I’ll be with you till the day you leave…

Remington died a few minutes ago. There’s a lot I could write here.  There’s a lot my heart wants me to write here, pages.  But dead pet posts can only be written so many times. As young as he was and as much as he didn’t deserve an early end, life as George Carlin said, is a series of dogs. And we gave him a great life for so short it was.

When we choose to bring an animal into our lives we become their stewards. Rochelle and I have left the having of children to people the world needs more of, and so our pets are our children. I don’t demand anyone understand that. Some people get it, some people don’t. But mentally we make the choice that we owe them the best life possible. That’s what we trade for their trusting us with their unconditional love.

We waited ten years for Remington. Our first Golden, Hennessy, was chosen over a male we wanted to name Remington Martin.  By the time we got Buddy, his name was already part of his personality.  So last year along came this blond haired boy who swam like a fish and chased birds in the beautiful Snoqualmie river valley, and played with his friend Cthulhu and his pack mates Buddy and Adia. Here at last was our Remy.

His bright brown eyes, and gentle face. His head in my lap. His bark wanting attention. His puppy mischieveness. His odd taste for drywall.

I’ll always see him. Legs pumping in a rhythmic flow of long blond hair against short farm land grass, forever running at top speed to the chain link gate that let him out to the Snoqualmie river to swim.

I’ll always see him eighteen months, then gone from us.

Goodbye Remington Martin. I loved you very much.

I’m going to be withdrawing from the Internet for a while.  Rochelle and I will be ok.  But right now there’s no joy in the world for me.  And I know that’s not right, because there’s plenty of joy in the world. But I’m going to have to go find it.

I’ll let you know when I come back.

55 comments

  1. Natalie says:

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. I had a beautiful cat named Bucky that died at just over a year old from FIP and went through many of the same things as you did with Remy, including people telling you that you should euthanize when you weren’t ready. I’m so, so sorry that your story had to end sadly as well but happy that you and Rochelle were able to have as many wonderful memories with him as you did. You did everything you could to make him happy and comfortable, and had committed yourselves to not prolonging his life if he was suffering, though thankfully he didn’t spend the end in pain so you didn’t have to make the choice. You were some of the best and kindest pet parents I have ever known and please know that you are in my heart. I hope that Remy and Bucky are relaxing together now in the sun, waiting for the day when we can see them again.

  2. Been following your tweets and hearing about Remington passing just brings tears to my eyes. Nothing is quite as special as the bond between man and animal. I look forward to your return.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So sorry to hear what happened. I had to have my chocolate lab put down after complications from a life saving surgery. Losing a pet is very tough. However the vet did do something extremely nice. Without us knowing they used plaster and made an imprint of his paw and mailed it to us. I suggest asking if they would do that for you.

  4. So sorry Stepto. The Blog was beautiful and Im sure we all totally understand your feelings about him and the others being your kids. They truly do bcome family and become like our kids. I am so happy he had both of you till the end. Im sure he knew what he had and loved you both so much and is so truly greatfull for the life you gave him. All the best at this painful time. Remy passed in peace, he is at peace and from where he is now, Im sure he will find a way to bring peace to both of you. God Bless all of you.

