Dear Knox, Part III: The Legacy

Dear Knox,

I’m so sorry it’s taken me a few days to write this, bud.  I thought I’d have it all ready for you on Wednesday, but here it is, Thursday night and I’m having trouble even starting.  I think the other two posts about how you found us, and what our lives turned into, were a lot easier.  This letter is to say goodbye, and I think that’s where the struggle is.

Knox, you have done so so much for a whole lot of humans and animals, and I’m very impressed by that.  After all, that was your doing, not ours.  I was shocked to see your face everywhere on Monday (blogs, articles, and facebook pages).  What a celebration of your life; an honor really.  How did you do that?  Boy, you’re busy up there.

But the thing is, aside from how proud I am for you… this past week, none of that mattered to me.  So much.  My heart is heavy and it aches for you.  I’ve felt every kind of emotion this past month.  I felt angry, confused, sad, guilty, helpless, lost… you name it.  I’m a planner bud, you know that!  You messed up my plans… some day you were going to be the most perfectest big brother to a human baby, that was my hope anyway.  Thinking of you in that way, and knowing now that won’t happen… it just makes me so sad.  You were part of my plan.  A big part of it.

I, of course, was confused about why this rare, horrible and ruthless killer (ultimately you died of Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia) had to take you down so terribly and so soon.  I felt helpless that we couldn’t fix you.  I felt guilty when I worried about money.  I felt more than sad for you, when you were suffering.  It was suffocating; I felt like until you were free of this sickness, I couldn’t breathe.  I was unsure at first, but a wise friend told us,  “It’s that look that says, ‘I love you, but, I’m tired, really, really tired and I can’t stay any longer’ – they just tell us with their eyes.   You will know, or already know.”

Those last 24 hours, I knew.  You let us know that you were tapped out.  You couldn’t fight anymore and as soon as I knew that, I had a great desire to let you go as soon as possible.  But knowing you were going was absolutely devastating.

I was frantic to find someone who could come to the house.  The last thing I wanted was to stress you out and drag your weak body to a vet’s office.  Of course that T from MABB had the answer and hooked us up with a vet she knew of (she helps at the SPCA and that’s how we got hooked up with her).  It was a quick phone call to a mobile vet we’d never met before. She was willing to come in a heartbeat.  We were so thankful.  Finally something to be thankful about… ironic, isn’t it?

You mustered up all the energy you had when she arrived, and got down from you chair to give her a few wags and licks and welcome her into our home, like you were a pro at doing (you didn’t even know she was a vet, not that you ever had problems with vets).  B picked you back up and laid you down in you most favorite spot.

Sharing your favorite chair with B this past fall

We rubbed you head and surrounded you with love.  We tried so hard to stay strong for you, but who were we kidding, you were the strongest out of us three.

It was the most peaceful ending we could have given you, and I’m glad we had the opportunity to pay you back in this small way.

You left us behind, and way too soon.  But we are better humans for knowing you.  I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life.  Thank you for influencing who we are as human beings, and for teaching us to forgive, to forget, to live in the moment, and to embrace the signature Knox Zest for Life.

I know you are free now, to run and play and roll in the grass (the good kind, not this stinky, patchy city grass).  I’m relieved you are no longer suffering, but instead enjoying your favorite things… you had so many favorite things.

You leave with us your Legacy.  You, inside of our hearts.  Our hearts that are forever changed.

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.

57 thoughts on “Dear Knox, Part III: The Legacy

  1. What an amazing tribute to a wonderful dog you loved. I didn’t know Knox and I don’t know you only through the blog but sounds like you loved him deeply and him you. I am sooo sorry for your loss and hope his memories and the time you had with him gets you through this rough time. He sounds like an amazing animal. Sending lot of hugs to help you through.

  2. Knox’s legacy is as beautiful as he was…thank you for sharing it with all of us. I hope you find some comfort in the fact that you gave him a wonderful life and he gave so much to many. Thoughts and prayers to you all during this most difficult time.

  3. before I was Maisie’s Mom, I had a beautiful dog named Kaya. she too was euthanized peacefully at home (though I was lucky to be with her for many years) and this post brought back a lot of memories…how hard it was to make the decision, how grateful I was to have the option of saying goodbye in the place she was most comfortable, how I knew it was the right time but still couldn’t remain strong and composed through the process. I feel your pain, I do. this post is a beautiful tribute to the legacy that is and will always be Knox. he lives on in your words as well as your heart.

