This woman’s obituary for her dog perfectly captures the highs and lows of owning a pet

July 26, 2017 9:07 am Last Updated: November 20, 2017 2:38 pm

 

 

On July 12th, Lee DiBella of Watertown, Connecticut suffered a heartbreaking loss in the family: her dog Brian died after a battle with pneumonia.

Over the past 11 years, she had developed a close loving bond with the dog, through good times and bad. She first adopted the rescue after her father died, according to Inside Edition.

“I wanted something to bring comfort to not only myself, but to my mother,” she told them. “When you were with him, that dog was a snuggle butt. He just wanted to lay next to you and snuggle and kiss.”

When sickness hit, doctors tried to keep him going as long as she could, but when things took a turn for the worst, she knew it was time. She told People Magazine:

“My heart wanted to keep him, but I knew I had to let go.”

After his death, a grieving DiBella faced a question posed to many dog owners:  How do you properly memorialize a pet that you loved like family?

Well, DiBella decided to give him the kind of send off we usually reserve for our more human family members:

She penned a 300-word obituary—one that is genuine and heartfelt, but full of humor that any dog owner can relate to.

“I just thought, ‘If he was a person, what would I say?’”

Getting the dog obituary published wasn’t easy. She originally paid to have it published in a local paper, but they rejected it when they realized it was for a dog. They offered to run it as an ad, but it just wasn’t the same.

So instead, she tweeted NBC Connecticut, and the affiliate decided to run the tribute in its entirety, so everyone can read DiBella’s beautiful paean to the “dog legends are made of.”

DiBella paints a portrait of Brian as a dog who wasn’t always perfect or well-behaved, but who lived life to the fullest—full of love and boundless enthusiasm.

Being able to destroy any crate, gate, door handle or trim and molding in his way, Brian quickly began building loving relationships with all those who came in contact with him, whether it be a new vet, animal control, or whoever’s house he found his way to for an uninvited romp…. The quickest way to Brian’s heart was with a quality scratch of his rear, and a rub of his belly.

Like any good obituary, it detailed Brian’s favorite pastimes and hobbies:

Some of Brian’s favorite activities included barking at things not there, cuddling alongside you, taking over his mother’s bed, licking his butt, acting like a spazz when it was time to be fed, and trying to figure out who exactly was “the good boy.”

It’s humorous, but it’s also heartbreaking, as DiBella makes clear her genuine love for her pet and sorrow for his loss:

Brian will be greatly missed by many, but none more so than his momThrough thick and thin, she loved him with all her heart, and though the pain she feels without him is great, it in no way would compare to having never had him in her life.

DiBella and Brian had a life-saving relationship.

They didn’t just have a close owner-pet bond: they may have saved each others lives.

DiBella adopted Brian as a two-year-old puppy in 2006. He was a rescue dog, found with wounds on him—and the adoption wasn’t an easy transition.

“He was a holy terror, don’t get me wrong. Separation anxiety made him unadoptable, and I was at my wit’s end,” she told People.

But she stayed strong, a decision that likely saved Brian’s life.

“Nobody else would put up with him, so I just tried to deal with it so he wouldn’t be put down.”

And thank goodness she did. Because not only did she have 11 years of great times with Brian, he may have saved her life in return, apparently detecting a tumor and prompting her to seek medical attention.

“Brian insisted on sleeping on my head. I honestly think he was trying to tell me something,” she told People. She eventually underwent brain surgery to have a benign cyst removed.

After the obituary went viral, DiBella has received a huge outpouring of support.

“It made my heart so happy that people wanted to learn about Brian,” she told People about fellow dog lovers around the country reaching out to her. “They (pets) are our kids.”

Not only that, but DiBella is a fifth grade teacher, and many of her students fondly remembered the stories she would tell the class about Brian, and reached out to their teacher with condolences.

“Every day was a Brian story,” she told People.

But what’s really amazing about this story is that Brian was, all in all, a pretty normal dog. He wasn’t a celebrity or hero, just a big goofy pet, but one who was genuinely loved and part of people’s lives.

His obituary includes a long list of surviving family members (both canine and human) as well as his “many amazing friends throughout the years.”

“It’s the biggest personification of how they’re family,” DiBella told People.

“We deal with deaths of [humans] all the time, and people reach out, but not from across the country! He’s a rockstar and he deserves it.”

Posted by Kelli McDaniel Miller on Thursday, July 20, 2017

In lieu of flowers, the obituary makes this final request: “At the wishes of Brian’s family, give your dog an extra hug, belly rub, and treat.”

After reading this story, it’s hard to say no.

You can read the full obituary below, first published by NBC Connecticut:

Brian died peacefully, alongside his mom of nearly 11 years, Wednesday, July 12th, under the care of Stone Veterinary Hospital staff. Brian was adopted by his mother, Lee Dibella, on December 19th, 2006, and quickly became a dog legends are made of. Brian arrived in our home with the ability to not only sit, but also “give paw.” Being able to destroy any crate, gate, door handle or trim and molding in his way, Brian quickly began building loving relationships with all those who came in contact with him, whether it be a new vet, animal control, or whoever’s house he found his way to for an uninvited romp. A lover of couches and blankets, Brian had many hobbies. Some of Brian’s favorite activities included barking at things not there, cuddling alongside you, taking over his mother’s bed, licking his butt, acting like a spazz when it was time to be fed, and trying to figure out who exactly was “the good boy.” In his spare time, Brian dreamt violently, thrashing his legs, presumably chasing dastardly felines or squirrels who dared enter his dreams. The quickest way to Brian’s heart was with a quality scratch of his rear, and a rub of his belly. Brian will be greatly missed by many, but none more so than his mom. Through thick and thin, she loved him with all her heart, and though the pain she feels without him is great, it in no way would compare to having never had him in her life. Besides his mother, Brian leaves behind a sister, Dr. Frigo Delilah, grandmother, Jeannette DiBella; predeceased by a grandfather, David; his uncle, Michael and family; god-mother, Jennifer DeWitt; and many amazing friends throughout the years. At the wishes of Brian’s family, give your dog an extra hug, belly rub, and treat.