  5. Ian Cleghorn says:

    Dear Mr. Toulouse:
    I know that you won’t be reading this, at least for a while, and I want to say that my heart goes out in the sincerest way to you. I am so, so sorry for your loss, and Remington didn’t deserve this, as no dog does. I know the words I say won’t really bring any comfort, but I had to say something, because my heart wouldn’t let me not. I’ve listened to the podcast since before you were even a main cast member, and I remember when you first announced that you were getting Remy. I was excited for you. I, too, have always been a golden retriever guy, and have had four in my twenty years. In 2003, I got a golden, and named him Koda. Koda, like Remy, had his own beauty, long curly hair, honey colored eyes, and giant paws. He was terrified of water until he was four, when he swam in our pool for the first time. We couldn’t keep him out after that. He was best friends with our other dog, Twix, who was like his little annoying brother. He loved fetch, and hated thunder. When he was six and a half, around eighteen months ago, one morning he couldn’t walk. We took him to the vet, and then the dog hospital, and he was diagnosed with Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia, which sounds like it was basically what Remy had. Over the course of a month, we tried everything. He had more transfusions than I can remember, treatments, shots, medicine… Everything. He stayed at the hospital for weeks, before we were able to bring him home, because they had done everything they could do. He eventually died one early May morning in our bathroom.It hurt so badly. I couldn’t understand how something that was so important to me was just gone. It felt so unjust, and so unfair. I know the pain you are feeling, and I want you to know that you’re not alone. From the podcasts, and following you on twitter, I feel like I knew him a bit, and your loss saddens me extremely. I want to offer as much condolences and thoughts that I can give you, even if right now, they don’t feel like much.I am so, so sorry, Mr. Toulouse.Sincerely,Ian Cleghorn

  6. aldofigueroa says:

    I was shocked to hear the unfortunate news. It sounds like Remy was a good dog who had great owners. Via your twitter, you honestly did way more than many other people would do for their pets. It all makes sense after reading your post that Remy wasn’t only a pet, but your child. I too would do whatever it took for my children to secure their well being. If anything, know that you did do whatever you could have done for Remy. 
    But here’s the joy you might not remember, you made it possible for another dog/owner to be happy by paying their vet bill.
    Tonight, you and your family will be in my prayers.

  7. Rhys Howard says:

    So sorry to hear about Remy, my wife and I have been following your twitter posts about him, its very sad and I hope things get better soon…

  8. Stepto,

    I find myself a similar position as Ian. Having listened to the podcast for the past few years, and reading your book a few times I feel almost like I know you as a pal.

    I, too, lost one of my best friends a few years ago and it hurts. I’ve followed your updates on Remy’s progress and I was happy when he was doing well, and I find myself very sad right now. I wish you and Rochelle all the best and hope you guys will pull through okay.

    -Jarrod

  9. I’m very, very sorry for the loss of your dear friend, Remy. It hurts us so much when our furry friends pass on, because of how much joy they bring to our lives every day that we spend with them. Be well, Stepto and Rochelle.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’m very sorry to hear about Remy, I’m sure my Husky Jake would have loved to play with him. My dog Bear died a little over ten years ago, so I get where your at.

  11. lemketron says:

    Heard about your loss via @wilw:twitter  and @sircoolio:twitter and read your blog and recent posts to see what happened.  Just wanted to say that I’m so very sorry to hear about Remy. I’m a fellow golden owner. My first golden died in my arms after a series of grand maul seizures, and my second golden died way too young (having crashed immediately following a theoretically successful life-saving surgery). And like Remy, my third golden is now a year and a half old, asleep at my feet as I type this. Goldens are such wonderful, incredible dogs, and bring so much joy into our lives. I know the pain of losing a beloved golden, but I hope that you are still (or soon) able to smile with the memories of his quirks, such as you wrote above, “his odd taste for drywall”.  Take care.

  12. Anonymous says:

    So sorry to hear Remington is gone. I worry this day will come for Elvis (my Chihuahua) before I am ever prepared for it. 

  13. The Gh0sts says:

    I saw  @lauralollipop:disqus’s tweet and I am sad to hear that you have lost Remy: you considered him as a member of the family and not just a “pet” so his untimely departure is most unfortunate.

    You have my condolences and I hope you and Rochelle find the joy you once had in your life with Remy again.

  14. So much love to you all right now :( , This brings me such comfort at times like this.

    Do not stand at my grave and weep,I am not there; I do not sleep.I am a thousand winds that blow,I am the diamond glints on snow,I am the sun on ripened grain,I am the gentle autumn rain.When you awaken in the morning’s hushI am the swift uplifting rushOf quiet birds in circling flight.I am the soft starlight at night.Do not stand at my grave and cry,I am not there; I did not die.

