The Story of Nora

I don’t really remember why I was on petfinder.com one day in November 2010. In July of that year Craig and I rescued a cat. He was part of a feral litter found in someone’s backyard. He was also the only one left, as all the grey kittens were already adopted. His name was Hunter and one summer day he was staring at us from behind a glass window. We were a little tipsy from a boozy brunch and well, it was really easy to adopt a cat. So we did, and we joked that we didn’t want our cat to be too much of a cat (neither of us had ever owned a cat or been around cats). And we needed a dog to straighten him out.

I stumbled on a photo of a dog named Scoopy. She was approximately 2 years old. She was in urgent need of a home. We were in NO position to get a dog. We were broke (an understatement) and working at jobs that kept us out of the house from around 7am-5/6pm Monday-Friday. But lots of people in NYC had dogs and similar schedules and there was just something about that dog. I immediately emailed the woman and said I was very interested. I could go see her ASAP. This was back when adopting a dog wasn’t a competitive sport and she got right back to me. She was a “special needs” dog. A little aside, I have not really shared this before because a) I have no way to verify and b) I do not like to push the idea that shelter dogs are all damaged, abused and “a lot of work.” They are all unique, some struggle more than others, but too many narratives around them perpetuate negative stereotypes that can sometimes keep people from considering rescue. Back to Scoopy. She had apparently come in to the shelter as part of a hoarder case. She had allegedly never been let outside, ever (hence the nickname Scoopy because she used a litter box). Apparently none of the dogs she came in with made it out of the shelter. She was great with animals but terrified of people. It was not a deterrent, for whatever reason I was drawn to her and I wanted to meet her ASAP.

We set up a time and Craig and I headed to the Brooklyn apartment where she was staying with a young couple and two cats. I rang the doorbell and the woman opened the door. She remarked how strange it was, that Scoopy didn’t bark or growl at me, as she wasn’t typically fond of new people, especially when they first came to the door. I crouched down and pet her ears, she nuzzled up to me, there was no question, this was my dog. I didn’t realize it at the time, but thinking back on it, we connected immediately. The moment I laid eyes on her (starting with her petfinder photo) I knew I needed her. The woman told me to think about it, I had to go to London for work the next day, if I still wanted her when I got back, I could have her.

I went on my work trip and I thought about her everyday. I was so anxious and worried someone would get her while I was gone. I think I emailed the woman everyday and she probably thought I was nuts. “Just letting you know I still want Scoopy I get back in 2 days I can come from the airport!” As soon as I returned from my trip, I filled out the adoption paperwork and scrounged up the $200 adoption fee (we probably skipped a week of groceries to pay for it). She scheduled a time to come drop her off, and Scoopy was officially ours.

The first order of business was giving her a new name, one that felt a little more dignified. As we rattled off options Craig said “what about Nora?” The year prior Norah Jones had moved to Brooklyn. At the time it was kind of a big deal. Nora was perfect (we dropped the H for no reason in particular).

I looked back at my emails from 2010, there aren’t many left as most have been deleted (and I think most of my adoption emails were sent from my work email because I felt like it made me look more “official”). The ones I did find are from correspondence from the rescue and her dog walker. She was “terrified of new people” and “so afraid of being outside she would hold it and pee once we got back inside.” She wouldn’t let the dog walker in the house to take her for a walk. Eventually we realized if she brought another dog along, Nora would go with her. She had terrible separation anxiety and would howl for hours while we were gone. She did not trust anyone, except for me. In the first few weeks, she wouldn’t even let Craig take her outside, she didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything unless I was there too.

It took a while for Nora to overcome her fears and anxieties. When we worked through one issue, a different one would pop up, but as the days turned into weeks turned into months, she blossomed. She LOVED other dogs. We took Nora everywhere. Our weekend adventures she was always in tow, sitting at our feet for $5 margaritas, hanging out in the dressing room at Beacon’s Closet, and trips back to RI as often as possible for her to run on the beach and hang out with our family dog Ziggy.

We spent almost 5 years in Brooklyn before we decided to pack up our life and drive 3,000 miles across the country, twice (we didn’t last long in Los Angeles). Nora was with us through it all. She was there for some really hard years, through job loss, stretches of unemployment and lots of uncertainty. She was our sweet, silly girl, a source of comfort always. Over the next several years we’d move another 5 times. The last would be moving into our first home.

Nora’s First Home

When we went to look at the house, we made an offer the same day. All we ever wanted was a place with a yard for Nora, and the freedom to get another dog because we knew how much she’d love that. When we bought the house Nora was around 7 years old. She always had bad hips and arthritis but it never slowed her down. She was the dog that helped my cousin’s rescue learn how to climb stairs, and bonded with my Aunt’s dog when she rescued him. She was a teacher and nurturer. I lost track of how many people would say “oh my dog never usually likes other dogs.” We hoped getting a younger dog would keep her spry. Eventually we found Fuji, and they become a bonded pair. The only life Fuji knew was one with Nora. She would clean him, snuggle him, and correct him when he was being naughty. They would play and wrestle and cuddle. They were inseparable. They lived for their afternoon group walks with their dog walker Steph and early morning weekend adventures to the beach. They were our whole world and we were theirs.

