Farewell to a Friend

There will be no Survival Podcast today as I will be taking my old buddy Lakota to the vet in about an hour to be put down.  Lakota was a good buddy, we spent over a decade together and it is a sad day for me but I know it is time.  He stopped taking food and water last night and can barely stand.  He has had problems for about a year but seemed happy so we just took care of him.

We reached the end of the road last night, after a lifetime of caring for animals a man knows.  While a sad day I am at peace with it, over a decade ago we adopted him as a full grown adult Husky from The American Eskimo Dog rescue society.  He had been abused, his ears mutilated by an arrogant breeder who didn’t think he measured up to a “standard” and was in need of a home.

In those years he escaped numerous times and ran for miles because it was in his blood.  He knew true freedom during our three years in Pennsylvania on his escapes in the farm fields and sleeping in beds he would dig in the snow, the way his breed was designed to do.  I will miss him but his life was better because we were able to care for him and ours was better because he was a part of it.

The show will return tomorrow,

Jack

98 Responses to Farewell to a Friend

  1. Jack and your family,

    My sympathies go to you all. I hope you have good, strong memories of Lakota and photos to remember him by. Taking in an abused animal and helping him thrive, speaks to your humanity and to your understanding of what he needed.

  2. Sorry to hear about your loss :-(

    I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren’t certain we knew better. They fight for honor at the first challenge, make love with no moral restraint, and they do not for all their marvelous instincts appear to know about death. Being such wonderfully uncomplicated beings, they need us to do their worrying. ~George Bird Evans, Troubles with Bird Dogs

  3. I’m very sorry for your loss- we love our animals and can sympathize with your pain and your brave choice.

  4. Mountainwilliamwannabe

    Our thoughts are with you…

  5. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Putting down a loyal friend and companion is so very hard to do. Bless you for listening when Lakota told you it was time for him to move on.

  6. I got an adult dog this year from a local Cattle Dog rescue, after 9 years without any canines. Reading about Lakota brought a tear for you, as my girl is already so much a part of my life, I’d miss her terribly. Lakota was very lucky to have you all for a family. We’ll be thinking of you…

  7. Jack, Please know my thoughts are with you today.

  8. Jack & family,

    Our deepest sympathies to you. It’s never “just a dog”;. Two thursday nights ago we put down our German Short-Haired Pointer “Gibbon”; after 17 years and two months. My two kids grew up with him and it was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do as a family but knew it was the right thing to do for him. It was the last act of friendship and love we were able to give him. He’ll always be “around”….

  9. Depending on how old your kids are. It might be wise to bring them along. Even in sad times, there are teaching moments… Good Luck.
    JG

  10. Your loss is our loss too. We have 3 dogs …our best friends and companions. Our condolences for you and your family

  11. Jim Stanley

    Jack, I will have you and your family in my thoughts today. Thank you for sharing this tough time with us. Just know you have many people here that care deeply about you and your family and we have our hearts and ears open if you need a friend.

  12. Clark Gardner

    Sorry about Lakota. I had to do the same thing about 3 weeks ago. Our house is very empty and I still grieve.

  13. You and your family have our deepest sympathies. Dogs are so loyal and loving. How lucky Lakota was to have found such a worthy home with folks who could truly appreciate freedom as he did!

  14. Sorry to hear that, Jack. I had to put down a cat that had been a loyal pet for most of my adult life. It was one of the most difficult acts I have ever had to commit.

    Just remember the good years you were able to give each other, and be glad that, at the end, you are able to be there to say goodbye and to make Lakota’s passing as easy and dignified as possible.

  15. We have a special twinge of sympathy for you and your family as former husky owners. The husky is such a majestic breed with a fiercely independant spirit yet so much love to give his humans. We had to put ours down back in 2000 and it was probably one of the hardest things we’ve had to do. May you cherish all you have learned about love, friendship and loyalty by having this extraordinary friend in your lives.

  16. Burnt Hollow

    I can’t say anything different than what anyone else has said. You are a stand up guy, and I just wanted to add one more comment of sympathy.

  17. TrashCanMan

    From someone who lost their family dog a few weeks ago, my thoughts are with you and yours.

  18. Jack,

    You have my sympathy – I have been in that situation before, most recently with a cat and a few years ago with my childhood dog – as a military brat that pooch really was my best friend and one of the only consistencies in my life then. People that don’t have dogs generally don’t ‘get it’… your dog is a part of your family and a loyal friend.

    It sounds like Lakota had a good life when he found your family. Take care Jack!