  15. Kitatojirin says:

    Like so many others, I’ve been following your updates on twitter and the second I saw someone’s reply to you saying “RIP Remy” I gasped and I needed to immediately check your twitter feed for confirmation… and the second I did I started crying. I’ve been crying the entire time, as I read your blog and all of the supportive comments you’ve recieved thus far.

    I know all too well what it’s like to lose someone so close… I feel like an asshole trying to relate, because there’s no point. Your loss is your loss, and of course you feel it more deeply than anyone else. But I had a buddy… a best buddy, once. His name was Scar and he was just the coolest cat (literally) I ever could’ve asked for. He was put down at my dad’s request because he’d apparently contracted “cat AIDS”… I’m not kidding, that’s what my dad told me had happened. I still miss him even though that was five years or so ago.

    I feel compelled to quote Red vs Blue, as inappropriate as some may think it is, but Tex once said to Church; “You’re never completely dead as long as someone still remembers you.” Remember Remy. I’m sure you don’t need to be reminded to do that… but he’s not gone.. I don’t know whether you believe in afterlife but I do, and I find it somewhat comforting to know that our lost ones will be returned to us in the end.

    Much love, stay strong… R.I.P. young Remington. <3

  16. Adam Blaiss says:

    As some that has both children and dogs, I can appreciate that they are both important to your lives in different ways and losing a pet is a crushing loss just the same. Mine passed earlier this year due to an autoimmune disease as well and it’s heartbreaking. But the love and comfort I feel when thinking of him, after a while, brings peace to my heart. He will always be a part of me. And I wish the same peace to you in the future.

  17. CtrlAltDel121 says:

    so sorry for your loss. I remember when you first got Remy and couldn’t stop talking about him on the podcast. Puppy Talk was born. Its tough to lose a pet, especially so soon and so suddenly. My thoughts are with you, hang in there.

  18. Alex Reynolds says:

    I am very sorry for your loss stepto , i have listened to the podcast and felt like i followed him growing up, a very sad log for a beautiful sounding dog, he will be sadly missed, mine and my partners thoughts are with you

  19. Rebecca says:

    Like others above, I’ve also been following your tweets on Remy, and was so saddened to see the news when I checked the computer this morning. Such a beautiful dog! Thank you for sharing his life with us. *virtual hugs to you and yours*

  20. Long time listener, first time caller, or the equivalent for this venue.  Anyway I am so sorry to hear that Remington has passed, I was hopeful that he was going to make a full recovery and even said some prayers in that context.  After listening to you for so many hours I consider you as a friend even though you don’t know me from adam.  But we are all human therefore we are all connected in some fashion, all part of one big dysfunctional family.  But at times like this we can set all the unimportant things aside and come together to support each other.  So again I say that I am sorry to hear that your friend and companion has died.  He will not only live on in your memories but through your sharing will live on in others too.  Goodbye Remington, you will be missed.  Also stepto thanks for sharing.

  21. Zack Stein says:

    I had to put down “Lloyd,” my Jack Russell “terrorist” of 14 years in February. He had been with me through so much – marriages, jobs, my first child… Lloyd was a pain in the ass, and the most unique dog I will ever have. My wife loved him dearly, though he remained “Lloyd” right up through the end. He died of pancreatitis after surviving bladder stones and other ailments. He was a food stealer, and actually stole a taco off the kitchen table, which eventually led to his demise. His love of food did him in… 

    I fully understand your pain, and feel your loss. I have two children, and yet dogs do hold such a special place in our hearts and families. There is room for both, and they both are so wonderful in their own ways. Dogs truly are “God” spelled backwards. They offer unconditional love and support no matter what. You did the best you could, and I truly believe he will come back to you in time. I didn’t think I’d cry when Lloyd was put down, but I went out to the parking lot and bawled my eyes out. And then I smiled, because I was thankful that I was able to love this creature as much as I did. There is joy in the pain. We are lucky to love, and that is Remmington’s lasting lesson for you. “Love me, Dad. Just love me…” 

    Be well, Stepto. This, too, shall pass. And there is nothing but more puppy love on the other side.

