So. I received a death certificate in the mail.

As I plucked out all the junk mail from my mail box the other day I almost threw away a letter from a pet cemetery assuming it was simply a solicitation. Instead the envelope contained Tigger’s certificate of death highlighting the fact his remains were interred in a country setting with other pets. With this little slip of paper a lot of things came crashing back into my pea like brain.

Tigger and Bruce working in the office

The first thing was a feeling of selfishness. Did I not honor what Tigger truly meant to me after 15 years by simply leaving him at the vet? Should I have buried him? Did I do the right thing to have as his only memory a slip of paper rather than an urn or a grave somewhere?


The second was the thought of whether he realized how much he mattered to me.

Did he realize that I wasn’t disposing of him but rather simplifying the ‘letting go’ process.

Aw shit.

I don’t know.

After being shaken a little by this little slip of paper I took a moment to recognize neither one of us were ones to dwell on anything. In this situation the owner took on the characteristic of the dog and the dog took on the characteristic of the owner. We were at one on this issue.

We took the good and the bad as simply a moment in time and moved on.


I would like to believe he would have wanted his ending to be just another moment, simply the closing of a door, rather than a more drawn out ceremony. In the end our ceremony was a brief loving moment between a guy and his dog. I still miss the sometimes goofy but best friend I called Tigger.

Tigger snoozing


The Tigger legacy

With that said.

This little slip of paper made me think about what I would like his legacy to be (beyond great memories with aunts & uncles).


If I had the opportunity to create a campaign for pet adoption or the wonders of owning a pet I would use my experience with Tigger to create the campaign. I don’t mind what has been done so far. The adoption campaign using Sarah McLachlan’s song was nice in a heart wrenching way.


I still believe it slightly misses the mark (at least from a current owner’s perspective).

Owning a pet is truly a maddening joy not just heart wrenching. The tug of war between who is the master of the relationship can drive you through the roof and yet the moments of companionship are overwhelmingly rewarding.

And through it all it is the pet that dictates the relationship.


For it is in their loyalty and devotion that we pet owners will step up to the plate time and time again to speak out for how much having a pet can add to your life.

tigger and snow

With all that said here is what I would do.

I would build a campaign from the perspective of the pet (I will use my Tigger as a reference point).

And I have the song.

Throughout this song envision everything from a border collie’s perspective (or your own pet which is the true test of a campaign). It is in his or her voice talking to you (the owner or prospective owner).

You are getting a glimpse of what they see in you and their lives as a partner in life with you.

It includes the moments when they are straining at the edge of your patience and you are sharp with them. The moment when he was at the edge of the field wanting to chase that one tantalizing squirrel and yet you called him back. The moments you had to leave him alone for a long day at work and he sits there staring at the door awaiting your return. And the moments of joy in togetherness.

You know in their heads they have to believe it could be easier but in their love and devotion to you (their owner) they will walk through fire for you and to be with you if you need them.


The song is Ginny Owens “If you want me To.” A beautiful song. Probably one of the most underrated love songs of all time (although I believe it is truly about her relationship with God).

That’s it.

That little slip of paper made me think about my buddy again. And once again reminded me how much he meant to me, my life and how he could continue to inspire me to create things in his memory.

tigger after running stairs

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Written by Bruce