    Casey

  19. Andrea Taylor

    Hello Jack:

    I pray for you to have strength today to carry out what is the humane thing to do by Lakota. I am already feeling your loss, as if you were losing a family member, which is what this pet means to you. Your years of caring for this pet says a lot about your humanity and you should take comfort in the fact that you were able to give unconditional love to this pet and it was returned to you likewise.

    Regards,
    Andrea

  20. God speed, Lakota, and our deepest sympathies to you, Jack.

  21. Jack, I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I could tell from your last podcast how much Dakota meant to you. We can never be prepared for a loss of a family member, but know that Dakota is no longer in any pain, and remember all the great times you had with him. You and your family are in our thoughts today.

  22. sorry jack…losing a dog sucks bad!! i feel for you and your family–hang tough

  23. Jack,

    I’m sorry to hear about your loss as well. I’ve had several great companion animals that either had to be put down or that have died of natural causes. I’m glad that you had the time that you did with him.

    Something that we did that may help is frame a picture of him for your wall and hang his collar off of the corner.

    God bless!

  24. Modern Survival

    @All,

    First thank you it means a lot to have you all care so much.

    Second it is now done, Lakota crossed about 10AM this morning. He died as he lived, loved by us all. He always buried his head in my arms and that is where he was most happy and where he was when it happened.

    It may sound strange but I knew, I always knew even the day we brought him home that it would have to be this way with this dog. I gave him my word if it ever came to it he would not be alone and that I would be there, I kept my word and while sad that brings me peace.

    Each person, animal and thing enters our life to bring us something, eventually they leave to make room for something else or someone else. It won’t be for a while but this house has room for two dogs and this family the desire to never leave the hole empty for too long. There are others that need a home, rest assured there will be a home waiting when the time comes.

    Thank you all.

  25. Jack, I am very sorry to hear of the passing away for your friend and pet. Lakota sounded like a great pet-and from what you said-you saved the dog from a horrible past and gave him a bright future-and good loving home.

    I too, miss my dog-Snoopy-my best friend for year when I was growing up. He also ran in our woods and hunted (Beagle-cocker mix).
    He passed away while I was at college-chased one too many cars.

    He is still missed in a way.

    Lakota was blessed in a way-he had you for a friend. I will say a prayer for you-and your family-mourning the lss of a friend is never easy.

    God bless you and your family.

    Lawrence

  26. So to hear about your loss.

    I know how hard it is to lose a “member of the family”.

    I wish you and yours peace and comfort.

  27. Rich Hrazanek

    Jack,

    Sorry to hear about Lakota. I remember when a cat I had named Oliver died. It hurt me as when some people I know passed.

  28. my prayers are with you

  29. Janice Miller

    A rush of bitter sweet memories came to me as I read your post about Lakota. I loved my dog, Jenny; 14 years old when I put her down. About 3 days later I lay on the floor where she prefered to sleep and cried my eyes out. My tabby cat, Tigger licked my cheek and neck and purred loudly over me. He was a languid self contained cat that never gave or needed affection. He was a bundle of comfort then. All of us in the audience you speak to would like to be of ocmfort to you. May you find tender comfort that works for you.

  30. Allen Brewer

    Sorry to hear about Lakota. My wife and I just recently lost one of our loved dogs we had for over 12 years. Your heart is broken. But with time and the love of other family members it will be better. I try to just remember the good times spent with our cherished pet and family member. She still brings a smile to my face when I remember those times. God Bless.

  31. Sorry to hear of your loss, It brings back memories of my old friends long gone. Will be thinking of you all today.
    Norm

  32. Jack,
    Like you I grew up in the country on a farm. As a young man I saw many animals/pets come and go and at some point I closed my heart to protect myself from the pain of losing them. We had 6 huskies over the years, and you’re right about them being free spirited, I had 2 run away.

    I didn’t have a pet for about 15 years until this February when a little Beagle puppy came into my life. I’ve opened my heart (and my wallet) for this little gal and she is great.

    But every single day I think of what you’re going through today and it pains me to know that it’s what is inevitable. But one thing it’s also showed me is to cherish every day you have with them because they are innocent loving souls.

    Jack, my heart goes out to you and your family. No matter how painful, you did the right thing and that is what makes you a great man.

  33. Ned Puddleman

    Sometimes the greatest love you can show for an animal is not letting them suffer.

  34. We were in your shoes a couple months back. My deepest sympathies and prayers are with you and your family.

  35. Masterherdsman

    Our condolences to you and yours.

