Texas musician pens ‘Goodbye Letter’ from perspective of his beloved dog dying from cancer

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What began as a heartbreaking tribute by Texas musician John Pointer about his nine-year-old dog Benny who was dying from cancer, became a book three years later. For many a dog owner trying to cope with the death of their beloved dog, the despair and the emptiness became overwhelming for John also. Perhaps the words penned by John can help someone else heal and find comfort in this special tribute.

And in this “Goodbye Letter” John wrote the story through the perspective of Benny. His letter begins here:

Yesterday was weird. I couldn’t get myself out of bed. The guy I live with lifted me up. I tried to get my legs under me, but they wouldn’t cooperate. He said, ‘Don’t worry, I gotcha buddy’ carried me downstairs, and out the front door. That was so nice of him. I needed to pee so badly. I just had to go right there where he put me down. Normally, I wouldn’t, but we both decided to make an exception to the rule. I started walking down the parking lot toward that place where all the dogs like me go to poop. I felt my paws dragging on the ground. ‘How strange,’ I thought. Then suddenly I just had to go, really badly. In the middle of the parking lot. Normally, I wouldn’t do that. It’s against the rules. My person cleaned up the mess. He’s good at that. I felt embarrassed, looked at him, and he said, ‘Want to keep walking buddy?’

John Pointer

Benny continued with his day, but today was different and so strange:

I did, but it was surprisingly tough. By the time we reached the end of the parking lot, my head was spinning. I tried to climb the little hill, and nearly fell over. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. He reached down again, and ran his hands over me. That felt good. He picked me up, and carried me home. I was still confused, and my head was light, but I was glad not to have to walk all the way back. It suddenly seemed like an impossible distance.

Goodbye Letter

Finally Benny was home – a sigh of relief:

I was glad to lay down on my bed. My person petted me, saying, ‘I gotcha covered, buddy. I gotcha.’ I love the way that makes me feel. I know he does. He makes everything better. He felt my paws, and pulled up my lip. He said, ‘Oh buddy, are you cold?’ I was. My face was cold, my paws were cold. He texted a few people, and came back to pet me. A few minutes later, another person arrived. He’s one of my favorites, and his name is Jay. He petted me, and said to my person. ‘Do you want to get a blanket?’ They put a blanket over me, and wow … that felt good. I relaxed, and they both petted me, but they both started to choke back tears.

Goodbye Letter

Benny was just so insightful:

I never want them to cry, it breaks my heart. It’s my job to make them feel better, and I was just a little tired, and cold. I drifted in and out of sleep, and they were always there, making sure I was okay, and chatting with each other. Throughout the day, my person made some phone calls, and spent a lot of time with me. I heard him say, ‘9am tomorrow …ok…yes. I’ll tell you if anything changes. Thank you Dr. MacDonald.’ He called someone else and said, ‘I’m sorry. I have to cancel tonight.’ Then as I was drifting off to sleep, I think I heard him cry a little again.

Goodbye Letter

Our precious time together means so much:

In the evening, some of my favorite people came by. They were all so loving. I licked their tears away when they would get close enough to my face. They whispered sweet things in my ear, and told me I was a good boy. Later in the evening, I felt well enough to stand up and walk to the door to see who was coming in. It was more exhausting than I remembered it being, but I loved seeing them all. I heard my person say something like, ‘That’s the first time he’s gotten up under his own power today.’ Everyone seemed glad that I was out of bed. I was too, but wow … after the excitement wore off, it was so exhausting to move around.

Goodbye Letter

A special night with my person:

After the last visitor left, my person took me outside to do what he called ‘my business.’ We went back inside and when we reached the bottom of the stairs, they looked twice as steep and ten times as long as I remember them being. I looked at my person and he looked at me. He said, ‘Don’t worry, I gotcha buddy,’ and carried me up.

Then it got even better! Instead of sleeping in my bed, he called me up to sleep on *his* bed. Let me repeat: *I got to sleep in the bed with my person!* We normally have our own beds, but last night we snuggled, and it felt so good to be that close to him, I thought, ‘This is where I belong. I will never leave his side.’ I didn’t feel very well though, and it was hard to breathe sometimes.

Goodbye Letter

This is how it all started with the diagnosis:

We were playing fetch a few months ago and I just blacked out. I don’t know what happened, but I think I stopped breathing. I could hear my person calling my name. I couldn’t move a muscle. He lifted my head, and looked into my eyes. I could see him right there, but couldn’t lick his face. He said, ‘Benny are you in there?’ I couldn’t respond. He looked at me and said, ‘Don’t worry buddy. I gotcha covered.’ I started to spin into darkness, but then my lungs took in a deep breath, and I could see again. We went to see some doctors, and since then I’ve heard a lot of words like, ‘cardiomyopathy,’ ‘cancer,’ and ‘liver failure.’ All I know is that sometimes I feel okay, and sometimes … you know … I just don’t. My person gives me pills.

