If you have a dog, read this.

Via elephant journal
on Nov 20, 2012
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A love for our best friend is timeless.

“She’s the one who taught me what love is.”

Fiona Apple rainchecks tour to be with dying pit bull. Here’s her beautiful letter.

Instead, Fiona’s staying home “and reveling in the swampiest, most awful breath that ever emanated from an angel.”

Click here for the full letter in original form. Here’s the transript:

It’s 6pm on Friday,and I’m writing to a few thousand friends I have not met yet. I am writing to ask them to change our plans and meet a little while later. Here’s the thing. I have a dog Janet, and she’s been ill for almost two years now, as a tumor has been idling in her chest, growing ever so slowly.

She’s almost 14 years old now. I got her when she was 4 months old. I was 21 then, an adult officially – and she was my child. She is a pitbull, and was found in Echo Park, with a rope around her neck, and bites all over her ears and face. She was the one the dogfighters use to puff up the confidence of the contenders. She’s almost 14 and I’ve never seen her start a fight, or bite, or even growl, so I can understand why they chose her for that awful role. She’s a pacifist.

Janet has been the most consistent relationship of my adult life, and that is just a fact. We’ve lived in numerous houses, and jumped a few makeshift families, but it’s always really been the two of us. She slept in bed with me, her head on the pillow, and she accepted my hysterical, tearful face into her chest, with her paws around me, every time I was heartbroken, or spirit-broken, or just lost, and as years went by, she let me take the role of her child, as I fell asleep, with her chin resting above my head. She sat next to me when I wrote songs,and barked any time I tried to record something, and she was with me in the studio, all the time we recorded the last album.

The last time I came back from tour, she was spry as ever, and she’s used to me being gone for a few weeks every 6 or 7 years. She has Addison’s Disease, which makes it dangerous for her to go on the road with me, since she needs regular injections of Cortisol, because she reacts to stress and to excitement without the physiological tools which keep most of us from literally panicking to death. Despite all of this, she’s effortlessly joyful and playful, and only stopped acting like a puppy about 3 years ago. She’s my best friend and my mother and my daughter, and my benefactor, and she’s the one who taught me what love is.

I can’t come to South America. Not now. when I got back from the last leg of the US tour, there was a big, big difference. She doesn’t even want to go for walks anymore. I know that she’s not sad about aging or dying. Animals may well have a survival instinct, but a sense of mortality and vanity, they do not. That’s why they are so much more present then most people. But I know that she is coming close to point where she will stop being a dog, and instead, be part of everything. She’ll be in the wind, and in the soil, and the snow, and in me, wherever I go. I can’t leave her now, please understand. If i go away again, I’m afraid she’ll die and I won’t have the honor of singing her to sleep, of escorting her out.

Maybe she’ll fool me and live for a couple more years–maybe I’ll lose my potential friends, in places I feel a longing to know. Sometimes it takes me 20 minutes to pick which socks to wear to bed. But this decision is instant. These are the choices we make, which define us. I am not the woman who puts her career ahead of love and friendship. I’m the woman who stays home, and bakes Tilapia for my dearest, oldest friend. And helps her be comfortable, and comforted, and safe, and important. Many of us these days, we dread the ‘death’ of a loved one. It is the ugly truth of life, that leaves us feeling terrified and alone. I wish we could also appreciate the time that lies right beside the end of time. I know that I will feel the most overwhelming knowledge of her, and of her life, and of my love for her, in the last moments. I need to do my damnedest to be there for that. Because it will be the most beautiful, the most intense, the most enriching experience of life I’ve ever known. When she dies. So I am staying home, and I am listening to her snore and wheeze, and reveling in the swampiest, most awful breath that ever emanated from an angel. And I am asking for your blessing. I’ll be seeing you.
Love, Fiona



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31 Responses to “If you have a dog, read this.”

  1. Belinda T says:

    Crying like a baby right now. I went through the same thing with my little Hodgey man, a cat pulled from the jaws of euthanasia. He was 12 when he went and I was right there with him.

