One Last Kiss

baby

I wasn’t ready to rescue a dog but
I learned of a puppy in need of a home
so I decided to visit him on a whim.

26381_1419918100086_1296670375_1160543_1543688_n

A miniature white Schnauzer,
he was only two months old
and just a few pounds, mostly ears.
When they opened his cage,
he burst out of it with all his might
and jumped up on my lap.

pretzel and andrew hugs

His uncropped ears were bigger than his head,
his skin was still pink, his fur soft,
and he was pure love from the first moment we met.
He kissed my face and wagged his tail at light speed.

p3

He was adorable but the time wasn’t right.
I put him back down and prepared to leave.
He jumped back on my lap.
I hugged him and set him back down.
He looked up at me, tilted his head, and cried.

12643_1313134110553_1296670375_901280_8338930_n

I said, “I’m sorry, I can’t bring you home,”
and he barked and refused to let me leave without him.
I picked him up again,
he pushed his head into my chest,
and I knew we were meant to be together.

andrew and pretzel

Our bond began with a very special encounter.
We were connected from the first time we met.
It was in that moment that I knew
I couldn’t leave without him.
I took him home that day
named him Pretzel after my favorite childhood snack,
and for the next 14 years,
we were inseparable —
as good of friends as any man and animal
that have ever lived.

andrew and pretzel hug

Have you ever loved an animal so much
that the feeling fills you with incomparable joy?
I could hug and kiss him all day
and I would feel like I hadn’t loved him enough.
We used to play a game, “I kiss you, you kiss me.”
It always ended in a tie.

kissingpretzel

IMAG3333-1

Through the early years of his life,
he became an ambassador for other dogs,
visiting thousands of children in schools
and attending events to teach people
about the rewards of rescuing animals.
He became loved by so many people,
earning him the nickname “everyone’s dog.”

A reminder from my dog Pretzel

What did this gentle soul mean to me?
In every moment of my life,
when I needed someone to cheer me up,
to hug after a difficult day,
to make me smile during life’s most challenging times,
or to remind me of the importance of helping all animals,
Pretzel was always there.

p4

He gave me purpose in my life,
and he always made me feel better.
If I was sick or sad, he always knew,
and he would push his head into my chest,
and lick my face.
He also made me laugh every day —
whether running around with one of my socks,
or putting the UPS man on notice.

napwithpretzel

Pretzel loved to play with other dogs,
to snuggle,
dig up his blanket,
run around with his food in his mouth
and look for places to hide it,
and smell flowers.

flowers

Pretzel flowers

We sat on this bench hundreds of times.
It was our bench.
I would scratch his head as
we watched the boats sail by,
and the pelicans fly overhead
as we absorbed the fresh ocean air.

IMAG4863-1

Pretzel loved belly rubs,
to hide under blankets,
to watch birds,
to feel the breeze blow his beard,
and to kiss children’s faces.

pretzel with aiden

He loved my friends and family,
and he loved to love everyone
and everyone loved him.

I wish I could have my dog s life

He taught me to slow down,
to enjoy the simple pleasures in life,
and to be kind.
Sometimes I would just watch him sleep —
such a peaceful sight.

IMG01060-20101218-1546

He was a constant inspiration and reminder
to advocate for all animals
as I saw the eyes of every helpless animal
in his eyes.

Pretzel play date

During the past year,
I nursed him through several medical conditions,
and he always persevered.
When he developed trouble walking,
we used a stroller.
As we faced each challenge,
I pulled out every stop
to ensure a quality life for him
always promising him I would never let him suffer.
This was the last photo of Pretzel enjoying his life —
one of thousands of walks we took together —
taken the day before he suddenly and tragically
passed away.
I miss him so much.

pretzel in stroller

The void is deep now,
every day.
I hear noises
and I think it’s Pretzel
eating his food,
asking me to take him outside,
digging his blanket,
or coming for a hug,
and then I remember.

Andrew

One night, he came to me in a dream
as vivid and real as any I’ve ever had.
He was walking down the hallway,
beautifully brushed,
looking healthy,
and he barked.