Her Final Year

Three years after we bought our first home I got pregnant. I never thought I wanted to have kids. It was a surprise, and a challenging one. I was incredibly sick with hyperemesis gravidarum. Most days I could barely move or get out of bed. Nora was my constant companion. Lying on the bathroom floor with me while I slept with my head by the toilet. Curling up on the couch or in bed with me for hours. We watched every season of The Great British Bake-Off and The Office. She’d rest her head on my belly and smile every time there was a kick, opening one eye to look at me. Most days she protested even going for walks, she didn’t want to leave me home alone. She never liked being separated from me. When I traveled for work she’d sleep on the couch in the living room until I got back.

In February of 2020 we brought home a new baby, Marin. While Fuji was nervous, Nora didn’t skip a beat. She knew exactly what to do from the moment we walked in the door. She was always right nearby, never expecting anything, patiently waiting for you to give her a glance so she could smile and wag her tail. She loved nothing more than licking Marin and curling up next to her for tummy time. The feeling was mutual, Marin was all smiles when Nora was near. All you had to do was say Nora and her face would light up.

A few weeks into motherhood the Covid-19 pandemic hit. With a baby at home, we didn’t go anywhere or see anyone. We spent a lot of time at home together and going for our daily walks. I am so grateful for that silver lining. In the fall, we bought another fixer upper in Vermont, it had been a dream for years, and we were so excited to have a place where the dogs could roam off leash in the woods. Nora loved trail walks and exploring in the mountains. A few weeks after we bought the house, while Craig was up in Vermont renovating, Nora tore her CCL (the second time). We were devastated but decided to do surgery to repair. We felt she had so much time left and was otherwise very healthy, it was a no brainer.

The next three months Nora spent in recovery, short leash walks only. It sucked but we thought it was worth it because she’d have her mobility back. She recovered better and faster than her first surgery several years before. About two months after her surgery in late December I noticed she had a little nose bleed. I didn’t think much of it but called the vet and made an appointment just in case. They took x-rays and didn’t see anything, all her blood work came back normal, she didn’t seem to be in pain and was acting totally normal. They prescribed an antibiotic in case it was an infection and we scheduled a consultation for a CT Scan but because of Covid wait times were long.

Saying Goodbye

The first week of February Nora wasn’t herself. All of a sudden she didn’t want to go for walks, barely wanted to get out of bed and didn’t really want to eat. I spent hours calling around to different vets in RI and Vermont trying to find somewhere that could do a CT Scan right away, our appointment wasn’t for another week and I knew we couldn’t wait that long. I eventually found an emergency vet in Burlington and drove through a snowstorm to get her there. I had convinced myself whatever it was we could fix. Whatever treatment she needed we would get it. What I didn’t anticipate was finding out she had aggressive cancer, and it wasn’t really treatable. Other than keeping her comfortable, there was nothing we could do.

I brought Nora home from the emergency vet and she slept an entire day. She was always anxious at the vet and they said she didn’t sleep at all while she was there. As a last resort the vet suggested we try an NSAID to help reduce the inflammation and a painkiller to keep her comfortable. This was the night before Marin’s first birthday. The following morning, Nora was back. She was smiling, wagging her tail, ready for breakfast, and excited for a walk. Marin’s birthday weekend was full of joy because Nora we thought, was going to be ok, at least for a while.

That Monday Nora declined rapidly again. I could tell she was in pain. She didn’t get up much that day, getting her to eat was a struggle, she would retreat to her crate. She was having a hard time breathing and Monday night she didn’t sleep at all. The thing is, dogs naturally suppress signals of pain. Nora was really struggling Monday night, but every time we would go lay at her crate, she’d get really quiet and pretend she was fine. By Tuesday she was not improving and I could tell she wanted me to let her go. I was devastated. I called the vet to do a gut check and see if she felt I was making the right decision. She confirmed. It didn’t make me feel better.

I scheduled a vet to come Wednesday morning so we could let Nora go peacefully at home. I thought we could have one more night with her, but by Tuesday afternoon Nora was really struggling and started to have bad sneezing attacks. Her nose wouldn’t stop gushing blood and I didn’t want to put her through another sleepless night, so I called the vet to see if she could come that night, we decided she’d come after Marin went to bed. I spent the next few hours with her on the couch, she slept with her head on my lap. She and Fuji spent a while cuddling in their bed, he wrapped his whole body around hers.

The vet arrived and Nora was anxious, and those last 5 minutes play over and over in my head. We brought her over to her bed and had her lay down. We fed her ice cream as the vet injected her with a solution to put her into a deep sleep. When she gave her the shot Nora cried out and I will never forget the sound she made. She knew. I held her in my arms as she fell asleep. It happened so fast. I thought it would take a little while and I could hold her and talk to her but within less than a minute she was snoring. It made me realize how tired she probably was and how long she had been struggling, not sleeping but trying to hide her pain.