  36. One of the toughest things a person has to do Jack. Hope the pain passes quickly.

  37. Jack and Family,

    I am truly sorry for your loss. I have mourned my dogs more than some people. Hard to find that kind of unconditional love from any person that a pet gives you.

    You and yours are in my thoughts and prayers, and I hope that you know that you did the the best you could for an old friend.

    Sincerely,
    Zombie Axe

  38. I share your grief today friend.

  39. Jack,

    Deepest sympathies on the loss of your trusted friend Lakota. It’s a difficult decision, but he suffers no more. When you see photos of him and remember how integral he was to the family, you’ll know “He’s the reason we humans have pets”

  40. Losing a member of the family is never easy. Our thoughts are with you.

  41. timfromohio

    We’re sorry for you and your family’s loss.

  42. We feel for you and your family – our dogs kidneys failed on new years eve day 2008 and our vet said there was nothing more to be done- He said he was suffering and we should end it. So we did – such a sad sad time- I did not wait long – just a few weeks before getting another dog that was being given away – a golden lab/retriever- such a bundle of energy – we will always miss chance, but being busy with a rambunctious pup left us little time for depression. My heart goes out to you – I know how hard this is to lose such a loving companion.

  43. Jack and Family:

    I\’m sorry to here about your family pet. I\’m sure we\’ve seen him on the videos. Our dogs are just like our children. I know your pain. Good luck.

  44. There were 2 times I saw my grandfather cry. Once was when we took his dog in to be put to sleep, the other was his mothers funeral.

    My sympathies.

  45. homesteader

    Jack and Family,
    So sorry to hear about your companion. It never gets easier each time. Keep the good memories close to your hearts.

  46. A loss of a family member is one of the toughest events in living.
    My sympathies.

  47. Loss of a four legged friend sometimes hits us harder than we imagine. Sometimes my mutts are a pain in the ass, but I sure will miss them when that day comes. Praying for peace, for you and your family. Michael

  48. My sympathies are with you and your family today. You have made a positive impact on my life and I thank you for that. Again, I am sorry for your loss.

    Andy

  49. To you and your family,
    I know that this is a difficult time for you all, but afterwards think of all the fun and happy time throughout his life and all the happiness he has brought you. He will be in a happy place with no pains and will be watching over you….

    ” Grieve not,
    nor speak of me with tears,
    but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you. I loved you so…
    t’was heaven here with you ”

    Our prayers are with you and Lakota, We know he will be sadly missed

    God Bless

  50. I am sorry for your loss. I know what a great joy a dog can be and how hard it is when they pass. You and your family are in my thoughts today. Bob

  51. Colm (IRKCOD)

    Sorry to hear about your loss.
    While it is a difficult decision to make it is ultimately the best one for all. We have had the same experience with a couple of ours over the years, a Rothweller and a StaffyX..
    Well treated dogs give Unconditional Loyalty and ask for very little in return.
    They are sadly missed but forever hold a fond place in your memories.

  52. It brings a tear to my eye. It makes me remember putting my dear dog down after 14 years. She was a troubled dog that I took in, and after many years she was finally content and not so terrified of everything. I stared in her eyes as the life left her. I had to walk out the back door of the vets off because I couldnt stand anyone seeing me in the state I was in. The drive home was clouded in a sheet of tears.

    best wishes (as a tear runs down my cheek)(god, am I a wuss or what? haha)

  53. FrankWB2IRE

    Jack and Family: My thoughts and prayers are for you today as you all move through this day. I am a member of a K9 search team and know the deep love owners have for their pets. Lakota was blessed to have been with you and your family

  54. Jack,

    When Itunes did not download your show today I feared this has happened. My thoughts go out to you. I know how these little guys can become such a part of the family.

  55. Anthony Alston

    Dear Jack,

    I’m so very sorry for your family’s loss of their beloved dog. Dogs are part of the family. What an awesome twist of fate that you were able to rescue Lakota. It’s that act of kindness, mercy, and love that allowed Lakota to live a full life with a family that loved and cared.

    You and your family are in my thoughts. Take care.

    Anthony

  56. I went through the same thing with 3 different dogs in my life. It’s one of the toughest things for a dog owner to do. Dogs are the only animal on this planet that truly have a connection with us. A Native America folk tale goes something like this. Coyote and Dog traveled together. They were hungry and decided to go hunting together. Dog would flush the game and Coyote would catch it. But Coyote always ate the catch without sharing, promising the next one would be Dog’s. Dog became tired of this and decided to go off on his own. He came across some Humans who were camped. The Humans invited him into their camp, gave him food and let him lay by the fire. And Dog has lived with us ever since.

