After His Dog Dies of Cancer, Firefighter Posts Heartwarming Tribute That Goes Viral

For dog parents, losing our four-legged best friend is one of the saddest days of our life. It is heartbreaking to experience as the bond we share with our dog is unlike any other. It is deep, it is unique and it authentic – no strings attached.

So when former St. Louis Fire Capt. Gregg Favre lost his dog this month after battling cancer and posted a tribute on Twitter that has gone viral, it is hard not to get emotional reading it.

Named Bella, Favre rescued her while working as a firefighter over 10 years ago. While he has had other dogs before, Bella was his soul mate.

@GreggFavre/Twitter

“[T]he bond that Bella and I had together was incredible. We could communicate with glances and head nods,” Favre writes. “My wife would joke that it felt like we were ganging up on her.”

Throughout their time together, the pair enjoyed thousands of walks to national monuments, universities and cathedrals. And even when life got crazy with major life-changing events, they continued their routine. “She was always grounding. Always loyal,” he writes.

Related: TV Anchor Says Goodbye to Dog With Bucket List and Heartbreaking Tribute

@GreggFavre/Twitter

He adds that after Bella was diagnosed with cancer, he would recite a poem every time they walked together. When she passed in his arms, it was the last time he uttered it to her.

Part of the poem reads:

And if your heart’s full of sorrow, keep walking
Don’t rest
And promise me from heart to chest to never let your memories die
Never
I will always be alive and by your side
In your mind
I’m free

“As I held her last night, before she slipped away, I told her once more, ‘heart to chest.’ Goodbye my friend,” he writes.

Favre hopes that by sharing his tribute to his best friend, we all remember to create our own wonderful experiences in our life.

“My point to all of this is that love & loss go hand in hand. Bella & I made the most of our time & I hope that in your life, you are cultivating your own brand of joy,” he says.

@GreggFavre/Twitter

Take some time today to give your dog a little extra love

Below is the full tribute, along with the poem he referenced (written by John ‘Bang’ Riley).

Related: Brandon Stanton of ‘Humans Of New York’ Posts Moving Tribute to His Late Dog Susie

“11 yrs ago I rescued puppy while on duty at an #StL firehouse. Over the next decade+, we would be inseparable. On adventures, on walks around the neighborhood, or sitting by the fire at home. She passed away in my arms last night, peacefully, after a resolute fight w/ cancer.

We’ve had dogs in & around our family my whole life. They are all loved and special in their own ways. But the bond that Bella and I had together was incredible. We could communicate with glances and head nods. My wife would joke that it felt like we were ganging up on her.

@GreggFavre/Twitter

Over the yr we’ve taken 1000s of walks together – from state parks to national monuments, cathedrals to universities. As life came crashing against our door –grad school, promotions, loss, injury & sickness– our routine stayed the same. She was always grounding. Always loyal.

I could spend weeks posting pictures & telling you stories of how funny, brave & tender she was. My point to all of this is that love & loss go hand in hand. Bella & I made the most of our time & I hope that in your life, you are cultivating your own brand of joy.

Today we donated her unused cancer meds to other families who might not be able to afford the prescription. If able, consider a donation to @StrayRescue, who provided initial med care to Bella when she was rescued. They do incredible work for dogs like Bella Every. Single. Day.

Finally, if youve come this far in this thread, please watch this short clip. Since her diagnosis 4 months ago, I’ve said this poem to Bella on every walk we’ve taken. As I held her last night, before she slipped away, I told her once more, “heart to chest.” Goodbye my friend.”

The full poem in the video is below:

Walking the roads of our youth
Through the land of our childhood, our home, and our truth
Be near me, guide me, always stay beside me
So I can be free
Free
Let’s roam this place, familiar and vast
Our playground of green frames our past
We were wanderers
Never lost
Always home
When every place was fenceless
And time was endless
Our ways were always the same
Calm my demons and walk with me, my brother
Until our roads lead us away from each other
And if your heart’s full of sorrow, keep walking
Don’t rest
And promise me from heart to chest to never let your memories die
Never
I will always be alive and by your side
In your mind
I’m free

RIP Bella.

Related: The Most Creative Ways to Keep Your Dog’s Memory Alive After She Passes

3 comments on “After His Dog Dies of Cancer, Firefighter Posts Heartwarming Tribute That Goes Viral

  • I know your pain for many years I have gone through it. I lost two this year and you can never say it gets easier, in fact I can honestly say it gets harder as you get older. I’ve come to one conclusion that when my time comes I ask our Lord to let it coincide when one of my beloved Pets time comes because during those moments I have never felt so sure that continuing on with them would be the greatest gift he can give me. To pass on to the great divide with such a love would be a blessing.

