Good-bye to our sweet Garth

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It’s been a rough few days around here. Our 4 1/2 year bullmastiff started having issues breathing last Thursday (seemed a little winded) so I brought him to our vet around noon and they did a chest x-ray. Little did I know that an hour later, they would be calling me telling me he needed to be rushed to Tufts Animal Hospital in Grafton because they found fluid around his lungs. My vet was concerned that he had a lung lobe torsion. Basically, they thought his lung could be twisting. When we got to Tufts, they checked him in and did a few more tests which all came back negative for anything bad. We decided to leave him there for the night and he would have a CT scan in the morning of his chest and then have surgery if need be. I tucked him in for the night and headed home. I got a call about an hour later and they said the cardio report came back showing a huge 12 CM cancerous tumor attached to the lower part of his heart.  My heart dropped. Not what I expected to hear. The tumor was crushing his heart and pushing on his lungs causing the fluid to build up. Unfortunately, because the tumor was on his heart and was so large, there was nothing they could do. They told me he was at high risk for sudden death due to the size and location of the tumor. In disbelief, I hung up the phone and headed to Tufts to meet the vet and see the cardio report for myself.

I mean, he’s only 4 I thought. How can this be happening?

Good-bye to our sweet Garth - losing our bullmastiff at age 4

After seeing the reports and talking things over with the vet, we decided to bring him home for the night and say our good-byes. They drained 12 liters (the size of a large Pepsi bottle) of fluid from his lungs before we brought him home and he was actually himself. He was eating and happy. The next morning he didn’t really have an appetite, the fluid must have been building up again. We made the decision to have him put to sleep Friday afternoon. Having him die of a heart attack or drown in his own fluid was not going to happen so putting him to sleep was the best option. Certainly the suckiest part of being a pet owner but thankfully, he didn’t suffer. Like I told the kids, he will always be with us and will live on through new pets.

He seriously was the funniest dog ever. He would do the silliest things like put his toys in his dish and just stare at them. He always walked around with a stuffed animal in his mouth.

Good-bye to our sweet Garth - losing our bullmastiff at age 4

This guy would sit with my son for hours while he played legos, cars or built houses out of lincoln logs.

Good-bye to our sweet Garth - losing our bullmastiff at age 4

He weighed twice as much as my son but you would never know it. He was always so gentle and easy going when he was with him.

Good-bye to our sweet Garth - losing our bullmastiff at age 4

His favorite thing though, to sleep with our boxer Shelby. For such a big man, he was so gentle and quiet. Well, unless he didn’t know you and you were trying to come inside our house. -ha.

Good-bye to our sweet Garth - losing our bullmastiff at age 4

He absolutely loved his picture taken. There wasn’t a time where he wouldn’t pose.

Good-bye to our sweet Garth - losing our bullmastiff at age 4

This is one of my favorite pictures of him in front of the Christmas tree.

Good-bye to our sweet Garth - losing our bullmastiff at age 4

Such a gentle giant.

Good-bye to our sweet Garth - losing our bullmastiff at age 4

Our pets are like family. Spoiled rotten – :).

Good-bye to our sweet Garth - losing our bullmastiff at age 4

His adorable smushy face between his front legs as he slept, is a vision I will never forget. This guy stole our hearts. RIP sweet boy, we miss you.

Meet Jessica

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.


  1. Ali Jackson says:

    Aww, I’m so sorry in the loss of your sweet Garth! I always enjoyed seeing pictures of him in your blog.

      1. Debra Ruffinf says:

        Our daughter Karina had to put her dog down Friday too. He was sick and 14 years old. All the children and daughters and Karina’s husband were there. They buried him in the back yard in the cold April snow. It is very lonely for their family.

  2. Angela Pereira says:

    A short life but obviously a good life as a well loved family member – may you find peace in these gorgeous memories of him! RIP Garth

  3. So sorry for your loss and I’m crying just reading about sweet Garth. He’s is God’s sweet Doggy Heaven.

  4. I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet boy! Hugs,

  5. I’m so very sorry. It’s awful when we lose our pets, especially when they are truly part of our families. Take care.

  6. So sorry for your loss. His life may have been short, but it was full of love given and received!

  7. So sorry that you and your family have had to go through this. But, people who have never known the love of a pet have missed a blessing in life.

  8. I’m so sorry Jessica! It may have been a short life, but a great life! You have so many memories to last a lifetime! 🙂

  9. Oh my gosh that is heartbreaking 🙁 so sorry foe your loss. He looks like such a sweet boy.

  10. I am so very sorry for your loss. Reading your story had tears running down my face. I have two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and I couldn’t imagine them not being with me. Hope your children are doing ok.