  22. Dave Branson says:

    I’m very sorry to hear about Remington. 
    I know how sad losing a pet can be, especially for someone who so obviously loves their pet so unreservedly. 
    Thank you for sharing Remington’s life with us and for keeping us informed when things got rough too. 
    I understand why you feel that there’s no joy in the world for now, and I’m glad that you know you will find joy again. Please know that by sharing with us how hard you worked to keep Remy alive and comfortable, you have shown us how loving and devoted a person can be, and that’s a good place to find joy. 

  23. Bryan Hildenbrand says:

    No words I could say can bring any amount of comfort, I’m sure. But my wife and I share your pain, no matter the small fraction of it you must be feeling, you are not alone.

  24. I am so sorry to hear about Remmington :(, have been following your tweets and I was hoping that it would go better with him. I remember you were first talking about him on the podcast, so exciting and so full of love, as you continued to do. You made Remmington part of the community that listends to the podcast and who enjoy hearing about his adventures.
    Now that he is gone I think a big part of the people who enjoyed puppy talk feel a bit as if we lost a member of the community.

    Losing a pet is always hard espescially one who is so connected as Remmington is to you, it is like losing a family member and the pain will grow less but will never go away, all you can do is remember him the way he was, before he was sick, that happy little puppy, that little ball of fur.

    Take care Stepto, thank you for sharing your stories about him. My thoughts are with you.

  25. Justin Davis says:

    Thank you Stepto for sharing this difficult journey with us, even though it had a sad ending.  I’m glad I got to “know” Remy through your tweets, pictures, and mentions of him on Major Nelson’s podcast.  I’m a thirtysomething with no kids of own….and like you, I have substituted kids for pets, in my case…cats.  They are my world and losing them sucks (especially so young).  The best we can do is give them an awesome life while they are with us.  You did that for Remy.  Your blog post was a wonderful tribute to him.  My thoughts are with you.  

  26. Anonymous says:

    Damn…was thinking he was coming out of the woods.  Sorry, Stepto.  Been there, done that, but it’s never the same. 

    Take care.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I was so sorry to hear that Remy had passed.  He sounded like such a wonderful dog and I can tell that he was truly loved.

  28. Was so sorry to hear the news about Remy: from your post he sounds like an awesome dog, and had a fun-filled, love-filled life.

    Take care, both of you, and hope to see/hear you around and about on the ‘net when you’re ready to come back.

  29. DaringOne says:

    Stepto:

    I tweeted at you earlier, but wanted to leave an extended comment on your blog.  I and my family’s prayers and thoughts are with you.  We too know what it’s like to lose a dog way before they should be gone.

    Sugar was our 6-year old dachshund that we’d rescued from Dachshund Rescue of North America.  It was a normal day like any other, and I was coming back from umpiring a softball game.  My wife’s family was over for a family gathering, which meant oodles of people in our small house.  I got the call that one of my wife’s nieces had fallen on Sugar and that she was hurt pretty bad.  Knowing that my wife has a propensity to blow things out of proportion, I shrugged it off and continued on my drive home after telling her to visit our vet that had Sunday hours.

    I got home to find that they were closed, and unfortunately also to find that in this instance my wife was right.  To this day we still don’t know what actually happened as my wife wasn’t in the room when this happened.  We dosed “Boog” with medication over the course of two weeks, hoping to see her pull through.  Sadly, she showed no improvement, and I had to make a fairly soul crushing decision let her cross the rainbow road.

    I wanted to be mad at my wife’s 4 year old niece, but I knew better.  I knew she didn’t mean what happened, and that accidents happen, but dammit, I sure as hell was mad at everything at the time.

    It took about a week for the crying in our household to finally cease, but there will forever be a Sugar shaped hole in our hearts.

    In Remy’s memory, I’ve changed my Twitter pic to Sugar to remember the good times I had with my Boog.  I hope the good times you had with Remy can somewhat ease the pain.

    I pray for your wounds to be healed :-(

    – D.J.