  • This is such a true illustration of our love for a dog.
    April of 2018, someone dumped a sickly king shepherd out at the local animal shelter. The dog would require daily medical attention and rarely do people adopt or rescue an older dog with health problems. My wife and I just happened to be scrolling through the shelters Facebook page and seen where the shepherd was within hours of being euthanized. As we looked at his photo there was something about him that caught our attention. We discussed what we could do for him and made this decision: We own a small farm outside of Lincolnton NC and it is quite beautiful and peaceful here. Plenty of land to roam around on, dogwoods and cherry trees blooming in the spring and plenty of shade in the summer. My wife and one of her good friends (both are E R nurses) went to the shelter and inquired about adopting the dog. The shelter refused to allow this due to the medical needs of the dog. They stood strong and presented vet records of all of our dogs and that they had the means to care for the dog and they we not leaving without him. Within a few short hours the shepherd made his home at the Swift Farm. We wanted his final days to be in comfort and not at the hand of the shelter. He had a GI bleed and could barely walk due to severe arthritis and hip problems. He was on a constant IV for a week and was vomiting blood daily. We really thought his time was near, but during his second week here he was up and getting around like nothing had occurred. We took him to the vet for a checkup and found that he had pretty much bone on bone in both hips, had been shot in the past with the bullet still in him and he had been caught in a wire that injured one of his rear paws. He would require a shot every few weeks to lubricate his joints. He was prescribed Gabapentin and Hydrocodone that was given both morning and night. Miraculously this dog made a complete turn around and before we knew it he was hobbling after balls, doing the best he could to trot after and play with our other dogs and chase after the lawnmower. Lord did that dog love chasing the mower. I would have to sit numerous buckets of water around the yard for him to catch a drink because he just wouldn’t quit. I would put him inside and he would tear the door up trying to get out. He was one heck of a worker. He would lay around the yard and keep watch over us. If anybody or anything tried to get near us he would put on this mean snarley face and growl. It was quite comical. I would lay in the floor at night and talk to him. I would rub his coat and he would stare at me and it always seemed like he was so thankful for us bringing him into our family. My wife worked third on the weekends and when I would get off shift from the fire department I would put him in the bed with me and he would lay there and sleep all night and never move til morning. We loved that dog and he loved us. We never imagined that we would get so attached to him. We had 13 other rescue dogs on our farm so why him? As April 2019 approached we were amazed that he had survived for almost a year with us. It had become our daily task to take care of this big ole guy and it was our norm. We celebrated his year with us on April 14th and also his 11th birthday. We were so excited to see his tail wagging and enjoying his time here on the farm. On April 24th our sweet Buckeye began to have diarrhea and was vomiting. We gave him his meds and were getting worried about him. He laid around the yard and wasn’t looking good. My wife suggested that I crank up the mower and see how he reacted. As soon as I fired it up here he came hobbling to begin the chase. I only went a very short distance because he was looking so bad. Later that night I laid in the floor and talked to him. Told him we loved him and gave him his nightly hug and kiss in the nose. He was restless all night and when I got up the next morning he was laying beside the bed panting. That worried us. He had not eaten anything in 24 hours, but he was still drinking water. I went to work that morning at the local fire academy. At lunch time I told the boss that I was going to run home and check on Bucky. When I walked into the bedroom and called out his name there was no response. Our sweet Bucky was gone. I was devastated and my heart was crushed. What would we do without him. It seemed like my mind was spinning and I was upset thinking had we loved him enough. Did he feel safe here. Did he have fun and was our farm a comfort for his last days. I text my wife and gave her the sad news. I went out back to our animal cemetery and hand dug a 4 x 3 x 3 hole to bury him in. We wrapped him in his blankets and I rode him to his grave on the mower he loved so much to chase. We buried him with all of his favorite toys. I couldn’t sleep and I was so upset that he wasn’t here anymore. I would look at the end of the bed thinking I would see him, but no more. My heart had never been this crushed before. Here I was a 53 year old tough man who has been a firefighter for 39 years in tears. I have finally come to grips with Bucky being gone. There is no doubt that a dog is family and the bond between a dog and a human is one that can never be fully explained not understood. A dogs love for us is unconditional and they are at our mercy to care for them. Such loyal and majestic creatures.

  • I believe there are no coincidences for a lot of people. You were led to him and gave him a great life and although we see it as brief they live in the moment. I can honestly say your Bucky, is somewhere safe and loved, We’ve had 6 rescues and they are so loyal and appreciative. Our other few we got as puppies are loyal and loving and protective but there’s something a little extra when one is adopted and given a great life with love. They sense that they’ve been saved and that their life is suddenly worth something to someone else. Look for him in your dreams, that’s where I always find mine when I need it the most. Blessings

Leave a Reply