I come home and still expect to see him
and he’s not there.
His bowls still remain on the floor
as I’ve been unable to put them away.
It marks an end
that I still can’t face.
The finality of his passing
hurts my heart every day.

photo (5)

Our bond began with the most beautiful moment
and it ended much the same way it began.
As I held him in the hospital
in our final minutes together,
and gently petted him
and kissed his forehead
and our years together raced through my mind,
I couldn’t believe
it was coming to an end.
We had survived so many close calls
through the years.
I did everything I could to save him.

No matter how prepared I thought I might be
to say goodbye to this gentle and beautiful soul,
I realized I was not.
If he had lived to be 100,
it would not have been long enough.

Right before my best friend passed away,
through the hardest tears I’ve ever cried,
I sang him a song
I used to sing him as a baby.

His eyes were closed.
I said to him,
“Pretzel, please don’t leave me.
Please give Daddy a kiss.”
He was very weak and making a groaning sound,
clearly now in discomfort and exhausted.
With all of the strength he had left,
he opened his eyes,
looked at me,
and gave me one last kiss.
It was the most heart-breaking
and beautiful moment of my life.

10155985_566503883463398_4192032195542457297_n

I don’t know what will happen to me when I die
but if there is any chance I can find my dog again,
I will spend all of my time searching for him.
I would do anything for one more hug
and one more kiss —
to take him to smell the flowers,
and feel the breeze again.
What a run we had.

Pretzel swim ocean

Our lives together ended the same way they began,
with a kiss.
That is how I will remember this sweet little dog
that brightened every day of my life for so many years.
I visit our bench sometimes
and remember our lives together
as the birds fly overhead and the ships sail by.
I’ll never be the same person without him
but I’ll always try to live a meaningful life in his memory.

Pretzel at beach

76 thoughts on “One Last Kiss

  1. Andrew, your love for Pretzel was so strong, Thank you so much for saving him and giving him such a great life. I wonder if you would consider memorializing Pretzel with his own Rescue Bar? He will live on, helping other animals, just what he would have wanted, I am sure …

    1. Thank you Christine. I appreciate your kind note. As you know, Pretzel was the inspiration for Animal Rescue Bar. My wish for all animals to live a life as free and filled with love as his motivated me to start the company. Thank you for your suggestion and for everything you do for dogs through GREY2K USA Worldwide.

      1. I hate ‘Goodbye’, i hate last kiss. Andrew, i know how you feel. i feel it too. my beloved bestfriend, Fluffy also gone. I love him so much really. he made my day, laugh everyday. This loneliness up ahead when he leave me alone.

    2. Christine that is an excellent idea…Andrew, maybe you could make another flavor with added soy yogurt pretzels, to match his name and color, to honor Pretzel. 🙂

  2. I’m crying as I write this. What a beautiful tribute Pretzel. You loved each other deeply. I am so sorry for your loss.

  3. crying and empathizing with you Andrew. The most joy and the most pain. Pretzel is there, dont think for a minute he is gone, embrace those moments when you “think’ you here him….

  4. Andrew
    I am so sorry for your loss.
    What a sweet and beautiful and heartbreaking story of perfect, immediate, unending love.
    The exhilarating joy of their presence and the excruciating pain of their absence — €”it is so hard to comprehend why their time with us is so crushingly brief.
    My heart goes out to you.

    Sherry L. Schlueter
    Executive Director, South Florida Wildlife Center
    sschlueter@SouthFloridaWildlifeCenter.org
    t 954-524-7464
    South Florida Wildlife Center
    3200 S.W. 4th Avenue Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315
    http://www.southfloridawildlifecenter.org
    Join Our Email List Facebook Twitter
    [Logo NEW 2]

    1. Thank you Sherry. I still love and miss that sweet little animal every day.

      I appreciate everything you and your staff and volunteers do at South Florida Wildlife Center to save so many animals’ lives.

  5. Very poignant tribute to such a special and wonderful little dog who had the power to affect others in significant ways. We all share your loss and send our love your way. Pretzel is not gone for good; he just went through a doorway.

