Does Our Pet’s Passing Merit Social Media? R.I.P. Fido

Does Everything Merit Social Media?


I just read a blog about a young man whose dog had passed on while he was away from home, studying in Paris. After much soul searching he decided that posting the news on Facebbook and other social forums just wasn’t in him. He wrote:


“So I fiddled with the color contrast and skimmed an online version of “The Little Prince” in search of something meaningful to put for the caption. But as I tried to decide which aphorisms about roses and wheat fields were most profound, and which of those would go best with the picture, I realized that my memory of Ginny was already getting muddled by my own vanity. Part of the reason I was even considering making a post was because it simply seemed like the thing to do, and to do otherwise would seem callous. But when it came time to groom her image for Instagram, my anticipation of the likes and notifications that would inevitably follow — and the idea of capitalizing on my dog’s death — made me squirm.”

Social vs. National News

Honestly, I though the article was beautifully written, but I had to asked myself “Why then, would you share your grief with those who don’t even know you?” I’m not looking for any answers. It was just a thought. I’m glad he did share his thoughts on the New York Times’ blog though, as it just gave me a blog idea of my own: Should we post the passing of our beloved friends on social media?

Again, I’m not looking for a right or wrong answer just for your own thoughts. Here are mine.

My Own Thoughts

When my last golden mix, Sparky, passed away I did indeed share it on Facebook. Not necessarily for me but for the others that loved him. Sparky was always a part of pool parties, Christmas gatherings, trips up north and everything in between. All of our friends and family members loved Sparky and many of them had nicknames for him. He was called Sparkler, Sir Sparks-a-lot, Sprinkler, Sparks, Sparko and my favorite from my little niece who couldn’t get the letters in the right order, Skarpy. I didn’t have a photo album of him but I did share a few of his best photos; in the pool, opening Christmas presents, with his favorite shark toy, and with his nose next to a baby bunny we were trying to nurse back to health.

sparky xmasSparky and bunny

Near the end of November in 2013 Sparky was diagnosed with nasal carcinoma. He had been having bouts of sneezing which we thought were his allergies. However, when after a week his sneezing got worse and we started to see blood when he sneezed I took him to the vet. Within a few days he was  diagnosed with nasal carcinoma. After visiting a specialist we decided to let Sparky live his final days peacefully, without pursuing what would seem to be, unsuccessful treatment. Sadly, on December 12 we had to release Sparky from his wretchedness. We could see that his zest for life was gone. There was no more greeting us at the door with a toy in his mouth. No more running to the door when my husband was going out to the barn. He wasn’t eating or drinking and you could feel his pain every time he sneezed. His eyes were sad, tired, pleading. Needless to say, there wasn’t much time to share his illness with all of our friends and family members, only the closest.

So that is why I posted his passing on Facebook. I wanted all of our friends and distant family member to know that our good friend was gone. I didn’t care if the rest of my ‘FB friends’ thought I was “overemotional or, even worse, fishing for pity.” I wasn’t looking for consolation from others. There could be no consoling me. That would have to come on its own. I didn’t do it because I thought it was the “right thing to do.” I simply did it so that others who loved him would know.

And What Did I Get?

Did I get comments from others who never even met Sparky? Yes, I did. And I appreciated every one of them.

I received a comment from my niece who lived in Vegas and had visited in the September prior. She wrote, “I just seen him, what happened? I’m so sorry.” (Okay, so her grammar is a bit off but her sincerity was clear.)

Nobody commented about how over emotional I was being or that I looked like a dork in the swimming pool with Sparky. If they thought it, who cares?

sparky and lori in pool

And This Why We Are All Individuals

Perhaps that is the difference between a fifty-something and the young twenty-something who wrote that beautiful article. The fifty-something does not care how others react to the posting of the loss. She shares her message and moves on.

The twenty-something clearly stated that he did not even want to think about how he or his photos appeared to others on Facebook.

And that’s okay. But thank you, Spencer Bokat-Lindell for writing your touching tribute to your dog, Ginny. And good luck in your remaining college days and in your future writing career!

PS. When I do see a death notice of someone’s pet on social media I do leave a short reply of condolence.

Please share your thoughts on sharing a pet’s death on social media. I’d love to hear them.



