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I am publishing this blog in memory of my dog, Stella (pictured above), who died last year on September 21st.

I saw this list shared by several friends on Facebook yesterday. It is so simple and moving that I felt compelled to share it here. I invite you to share your thoughts below.

1. My life is likely to last ten to fifteen years. Any separation from you will be painful: remember that before you get me.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me—it is crucial to my wellbeing.

4. Do not be angry at me for long, and do not lock me up as punishment.

5. You have your work, your entertainment, and your friends. I only have you.

6. Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don’t understand your words, I understand your voice.

Our dogs spooning. Rocco and Stella (passed on last year)

7. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget.

8. Remember before you hit me that I have sharp teeth that could easily hurt you, but I choose not to bite you because I love you.

9. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate, or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I might not be getting the right food, or I have been out too long, or my heart is getting too old and weak.

10. Take care of me when I get old. You too will grow old. Accompany me on difficult journeys. Never say: “I cannot bear to watch” or “Let it happen in my absence.” Everything is easier for me if you are there—even my death.

Remember that I love you.


Eric Handler is the co-founder of Positively Positive. He recently spoke at TEDx. Follow Eric on TWITTER