lena pagani 2001-2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

With an aching heart and a soggy face, I am beyond saddened to tell you that yesterday afternoon, at home, sweet Lena died in our arms. I still can't believe how quickly it all went down. We got her cancer diagnosis less than two weeks ago and ever since, she went continuously, briskly downhill. After hospitalizing her overnight this week for some fluids and meds, she seemed momentarily better but then stopped eating altogether and just lie there, trembling and having trouble breathing. It was heartbreaking. So we made the decision to help her transition. It was the sweetest and saddest thing I've ever done in my whole life.

I prayed and prayed for her to go in her sleep these last few days. I whispered to her that she didn't need to stay for us, that we would be okay. But being present that moment she took her last breath, surrounded by home and love and kisses and words of gratitude, and the kindest home-euthanasia vet, we got to be there to help her (and us, for that matter) create a graceful completion of her beautiful life. And as hard as it was, she gave us that gift. I'm so glad I got to shepherd her to that edge. She only had to do the very last part of it alone. And then she was free.

"To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn't come with guarantees--these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But I'm learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude, and grace."

-Brene Brown

"…(s)he will be our friend for always and always and always."

-Rudyard Kipling


  1. Oh my goodness I have tears streaming down my face. Sweet Lena. I have really enjoyed her presence on your blog over the years. She will be missed! You did such a tough, compassionate thing for her.

  2. So sorry. I only met Lena once, but flashed on her yesterday. Lena's spirit will continue to flash. Lots of love to you.

  3. My heart is broken for you. So much love from Park City. xx

  4. Beautiful Lena Pagani - my heart is with you both and I will cherish the fond memories of being 'goosed' by sweet beautiful Lena

    Dee-Ann xo

  5. Such sweet words. Brought me right back to our Taylor's last breath. It was just me alone that stayed with her till the end and then it took me two years to risk that space in my heart with our new puppy Mustang. You're right. It's worth the risk. It's what we're here for. Xoxo to you.

  6. How hard for you. Lena was clearly much loved and how lovely that she could be in her home with you when her time came. I loved reading about her in your blog and the lovely pictures of her. She clearly had a full and happy life and and lots of kisses (on the lips too!) Thinking of you. With much love, Ingrid x

  7. Dear, dear Jolie!

    What a kind and wonderful gift you gave Lena. Thank you for sharing it here, she (and you) have been much on my mind and in my heart since your last post. I send all good wishes of peace and comfort to you.


    If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it;

    to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and,

    prospectively, to equally profound sadness.

    - Marjorie Garber

  8. Jolie you have the most amazing way with words! I weep as I read because everything you say is so heartfelt. The hardest part of loving is knowing when to let go. And you Lena :)

  9. Dear, sweet Lena. She had the best life with you guys. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  10. Lena was a super family member-she wasn't a dog-she was so much more. I went through this twice (2 dogs-within four months)two years ago. It really was a very spiritual experience to be there with them as they passed away and feeling like they were on their way to heaven.. The puppy is having her second birthday tomorrow. Yes, the late dogs will always be missed and there will sometimes be tears at unexpected moments. How lucky we are to have had or have great dog companions who give us love, laughter, worry, kisses etc. Thanjk you for your Lena stories. Big cyber hugs.

  11. Jolie, I don't know you but have enjoyed your blog and stories ever since I first stumbled across your writing a couple of years ago. Particularly the stories with Lena, and any pictures of her peeking around corners (watching any activity in the kitchen, I'm guessing). She was a beautiful girl and so lucky to be the beneficiary of so very much love, obvious to the end. Thank you for sharing a little bit of her with us. Dogs are the best. Take care.

  12. I remember when you brought Lena home. I've enjoyed your writing about her here on your blog. Love to you both. xo Courtney

  13. Sweet Jolie...thank you for sharing all the Lena my Dad would say "she was a peach!"
    love this quote..."Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened" Anatole France.
    My prayers are with you. Gail Wally

  14. Oh I was afraid of this, but so glad you could share her last moments with the world. What a lucky, lovely dog and what a wonderful tribute to her.
    Be well and much love from Santa Barbara, Nicole

  15. I will remember Sweet Lena, my Little Black Rain Cloud, for always and always and always.

  16. Oh sweethearts. Peace be with you. What a wonderful dog. xoxox

  17. Oh, I'm so very sorry. It was a post about Lena that first hooked me on your blog. I think caring, sensitive souls feel times like this all the harder but then they also LOVE more! From your pictures, Lena sure knew it in buckets and buckets-full. Thank you for sharing your sweet, charmed pup. Sending wishes for comfort to you.



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