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Valuable Life Lessons Learned from a Pet

Life often gifts us with particular companions who leave lasting imprints on our hearts. For me, that companion was Fanny, a Mini Yorkshire Terrier who brought boundless joy, love, and life lessons during our three years together in France. Adopted during the COVID lockdown, Fanny and I formed an inseparable bond that transcended the ordinary. Through her, I learned profound truths about love, kindness, suffering, celebration, and happiness. This blog post is a tribute to Fanny and the invaluable lessons she taught me.

To Love Unconditionally

From the moment I adopted Fanny, she showed me the true meaning of unconditional love. Despite her painful past and neglect, she welcomed me into her heart with open paws. Her ability to trust and love so freely teaches me to strive to do the same.

Trust and Forgiveness

Fanny’s story was marred by neglect; left alone in an apartment day after day, she was a victim of circumstances. Yet, she never held onto resentment. Her resilience and ability to forgive her previous owners taught me the power of letting go and embracing new beginnings. Every wag of her tail was a reminder that love heals all wounds.

Endless Affection

Fanny had an unending capacity for affection. She would greet friends at my door with a body-swiveling tail wag and jump as high as their knees. Whether she was in someone’s arms or trying to grab a kiss, Fanny’s affection was boundless and without conditions. This constant display of love reminded me to express my feelings more openly and generously.

To See Things Differently

Life with Fanny gave me a new perspective on the world around me. Her curiosity and zest for life were contagious, and she encouraged me to see beauty in the mundane.

Appreciating the Little Things

Whether walking through the Vallè de l’Eure in Uzès or the cobblestone streets, Fanny found joy in the simplest activities. She taught me to slow down and appreciate the small pleasures in life. Her excitement over a simple outing and finding a new furry friend made me realize the value of being present and enjoying the moment.

Changing Perspectives on People

Fanny had a knack for bringing out the true nature of people. Some loved her instantly, others tolerated her, and a few didn’t want her around. Through her interactions, I saw my friends and acquaintances in a new light. Fanny’s ability to accept people as they are without judgment inspires me to adopt a more open and understanding approach to my relationships.

To Embrace Kindness

Fanny’s presence in my life highlighted the importance of giving and receiving kindness. Her gentle nature and the kindness she inspired in others left a lasting impression on me.

Acts of Compassion

From the friend who rescued her during the lockdown to the friend who assisted with her peaceful death in my arms to the strangers who smiled at her antics, Fanny’s life was touched by many acts of kindness. Witnessing these gestures makes me more aware of the impact of compassion and encourages me to act more kindly towards others.

A Reminder of Humanity

Fanny’s ability to bring people together through her charm and need for affection was a constant reminder of our shared humanity. Her presence teaches me that kindness is a universal language that transcends barriers and fosters connection.

To Suffer

Life with Fanny was not without its challenges. Her health issues and the eventual complications that led to her passing were painful experiences that taught me about suffering and resilience.

Coping with Illness

Fanny suffered from acute pancreatitis, a condition that caused her excruciating pain. Managing her illness required patience, care, and emotional strength. Through this, I learned the importance of perseverance and the value of comforting those in pain.

Grieving a Loss

Fanny’s death was a heartbreaking event. The grief I felt was palatable, yet it is teaching me about the process of mourning and the strength that comes from enduring such a loss. Her passing reminds me that suffering is an intrinsic part of life and that we can find deeper connections to those we love through it.

To Celebrate

Despite the hardships, Fanny’s was filled with joy and celebration. Her presence turned ordinary days into extraordinary ones.

Milestones and Memories

From traveling across Europe to playing in the snow in New Mexico and swimming in the Atlantic Ocean in the U.S, Fanny experienced many adventures. Each of these moments filled her spirit and zest for life. Celebrating these milestones with her taught me to cherish the good times and create lasting memories.

Everyday Joys

Fanny found reasons to celebrate every day, whether greeting a friend or joining her doggy friends on a walk. Her ability to find joy in everything reminds me to celebrate life’s pleasures and to find happiness in the moment.

To Spread Happiness

Fanny had an uncanny ability to make those around her smile. Her infectious joy and playful nature were a source of happiness for many, teaching me the value of spreading positivity.

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Bringing Joy to Others

Whether through her playful antics or her affectionate cuddles, Fanny brought joy to everyone she met. Her presence reminds me that small acts of happiness can significantly impact those around us. She taught me to be mindful of the energy I bring into a room and to strive to spread joy wherever I go.

The Power of a Smile

Fanny’s cheerful disposition was a testament to the power of a smile. Her ability to lift spirits with her joyful demeanor inspires me. She showed me that happiness is contagious and that sharing it can brighten someone’s day.


Fanny was more than just a pet; she was a teacher and a companion who enriched my life in countless ways. Through her, I learned about unconditional love, how to see things differently, embrace kindness, endure suffering, celebrate life, and spread happiness. Her memory will forever be a part of me, and the lessons she taught will continue to shape my outlook on life. Fanny’s legacy is one of love, joy, and the enduring impact of a small dog with a big heart.

Love Note

The same week I lost Fanny, my older brother Jack passed away at the age of 87. He lived a full life with outstanding accomplishments and unending love from his family and all who knew him. Jack was prepared to leave this earth to join his beloved wife, who preceded him in death. I grieve for my brother as only an adoring little sister can.

While many could write a book about my brother, only one person can tell the tale of my beloved Fanny. This blog post is a tribute to Fanny and the invaluable lessons she taught me.

Rest in Peace, Beloveds. 