I debated whether or not to let Fuji see her body once she was gone, but ultimately thought it would be too distressing for him. The only life he ever knew was one with Nora in it. When we let him upstairs after the vet took her body away he was incredibly distraught. He ran around the house barking, and we let him outside so he wouldn’t wake up Marin. He howled and he didn’t stop.

I keep reflecting on how my life with Nora prepared me for motherhood. Nora taught me about patience, strength, and unconditional love. I’ve found myself saying the exact same things to Marin that I used to say to Nora. When I think back, from the day we brought Marin home to Nora’s last day with us, which was almost exactly a year, I can’t help but recognize Nora’s quiet presence. She knew what I needed, she was always selfless. On her final day, she lay quietly with her head on my lap as I stroked her ears. She was so peaceful. I could feel her saying it’s ok, I am ready, you can let me go.

The morning after Nora passed I looked out the kitchen window and saw a family of deer. I hadn’t seen any in quite a while and it seemed kind of funny because Nora went crazy for deer. I brushed it off as coincidence, but I desperately wanted a sign. I ended up getting this book Signs the next day because so many had recommended it, and as I started reading I noticed one of the signs from The Other Side is deer. Still, I figured, probably a coincidence. But then, every day after Nora’s passing I saw deer, sometimes multiple times a day. We might see them once every few weeks, but never every day. No matter where I went or what I was doing, I would stumble upon deer. I knew Nora was with me. For 11 years, Nora was my confidant, my best friend, the one who I shared a connection with deeper than anyone else in this world. And a year after I became a mother, she knew her work was done. She taught me how to be selfless, how to love unconditionally and without judgement, how to be patient and how to find strength even when I felt I had none. She guided me for 11 years and I will carry her in my heart forever.

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81 Comments

  1. Kristin wrote:

    My heart hurts for you. I lost my 17 year old baby three days before my birthday in 2019. They are so much more than just pets. So many prayers and loving thoughts.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  2. Abigail Anderson wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing Nora’s story. I can’t imagine it was easy to put this together, but you are a beautiful writer and your relationship with Nora is so special.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  3. meg wrote:

    Thank you for sharing Nora’s story with us, I can only imagine how difficult it was for you to write out all these words. Sending you SO much love.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  4. Allison wrote:

    This is beautiful, Jess. I am so sorry for your and your family’s loss. I have lost beloved dogs before as well, and I am sending you so much love and strength to get through.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  5. Laura wrote:

    As I sit here sobbing, what a beautiful story of Nora. My heart breaks for your family. Thank you for sharing her with us.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  6. Christina wrote:

    Your story made me cry so hard because it really hit home for me! First, let me say how sorry I am for your loss. There is no love like that between a Mama and her fur baby. It must be devastating for you. I know that’s how I felt when I lost my rescue, Scout, to a very aggressive form of cancer. I also believe in signs from the other side. After Scout passed, I kept seeing signs another dog was waiting for us. My husband thought it was too soon to get another dog – it was only a month – but I kept saying I see signs about a dog waiting for us. I visited our local humane society page and saw Murphy. I fell for him immediately and had to go see him that day. He met us at the door and I knew when I looked into his eyes, this was the dog Scout wanted us to find. We looked at the other dogs but I kept coming right back to him to rub his ears. Murphy was an older dog and had his share of issues but we worked through them over several months. We had to be gentle and understanding with him. We saw him blossom into the best dog after a few months. After Murphy passed, it tore my heart in two. I couldn’t think about another dog. It took me a few years to finally come around to getting another dog. I didn’t want to go through the pain of losing one again but my husband convinced me it was finally time. I wasn’t quite ready but I looked at puppies online with him one day. And you know what, there was a sign from Murphy on the puppy that was meant for us. Murphy was never without his bandana. He wore one every day. The puppy I knew was ours was also wearing a bandana. As soon as I met Lila, I knew Murphy played a part in putting us together. She had a good heart and playful attitude, just like him. She has brought so much joy into my life again – when I look at her, I just smile.

    Dog love is forever.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  7. Sydney wrote:

    This was hard to read, but thank you for sharing Nora’s story. Ever since you announced her passing, I’ve thought about you and her and have held my own girl closer. Grief comes in waves, sometimes small and sometimes massive and overwhelming, but there is also beauty in it. You remember the times you had together, the struggles you shared, the sweet moments where you and her were connected, and one day, you only smile when you think of her rather than cry. It takes time, but embrace the grief, and you will get there. Thank you again for sharing.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  8. Marika wrote:

    This is such a beautiful tribute to your sweet Nora. Losing them is one of the hardest blows. It’s a relationship that’s hard to qualify. They are our friends, our children, our parent figure even, at times. And they are here for such a brief time relative to the span of our lives; it hurts so much when they leave this us. I lost my sweet baby Sammy a few days before Nora’s passing, and like you, I’m so grateful to have had this last year home with her. What a priceless gift. Sammy would have been 18 on April 3. I feel greedy for wanting more time, but that’s the truth in my heart. She had woven herself into my life so completely and had seen me through so much. I know you feel the crushing weight of that loss too, and I’m sending so many hugs to you and your family.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  9. Elise Greene wrote:

    Dogs simply don’t live long enough that is certain. But it is such a selfless amazing act of love to let them go peacefully when it is time. She felt your love and had such an amazing life with you. Never forget that. Rescues are the best animals and I think can be rehabilitated from whatever horror they suffered prior. Nora is proof of that and your story will inspire others to take the time risk. The love that they give is like nothing humans can.I have often said unlike dogs better than people. (I get some crazy looks when I say that) Nora will be with you always. Love Fuji and let him know he will be okay. I believe he feels your sadness too, so you have that bond. Time will heal but never completely. That is the cost of loving her with your whole heart. Wishing you peace and wonderful memories forever of your sweet Nora.

    2.25.21 | Reply
    • Elise Greene wrote:

      Sorry for some typos. Was tearful writing this.

      2.25.21 | Reply
  10. Carolyn wrote:

    A beautiful tribute to Nora – what special girl and special bond you had. She will definitely live on in you and the memories shared. Hugs to you all.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  11. Kelly wrote:

    Thank you for sharing the story of Nora. Your family has been in my thoughts since your first post that something wasn’t right. There is something so special about Nora that came across in your posts and pictures of her, I have honestly felt sad about her passing even though I never met her. It’s so hard to lose a part of us, but hopefully you have some comfort that she is at peace now. My thoughts are with Fuji too xoxo

    2.25.21 | Reply
  12. Kaela Heaslip wrote:

    What a beautiful story–thank you for sharing.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  13. Cate McGeady wrote:

    Thank you for sharing her story, Jess. Incredibly moving and relatable in many ways. Holding my pups extra close.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  14. Jillian wrote:

    This story has me in tears. Dogs are so much more than pets, they are part of us, part of our homes, our families. This story only makes me appreciate my own dog even more. I am so sorry for your loss and can only hope that the memory of Nora brings happy tears and smiles in the months and years ahead. Rest In Peace Nora, you were a loved girl 🤍🕊🐾

    2.25.21 | Reply
  15. Sarah wrote:

    What a beautiful testament to Nora’s life! Continuing to cherish the love and peace she gave you will, like you do, allow your connection to remain infinite. I know the heartbreak of losing dogs and they are always pet of our hearts. I currently have 2 rescues that are the most loyal and sweetest companions. Rescues are truly amazing.
    My deepest sympathies on your loss and sending you an abundance of love. You are inspiring 💕

    2.25.21 | Reply
  16. Chrissy wrote:

    Sending you so, so much love as I sit her sobbing. You were so lucky to have each other.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  17. Susan wrote:

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful memories of Nora. I am so sorry for your loss. I can tell you, even in the pictures, you could tell Nora was really special. You are a gifted writer and I look forward to your emails. Sending you my prayers.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  18. Theresa wrote:

    What a beautiful tribute to incredible Nora. There’s nothing like the unconditional love of a dog and you can see that in her eyes and smile in every photo and video. You gave her an incredible life and I hope that gives you a measure of comfort in this time of immeasurable grief.

    I love how you shared the signs and how that’s similarly given you some comfort. Some time ago, I read a story on Humans of New York that’s stayed with me that I wanted to share in the hopes that it similarly provides a glimmer of comfort to anyone dealing with grief or loss:

    https://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/43835301885/when-my-husband-was-dying-i-said-moe-how-am-i

    2.25.21 | Reply
  19. Elizabeth Brown wrote:

    What a beautiful story of a life well lived and well loved. Nora was such a lucky dog who found her person who was patient, willing to help her adjust to life outside of whatever life she had before, and was so invested in her happiness. I know how hard the grief of losing a dog who has been such a part of your life and adventures can be and I’m sending lots of virtual hugs.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  20. Danielle wrote:

    Dear Jess,
    I am a long time follower of your blog. Part of the reason, a main part, that I began following along is because of your pets and how much love you expressed for them, always acknowledging that they are more than “just pets”. They are family. That we get a glimmer of time with them and our lives are so intimately entwined is a gift. Thank you for sharing your story of Nora. It was brave and true and lovely. I will be hugging my dogs a lot tighter and trying to stay more present with them. Their time here is so profound but brief. Sending you love and strength.
    Danielle

    2.25.21 | Reply
  21. Amy Greenberg wrote:

    Oh, my. Crying and smiling at the same time over what a blessing Nora’s life was. It feels almost impossible to thank you for so honestly putting into words your special relationship w/the selfless Nora. You are unique in that you live and share your values with all of us. What a role model! Wishing you mainly joy ahead and -unavoidably- the interludes of pain that put the joy in stark perspective. Hugs and love.❤️

    2.25.21 | Reply
  22. Katie wrote:

    This brought his many tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing Nora’s story. She was such a special dog. My heart aches for you.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  23. Cory wrote:

    What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Sending you all the love as always!

    2.25.21 | Reply
  24. Leslie wrote:

    You two were absolutely meant to find each other and that’s exactly how I feel about my soul dog, Whiskey. You were blessed to have each other and I know you will be together again.