8 thoughts on “Does Our Pet’s Passing Merit Social Media? R.I.P. Fido

  1. Cap'n Jan

    Yes… I have been a member on various dog-related lists for over 20 years (yes! Back during the days of listserv lists). I posted when a beloved companions left my side and was surprised at the outpouring from people that I didn’t know, save from our common experiences on rec.dogs.{various} or rec.hunting.dogs. Even from some folks that I thought had a hard edge between them and their canine companions. I still keep copies of those notes… I read them from time to time. I miss that camaraderie that we all had, even though I don’t believe many of us ever met face to face.

    Strangers or not, we share a common thread: the love of dogs. I see that someone whose blog I follow almost religiously, has posted here too. If you don’t have her book, go get it. It is beautifully written, and more, she tells the story that so many of us know intimately, but don’t have the gifts of expression that she has in abundance. That is the common thread.

    Barkley, nor your Sparky was mine, but I ‘know’ you through that love that connects all of us, and I feel that twinge of pain when I read about the loss of a Best Friend. (Actually I DO have a Sparky, right at my feet right now. He also has many, many names… Spark-of-1000-names is one of them. ;->)

    Fair Winds and Following Seas,

    Cap’n Jan

    1. Lori Post author

      Your words are so true. I Just bought her book yesterday and I put a link to it on my Black and White Sunday blog. I am looking forward to reading it. I’m also looking forward to going back to your website and reading more about your adventure. Thank you for all your comments.

      1. Cap'n Jan

        Why thank you, Lori! Glad you got the Book of Barkley. You are going to love her writing. BUT, even though her writing is exceptional, go to her site and see her pictures. She is an absolute genius with the camera. Everything, all every day objects she photographs is done with a 5th sense – ‘sight’. Not the kind we all have with our ‘eyes’, but translating the real world into a focal point to illustrate the emotion.

        Well, my website has not been updated in… forever. I need to get myself over there and make jansjourney just a bit more up to date. I sure have pictures.

        My little companion on that voyage, Roni is no longer with me. Sadly, after 14 years we had to set her free from pain. But I am now able to smile at her remembered antics and her breathtaking agility and indomitable spirit. There’s a song by Mary Ann Kennedy called ‘Shooting Star’ that describes my girl perfectly. (Mary Ann’s dog was male, but I figure she won’t mind too much if I borrow the song for Roni.)

        Like a Comet She shot into my life
        She was black as coal but she shined so bright.
        To be with me was her only need
        To that little dog, I was everything…

        She was at my side every minute
        When each day came, she was in it
        With all her heart, that’s how dogs are.
        She lived fast, she lived hard…
        Like a Shooting Star…

        Now I remember when the silence screams
        Because its much too calm without her energy
        And I go back to a special time
        When I was hers and she was mine….

        I still see her in a big black sky
        When a falling star…. dances by…..

        If you have not listened to Mary Ann Kennedy, please do so. She is one of ‘us’ and has the gift of communicating through music.

        Amazon has her records, and downloadable mp3’s. Look under digital music and you can listen to some samples. There are two Mary Ann Kennedy’s – you want the one that wrote and sings “Shooting Star”, and many other beautiful songs about our companions…

        I am so glad to have found your site. I will be stopping by. I hope things go well for you, I know you are struggling with one of your darlings…

        Fair Winds and Following Seas,

        Cap’n Jan

        1. Lori Post author

          It sounds beautiful. Thanks for the info. I’m sorry about Roni, she looked like a fun character. I’m always telling Bear. “You’re a character,” because of his antics.

  2. LB Johnson

    When Barkley passed – I wasn’t on facebook. But my blog at the time had a huge following and everyone came to read about Barkley – he was the draw there. When he passed, they mourned, even those who were strangers. But their comments helped lesson the burden. When my brother died 3 weeks later, only 58 years old, I took both of their stories and crafted a book of our lives together, as memoir and tribute. They touched peoples lives and I hoped those lessons I took from them would provide support and comfort for others.

    1. Lori Post author

      It’s amazing how people love pets they have never met. You are a good writer and story teller though and they came to love Barkley through your words. I’m sorry for the loss of both Barkley and your brother.


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