  57. Here’s to dog’s like Lakota whose love is true. Those who leave us will always be alive in our memories. Here’s to you are your family, Jack, for resisting the urge to get a cute little puppy and adopting a dog in need of a home.

  58. Jack,

    God bless you sir. My thoughts go out to you with the loss of your friend.

  59. Jack, Sorry to hear about your dog. Dogs are truely a very special animal, and are indeed man’s best friend. Im sure he is in a much better place where he can run to his hearts content.

    Take care Jack,
    Mike

  60. Although I’m just another voice sharing my sympathy, I can’t help but say I feel your pain. I can still remember the day I took my golden retriever in to be put down. I think I’m still recovering a few years later…

  61. palmbay lou

    Hi Jack, sorry your friendship with Lakota was interrupted. I had my dog for seventeen years, I called him Dog, that was all he would answer to. He was a ninety pound dog in a forty pound body. He was my friend from when I was nine years old and I still think about him when I hear a story like yours. My heart goes out to you and your family, they can be a pain sometimes but they know when you hurt and when you need a friend. I believe that someday I’ll get to toss that sticky, fuzzless, tennis ball again for him someday in a place where love of all kinds abounds.

    Peace.
    palmbay lou.

  62. Sorry for your loss. I went through this a few months back with my cat. Its a terrible thing to have to say goodbye, but its also one of the most compasionate things you can do for your friend.

  63. Jack,

    I am sorry to here of your loss. Putting my dog down was one of the hardest thing I have had to do. I will probably be putting my cat down soon to.

    My thoughts are with you and your family. God speed Lakota.

  64. Rest In Peace Lakota. Your humans obviously loved you like a ‘furry kid’ Enjoy chasing rabbits in the ever after. Tell Poppy I said Hi.

  65. Jack,

    I had a dog, a yellow lab, that was my nemisis and my best friend. It was a terrible day when I finally had to put him down, and I am sure that he was disappointed that I wasn’t there when he got where he was going.
    I hope that at some time we are together again. Dogs are exceptional companions because they accept you for just what you are. There is no ugly, or beautiful, fat or skinny. Just unconditional acceptance and willingness to give you what you need in your life.
    You can never replace a dog, any more than you could replace a child, but when you and your family are ready there will be another dog that would like to be a part of your life.

    I am sad that you have lost such a great friend, but happy that you had the opportunity to share part of your life with Lakota.

    Best,

  66. I was bummed out to see there was not show today, but more so to find out why. These animals come into your lives as pets but end up as family.

    Sorry for your loss.

  67. My condolences on your loss. Take comfort in the fact that you gave him a good life and know that he loved you for it.

  68. My condolences. Lakota will remember you as great owner.

  69. Sorry Jack – been there, done that. Know the feeling. If you get a chance, pick up the book Mark Levin wrote, Rescuing Sprite – will make you both happy and then, as it did me, cry. A great inspiring story. Best to the family – you did the right thing. Those that hold on for there own sake, while the dog suffers, are not as kind as you.

  70. I’m so sorry for your loss. Last month, we had to put down the cat I grew up with. It’s so hard. God bless you and your family.

  71. Sorry to hear about your loss its always hard to lose a true friend.

  72. My thoughts are with you on this difficult and emotional day. I am sad now thinking of the day I will need to do the same for my pup but it only makes me appreciate our time together more.

  73. Jack,

    Sorry to hear about your loss. It is one of the hardest decisions one has to make when one has to choose between lossing a member of the family and quality of life. My dogs are the only kids I can have and I dread the day I might have to make that decision. My thoughts go with you and your famly on this sad day.

  74. Sorry to hear about your loss. It’s always hard to lose a member of the family. I can imagine how hard it is on you and your family. my toughts go out to you and your family.

  75. Jack,
    So sorry to hear of your loss. You clearly made the world a better place for each other. Our condolences and thoughts are with you and yours.

    Best wishes

  76. Mike (lupo13)

    Jack,
    Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I too had to put down my 2 Huskys after 14 years with them both. Keep his memories close and take with you the life lessons our animal companions teach us on how to approach life.

  77. Jack and family, sorry for your loss. I still miss my pain-in-the-ass Blue Heeler….alot. Its the hardest thing saying goodbye to what you love. My heart and thoughts are with you and your family.