    1. It’s been tough on the entire family, especially the kids. It’s much easier to explain when they have lived long lives and die of old age. This one is tough 🙁

  11. SO sorry. My eyes are full of tears.. We have 2 130lb. labs and 5 cats.. It is so hard when one leaves you.. I hope you find peace, you did the right thing.

  12. My sympathies to your whole family. Thanks for sharing the love Garth brought to you and visa versa.

  13. Linda Mossgrove says:

    Such a beautiful dog–a member of your family. Thank you for sharing such a personal part of your life with us. Prayers and gigantic cyber hugs to all.

  14. So sorry about Garth. I am wiping the tears away as I write this.

  15. Jan Fusco says:

    Crying my eyes out. I love animals. We have two dogs. Our German Pinscher has always had some sort of health issues. Sensitive tummy, cancer lumps and most recently diagnosed with diabetes. Has to have a shot every morning and night for the rest of his life. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. I know your sadness. We’ve lost a dog. The time will come when we lose the two we have. But they sure do bring us much joy, company and unconditional love.

    1. Oh so sorry your pup is having so many health issues. It’s terrible when the time comes to let them go 🙁

  16. Kate Horrell says:

    So sorry. Your Garth is at rainbow bridge playing with my Cody just waiting for us to get them again.

  17. melissa atkinson says:

    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of that beautiful dog. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  18. Judith Smith says:

    There are times when words can’t lessen the pain of loss, time seems to stand still and each day beyond that time leads to another chapter. I know the whole family is feeling the loss of your beloved Garth. Perhaps one day down the road your love for him and his docile loving spirit will lead you all to another “perfect fit”.

  19. Awe Jess I’m so sorry your sweet boy went to doggy heaven too soon. He looks like a big teddy bear! You have such cute pictures of him and he was definitely part of the family. His life was short, but thanks to all of you it was a great life.

  20. I’m so sorry, Jessica. We lost Bear (the dog who didn’t eat pizza) last August; I know how hard it is. He’ll always be with you guys. Peace and love to you all.

  21. I am so, sooo sorry for your families loss. I know you loved that big guy. We all did too, through your stories and your photos.
    Prayers for comfort. {{{hugs}}} Shannon

  22. So very sorry. He was such a sweet looking dog.

  23. I’m so sorry for your loss. It is never easy to say goodbye to our beautiful furry family members. Their love and loyalty is the very definition of unconditional.

  24. I’m so sorry Jess! xoxoxox We are huge huge do lovers at our house too, and losing one of them is heartbreaking! xoxoxox

  25. So sorry to hear about the loss of you pressure baby, Garth. We feel you pain.

  26. I’m so sorry for your loss. May all your good memories of him give you all peace and comfort during this difficult time. Sending love and prayers.

  27. NormaJean says:

    My heart is hurting for your loss. He was beautiful. Only another animal lover can understand how these sweet creatures can steal our hearts. It is hard when we lose them, but you made the kindest decision when you loved him enough to let him go.

    1. One of the hardest decisions ever! We miss him SO much!

      xo Jessica

  28. lynn thiessen says:

    My favorite author, Isabelle Allende, says “We only truly own what we give. ” You both gave your hearts. life can not require more. What a blessed gift. Thank you for caring for him. Love is not weighed by the bridge of time. bless you, lyn

  29. Sandy Patchin says:

    I lost my cocker to liver cancer 2009, my heart and prayers go out to you! Loosing a beloved animal is almost like loosing a family member.

  30. This brought tears to my eyes. I know exactly how it is when you have to put a pet down. I am so sorry. You didn’t have enough time to spend with Garth. Of course, he will never be forgotten. He was beautiful and looked like a wonderful guy.

  31. So very sorry you had to make these hard decisions and so sorry your family lost a member. They come into our lives and steal a piece of our hearts. Their time is short and some have even less to be part of our memories. We had to make this decision a few years ago regarding our puggers. My heart goes out to you and your family.

    1. So sorry to hear about Puggers… so difficult!

      xo Jessica

  32. Oh Jess, I’m so sorry. Losing a pet is so tragic. Right before we moved from NJ to Texas, our Maine Coon, Milo, had a heart attack at home and passed away. Having experienced that, I have to tell you, you 100% made the right decision. If I could have spared Milo that (or my husband finding him), I would have. He too was a gentle giant ( a 28 lb cat!), and we miss him so, even now, six months on. My heart is with you.

    1. Oh so sorry Amber 🙁 That is terrible. I know we did the right thing. It’s the crappiest part of being a pet owner that’s for sure.

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