A Special Message to Payton from his Adoring Family

Dearest Payton:


What it comes down to, I think, is that we truly were a team. When you came into my life I finally had the time to dive into dog training and explore dog sports, and that’s what we did, you and I. We dove in and we had a blast. We learned a lot together and so we built a stronger bond than I’ve ever had before with a dog.

When we were working together, playing together, learning together, hanging out together, time stopped and we lived in the moment. They were beautiful moments, my sweet, goofy, loyal, devoted non-retrieving retriever. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I just wish we could have had more of them. And so does the rest of family. You have no idea how much you helped Dad get through losing his job, Sara changing colleges and Cait getting past the loss of Sadie. Just by being you – steady, sweet you – you helped them all tremendously.

Deciding to say goodbye was a hard thing to do, but it was the right thing to do. I have a feeling you hid the cancer from us for months until you no longer could. I wish we had found it sooner; you went so fast. In the days before Dr. Harris came I could feel you pulling away, as if to prepare for the inevitable. You were unbelievably brave in those last days, my friend, and you left this earth in peace, with dignity, in our home surrounded by the people who love you. We’re grateful that we were able to do that for you. And once it was over we felt relief that you would no longer feel pain or confusion.

So now I picture you on the other side of the rainbow, galloping, tumbling and playing with all the others – golden ears and tail streaming behind you, a smile on your face and joy in your eyes. Be happy, big guy, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

We love you and miss you.

Jen, Jim, Sara, Cait and John