To Have Loved….

“‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all”
-Alfred, Lord Tennyson

In loving memory of Kona
April 8, 2003- September 3, 2011

Yesterday, with great sorrow and many tears, we had to say our final goodbyes to our beloved Kona, who lost his battle with cancer. Kona passed peacefully at home, in the arms of those who loved him. It hurts, sometimes so much I feel like I cannot breath, but I’d do it all again in a heartbeat, for all the love he brought to our world.

We adopted Kona just 2 years ago, when he was 6 years old. He was our 17th foster dog and I knew the moment I laid eyes on him, he was not leaving us. Not to mince words, but his previous life was crappy. He was terrified of people, especially men, and he would cower, freeze and drool in fear. So we showered him with love and he blossomed into an amazing dog.

Together, he and I volunteered at local hospitals and hospices, providing pet therapy visits to patients. Our specialty was working with brain trauma and stroke patients and I witnessed Kona’s magic, as he helped people through some of the most difficult times of their lives.

I feel incredibly privileged to have known this amazing being, even if it was for far too short of a time. Dogs live the best lives; in the moment and fully…completely. A lesson we all should remember.

The time we had with Kona was packed full of Golden moments and I will treasure each and every one of them forever. Here are some of my favorites, I hope they bring some smiles…

The first time we let him off leash, he ran and ran and ran, through the poppy fields outside of Los Angeles…I think it was the first time he was ever free to run.

Our winter camping trip to the Grand Canyon was all the more fun with Kona.

The first time we took Kona to the beach, he was overjoyed, chasing birds up and down the shoreline.

Kona loved to explore and together we climbed many mountains…

Marveled at beautiful canyons…

Hiked many trails around Los Angeles…

Camped in the desert…

Explored the coastline of California…

Hiked parts of the Pacific Crest Trail…

And had many wonderful days at the beach…

Sweet dreams, Kona Bean. You will always be in our hearts.

We would also like to thank everyone for their kind words of love and support during this difficult time. It means so very much to us that we have been able to share our Kona with the world. Thank you all.

42 thoughts

  1. So sorry to hear of Kona’s passing. Such a wonderful tribute. Our thougghts & prayers are with you.

    Mona & Weenie

  2. We’re crying with you dear friends…..
    we’re heartbroken…..sorry for our delay….we read about your sweet Kona only now….
    Awwwwwwwwwwwww……..What an hard time for you….
    We had a wonderful time with you and Kona……what an honor…..what a lucky we had….
    We Have had a privilege to share some days with him……and we had the best time ever…
    He gaves us sooooooooooooo much love………….so many smiles………we cuddled him………..we gave him lots of belly rubs………..we groomed him with you……..we layed with him smelling his sweet scent and passing our hands through his fur…..
    We has been an Angel with us and now is a real Angel for you and for all we known him!!!!!!!!
    Our hearts are close to yours……
    Kona will be furever in our hearts and I know he’s playing with Spencer now…talking about you and how much you are special!!
    Be strong…..
    We’re here for you!!!!!!!!
    Sending you millions sweet hugs…….and licks from our babies!!!
    Love you guys!!!!
    Simona, Marco & PMM

  3. To say that I am moved to deep waves of tears is an understatement. The first thing that came to mine upon seeing his pictures was this quote:
    “An animals eyes have the power to speak a great language”. -Martin Buber.
    Knowing that he lived such a fulfilled, adventurous life with you, full of discovery and joy, brings me just a tad bit of comfort. Kona was such a beautiful Golden, as they all are. The photography is so incredible, it takes me to those moments you shared together. My deepest condolences to you and your family, and God bless all the doggies that await a loving family like yours to enjoy their life with. You gave him so much, and he will be like an angel watching over you forever.

  4. I am crying with you as I read this beautiful tribute.
    You made such a difference in Kona’s life.
    You gave him happiness and love that he never had before.
    There is a new star in the sky – I see it shine so brite.. It’s the Kona star.
    All of blog land is sending their love to you..

  5. This is my first time hearing about your dog but I can tell how much you love Kona. I am very sorry for your loss. He seemed like a great dog. It sounds like you packed a lot of adventures in the short two years you had with him which is wonderful and inspiring. I hope to have as much fun with my dog, Bruno, as you had with Kona. Again, I’m sorry for your loss and this was a beautiful tribute to your buddy. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  6. I know what you are going through w/ your loss because it is really hard when we lose a beloved furry family member. Even though you have fostered him, he knew that he was dearly loved by you all & for the few years you had him, those memories of him will last a lifetime. Take your time to grieve because the grieving will help you heal but it will take time. As Kona began to pass away in your arms, he could feel the love in your arms & he truly loved you. Even though Kona left your arms, his love & memories will be furever in your hearts. Thank you for sharing his story w/ us because it is so nice to see the love that is out there for the furry members. Our deepest sympathy to you & your family during this difficult time. Thank you for giving him the love!