  78. Hector Quinones

    To Jack and Family,

    I am so sorry to hear this. I know you mentioned the Lakota was not doing well. Our family has been through the same ordeal and we can relate. I know in your heart you know it’s time to say goodbye. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Godspeed my brother!

    -Hector

  79. Possenti2264

    I’m sorry for your loss. We had a dalmatian when I was growing up. She was put down for the same reasons as Lakota.

    Few things are sadder than losing a good dog.

  80. Jack, So sorry to hear that, your loss will be felt by all of us.Our deepest sympathys The Harpers

  81. Very sorry for your loss. I can imagine Lakota is up in the clouds running in the biggest, softest, most beautiful field imaginable…free as an angel on the wing.

  82. Lisa Hettman (RiderX)

    I know how it hurts… we’ve always had dogs some for many years. How hard it is to give them the last kindness you can give them.

    Peace to you, your wife and family. ~ Lisa

  83. I am sorry to hear of your loss. I extend my deepest sympathy.

  84. Jack

    The loss of a true friend is never easy, but remember the blessing of having had true friendship. You did right by him and no friend could ask for more.

  85. So sorry to hear about Lakota. We lost our dog in March (stroke — died at home with us rubbing her head).

    Even if it is time, it isn\’t easy.

    Janet.

  86. So sorry to hear about your friend and companion, Lakota. A dog is more than just a bond, he makes boys into men and makes men into boys.

    I would love to get myself a Shadow again. I called him Shadow because he went everywhere I went.

    Take comfort, knowing that you have friends, even in South Africa.

    Craig Emmerick

  87. Jack, I have not been on your website for a few days and I just read the news of your loss. I have also had to put an old friend of 12 years to sleep because of health problem. It was one of the most painful experiences of my life. You have my deepest sympathy. Sadly, life makes us make painful choices for someone we love. It has been eight years since I had to put my miniature daschund Peanut to sleep and it is still painful. Our lives are enriched and changed by their presence forever.

  88. My sympathies on your loss.
    Some dogs are your “once in a lifetime dog”.
    I put my Riko down last October and I’m just now getting over it.

  89. Sorry to hear Jack. It’s good that you both made each others lives better in many ways.

    Sebastian

  90. radiomacgyver

    Sorry for your loss.

  91. sorry about your loss. Hard to lose such an important member of your team/ family.

    good luck

  92. Jack and Family,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you over your loss. I had to put down my 16yr old lab a week ago monday. Her kidneys finally gave up and in the end she too wouldn’t eat, and couldn’t walk.

    It makes me feel better when I realize how lucky we were to have such a good friend and family member as long as we did. I took sometime with my son to remember all of the good times we had with her. It was like celebrating our time together, it seemed to help.

    A good dog is the best friend you can have. Forever loyal and loving.

    Godbless

  93. Sorry about Lakota. I really like her name, did you name her? I lost my Chocolate Lab last year on July 15. So I was feeling bad anyway because an entire year has passed since I lost him. He was 13 so he lived a pretty long life and was as spoiled as a dog can get. I rushed into a new dog, and got a Black Lab (which turned out to be a chow, airdale, lab mix), and he is quite a handful, and has fought 2 dogs so far. He won both fights, so I guess thats good.
    Like your show

  94. Modern Survival

    @mike it was his name not her’s.

    Yes I named him, he came with the name Chinook which he did not answer too, I just didn’t like it. Lakota was the name of an Indian tribe from the North Central U.S. It means basically “the people” it fit the dog because his primary goal was to be part of groups of people at all times. He really seemed to prefer people over fellow dogs.

  95. Sorry about calling Lakota a female.

    mike

  96. Jack,
    I just logged onto the site tonight after a few days.
    I’m so sorry about the loss of Lakota. I don’t know how they do it but dogs just burrow right down into our lives & hearts. It is so very hard to lose them when they’ve been such a big part of our lives. Godspeed Lakota.
    My sympathies to you & your family.
    sunny

  97. Just caught this Jack and wanted to let you know how sorry I am for your loss. We had to make the same choice a couple of months ago with our Brittany “Katy”. She was a great friend of almost 15 years. I know it was one of the hardest decisions you have ever made and respect you for not allowing Lakota to suffer. Godspeed to you and your family and may Lakota live in your hearts forever.

    Lawdog1

  98. Dogs can be very good friends. I had two dogs in High School that took me on walks everyday after school. I really missed those walks when I went away to college. I got my own puppy 7 years ago and he and I have been trough alot together from two bachelors living together to having 3 small boys.