  30. DuFly says:

    Stepto,

    I am sorry to hear that Remington passed.  I have followed you on twitter for a while now and I enjoyed your posts and photos about seeing him for the first time and then watching him grow.  Thank you for sharing these moments and know that Remington will always be with you.

  31. Shawn Partner says:

    Dear Stepto and Rochelle,

    So sorry to hear about your loss.  From listening to the podcasts and reading updates on twitter, I know how dedicated to Remy you both were, and how much you loved him.  His spirit will always be with you.  Dogs give us their unconditional love, but you have proven that you were able to show him the same in your care for him.  The pain will never go away, but it will be easier to deal with in time.  I still miss the cat I lost in October 2000.  I’m sure you have plenty of local support, but there are plenty of us out here in the internet ethers thinking of you and your family.

    -stpartner

  32.  wanted to say, he gave joy to not few but thousands. – thought you should know seeing the community say they lived him vicariously the last few days in a few areas and them saying he reached so so many people :)
    On those crummy Mondays you made us smile on the later days we weeped with you.

    We loved him and we loved you through him and him through you :/

    Much love -x-

  33. Jim Martin says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I always loved hearing about Remy – our Golden is only about six months older so the antics seemed very familiar. I’ve always like this Ojibway legend which kind of sums up dogs:

    “The earth trembled and a great rift appeared, separating the first man and woman
    from the rest of the animal kingdom. As the chasm grew deeper and wider, all the
    other creatures, afraid for their lives, returned to the forest — except for
    the dog, who after much consideration leapt the perilous rift to stay with the
    humans on the other side.”

  34. Jim Crider says:

    Longer than a tweet… I grasp your hand, brother. Remington had too short a life, but long enough to bring you and Rochelle joy the way only a goofball golden boy can. You were great stewards for him, and I know he received back all the love he gave. And you moved heaven and earth to get him the best care and treatment when his condition came to light. “Just a dog”? Not at all. Family. That’s the bottom line.

    There really are no words that can heal by themselves. Only time can dull the pain of loss. Do what you need to do however long it takes.

    I raise my glass to Remington Martin Toulouse.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Stephen I feel your pain. I woke up one morning to find my 14 year old black lab had lost the use of his rear legs. The look of sheer confusion and panic on his face was the hardest part. I had to carry him to our vets where he was put to sleep. he was a strong fit dog, even at 14, sadly he’d had a stroke in the night. Walking out alone, from the Vets Surgery was the lonliest thing that I have ever done. Twenty years on, I still miss him. He was my best friend. I still have strong and happy memories as I hope that you will have once the pain of loss becomes tempered.

    -Mushii-

  36. Why Dogs Don’t Live Longer Than People
    ……Sent to Dr. Blake by one of his clients to share with his readers..

    Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year- old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle.

    I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family there were no miracles left for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for the four-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience. The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him.

    Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”

    Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life –like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The four-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

  37. Nick says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, I lost a dog many years ago and could never get another puppy after that. They really do become part of the family… Just remember the good times

  38. Gabe Tinder says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about Remy’s passing. I had a similar health scare with my beagle Mandy a few months ago, and although she fortunately pulled through, I know how just the idea of losing your dog can be completly heartwrenching and world-changing. I totally understand how you feel; our pets truly are members of the family. 

    Wishing only the best for you and Rochelle! Stay strong!

  39. I only found out today that Remy had passed, and I was just stunned. I don’t know how I missed those tweets…I’m just heartbroken for you and Rochelle.

    You are so right…we are stewards for our pets (whether we have kids or not). You and Rochelle were awesome stewards for Remy, and while I know there will always be a hole in your hearts, I hope it fills with fond memories.

  40. Just had a chance to catch up on your blog..sorry to hear about Remy.  I adopted a puppy in the late 90’s that I named Remy as well…he quickly contracted Parvo, and despite several attempts to save him, he passed too quickly.   I shortly thereafter adopted Bailey, and the rest, is..well…history.  She is lying next to my side as I type this.  It’s always tough…but it makes the special ones all the more special.

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