  6. What a heart-warming, yet sad story. You were both so lucky to have found each other. My heart goes out to you.

  7. Andrew, sadly I have had far too many FB friends that have lost their dog or their cat over the years, and I have always felt great sadness for their deep loss. But, you truly made Pretzel a part of our lives, and I have shed many tears over his passing. Because of your eloquent words, even though I never was fortunate enough to meet him, you made us all feel as though we knew him, and I, personally, feel very sad now that he is gone. I checked your FB page last week to see how you are doing, and after the photo of your kiss goodbye, there was just an empty space. I cried. I cried again after reading your Blog. I just wanted you to know how deeply sorry I am,

    1. You’re a great friend Sharon. I know how you feel. Whenever someone loses an animal, it’s a loss for all of us. We all share each other’s sadness because we know how it feels and we see our own companion animals and our own lives in their loss. Thank you for your support and concern. I’m taking a day at a time. It’s a long and painful process.

      I wrote a poem called “A Companion’s Goodbye” to comfort people who lose a companion animal and made it into a card. Here is the link in case you haven’t seen it. My hope is that it brings some degree of comfort to people in need.

      https://kirschnerskorner.com/collections/cards

  8. The loss is the hardest part of love. Always. But when it is an animal, because that love is so divinely pure, without compromise, without resentments or conflict, it renders us helpless with equally pure sorrow. They come, they give so completely, they teach, they forgive, then they are gone. We can only strive to be worthy of their lessons and their love. Sleep in peace, Pretzel. By your sweet generosity, you left the world a better place; if only more humans could do the same. .

    1. Beautifully stated Cathy. That’s just it — he was so loving, so perfect, so innocent, and so gentle. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. All he knew how to do was love. I will miss him forever.

  9. I sit here not only crying for you and pretzel, but also for my Maximus who died last Wednesday unexpectedly. He was 10. In 2 years, I have lost 3 of my 4 dogs. A better home you could not find! I was fostering a puppy we rescued from a dirt road in Miami and decided to adopt her.a few days after that Max died. I have been asking myself why ever since. Did fate send this puppy my way to some how ease my pain? It didn’t, but of course it is better to have loved my Maxi then never to have loved him! He was magnificent!

    1. Hi Denise,

      I’m very sorry to hear about your losses. You are such a dedicated advocate for animals and such a wonderful person. I’m honored to call you my friend. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you. Any animal in your care hits the forever home jackpot.

      I received so much good advice the past few weeks, perhaps none better than the suggestion that we must take all the time we need to grieve. It’s a long and difficult process — from the donating of medicine, to decisions about toys and bowls, to wrapping up medical insurance and paying bills, to dealing with the difficult images and the absence of routines. I wish peace and comfort for you.

  10. Andrew, I truly believe that your “dream” of Pretzel was actually a visitation. I’ve experienced the same thing after losing loved ones…including the love of my life – my dog, Rock. For me, about a month after I lost Rock, and after reading the book “Animals and the Afterlife” by Kim Sheridan, I contacted an animal communicator. She was one of the communicators mentioned in the book. All I sent her was a photo of Rock. And the things she conveyed confirmed for me that he was/is still with me in spirit form. I cried throughout the session, but it was a wonderful experience. Perhaps it might be helpful for you as well. Of course everyone works through their grief in different ways. Obviously, for you, your writing is a way to help you get through this. And I know everyone who reads your thoughts is deeply touched by the depth of your love for Pretzel.

    I always try to console myself by saying that the reason it hurts so much is because I loved so much. And I wouldn’t want to feel less pain and sorrow after losing a pet if it meant not having the love we shared.

    Pretzel was meant for you and you for Pretzel…may it always be so.

  11. Beautiful!! Losing our loves is the hardest thing ever. Thanks for loving Pretzel. Robin

    🙂

    >

  12. Such a sweet remembrance. This reminds me of my dear Sheltie, always in my heart. in her last years, I said this to her every day: “Thank you for being my dog. You’ve brought me so much joy, and I love you so much.”

    One of my favorite quotes —
    If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die, I want to go where THEY went. ~Will Rogers

    1. Beautiful and so touching Carolyn.

      I used to tell Pretzel not to leave me because I couldn’t imagine life without him. The vet told me he has never seen a dog pull through more medical conditions than Pretzel. I often joked that it was because I kept telling him I can’t live without him.