  7. We are so sorry for the loss of Kona, but are so thrilled that you took him into your life to share. As a family of rescued dogs, we know the joys of tapping a dog’s true spirit after another has tried to deny that spirit. We will light a candle for Kona.

  8. My God. I don’t know what to say.
    I can’t imagine the pain you are feeling now.
    Our hearts are heavy, so heavy.
    We´re so sorry. This was so fast… my dear God, why?!
    He had a wonderful and he was such a happy dog, what a wonderful smile! You were a blessing to him and he was a bless for you too.

    Goodbye Kona! We will always think of you!
    Our hearts are with you!

    You guys are in our thoughts too.


    Pipa, Carla and John

  9. I’m heartbroken, It’s amazing how one can be so devastated for a dog and his peeps You only know virtually .I know that in the past two years you guys gave him the best years of his life. To me you and Kona are role models of how much can we get from giving. Run free beautiful boy. I ( and all all of your fans around the world) will always miss you and think of you fondly .

  10. I saw a posting on our friends at Loving for a Living. I was immediately struck by the similarities of Kona’s story and our rescued Lady (the bridge, Mar.1st). Heck, they could have been related; their LifeForce so powerful, their chance after a tough life to blossom beyond imagination. We have been privileged indeed. Yes, I would agree, wouldn’t trade the abbreviated life we had to share for anything. I look forward to reading about Kona’s life on your site. We are so sorry for your loss.

    With heavy hearts, KT and Easton

  11. We are so sorry for your loss. Mom and me are keeping all of you in our thoughts and prayers. Run free Kona…

    Maggie Mae and mom

  12. i’m… lost for words…
    i’m so sorry… i know no words can ease your pain, but please know our hearts are with you, and i’m crying with you too.
    please be strong. we love you and we will miss Kona.

  13. We are so thankful that Kona got to experience true love the last two years of his life, and was given the chance to feel happiness in a way that every dog deserves. The picture of him running free in the poppy field says it all. Much love to you both. Thank you for sharing him with us.

  14. I am sure that every Golden moment you and your family spent with Kona erased the bad memories from his heart. He knew your love for him, even now when he’s healthy and able to play free, he knows you love him. And loves you every bit as much. He’ll always be with you.

    Thought and prayers from my family to yours.

  15. Thank you again for sharing Kona’s life with us. I am sorry for your loss. What a wonderful life of love he had with you for two years. Having lost my two goldens, Holly & Taylor (both rescues) in the last four months, I am so sad and feel your sorrow. Like you, I will do it all over again, to watch a rescued dog come alive and thrive. They are truly angels here on earth. Run free Kona.

  16. I am so, so sorry for your loss. I know the days ahead are going to be agony, but Kona’s precious memories will bring you through this. His star will continue to shine for you.
    What an incredible tribute, to an incredible dog, at the most heartbreaking time.
    We love you. May you be surrounded by the love and understanding of friends – close by and afar.
    With love

  17. Kona gave this world so much love – even when he had every right to turn his back on the human race. Thankfully, he had YOU to give him many reasons why to trust the human race one-more-time. You hit the jackpot with him and he won the Gold metal with you. Rest in peace sweet Kona. It’s never, every good-bye. It’s always, see you later.

  18. I too am crying along with you. Kona was an amazing dog and I am priveledged to have been there the day that you first laid eyes on him. I will never forget you seeing him in the crate in the car and saying “who is that?”. ( I am certain it was Kona’s darling crooked teeth that sealed the deal) I will always remember how terrified he was that first day and how he cowered in fear at the sight of even a small statue in the yard. Thanks to your love and patience, Kona became such a confident and happy dog. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving him such a happy and wonderful two years.

    Here is one of my favorite quotes by Washington Irving that seems so fitting to how we feel about Kona:

    “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.”


  19. So sorry, Koda seems like a great dog. I know how heartbreaking this is. You will be in our prayers

  20. So sorry to hear this news, I were hoping for more days of grace for you and Kona. You are brave to keep opening your hearts to this love that can hurt so much and I admire your great courage. I hope you are sustained by knowing how much good you did for such a sweet boy, and by is obvious joy at being with you for these too short years.

