What To Do When Your Pet Is Dying

 “Dogs are our best friends, as long as we are theirs.” 


Such a sad subject to write about, but it can be very educational. A friend called, with tears in her voice, and told me that her cat, whom she has had for 14 years, will soon be passing onto another world. She asked for my words of wisdom.

Instead, I told her a story about Rabbi Meir and his wise wife, Beruriah, who lived in 170 CE.

One day when R. Meir was away, their two sons died. When he came back, instead of bursting to him with the horrible news, Beruriah asked him a question:

”Some time ago, a man came and gave me a deposit in trust and now he comes to claim that deposit. Shall we return it or not?”

Being a wise man, R. Meir gave her his answer.

“My daughter, whoever has a deposit in trust must he not return it to its owner?” Beruriah replied, “Had you not said so, I would not have returned it.”


After that Beririah took him to the room where her sons lay motionless. Her husband burst into tears and Beruriah said to R. Merir:

“Did you not say we must return the deposit to its owner? It is said, the Lord has given, the Lord has taken away.” (Proverbs 37:76-29)

I do not think there are any words of consolidation for a person whose pets or any one close to them dies. One needs to cry out their emotions out and keep the good memories.

The first dog we had in San Francisco was a very temperamental lady—she was an Irish setter, named Amber. She would jump the fence and I had to look for her all over our neighborhood. One day, she ran out into the street and a moment later I heard the screeching sounds of brakes. I ran out and there was beautiful Amber on the ground covered in blood.


I lifted her lifeless body and took it home, sat down, and cried. We buried her in our backyard.

We decided to get another dog—this time one with short legs. As per friends’ advice, we chose a sweet and tiny Welsh corgi, called Angus. He grew quite big (for a Welsh corgi) and lived with us for 13 ½ years. During the last month of his life, he did not want to go for a walk. Eventually, we took him to the vet, who told us it was time to say good-bye. Since then, we are constantly considering getting another dog, but feel that with our hectic lifestyle, traveling, and work, it would not be fair to leave a dog home alone for so long. One day, perhaps…



Oops! I made an error in last week’s email. Dr. Wu pointed out to me that since I was born on January 13th, 1947—my Chinese sign is not a pig, but a dog. This actually makes perfect sense since I am your best friend. It turns out that my wife Elfa and I are both dogs. Now this explains why we have been together for 47 years (but we belong to different breeds). In the description of the dog’s qualities, I especially liked how: “the dog possesses one of the best traits of human nature—a sense of loyalty that knows no bounds” (Ellen 2008).


Recently, I met a client who needed a mortgage to buy a home. She came in with her little dog, a Havanese breed. Apparently, the breed came from Havana, Cuba. We saw many dogs in the streets in Havana, but not this breed. Some were just street dogs, while others were growing older together with their owners.

 Please enjoy!