Dear Sydney

I knew this week would be the last for my beloved dog, Sydney. We painstakingly put her down yesterday.

If you are a pet owner and have had to do this, you know the pain.

Sydney wasn’t just our family dog. She was everyone’s dog. I feel compelled to share the news of her passing not because of friends’ relationship with me, but their relationship with Sydney.

I wrote the following for me. And you—whether you are a pet lover, or one of those admirers of Sydney.

And most importantly, for the dog that changed my life.

Dear Sydney,

I hope this was the life you dreamed about.

You left the comfort of your sisters and the San Diego sunshine to be loaded into an under-seat dog carriage to fly with me to San Francisco. You slept the whole way. We stopped at PetCo on the way home from the airport for basic puppy necessities. I unzipped the top mesh of the carriage a bit; you wormed your way out. It was my first glimpse of your insistent nature.

Your next task would be introducing yourself to Bob and convincing him that you would change his life—for the better. You charmed him within minutes. You were so small in his hands.

You climbed into every corner of our city backyard. Ate snails. Dug holes. Slept in the sun.

When we had to go to work during the day, we left you in the closed hallway. You figured out how to push open a swinging door, so we expanded your space to include the kitchen. You spent time lying in front of the floor heater or chewing on baseboards. We painted over them, but your baseboard graffiti remained when we sold our house a decade later.

You showed me that San Francisco—specifically the Marina district—was dog heaven. Chestnut Street was like your daily walk on the Hollywood red carpet. There were treats, new dog friends, and fawning humans taking photos. Catnip & Bones pet store was your local “Cheers” bar, visited after what was always a photography shoot at Pottery Barn.

In later years, we’d see a French Bulldog puppy walking down the street. The owners would stop and exclaim “Is that Sydney?” We didn’t recognize them, but they recognized us. “Meeting Sydney inspired us to get a French Bulldog!”

That is the impact you had on humans.

You were not an everyday dog. You were Sydney. Everyone remembered your name.

Your heaven on earth was the Crissy Field Beach. You lost toys in the surf and proudly carried a few home. Some were unfortunately stolen. You were a thief. You were fast and slick. After watching me try to chase you down, more than one dog owner resigned to “Just keep the ball. She clearly wants it more.”

You brought Bob to the Marina dog park. You both made new friends.

On walks, you stopped at the front door of Frenchie friends Marcel and Ludo’s house; they did the same in front of yours.

In meeting Paula West and Frenchie sidekick Satchmo, a friendship blossomed. There were jazz concert appearances, non-profit galas, and Oscar parties. You even dined at The Big Four in Nob Hill.

You made yourself the center of every gathering at our home or backyard. You weren’t present at our wedding party because it was 100+ degrees outside. Our family photo with you early that day is my favorite.

You loved being on our boat in Sausalito—because we did.

Or maybe it was because you had Frenchie friends as boat neighbors. Or the dropped food possibilities on the Dolen’s boat, at Poggio’s, or at Friday night Jazz & Blues on the Bay.

You had no shortage of welcoming pet sitters among our friends. I loved knowing that they could get to know the quirks we’d come to love.

Your backup was the Wag Hotel. More than one staff member has admitted to sneaking you from your room to the extra dog bed in their office during your stay.

Led by me, your friendships were national and international. People addressed you in holiday cards; we signed your name in ours. Our friends and their enamored children would regularly ask about you.

I remember Yeabsira from Ethiopia’s delight at being your date for the Moulin Pooch dog holiday party. Our photo with Santa Claus from that party is another favorite.

You have your own Facebook page and were profiled on countless Instagram feeds. You’ve been photographed by the San Francisco Chronicle, on the local San Francisco NBC news, and in a dog fashion show. You’ve joined us for more winery visits than I can count.

You’ve road tripped to Oregon, Arizona, Southern California, and even crossed the Mexican border to Valle de Guadalupe. You’ve been on Route 66 several times as part of our 2020 move to Santa Fe. I don’t think you’ve ever truly felt at home in Santa Fe, but for your parents…anything.

You had 10 years of miraculous health. Shortly before your 10th birthday, you jumped off the picnic table at the dog park and suffered from a herniated disc. It was painful seeing you unable to walk or urinate, but you underwent surgery and became a whole new dog.

Bob thought it was ridiculous that I threw you a 10th birthday party. I’m happy I did.

You suffered from glaucoma and ultimately lost your vision in one eye, and later both. You lost your hearing. You suffered from arthritis. While the vet visits and eye drops were cumbersome, I happily added them to our routine.

I pushed you around the hills near our home in the dog buggy my mom gifted you. It was great exercise for me, and pure joy for you. I believe your sense of smell and touch allowed you to see your beautiful surroundings.

As your heart and lungs declined, we did all we could for your comfort. I snuggled with you under the covers our last few nights; Bob snuck you some sausage, liver and eggs as part of your last few meals.

You left us at 14.2 years old. In dog years, you reached 100. It doesn’t surprise me. You are Super Sydney. You’re exceptional not only among French Bulldogs, but all dogs.

I am so grateful to have had these years with you, especially the last few. Sometimes I just watched you waddle around the house bumping into walls, turning and continuing on. It was the insistent nature I fell in love with on day one.

Sydney, you give me comfort, laughter and inspiration. You’ve given me the life I’ve dreamed about.

Sweet dreams, my forever-special girl.

Jodi & Bob (“The Parents”)

Discover more from Jodi Morris

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Jodi Morris Written by:

Venture Guide to High-Achieving Seekers. Success Coach. Venture Travel Curator. Impact Investor. Traveler. Writer. Global Connector. When we connect to others' stories it changes our own. Let's Venture!