      1. Oh Andrew, my heart is breaking. I told my Kelsey dog the same thing, please don’t leave me, but I had to let her go too. Talking about Pretzel, has brought it all back to me today ….

    2. Carolyn, I’m looking at my beautiful girl right now – a gentle little soul, a Sheltie named Bonnie. Bonnie is nearly 7 years old and has been my rock through some very difficult times. Without her constant love and loyalty I don’t know if I could have survived. We lost our previous dog, Belle a beautiful Keeshond when she was 14 and my husband and I grieved terribly. The thought of losing Bonnie frightens me but you have taught me something. I will take a day at a time and I will recite your pledge to her.

  13. what a love story and so beautifully written……..the animals always know who they are supposed to be with. they’re our greatest teachers……100% pure love ❤
    love NEVER dies……….he will ALWAYS be with you, andrew. in your heart, in your dreams, a bond like this can't be broken.
    much love,
    edith

  14. I understand you and I feel very sad but I believe we will meet again our lovers friends in heaven

  15. Andrew, everything I’ve ever felt for all of my animal friends, all of my life, you have brought together here in sharing your feelings for Pretzel. You never intended to bring him home with you that first day, but life rarely happens as we intended. Your love and your bond together over so many years is inspiring to anyone who has ever given their heart over to a helpless little animal and learned to become stronger and better because of it. Pretzel’s body may have gone as far as it can go, but his soul and his spirit live on inside of you, safely cared for in the way you’ve always cared for him.

  16. What a beautiful tribute to your dog. Tears are streaming down my face as I read it. I can feel your pain and sorrow.

  17. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. My heart is heavy and broken because of your loss. Pretzel will live on in my heart and in the hearts of all of us that came to love him through your sharing of this very special dog.

  18. You have taken me on a journey with your words. I have cried so much over them! Thank you so much for sharing this type of love & showing how magical animals can be in a world so consumed with destruction.

    1. Thank you Virginia. Yes, you said it — in a world filled with so much destruction, spending time with Pretzel — his innocence and kindness — always calmed my soul. All he knew how to do was love.

  19. *tears*
    Your grief is heavy now, and the ache is deep. Nothing will ever replace that bond, that love, that very special relationship. Pretzel is part of you just as you were part of him. That bond is unbreakable, even in death. When the time is right, Pretzel is going to lead you to another soul who needs a man like you to share life with. You will recognize that soul when you meet them. You will know Pretzel selected this soul just for you. Whether you are ready or not, Pretzel is already searching for a special soul who needs you as much as you need them. He knows there are so many dogs desperate for a second chance at life, sitting in shelters everywhere. He will find another soul and lead you. He wants another lucky soul to know you, and to have a life filled with love just like his was.

  20. Andrew, Your precious Pretzel will always be by your side. I feel the same way about my dear Pugsley and Everything you have said about Pretzel takes the exact words I cannot express. I’m so sorry for your loss and wish you comfort. Your story is an inspiration.

  21. the most beautiful tribute to the most beautiful pup. I needed to read this today. Our Delilah went to live with the angels April 22 and she was only 7. It hurts to be. I know they are waiting for us… xox

  22. Thank you for putting into words what I could not. I wish I had 10 years with my Daytona but 4 where all I got. I understand that feeling of lose, but keep your heart open someone might come to fill part of it.

  23. I am so very sorry for your loss, I know how hard it is, I am now 59 and had many loving dogs throughout my life ,everyone that goes, breaks your heart, I lost two of my dogs one year after the other, I did not think I would ever get over losing them, but a year later another rescue came into my life, I now have another angel who is my constant companion, with out her I sometimes think I would not be here. I have always rescued, and I know each one that passes wants me to take another into my life, and I will always do so until I die. They love unconditionally. RIP Pretzel.