    May love carry you through the hardest days and time leave you with nothing but the happiest memories of your best girl. ❤️

    2.25.21 | Reply
  25. Lynn wrote:

    That was beautiful Jess . Yes, I bawled loving animals so much and having rescued and losing so many dogs over my lifetime . Nora was special and now that I hear her story I know. Sometimes God sends us Angels here on Earth because we need them and when we are finally at peace their time here is done. I firmly believe this. If I may, I will tell you about my beautiful son Jeffrey who actually died for 6 full minutes and then they revived him. He described Heaven in every detail to me. He was never afraid to die after that. That next year we talked every day and shared stories and laughter and we were never closer . I got the call from him to come back to Kansas a year and 3 months later . He prepared me to say goodbye . I was heartbroken and I took a red eye and I was there in the morning . He was happy and funny and he didn’t look sick to me, yet he was dying by all the Doctors accounts . At the end he was intubated and the nurses said he could never hear me. I whispered to him anyway all the things I longed to say and told him to blink if he heard from somewhere deep within. . He did it twice . It was more than a miracle . I stood paralyzed while they disconnected all the machines . He was gone . I looked for signs too for weeks . There were none. One night in the dark I felt him near with a black sweater on drifting above me and I heard him say, “Mom, don’t cry, I was never meant to live on this year…. I came back because you needed me so badly “. It was real and I heard it. That was my deer sign for me. I’ll think of him every day. He was my baby. Nora was your baby . Thank you for sharing her story with me. Let tears flow . They must to grieve. It gets better. It never really goes away. They remain inside us now forever loved my dear Jess.
    Lynn

    2.25.21 | Reply
  26. Tammy wrote:

    Thanks for sharing. It is a true love story. You and Nora were meant to meet and be together. We love our animals so much and they love us right back. All the best to you and your family.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  27. Ann K wrote:

    Thank you for sharing the touching story of your beautiful Nora. I too lost my beloved dog to cancer several years ago. I always loved seeing the pictures of your dogs and cat in your posts. My favorite is the one of Nora & Fujji snuggled together in the round bed, which I actually used as a screensaver for a while because it made me smile. It really was apparent that your animals were part of your family. Nora will always be a part of you, no question. The special connection that you share does not end with her passing.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  28. Lisa wrote:

    Such a beautiful love story between the two of you. I’m so sorry for the loss you’re feeling. She was truly one of a kind. Sending lots of love and hugs from our fur-family to yours. ❤️

    2.25.21 | Reply
  29. Cally wrote:

    What a beautiful tribute to Nora. Thank you for sharing it with us. I can only imagine how difficult it was for you to write – I cried reading it. I know how difficult it is to lose a pet – I can still tear up thinking of my first dog that we lost in 2010 – but the memories you made with Nora will last forever. Sending you lots of love xo.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  30. Ellen wrote:

    Beautiful piece, thank you for sharing it. Sending blessings to you. I feel privileged to have read this, that I’ve come to know a very special being. Your recognition of the relationship, and the telling of it, is just beautiful.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  31. Sharon wrote:

    Such a beautiful story. I read it through tears. I have been thinking of you and your family since reading of Nora’s passing.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  32. Mackenzie K P wrote:

    I am BAWLING! Thank you for sharing Nora’s story. Losing a pet is equally as hard as losing a human, in my experience. Since you announced her passing, I’ve been holding my dog extra close. It really puts things into perspective. I have no doubt Nora loved you and that you shared this unexplainable, out-of-this-world connection. Again, thank you so much for sharing this beautiful and moving story.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  33. Vanessa wrote:

    What a wonderful tribute. Thanks for sharing Nora’s story.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  34. Jordan wrote:

    Thank you for sharing Nora’s life with us, Jess. I am holding my dog just a little bit tighter now because of Nora and her story. Thank you again for sharing – you write beautifully and I hope this helps you grieve in whatever way your heart, mind, and body need to and deserve to grieve.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  35. Kristen wrote:

    Thank you for sharing her story. Reading this brought back the flood of feelings of losing a beloved dog. It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it or thinks oh it’s just a dog. I’m sure just writing this was hard to do but you honored her life and what she brought to yours. Sending good vibes to you and your family.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  36. Angie wrote:

    Heartfelt and beautiful. Thanks.❤

    2.25.21 | Reply
  37. Lauren wrote:

    Thank you for sharing her story! Like some love to read birth stories, I love to read dog stories!

    This was simultaneously comforting and heartwrenching for me to read. We had to say goodbye to our 11 yo pup, Stan, on New Year’s Eve, and, similar to you, I had to make the incredibly hard decision to let him go. His peaceful passing at home while our kids sat and sang to him was a really lovely way to say goodbye and alleviated some of the heaviness for me. We dove into fostering right after and found our new pup with our second foster. He’s a sweet little deaf pup who joyfully and frustratingly is taking me back to the puppy days I had almost forgotten about! Stan was certainly a stubborn, giant bulldog who gave me a lot of tools that leave me much more prepard this time around. I am grateful to him for that. I will always miss him and continue to think he was the most handsome dog ever!