Life in Uzès: Traveling with a Pet


33 Responses

  1. So sad that Fanny has passed away,what a wonderful few years she had with you,travelling and interacting with her doggie friends and enjoying all those comforts she didn’t have before! Condolences on the death of your brother too,may he rest in peace.

    1. Thank you, Kathleen. I’m happy you met Fanny, too. What a great time we had together in Paris. I wish I could have taken her back there. Hope to meet up with you again.

  2. I lost my precious dog in April. I also adopted her during Covid. I only had her for 4 years. She didn’t come from the same background as Fanny, but from a loving home. There were reasons she needed to be rehomed. She developed kidney disease and then her kidneys failed and I made the decision to set her free. She brought me joy, laughs and tears.

    1. Bless you for giving a senior dog a home. It breaks my heart that Fanny is gone, but I am so thankful for the time we had together. She was a precious part of me that I can’t replace. I know how you feel. Thank you for your note.

  3. What a beautiful essay about the benefit and blessing of adopting a pet into ones life. Three years ago my wife brought a dog into our family and it changed us all. Never being a “dog person” I first regretted the move. Having a dog to me meant responsibility and potentially limiting travel and freedom. I learned however that our Charlie was more than that. Charlie is our personal trainer, he demands we get up and move. We walk miles around town and as a result we burn calories and meet new faces . Charlie attracts smiling “dog people” to come and ask “can I pet him?”,” What is his name”. Charlie has introduced us to neighbors on our street that we never knew. Charlie has taught us to smile, love and to be patient. So now I “get it” about having a dog. Thank you for sharing lessons you learned from adopting a dog into your life it was a beautiful expression of Love. Fanny taught what is really important in life-the simple things, connections, gratitude and Love.

    1. Thank you for saying what dog owners don’t express enough. In spite of the limitations they put on our activities, dogs make up for it in affection, love, and opportunities to enjoy a fuller life. Big hugs to Charlie, please, for me.

  4. Life with all living things is a lesson in our own humanity. We are ALL transients on this earth. Here today and all too frequently gone tomorrow. Whether one’s time here is short or long there is one thing we all know but all too frequently forget is there is the plan that is greater than any one of us. We are all equal grains of sand on the “Beach”:of time. Not bigger or smaller than all the others,
    God Bless Us All.

    1. You are so right, Peter. It’s been a hard week with a lot of sadness, but no more than others suffer in the same circumstance. Fanny was special. Thank you for your note.

  5. Did you mention her curiosity and sense of adventure? I am thinking of her visiting the neighbors during our Asheville trip. We immediately thought of her as a delicious morsel to a bear in the woods. But, no, she walked down the road and up the driveway of very nice people next door.

    1. Can we ever forget that little mischief maker? I thought I lost her then! She was definitely a social butterfly, never wanting to be alone. I’m so happy you met her. Hugs!

  6. What a beautiful tribute to your extra special little friend, I can relate. Molly Joy ( I had no idea how appropriate her name would become) has brought so much love into my life. After I lost Scott and began my life as a single woman again I had no idea what a void she would fill. She is my constant companion and wants to be by my side at all times. We gets so excited when I come through the front door even if I am only gone for a few minutes. I have watched Ginger have dogs and lose them over the years but had no idea what a profound impact a ten lab bundle of fur would have on my life.

    1. I love reading about you and Molly on Facebook. She is so adorable and such a good companion for you. She filled a big void in your heart. Hope to see you both before too long.

    1. Thank you, Paula. I know you understand the feeling all too well. I’m happy that Fanny and Toby are resting side by side with such a beautiful view of the South of France. We are blessed.

  7. Fanny left us all with a legacy of love in many different interpretations, but the most
    important to me was the love connection between the two of you. What treasured memories.
    Thanks for this heartfelt tribute.

    1. You know how special she was to me, indeed. She was part of my every day and night. I’m so happy you met her and had a chance to get to know her.She is worth every tear.

    1. I wish you had met Fanny, too. You would have loved each other. She was a very special little girl, and a character! I miss her so much. Hopefully I’ll see you before too long. Thank you

  8. Such a lovely tribute to the most loving companion I have ever met. I will miss her greatly. I was looking forward to seeing her when I move to Montpellier in early 2025.

    1. Yes, not quite fair that Fanny will not be here to welcome you to your new home in France. But she saw where you are going to live, and she approves … except for that big dog that snipped her ear! That’s a story that’ll live forever. Love you

      1. We will never forget the ear-nipping! What a day. I’m so glad you met Fanny, but sad we won’t have her on our future adventures. She’s watching.

    1. I love the photo of Fanny with Liam. One of my favorites. I’m so glad you met her and I truly appreciate your kind words. Much love.

      1. I love that photo, too. They really took to each other. So glad to get to know you two. Merci.

  9. What a heartwarming tribute to a beautiful, loving and much loved little dog. We are so blest when our pets put so much trust in us and they do leave a hole when they leave us, but also memories we wouldn’t want to be without. You gave Fanny some wonderful years and I am so glad I knew her. RIP Fanny.

  10. So very sorry to hear about Fanny. But what a lovely tribute you have paid to her. So glad that she was able to find you, as I know you would have given her the best of treatment and were with her at the end. I love the sentiment that you expressed about being the only one who can pay tribute to Fanny and so glad that you did so. I just wish that I could have met her.

  11. I’m so sorry for the loss of your beloved companion, Fanny. We animal lovers understand how much they enrich our lives and you summed it up beautifully. Thank you for sharing this emotional tribute.

    1. I didn’t realize how broken hearted I would be. I wish she could have been here longer. Thank you for your kindness

  12. You’re so sweet. Yes, I see the tear drops. I am still struggling with the fact that Fanny is gone. I see her and feel her everywhere. Thank you for your expression of care.

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