  24. This is so beautifully written and expresses so perfectly the love you felt and continue to feel for this very special canine. I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face. What could be more painful and difficult to bear than losing a vibrant entity such as Pretzel who oozed love and loyalty every waking moment of his life? Now I have a little dog who is also white and half Schnauzer and I will be hugging him very tightly today after reading this. I cannot bear the thought of losing him and I can’t imagine the intensity of grief you must be going through. Somehow I know he will always be with you and you will carry him around with you tucked away in your heart for the rest of your days Andrew, and one thing I’m quite sure of is that his legacy will live on and burn bright. He has touched the hearts of many. He would hate to see you suffering as well so please be brave as you wade through the thick and murky waters of grief. Please smile for Pretzel to keep his tail wagging forever more. Rest in Peace dear Pretzel and always here for you Andrew. xx

    1. Thank you Joanne. If the result of this tribute is more hugs for your dog and others, I will be very grateful. In the days since, I’ve been giving my love to dogs at my local shelter, many of whom have never known a day of what we give our dogs for a lifetime.

  25. What a great story! I know what it is like as I lost two great dogs to cancer, so sad to lose them.

  26. I will be praying for your sweet Pretzel as he has moved on into a new chapter. I will also be praying for your heart and soul as the days of pain and loneliness slowly pass by. These special creatures are given to us for only a short while. That amount of time can never be quantified nor weighed. Pretzel chose you that day. Out do all the sweet souls that he could have it was you that he needed. And in doing so helped you find what you had always been missing. From the first kiss to that ever so painful last one he was doing what was meant to be. Love you without boundaries and give you a place to call home. He will be waiting for you one day. Oh, and just think how sweet those new kisses will be. May God ease your pain and wrap you in his everlasting warmth. Amanda

  27. This text is filled with so much love I am really touched. Bless you and Pretzel. I am sure such a sweet and beloved dog went over the rainbow bridge and you will find him one day. You will not have to search him for long because he will wait for you. Big hug from another dog lover, Stefanie

  28. A beautiful remembrance, Andrew. Touches the soul. The night you had the dream of Pretzel walking to you, looking healthy – that was Pretzel in spirit letting you know that he was happy and free from pain. You shared a beautiful life together, truly a blessing in so many countless ways. Even though Pretzel has transcended, he is not gone. His soul is alive and will be with you forever. Your bond is eternal. I wish you peace and healing. The light will shine again.
    With Deepest Sympathy, Kathleen Lowson, Director, Cry of the Innocent: The Voices That Can’t Speak http://www.cryoftheinnocent.com

  29. Andrew, My heart breaks for you. Just last month my Irish Wolfhound mix who was rescued from the streets after having been beaten and abused suddenly died. He only gave indication the last few hours that he was not feeling well. The night before he was playing Wrestlemania with my other dog. It’s still so quiet here and there are moments when I catch a glimpse of his spirit racing around out in my yard. I had just moved from South Florida to NE TN a year ago and my sweet boy loved it here. He got to see and play in snow and dig around in the fallen leaves, and watch the wild bunnies, squirrels and a baffling variety of birds. He fell in love for the first time with a big St. Bernard who lived next door and mourned her loss when she died a few months back. He could run like the wind and howled at the ambulance sirens when they came to the nearby hospital and he knew a bunch of tricks. Despite the fact that he had been abused in his early life, he desperately wanted to love everyone, and needed to be with people and kept my 90 yoa father company while I was at work. Once he trusted you, he was like velcro. I hope that Pretzel meets my Barney in Heaven. I know he is up there racing on the wind and looking for his girlfriend, Daisy. You know you are not alone. Thank you for taking the chance on Pretzel. I hope when you are ready, you will welcome another “Pretzel” into your life. For me, I’m not ready yet but when the time comes I know that God will send the right stray or rescue to me. In the meantime, I am doing transport to help dogs get to where they will be loved and cared for which helps me feel as if I’m doing something in my sweet Barney’s name. Thank you for your loving tribute to your friend.

  30. Andrew, you have so much love to give that I hope you are considering adopting another dog. My beloved Poohey was older when I adopted him (never really knew his age) and I had him for 3 1/2 wonderful years. He changed my life – I loved him so very much. I still have his favorite toy, which I never washed, and he has been gone for 3 years now. I adopted another dog, a sheepdog mix, from a rescue in NC. She was 10 1/2 at the time. Nobody wanted her because she was old so I told the rescue to send her down to me. She just turned 13 this past March. She is such a wonderful dog. Just like Pretzel and Poohey, all she knows how to do is love and give kisses-so appreciative of everything I do for her. My heart still hurts from the loss of Poohey, but adopting Broclee and seeing how happy I have made her in her senior years has really helped.

