Letter to an Old Friend

Posted on May 21, 2013
Letter to an Old Friend

from the Labs

My sweet, old friend:

You had a name before you were born. The idea of you came among the excitement of your parents’ engagement. I remember the day they chose it.
“Bolillo” is the name of a Mexican bread roll, the absolute best to make tortas with. Similar to a French roll, it is sweet with a toasty honey color on top and creamy white on the bottom. It fit you so perfectly, especially since the color of your coat looked a lot like the actual thing.

You would be my planned wedding gift to your dad (my brother) and your mom (one of the best friends I have ever had). Once they were settled into their new home and were ready for the grand puppy challenge, they would let me know and I would then start looking for you.
That day came and when I found you, I shared the news with your parents and we planned to go visit you. Secretly, I was hoping it would work out, but in the end, the decision belonged only to them… and you.

When your wiggly, happy little shape walked into that room, it was like you knew… you beelined for Fe (my brother) and Fer (your new mom). As she rubbed your soft ears, she said: “Is that you? Are you Bolillo?”

You were. They didn’t need to think about it, and you came home with them that same night.

Through the years, you welcomed two little human siblings; and together with your family, you have known and lived in Mexico City, California, Barcelona and the Mayan Riviera. You are a well-travelled dog!

Before you made your big trip to join your family in Barcelona, we were lucky to have you live with us for six months. We lived in Sausalito at the time and Corbin was only a year old. You two were instant best friends, peas and carrots, yin and yang… I have never seen anything like it since. Your family was anxiously waiting for you. It was hard for us to see you go, but probably not as hard as it was for Corbin. He was deeply depressed after you left. To this day, I always hoped we’d be able to reunite the two of you.

You all came back to Mexico in search of a slower pace of life and you soon found your days filled with trips to sandy beaches and crystal clear waters while the kids were at school. Your are your mom’s constant companion, her confidant and shadow and always present.

When I last saw you, I got to babysit you for a few days. My sweet friend, our walks grew shorter, and our naps grew longer. You patiently tolerate the antics of a young adolescent puppy named Buddy and the displays of affection by the newest member of the family, your little human cousin Bella.
In a blink, I realized then that 11 years had gone by.

Living far away from those you love is never an easy thing, and even when you do, life is so short and unpredictable that I am reminded to make the best out of our time together. This time was no different. I kissed your head, rubbed your belly and told you how much I love you.

I didn’t know it then, but that would be the last time I would see you, my friend.

 You closed your eyes today, May 18th, 2013; peacefully and surrounded by love; in the home that you cherished, in the arms of your mom and dad. Hours earlier, your kids read you stories, and cuddled you close. You are their first big loss, and remembering my own, one that was very sad and quite violent, I am so grateful that theirs is by comparison, very gentle, and honorable.

photo by Fe M. May 18th

My sweet Bolillo, you marked the beginning of so many things for them. They alway had each other, but you made them a family. You were an old soul, we all could see that.

You take with you pieces of all of us. We are all better people because of you.
Where you go now, there is no pain, no darkness, no loneliness. There is only light. A forever of white-sand beaches, with clear, still water and many tennis balls to be chased. Your body is young once again and you walk beside those we miss…
I hope that when the time comes, you’ll be there for Corbin and see him home safe. I hope to see you again, my friend, when my time comes, and you can show me the way too.

For tonight, we are broken but only because we are all so joyful to have known you. But like Deepak Chopra says: “Whatever it is that occurs at death, I believe it deserves to be called a miracle. The miracle, ironically, is that we don’t die. The cessation of the body is an illusion, and like a magician sweeping aside a curtain, the soul reveals what lies beyond.”

Until I see you again, my sweet old soul… safe travels, run free and check in on the kids and your parents whenever you feel they need you most. Stay especially close to your mom and watch over her like you always did, she is missing you with every breath tonight.

Miss you and love you always.

Bolillo 2002-2013 *beloved*



  1. Beth
    May 21, 2013

    My heart is with all of you right now, but I know that Bolillo is watching over your sweet family! How lucky your brother, his wife and their kids were to have known him and vice versa! I’m glad they have beautiful photos to go with their memories!

  2. Lisa Spector
    May 24, 2013

    This is so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing Bolillo’s story and gorgeous pictures. What a wonderful gift you gave your brother and sister-in-law. He will live forever in all of your hearts. Sending you all healing thoughts during your grief.

  3. “What do I say?” ~ When words fall short. | Tails from the Lab
    May 31, 2013

    […] response to our recent post on my brother’s loss Letter to an Old Friend, has been truly humbling. It started as a personal note, but when I could not find the right words […]

  4. Tails from the Lab: Real Fairy Tales: The Fox and the Hound
    February 28, 2014

    […] During a recent trip to see family in Merida, Yucatan (Mexico); I was very lucky to be around to witness a somewhat “real” version of this story. My parents have dog named Buddy, a Finnish Spitz full of personality. Buddy actually lived with us for a month in California, where we took him to puppy classes and introduced him to all the sights and sounds he would likely encounter in his new home. When I took Buddy down to Merida, I was prepared to miss him, but not to the extent I miss him all the time. He could not live a happier, and comfortable life. He is a caribbean dog now, who loves sand, long naps, playing with my nieces and nephews and chasing, barking at the local birds. I do think he misses having dog friends however. When he lived with us, he had Willow and Corbin, and when he moved to his new home, he had Bolillo, my brother’s dog, until he passed away last year. […]


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