is dog food poisoning. My world stopped for four days, I did not go to work, I just watched over my smartest, most energetic, most behaved people-pleaser dog suffer the pains of dying. It’s such a painful experience. Though a cliche, I know a part of me died with him. How were you able to get over the pain?

    • Terribly sorry to hear about your dog. I don’t know if there is a way to get over the pain, as it’s still definitely there when I think about how our dog Addie died and how much she meant to us. It’s duller now though, not the sharp and blinding sadness it was.

      Having just lost your dog, I can’t imagine you’re too eager to run out and get a new one. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll wrestle with a sense of guilt about “replacing” your dog that’s died.

      I’m sure everyone’s different, but as much as I wasn’t sure if it would, having a new dog has helped us a lot. It helps by removing some of that sense of loss, while also working as a reminder of all the good parts your dog brought to your life. Our new pup is much different than Addie, our dog who died, and in that we find we are always comparing the two of them. In that way and so many others Addie will always live on.

      If you suspect aflatoxin, or some other poisoning in the food, be sure to have it tested if you still have it around. I’m not entirely sure where such tests are done, but Google can probably help you there.

      Again, you have my complete sympathy. There’s likely little comfort in it now, and as much as it too is a cliche, time can heal all things.

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