Broken Hearts


The last week has been difficult for us all after the loss of our sweet boy, Gunner. Our broken hearts will never be the same again.

He was by my side for so many years, it just doesn’t make sense for him to be gone.

I can still hear his impatient bark at 5:00 to let me know it’s time to eat dinner. I can still hear the scraping of his nails on the floor when he would have wild running dreams. I can still feel his soft ears against my face when I would cuddle with him. I can still see his legs stretch out so far as he rolled on his back waiting for someone to scratch his belly. I can still feel his wet nose touch mine when he would ask for a piece of my food – the only trick he knew – to give kisses for a treat.

Time seems to stand still and our tiny floating home feels so empty. I miss my boy.

We all miss him.

Yesterday, Betsy laid in ‘his spot’ on the rug in the galley. It was his very favorite spot to lay in the whole boat – I think because it was the same size as his old crate. He felt safe in there. Betsy had never laid in there before, maybe because Gunner was always there, but never even when he was somewhere else. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen her lay there, and she stayed there all day. She usually prefers to be on the couch or the bed, but since Gunner has been gone she has been laying in his favorite places or at my feet.

We are giving her extra love. It helps her and it helps us. She misses her brother just as much as we miss him too.

It’s been so hard to motivate myself to do anything. It would be easier if I had a job to be distracted with but all the boat projects just seem to not matter right now. We’ll be working soon enough but for now its just so hard to get through the day.


If you haven’t seen the tribute article I wrote for Gunner, please take a few moments out of your day to hear our story and see our adventures together here:


  1. Debbie Yoho says:

    I’m so sorry you have lost your fur baby…your story broke my heart…I have had sweet fur babies my whole life, and when they go it’s never easy. Remember the sweet time you had with Gunner….♡♡♡

  2. ayers421 says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, I’ve had to do this several times myself. It will get better- promiss. They are never forgotten. Big hug to you all and just be gentle with yourselves.

  3. Kelly says:

    Dogs do grieve and feel loss as well Jody- have experienced this personally. You will be good for each other during this time, you really will. I know it doesn’t seem like it but soon the great memories you have of Gunner and your life together will push out the sadness. You enriched each other and will celebrate that alone with time. Sending you all the good dog loving energy in the world xox

  4. Drasi Carr says:

    I’ve been following your story for a while and am so sad for you- also so proud of you for making the difficult but worthy choice. In your effort to save Gunner pain you are suffering yourself. You, Peter and Betsy will now begin to create a new family and new memories. You all need that and will do it for each other. It’s okay and healthy to grieve and slowly, day by day you will walk forward. It is sooo very hard and my husband and I have done it many times. Your depth of loss is a true reflection of your depth of love- be grateful you can feel that much and that it was honestly returned. With love and empathy as well as hope that each day gets just a little easier.

  5. S.V. CAMBRIA says:

    First and foremost, I’m so sorry to hear about Gunner. We had a dog aboard (Sally) for 14 years and (like you) saying good-bye was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. I wish I could say the pain stops. It doesn’t. Or it least it hasn’t yet. But I can tell you that first week was the absolute worst. My husband and I felt completely lost. We had to change our entire routine just to get through the days without drowning in tears. And then, little by little and day by day, we cried a bit less. It’s been 16 months and I still miss her like crazy but in a way that’s bearable — I can look back now with a smile on my face and without too many tears in my eyes. I wish the same for you.

  6. So sorry that you’re going through such pain! I wish I had words to make things better. My thoughts are with you two .. and Betsy. I’m sure seeing her grieve doesn’t make things any easier. Remember, you gave Gunner a wonderful, loving life and you did the right thing by ending his suffering.

  7. This post brought such a lump to my throat. Went through this just a few years ago, and know we’ll be going through it again in a few years. It’s the price to pay for such love, but it’s never easy. It will get better, though.

  8. Ken and Debra says:

    Dogs do know. We had two. They were three days apart at birth and we adopted at six weeks, Together every single day until my Bessie (Cairn Terrier) passed of heart failure at 17. Ellie (evil little Rat dog) would never venture under our shore bed and Bessie would hide from her there (and fav place to doze). But after Bessie was gone, she would crawl under several times a day for over two years. Our dogs gave me so much. When my heart disease started I was house bound on the couch for 5 months. They were always there for me. They checked me over (with their noses) nearly every hour. Ellie made it six weeks shy of her twentieth birthday. I still miss them every day, but the pain is much less. They gave me so much and we loved them dearly. I said no more, can’t take the loss, but that lasted 6 months. The good is now we have three little Ratdogs, saved from the kill shelter. They help make my day passable, along with reading blogs like yours. On a good day I can walk to the kitchen, and that is about the most I can manage. So I follow along and dream your adventure. Thank you so much and please give Betsey a hug from Mattie (mini rat), Pattie (happy rat) and Lucy (half Chi/rat mix). Ken

  9. tedloveslisa says:

    “Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart. Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.” Author Unknown.

  10. kjdavie01 says:

    Dear Jody, we’re still grieving for our boy, gone 7 months now. I still get that catch in the throat when I expect to see him and realize he’s not there…
    But it’s easier every day, a little bit at a time. Keep the faith, give Betsy lots of love (you’re right – it helps you both!), and know it’ll get easier soon. You never forget, but you do recover, and the sun does come out again. Hugs from us on Sionna – Nicki & Keith

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