    Heidi, Tucker and Daisy.

  21. We are so sorry, we know words at this time are empty. Please know we have been down the road you walked and we know the pain you are feeling.
    Sheila & Bob

    Beyond the Rainbow
    by Cathy Guyan

    As much as I loved the life we had and all the times we played,
    I was so very tired and knew my time on earth would fade.
    I saw a wondrous image then of a place that’s trouble free
    Where all of us can meet again to spend eternity.

    I saw the most beautiful Rainbow, and on the other side
    Were meadows rich and beautiful — lush and green and wide!
    And running through the meadows as far as the eye could see
    Were animals of every sort, as healthy as could be!
    My own tired, failing body was fresh and healed and new
    And I wanted to go run with them, but I had something left to do.

    I needed to reach out to you, to tell you I’m all right
    That this place is truly wonderful, then a bright Glow pierced the night.
    ‘Twas the Glow of many Candles shining bright and strong and bold
    And I knew then that it held your love in its brilliant shades of gold.

    For although we may not be together in the way we used to be,
    We are still connected by a cord no eye can see.
    So whenever you need to find me, we’re never far apart,
    If you look beyond the Rainbow and listen with your heart.

  22. Sweet Bootiful Kona

    You gave so much joy and made youw family’s life wichew by youw pwesence
    and ouws..thank you fow shawing some of youw joy wif us.
    I will always see you wunning fwee like the wind and keep you in my heawt
    smoochie kisses

  23. Beautiful Sweet Kona
    You have blessed all who came into your circle
    you gave joy and love and every moment of your life was special
    Run free in the heavens
    you gave your all

    our prayers are with your family in this time of loss

    you will always be in our hearts
    love and smoochie kisses
    ASTA and Mommi

  24. I loved looking at the pictures of Kona. He was a beautiful golden. He will be dearly missed. It feels like he was a part of everyone’s family.

    Roxanne, Sam, Jaz & Lily

  25. What a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing the pictures and special times with Kona.

    It made My Vickie more committed to have more quality time with me while I am here. We (dogs) know our time here is shorter than your and that we have a short time to affect our humans lives, but as you know……we do a pretty good job in the time we are given.

    Bless you

  26. sending sympathy and love to you guys through tears. thank you for
    being such giving and caring people to welcome these beautiful
    dogs in your family. Big hugs to you both.

  27. Woof! Woof! So sad to hear this news. We are sorry for you loss. KONA left many precious memories and had a wonderful life with you. Sending you Lots of Golden LOVE and Golden Thoughts. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  28. Tears & hard to breathe.
    Love to you both.
    Travel safe dear Kona –
    Judy, Cory, Lance, Tiger, Cooper & Ben.

  29. I am so sad. I have grown to love Kona through your blog, just like I grew to love Spencer before him. I am sure Spencer welcomed Kona at the rainbow bridge with a happy wag of his tail. You are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing your lives, joys and pains through your blog. I hope you will continue to post on your blog and give us the joy of sharing your lives with you through your words.

  30. You are angels! I have tears writing this. He was very lucky to have such amazing humans. Your loss hurts us deep too. Keeping you guys in our thoughts.

  31. We are so sorry. You shared his life so beautifully with us, and all of us are blessed to have known him. We are sending hugs your way and crying… we loved Kona too.

    Christine, Aaron, Sam and Monty

  32. Such a beautiful boy. You have obviously been blessed by the years – though they be too few – that you have had your Kona by your side. Now he will run free forever, as he did that first day you let him off leash, to chase & play with all our angels. We will send whispers on the wind to our Angel Neve (who left us earlier this year after her own short battle with cancer) to look out for him.

    From Annie & Ruger

  33. I am a little speechless…wiping away tears…

    We will miss you Kona! You made us smile every time we visited you, and we will never forget your smile! Rest in peace big boy- we love you!!

  34. What a lucky dog and family to have had two such wonderful years together. They weren’t long enough, but they were packed full of love and sharing. You were a blessing to each other.

  35. We knew you would listen to him –

    Just as he listened to you and for you –

    The post is all I knew you would make such a bittersweet event –

    So many songs running around in my head now – especially since my sister and I heard Warren Zevon’s ‘Keep Me In Your Heart For A While’ the other day – from the album he recorded as he was dying from lung cancer –

    Of course, I also have this one playing as well –

    Our candle will be lit as soon as I hit the post comment

    Khyra and Phyll

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