    1. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience Adele. I’ve been spending a lot of time at my local animal shelter bringing that same love to abused and abandoned dogs. It’s very rewarding to bring joy to their lives.

      On Thu, May 29, 2014 at 1:08 PM, Kirschner's Korner wrote:

      >

  31. Thank you for sharing the wonderful story of you and your sweet miniature Schnauzer Pretzel with us. Crying all the way reading it. I lost my Schnauzer-labrador foster-dog Sheila almost 10 weeks ago. We had met on the street when she was about 8 years old and it was mutual love at first sight. She meant to me what your dear little Pretzel meant to you. We were and are best friends. It is very hard to loose them…they are so loyal and affectionate – anybody who has experienced such an intense love between a dog and a human will be “on the safe side” in life. Gratitude and joy will hopefully prevail over the sadness of the loss. Wonderful of you to honor Pretzel in your awesome blog and to have opened a dog rescue bar in his memory. Rescues are the best – it´s just the question – do we rescue them or they us? Marie from Germany

  32. i can feel it too.. i cry when i read this, i remember about my dog.. my first dog.. my dog passed away too.. and i know he is waiting for me at the rainbow bridge.. and when my time comes to go back to God.. i want to pray to God pls let me go to rainbow bridge so i can see his face, his smile.. he like to bark, like to waiting for me when i doing my college task though until 2 or 3 am, like to kiss me, like to lick my face and my mouth.. oh my God i miss him so much til now… she died 6 years ago.. now i have 2 dogs.. although i have 2 dogs now but he still remains and never forget and always in my heart and sometimes still make me crying out til now… he will never be forgotten.. never.. will always in my heart.. so deep inside…

  33. I’ve followed your love story for such a long time now. I know your computer must have been drenched in tears as you worked on putting this piece together. I have to admit, I’m crying as I’m typing this, too. Those of us who have loved our pets and said goodbye as they journeyed on know exactly what you’re feeling. Yes, time helps, but it never gets rid of that pit in your stomach or the way you catch your breath whenever you see a photo of them or remember an experience you shared. But, then again, that might be the real meaning of life everlasting. Pretzel is a part of us all – forever – and we’re so lucky he is.

  34. Andrew, I lost my Wilbur … he was like a soul mate. I loved him SO much. He was born under my bed and was with me right up to the end. Sadly, I only had a few years with him as he contracted Feline AIDS and in weeks was gone. I also never cried so hard in my life. I can only think I would cry that hard again if I lost my daughter or grand child. It saddens me to think that there are actually people that do not understand the love an animal can give them. The love would take away their anger … their want to hurt others because they hurt … but they will never know that love. I still have Wilbur’s collar and his ashes. He’s always with me (and sometimes I swear I can feel him jump up on the bed at night!). Thank you for loving Pretzel and for continuting to help animals. I know Pretzel knew this about you before you even knew it. xoxo Jane

  35. My heart is breaking for you as I am suffering through the same thing. We have them for such a short time but love them for a lifetime. Peace and comfort to you and your broken heart. You will reunite with him someday, and never have to part again. He came to you and you to him for a special reason, only the two of you understand. Rest peacefully little man. Much love to you ❤️

  36. Your beautiful tribute touched my heart and soul. I so relate to all the love that you and Pretzel shared and the pain of loss and finding a new normal and reason for being.

  37. Andrew, What a beautifully written tribute. So touching – melted my heart. I cannot stop crying. I have followed the connection between you and sweet, soulful, Pretzel for a long time and feel that I know you both, and was deeply saddened when I read that Pretzel had died.

  38. Andrew, the love and devotion you and Pretzel had is beyond words. Many of us have felt the pain and loss from our beloved pet but rarely has someone put into words and pictures such a moving tribute. Thank you so much for this. Hopefully, knowing he spent his earthly life so happy will give you peace. When your life is complete you will move on and he will be waiting with open paws and will jump in your lap and give you a big “kiss”; it will be his first kiss, again.

  39. A great story. My 15 yr old Blues Heeler passed away last year and I lived your very words, down to the bowls of food and water,
    Thank you for the reading

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s