  2. angel says:

    *snitt*sniff* <3

  3. Shelly says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful letter. I’m still drying my tears. I have immense respect for Fiona’s decision and have become an instant fan.

  4. Karen Polvinale says:

    Thank you for sharing this. What a beautiful person and a beautiful dog. You truly know the meaning of love.

  5. lavendercotton says:

    I am sending all my love to your beautiful angel. And also I want to recommend a book you must buy and read now, "The Nature of Animal Healing : The Definitive Holistic Medicine Guide to Caring for Your Dog and Cat"
    Goldstein D.V.M., Martin


  6. Shelly says:

    Lavendercotton – thank you for recommending that excellent book to Fiona. I also recommend "Reiki for Dogs" by Kathleen Prasad. I practice animal Reiki, specializing in dogs, and it can be wonderfully supportive during all phases of a dog's life. Blessings to you!

  7. syrai says:

    yep cryin my eyes out. xoxo

  8. Kenya's mom says:

    Thanks Fiona for this heartfelt sharing. I lost my girl,Kenya, to DCM over a year ago. She was diasnosed in early Aug and died 57 days later in my arms at the beach after two aborted deaths. It was the hardest death I have ever experienced with a furlove. I, too, committed every day of those 57 to her, uninterupted. And, for the 3.5 years of her life, we were inseparable. Truly mirror. our angels.

  9. allen says:

    Miss Apple, do what you gotta do

  10. Patricia says:

    My heart aches for you. It was harder losing my beloved cats of 15 years than anything else in my life. Our pets teach us love. God bless.

  11. MaryJayne Waddell says:

    Sending Love and comfort to you. I am an actress who travels with my two best friends, my cat and dog. And I am actually in a hotel room as I write this on route to do a show in Ft. Lauderdale and they are comfortably sacked out on the bed. My two road warriors! I too would do exactly what you're doing with no hesitation. How fortunate that you found each other and shared this part of life. May the angels guide both of you during this transition. Much Love, MJ

  12. Marianne says:

    Beautiful. (crying). <3

  13. Rachel says:

    This is an absolutely beautiful letter. I’ve always been a big Fiona fan, but now I am more of a fan than ever. Her other fans will understand her decision. My two cats are my best friends too and this letter brought so many tears to my eyes thinking about what she is going through. Be strong Fiona…you are doing the right thing <3

  14. Bobby says:

    I certainly respect the message but if I’m reading correctly euthanasia is not going to happen. It is a gift to be able to relieve the pain of a dying pet, something we can’t do legally for our human loved ones. Many pets suffer intense pain or discomfort for months even years. It is certainly harder on us to euthanize but easier on them – an act of true love. One can even argue to not euthanize a pet experiencing day to day, hour to hour pain is an act of true selfishness.

  15. […] the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and […]

  16. kevin says:

    Want more? Find Loudon Wainwright's 'Another Kind of Love Story.'

  17. Olly says:

    crying from first line…

  18. maru says:


  19. Joseph says:

    that'l really be a good chance then of taking care of our dogs. I am so glad you have shared it.
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  23. I love dogs and they are my favorite pets. I have a dog at home. Thanks for sharing your reviews on this topic. I do agree with you that dogs are sensible animals and they will be always loyal to their owners. Keep posting more updates in your blog.

  24. Alex Sandra Myles says:

    :'( aww, eyes filled with tears, sending you loads of hugs and Reiki healing love and pray you both have lots more days together x

  25. kendra says:

    touching and beautifully written. sending love to you both.

  26. megan says:

    What beautiful timing. Just yesterday, I had to say good bye to my cat. She was my friend for the past 17 years. I’m fortunate I was there to say good bye.

  27. shikha Puri says:

    Thanku for sharing this wonderful letter. I echo each and every word as we as a family made a similar decision not too long ago…live is beautiful and meaningful with my furry babies…

  28. Abid says:

    This is beautiful. Positive thoughts coming your way

  29. Linda says:

    Love is all there is… even in death. Beautiful.

  30. Julia says:

    So awesome. Love my animals too, they are just like family.

  31. Kevin says:

    Wow, truly amazing… I started tearing up 🙁