    2.25.21 | Reply
  38. Christine wrote:

    I love reading her story and how you have told it. You can tell that you both had a special connection that so rarely comes around. My heart has been hurting for you. Sending you lots of love through this grieving process. This will be a wonderful read for Marin once she is older too ❤️

    2.25.21 | Reply
  39. Bridgit Kreutzer wrote:

    Reading your story brings all of the pain and feelings I had when I had to make the same decision for our sweet girl. It never leaves you and stays in your heart forever, but that is the love that they leave us with. So sorry, Jess. It looks like she had an incredible life with you.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  40. Colleen wrote:

    Nora saved you, didn’t she? Why can’t they live for us forever. Wishing you peace in your heart.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  41. Mel wrote:

    Jess
    What a beautiful story of life with Nora. She was an amazing dog your life together was part of the grand plan. Thank you so much for sharing.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  42. Grace H wrote:

    Jess, I am sobbing reading this beautiful tribute to Nora. It must have been so difficult for you to put it together. I first started following you for fashion and then loved to see pictures with Nora. She was such a cutie. The one with you and Nora in the truck sitting side by side is my favorite. She was such a special girl. I’m glad she brought you and your family so much happiness. May she Rest In Peace that beautiful girl.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  43. Clare wrote:

    What a beautiful story of two souls that were meant to be together. Animals truly teach us so much and you expressed that so perfectly, it brought me to tears. I always loved hearing your Nora stories over the years but I never realized Norah Jones might have influenced her name! As a Canadian gal, that really hit me. It’s so hard losing that special companion that saw you through so many big moments in life, who helped shape the person you are. Sending lots of love to you, Craig, Marin, Fuji and Hunter as you navigate this gut wrenching grief 💛🧡

    2.25.21 | Reply
  44. karen fleer wrote:

    What a lovely tribute. She will always be with you, and you with her. You gave her a life. And a peaceful passing. No one can ask — or give — more.
    Peace,
    Karen

    2.25.21 | Reply
  45. Sheryl wrote:

    I could barely read the entire post, I had to take breaks in between because I kept tearing up. I don’t think I’ve ever cried this much for a dog I never got to meet. I know there’s nothing I can say to make you feel better Jess, but maybe just know that she’ll always be in our hearts too. Her beautiful soul will always be remembered. Love, Reuben and Sheryl

    2.25.21 | Reply
  46. Aubrey wrote:

    I can’t stop crying. I’m so sorry for your loss. I have a deep connection with my 9 y/o Boston terrier as well and I dread the day we have to part. Thank you for sharing Nora’s beautiful story. I absolutely believe animals can be soulmates and yours’ and Nora’s story is testament.

    2.25.21 | Reply
  47. Carrie wrote:

    Thank you for sharing her with us. It’s weird but I feel like I loved her too. I’m so glad you had each other! ❤️❤️❤️

    2.25.21 | Reply
  48. Laura wrote:

    This was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing Nora with us. She definitely gave you so many lasting gifts. I’m sure her memory will stay with you forever and will be some of Marins favorite stories to hear.

    2.26.21 | Reply
  49. Cecile wrote:

    Your story made me tear. Nora had a purpose and has been fulfilled. I am a true believer in signs since a friend of mine visited me after he passed.

    Nora was a beautiful gift. She will remain by your side, even the least you expect it.

    2.26.21 | Reply
  50. Liz wrote:

    Jess, this brought me to tears several times because it’s so beautiful. What a special dog Nora was and what an incredibly special relationship you both had with each other. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing this with us all, as hard as I’m sure it has been. When my dog passed I grieved for years and still do now, and many people could not understand how much my life changed without my sweet girl. It shifts your whole life- but I know you will go on and honor Nora in many ways. Sending love to all of you

    2.26.21 | Reply
  51. Molly wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story – Nora was obviously very special and so was your bond! I know it cannot have been easy as I sobbed just reading it (and writing this comment). I am so incredibly sorry for your loss and am sending you and your family all the love.

    2.26.21 | Reply
  52. Ashley wrote:

    I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I’ve been following you for a few years and Nora has touched my heart in that time. I lost my “Nora” 9 months ago. His name was Maynard and I had such a special bond with him, like you did with N. It’s something I had never experienced before and don’t think I will again. Four days after we let him go I gave birth to my first baby. The birth was not smooth and my body and mind were reeling for months afterwards trying to take care of myself and a newborn. I didn’t have time to grieve Maynard the way I needed to. Watching you grieve Nora has helped me work through my loss. I didn’t realize it until you posted about how Nora taught you how to be a mom, but I see now that Maynard did the same for me. You say some of the same things to Marin that you did to Nora. I do the same thing, without even knowing. It brings me comfort to recognize this and feels like I’m keeping his spirit alive when I talk to my baby. Thank you for sharing your grief with your followers. It has helped me cope with my own loss. Nine months later it still hurts, but not as bad as it did those first few weeks. And that’s in part because of you. Thank you, Jess.