Goodbye Letter

Morning arrived:

This morning, I heard my person get up and take a shower. He came back in the room, and smelled so nice. He helped me get up, but this time, I could do it on my own. We got to the top of stairs, and wow … they looked long and steep again. He said, ‘I gotcha buddy,’ and carried me down. I did my business and we came back inside. He opened a can, a really, really delicious can of wet dog food. Oh man … I love that stuff! Jay showed up again. What a nice surprise! He and my person seemed concerned, but everyone was petting me. It seemed a little like a play, where all the actors were sad, but pretending to be happy.

Goodbye Letter

I can see doctor pants now:

Pretty soon another person showed up. She was wearing doctor pants, and I leaned on her. I heard them talk. Everybody looked at my gums, and felt my paws. I heard the doctor pants lady say, ‘It’s your decision, but he’s definitely in that window. I don’t want to push you, but looking at his lack of color, I am honestly shocked he’s even standing up. In addition to the paws and jowls, look here…’, she pointed at my face. ‘This should be pink. It’s almost white, and verging toward yellow.’

My person and Jay went inside to talk about something. When they came back out, I heard my person say, ‘I agree. I don’t want to wait till he’s in absolute agony.’ So we went inside. Truth be told, I was feeling pretty badly, even though I was up and walking. It seemed like my whole head was cold, my paws were freezing and my back legs weren’t working right.

Goodbye Letter

Everyone looked at me with love:

The doctor pants lady said, ‘I’ll just put this into his muscle. It’s a sedative. Then I’ll come back over here, and you can just love on him till he’s asleep.’ My person kissed my face and looked in my eyes. He was trying not to cry. Doctor pants lady gave me a shot of something in the leg. I just looked at my person. He is so awesome. I will always be right by his side. He and Jay petted me, and said the nicest things …what a good dog I am, what a good job I’ve done, how thankful they are to have me in their lives.

After a while, my mind started buzzing. FOCUS! I looked back at my person. I love him so much. I drifted again. FOCUS! I can see my person. I love him so much. I will always be right by his side. He knows that. Am I sleepy? FOCUS! I’ll always look at him with my whole heart… Doctor pants lady said, ‘He must have an incredible will to stay with you. He is really powering through. That’s impressive.’ My person choked back tears and said, ‘I know. This dog lives for me, he’s the most devoted soul I’ve ever met.’ We put our heads together, and closed out eyes. I felt good. I can’t really describe it. We looked at each other again. I just felt like riding that buzz, but maybe lying down was better. My person helped me down. Man that felt goooooood. I felt him and Jay petting me. Everyone I’d ever known and loved was there, petting me, scratching my ears, and that spot under my collar that makes my legs move. Everyone should try this. It’s just amazing!

Goodbye Letter

And then it was my time to say goodbye:

Then I felt the doctor pants lady touch my leg. Did I tell you that my person had to have both of my knees repaired? They’re titanium , and have served me well, but you know … I’ve been feeling a little creaky lately. With everyone petting me, the doctor pants lady put another needle in my leg, but this time as the fluid went in, my legs were healed! My knees were perfect! And as I felt it move through my body, my cancer disappeared! And then my kidneys felt better! And finally, even my heart was whole, and healthy! I felt like I had sprung away from all of my sickness. Amazing!

Goodbye Letter


I saw my person, and Jay, and the lady who lives at our house. Shelly. They seemed to be huddling over something. I walked over to look. It seemed like … I don’t know. It kind of looked like me, but the way I looked when I was feeling really sick or exhausted. The face was blurred out so I couldn’t really tell, but that poor guy looked like he had been suffering. I could tell my person was both relieved, and very, very sad. I love him so much. I looked at that me-shaped shell, and I looked at him… I think he was sad about that shell. I jumped around the room, like a clown, but it seemed like they wanted to be somber, and focus on whatever that thing was they were petting and kissing.

Goodbye Letter

More love:

But my person was definitely sad. I leaned on him, like I’ve done a million times before, but it wasn’t quite the same. It felt like his body was a cloud and I passed right through him. So I walked up next to him, sat like a good boy, and my heart whispered to his, ‘Don’t worry, buddy. I gotcha covered.’ I will never leave his side. He knows that.

Goodbye letter

For more information on this poignant story and the book written by author Benny Pointer, please click here.

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