BLOG: Saying goodbye

Allison M Cooper
York Dispatch
Our daughter Alexa, saying goodbye to TJ in August 2014 - and saying hello to Tug McGraw in 2016

This is a photo montage my daughter made. It features her giving our dog TJ a squeeze the day before he died in 2014 and it features her with our puppy Tug McGraw (like the baseball player) meeting each other at the end of 2015.

This is a blog about Tuggy. He is a joy and a challenge and we love him so. But before I begin to share what life with a little puppy is like for us, I'd like to pay tribute to TJ, whose spirit lives on in our hearts - and in Tuggy.

Some background:

We adopted TJ in 2011. He hailed from Long Island and we were living in the Finger Lakes region of New York state at the time. TJ was originally to live with a family member who it turned out was allergic. We thought our daughter would love having him in the house.

That was an understatement.

Alexa and TJ

TJ was the most loving guy. He was about 9 years old when we adopted him and he was a gentle soul - and perfect soulmate for our daughter, an equally gentle soul.

When she went away to college, they would chat via Facetime.

We immediately came to understand the benefit of adopting an older dog. He brought so much joy to our lives in the three years we shared our lives with him.

He was long-suffering - putting up with our antics:

TJ Christmas

But he was also playful and precocious - taking shoes and Christmas stockings as a statement when he thought we weren't paying enough attention:

Merry Christmas
Shoe Thief

TJ was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. Saying goodbye to him was excruciating. Shortly after that, we moved to Pennsylvania and had a very quiet home.

Until Tuggy, that is.

Tug McGraw

This is a blog about the nurturing, healing, wondrous relationships that pets have with their humans. It's about the importance of giving animals a voice in this world through advocating for their well-being. And it's about getting a brand-new puppy for the first time in 20 years and realizing you're not as young as you used to be and puppies are incredibly energetic - another understatement.

It's about Tug Life.