    2.26.21 | Reply
  53. Vanessa G Parscale wrote:

    Oh how this post made me sob. There is just something about the tenderness in an animal’s eyes, especially one that is your companion, that makes your heart swell to an unimaginable degree. We have a dog (named Grandpa) that my husband had to beg me to get. I never considered myself an “animal person” and especially not dogs as we only had cats growing up. I told my husband we could get a dog but he’d have to be the lead on all things and it’d be more “his” than “mine”. For the first year or so I bonded to Grandpa but it wasn’t until I got pregnant and Grandpa and I spent every day caring for our newborn for 5 months together that we became closer than he is to my husband. He looks at me with such trust and love no matter what and that’s something to always cherish. My heart goes out to you and your family. Thanks for sharing.

    2.26.21 | Reply
  54. Kyra wrote:

    I’m crying because I’ve lived what you’ve written. Our pets are so much more than pets – they’re family members. And it’s amazing how they know us better than we know ourselves. Sending you all the love you need.

    2.26.21 | Reply
  55. Allyn wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is beautiful. We recently adopted a rescue and we say that he picked us rather than the other way around. The minute we walked into the rescue center, he woke up and walked over to our family. He didn’t leave our side for the two hours we spent there. He knew he was a part of our family before we did. Sounds like Nora and you were connected. You saw each other. We all need that.

    2.26.21 | Reply
  56. Leila McGowan wrote:

    A beautiful story about a special bond. The depth of your pain is a testament to the depth of your love and the strength of your bond. The part about Nora teaching you about parenting Marin resonated with me. I feel like my children’s childhood dog who we lost after 14- 1/2 years helped me raise them. The pain will ease but your bond and your love will always be there. Thanks for sharing.

    2.26.21 | Reply
  57. Liz wrote:

    What a beautiful tribute! My heart aches for you and your family. I lost my senior rescue dog, Jenna, to an aggressive form of cancer in August after only two years together (when I was four weeks postpartum, no less). Jenna was my best friend, confidant, and soulmate and taught me how to be a mom, just like Nora taught you. I think Jenna and Nora would have been friends. ❤️

    2.26.21 | Reply
  58. TAYLOR wrote:

    It seems like you two rescued each other, and for every ounce of joy she gave you, you seemed to give her. What a truly sweet, sweet soul. It is heart wrenching to lose her presence. The love is real! I hope you find comfort in that joy and love you share and continue to share…

    2.26.21 | Reply
  59. Diane wrote:

    I’m sobbing. I had a relationship with my dog – Sunny – like yours with Nora. He left us nearly five years ago, and another hairy beast sleeps in his spot these days, but I think of him and miss him every day. We don’t deserve them, but thankfully they don’t know that. Much love to you as you grieve for your girl. 💛

    2.26.21 | Reply
  60. Emily wrote:

    This is a beautiful story and I’m so sorry for your loss. Holding my fur baby close tonight and always.

    2.26.21 | Reply
  61. Akansha wrote:

    So sorry for your loss Jess. I never met Nora, but I cried when I read of her passing and more when I read her beautiful story. I started following your page for her a few years ago. Something about her eyes just gave away her beautiful, nurturing soul. Love and healing to you ❤️

    2.26.21 | Reply
  62. Katie Gill wrote:

    Sending you so much love Jess. I never met Nora, but felt like I knew her from your brand. I’ve said this before, but seeing Nora and Fuji all the time, and hearing how you got them, inspired me to rescue a dog. I appreciate that earlier in this post you talk about the early on struggles of Nora getting used to things, as we have had some of these same things happen with our Ramble. A year and a half in, he is finally relaxing and showing a side we haven’t seen. Pets never stay long enough, so glad that you both found each other xx

    2.27.21 | Reply
  63. Elizabeth wrote:

    I am so very sorry for the loss of your beautiful Nora. It sounds like she had a wonderful life and with you as an amazing and loving mom how could she not. Treasure your beautiful memories with your sweet girl. Our pets are in our lives for such a short time but the space they occupy in our hearts are immense.

    2.28.21 | Reply
  64. Sarah wrote:

    Oh my goodness, this was the most beautifully written story I’ve read in a very long time. I should’ve known I would cry because reading this while at work maybe wasn’t the smartest idea. Going through the loss of a dog, twice now, I can so relate to everything you shared about the saying goodbye part. Both times our dogs woke up one morning and were not themselves and were gone less than 48 hours later. The love shared between you and Nora is just so special and one you’ll never forget. Sending all my love your way!

    3.1.21 | Reply
  65. Rebecca wrote:

    My son’s family lost their beloved Golden this past November. An unexpected call from ARC gave them an unexpected opportunity to adopt an adult dog. They didn’t hesitate. No regrets. He brings them daily joy. In fact they plan to adopt another one. Peace to you. Heartache from pet loss is real.