  4. That quote pretty much sums it up. So very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing Knox with all of us, we are all better people for having known him (even if it is just through the blog world). He is inspiring, really

  5. Beautiful! Knox certainly made an imprint on your lives, as did you on his. What a wonderful friendship you and Brian enjoyed with your boy Knox.

  6. This was so amazingly beautiful. I can’t fathom how hard any of this is but you are wonderful for having shared this with all of us. I haven’t said this before but Knox was part of the inspiration for me getting Coco. I’ve been a pit bull supporter for years but through reading your blog and seeing all of the wonderful things Knox was doing and minds he was changing, I knew I wanted a pit bull in my life who could do that as well. When we were at the shelter meeting dogs I thought about all of the qualities that I wanted a dog to have so that he/ she could be a good representation of the breed, like Knox. And I wanted the dog to eventually be a good foster sibling so we can do our part in getting some of these awesome dogs out of shelters and into loving homes, just like you, Brian and Knox have done for so many dogs. Knox’s legacy truly reaches far and will live on for a very long time. Thank you for sharing him with us

  7. What a beautiful and moving tribute to your beloved companion. I only wish every dog had someone who loved them in the same way.

    He will be waiting for you at the bridge.

    Run fast, run free Knox.

  8. Jess, this series has been so beautiful. Knox was a life-changer for you, I know, but for so many more, it’s become clear. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Hope to see you Sunday!
    Love, Ann

  9. This one definitely broke me this morning. I am truly sorry for your loss but happy that he is in a better place now.

    This and several other pittie blogs have turned me on to wanting one. Thank you Knox! With lots of love!

  10. “He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.”

    Love these last few lines but I dread this day :*( I have 3 pitbulls and my parents have 1. @ of mine and theirs will be 9 this year. My “Baby” has a type of skin cancer that we hope doesn’t spread but I think about the day that will come when they will have to leave us and I can only be thankful for all the great times and memories we have and hope there will be much more time with them.

    Sorry for your loss!

  11. Pingback: Dear Knox, Part II: The Journey | Pittieful Love

  12. jess, i couldnt get past the 2nd paragraph…i am so so sorry for your loss of Knox, so incredibly sad…i am so sorry, at some point today i will try to read the rest…xoxo

  13. I just found your blog this week – after seeing the sad news of Knox posted on Two Pitties in the City’s blog. I’m so very sorry about losing Knox. This breaks my heart. (I too, have a recue pup (although ours is a pit-mix)) and I just wanted to let you know I will be thinking of you and your family. Beautiful blog – beautiful photos – beautiful pup and well-done story of Knox. I cried (and I’m not a crier!)

  14. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s always hard to loose a loved one. Knox was loved not only in his home but across the country. He’s looking down on you and knows how much you care for him.

  15. Thank you so much for sharing Knox with us. He was a beautiful soul, and so are you both for loving him so much. Thinking of you…

  16. I have been following your blog for a few months now and have been praying for you guys and Knox. I can only imagine how terrible this experience has been for you. I hope you can find some solace in knowing what an incredible impact Knox made on so many people. The loss of a pet is devastating, there is no doubt about that. Please know that you continue to be in my prayers.

  17. I read this through all my tears, it is beautifully written from the heart and touches me deeply. You have fullfilled that last of the commandments for dogs (and the hardest) that says:
    “Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, “I can’t bear to watch” or “Let it happen in my absence”. Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember, irrespective of what you do I will always love you.”

    Thank you for sharing your journey and for allowing us into your lives especially at such as sad and painful time. Bless you.

  18. Reading this breaks my heart. It is clear that you deeply loved Knox and of all the things you gave him, you gave him peace by letting him go when it was time. Regardless of how much time they spend with us, it is never enough and we are never ready to say “good-bye”. Thinking of you…

  19. I am so sorry for your loss! Losing a pet is some of the worst pain in the world. Knox sounds like a great joy to know and love. He was adorable and a beautiful example of the pure love that dogs, especially pitties, give so selflessly. You are in my thoughts.

  20. I’m sitting here curled up with Zoe and crying while reading this post. It is so moving — just a lovely tribute to Knox. He was lucky to have such good humans, just as you were lucky to have such an incredible dog. We’ll be thinking about you guys.

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  22. Your tribute to your Knox made me cry. I lost my girl, Sarah, in December. With her gone, the days seem like years…life whizzes by faster than I could imagine. Then, occasionally I’ll stop and realize how empty my heart feels. It’s still so extremely raw…and I feel bad when my family sees me randomly crying and asks what’s wrong and all I can say is what I’ve said a million times before: “I miss her….”
    Your Knox was loved, there is no doubt. And our souls are a continuous cycle. You’ll be walking down the street one day or visiting a rescue shelter and you’ll see a pair of soulful eyes and your heart will feel at home once again. You will know the moment you see him again.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Sending virtual hugs…My Sarah will show him around the place. 🙂

    Sarah’s story:

  23. Wow. You did good. The loving and writing and photos, I can see a bit of Knox that you got to see. He was an amazing (and very shiny!) dog. I still miss my Fuzz-Marie & my Bert but my heart doesn’t ache as much as time goes by. it does get easier, and sometimes I laugh out loud wherever I am when something goofy one of them did pops into my mind. These three letters to Knox are so beautiful and heart breaking, and so loving. Thank you for sharing them.
    p.s. I got an email from BARCS to pick my Orientation date! And it was you and Knox that gave me the push I needed.

    • THIS is one of the greatest things— thank Knox will be so happy to hear too 🙂 Thanks from him and me, that your going to spend some time with the guys who need it on the inside! Goodluck, Joanie! Enjoy it. And thanks for reading the letters to Knox.

  24. Thank you for being brave enough to document this gorgeous tribute to Knox and share your thoughtful, poignant memories on his beautiful life. Our thoughts and prayers are with you through this difficult time.

  25. Jess and Brian,
    I am so sorry to hear the very sad news of Knox. As you well know, I know the true love of a dog and how they brighten every part of your day, every day!!! Knox was so fortunate that you brought him into your lives and so many others. I know he changed your lives, but you definitely changed his short life to the most happy and amazing life ever. He’ll be looking down on you both everyday knowing how lucky he was to have such love in his life!!
    He will be greatly missed – Love, Key-Key, Richard and Tiller, too!

  26. What a beautiful tribute you have written. You have truly managed to show Know through your writing and that, is a wonderful thing. I didn’t get to meet your baby, but after reading your letters I feel like I did meet him.

  27. Crying again…. I’ve followed your blog for a while and I felt like Knox was a buddy of mine too. I’m so glad you picked him. And I’m so glad he picked you. And I’m glad his last moments were peaceful and loving. That was so lucky. Wishing you peace in the joyful memories that will be with you always.

  28. Your letters to Knox were, and are, a lovely and deeply moving tribute to the dog he was, and the bond you shared. We enjoyed knowing him through this blog, and will miss him greatly, though of course nothing compared to the loss you are experiencing right now. Our hearts ache for and with you, and we only hope that the knowledge that you loved Knox with everything in you and gave him all you had, including a peaceful, gentle exit from this earth surrounded by those he loved the most, will be of some comfort to you in this terrible time.

  29. This is such a beautiful tribute and it left me in tears thinking about the mortality of my own beloved dogs. My heart goes out to you. Knox sounds like such a special dog and the world is lucky that you shared his legacy through your blog. I hope that someday you can go back and read your old posts with smiles instead of tears. Hugs.

  30. I believe Knox lives on thru you, he gave you his strength. My lil’ Pit is 11 and this scared me to think of the day, I hope I can be like you. RIP Knox, job well done!

  31. Don’t know you or Knox, and just signed up for this blog tonight. So wasn’t expecting this story – crying now. What a guy. And what great parents you were.

  32. Pingback: Thankful. | Pittieful Love

  33. Knox is playing with all of his friends as he crosses “the rainbow bridge.” He is relieved of all of his earthy suffering and free and happy. I share in your grief. When my last “furry family member”, passed over the bridge, I had to go out in my car to cry because I was wailing so hard I was scared that my condo neighbors would call the police. May you find the peace that you need and know you did exactly right things for Knox.

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  36. This is so beautiful. I just found your blog a little while ago, while searching for something completely unrelated. AIHA sucks, doesn’t it? We’d never heard of it before we lost our 19 month old Yellow Lab, Bronwyn, to it right after Christmas 2007. So much to digest in such a short period of time, all in a frantic whirlwind of trying to understand how and why and trying not to break the bank but wanting to all at the same time. Knox looks like one of the happiest dogs I’ve ever seen; this city needs to see more Pitties like him, particularly given the recent court ruling – I’m a lifelong Baltimorean myself. What a lucky pup he was to have found you guys.

    • Thanks so much for leaving this note, Elizabeth. And I’m so sorry you understand about AIHA— it’s something I wish no one else ever had to endure. I’m sorry about your Bronwyn. I imagine the pain and loss is still there but hoping not as strong. Thanks for stopping by, despite the fact that it was accidental 🙂

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