    3.5.21 | Reply
  66. Lily wrote:

    Saying goodbye to a beloved dog is the one thing that I do not seem to master the more I do it (between my parent’s dogs and mother’s horses, it’s been more than a dozen times). Each time it’s like my heart find another way to rip to shreds. I appreciate you sharing your grief so openly, as in our society try to stem grief and push it aside. Dogs really are a gift and teach me unconditional love. Thank you for sharing your story of Nora. xoxox

    3.8.21 | Reply
  67. Gerri Burkhart wrote:

    I am so sorry for your unimaginable loss, i can feel every bit of your feelings. Our babies are so family. I love animals much more than people. Animals are so innocent and trustworthy, that some people do not earn the right to have a baby with 4 legs. My heart ❤ hurts so much for Nora. A beautiful, beautiful little girl. RIP baby girl. I love u.

    5.19.21 | Reply
  68. Dawn Sheers wrote:

    Your story of your life with Nora has touched me so much. Thank you for sharing it. It stirred up my memory of my girl Roxie. She lived for two years with mast cell cancer. She started to go downhill for several weeks before she stopped eating. I took her to the vet hoping we could get her eating again. He looked at me and said”you know she is only holding on for you.”. I knew it was time, just like you did. So sorry for your lost.

    6.15.21 | Reply
  69. Linda Burger wrote:

    Beautiful story. These babies are truly a gift from Almighty God! They seem to carry His unconditional Love!

    6.19.21 | Reply
  70. Kay wrote:

    I’m sobbing. You just brought out all the “feels”. My life is in a period of finding a new season. I’m 66, my husband has been in a new relationship, he moved out a year and a half ago. At my feet, right this minute, is my girl Kali, a pit/cattle dog mix. She’s 7, I’ve had her since I adopted her at 6 months. She is my spirit animal. We even got her her own dog, Louie. The are so close, and respectful with each other. So much of you and Nora’s story reminded me of mine and Kali. It brought out new perspective. I am so grateful for your story. I am sobbing like I did when he left. I guess because I can recognize it as a “new season”, not the end but of new beginnings, ample love and compassion. That type of love and affection doesn’t ever end. God bless you and your family. Nora showed you the way

    6.21.21 | Reply
  71. Bobbie McPherson wrote:

    I want to thank you for sharing your pain. I lost my very soul a few months ago. He also died from cancer. I need to believe in the rainbow bridge and that when my journey here is done we will be together again for all time

    6.22.21 | Reply
  72. Janet wrote:

    I had my wonderful dog buddy for 14 years. When I had to put him down he also cried when he was injected I too keep reliving that moment,my heart goes out to you he was truly my “buddy”.

    6.24.21 | Reply
  73. Heartwarming story. Of loving and caring…

    6.24.21 | Reply
  74. Louise wrote:

    What a beautiful and heartwarming story. I love animals especially dogs they make such wonderful companions.

    9.8.21 | Reply
  75. Josie wrote:

    Such a beautiful story it made me cry

    9.9.21 | Reply
  76. Ken Suter wrote:

    What a beautiful story about a shelter pet that was a great gift from God. I too, stumbled upon a puppy from a shelter in 2006, the Humane Society was trying to get 7 puppies adopted at the mall. I nearly walked away, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. For over 11 years, I cherished every second I had with my beloved Sam, and I consider him to be one of the greatest breathing beings to walk on Earth. After his death in 2017, I suffered horribly for almost 2 years, and my pet grief counselor suggested that I honor Sam. I have created a nonprofit Samaritan For Pets, and my goal is to touch people’s hearts as much as Sam touched mine. I want the nonprofit to be as magnificent as Sam was, and will spend every ounce of my energy to make it happen, till I take my last breath here on Earth. All because of a great gift from God shelter dog

    9.9.21 | Reply
  77. Phyllis bressler wrote:

    Thank for sharing yr beautiful story and adventures with nora plus the many beautiful pictures. R 1st dog was a standard schnauzer my husband named fritz von rug n tau. He was r 1st baby at 9 weeks old, spoiled rotten for 6 yrs before we had our first baby. We had him in our lives for 17 1/2 yrs and he loved our two kids as much as they loved him. It’s never easy to say goodbye and all of our dogs have stolen a piece of our hearts.

    9.10.21 | Reply
  78. Ellen Gilbert Bacigalupi wrote:

    Nora’s story, though I have read it be f ore, has me dripping tears, and a pain in my chest. I know your lose, as I have myself lost a beloved furry member, I had for 13 years Zachary. Each time the loss is one of unconditional love. I can still see his eyes and the fear in them as I held him while he received the shot. He to cried out and I will forever hear it ringing in ny ears. Nothing meant more to him than me, I was his whole world. Thank-you for sharing.

    9.10.21 | Reply
  79. Thank you very much for sharing her story it’s not easy making a humane decision.
    I have been there many times
    before as we had to put our golden to sleep as he had cancer
    My thoughts and prayers are with you I’m so deeply sorry for your loss

    9.13.21 | Reply
  80. Patty wrote:

    I have never read such a beautiful story as this. I laughed, I cried, I understood having had my own wonderful story of dog love and loss. Thank you for such an incredibly poignant story

    9.14.21 | Reply