A sad farewell to Bentley

A sad farewell to Bentley

Bentley died of suspected heart disease with his head peacefully resting on his paws. He was only eight years old, but brought never-ending love to his family. Only a few hours before he died, he managed to wag his tail when his best friend (me) spoke his name in solace. One day we’ll be together again. (Laura Doherty photo)

By Lyonel Doherty

I lost my best friend last week. His name was Bentley, all 100 pounds of him. 

He was an eight-year-old purebred red retriever who loved playing tug of war with his “pookie” (stuffed animal). 

Every time I brought home a new pookie he would get so excited that he nearly knocked me over trying to get it. And he wouldn’t let go until I pretended to lose interest . . . then I would nonchalantly saunter over and snatch it again to his sheer delight. 

He died suddenly overnight on our living room carpet. I was devastated. 

I took him for his favourite walk that day in the hills; he was happy and content. At 11 p.m. that night I called him from the backyard, but he wouldn’t come. So I got out my flashlight and found him laying down, staring straight ahead. I managed to coax him up the long flight of stairs and he lay down on the rug. Something was wrong because he was listless, yet he still wagged his tail when I spoke his name. 

If I had known he was dying, I would have lay with him all night to give him comfort in his final hours. 

He showed similar symptoms before, but he always bounced back the next day. I just thought it was a temporary illness like humans get all the time. Now I regret with heavy heart not taking him to the doctor when it happened the first time. I’m sorry, Bentley . . . you bum. (I called him bum sometimes.) 

I feel robbed. I feel cheated for myself and for Bentley because we won’t have any more fun times together. No more walks to the park, no more chasing me when I took off running when he wasn’t looking. No more tugs of war with his pook. 

What I wouldn’t give to rewind time so I could say goodbye to my best friend who never got angry with me, even when I got angry with him. One time I accidentally poked him in the eye and he turned and growled, but immediately gave me a look and a nudge to say he was sorry. And when he passed another dog without making a fuss, he looked at me for approval, as if to say, “I did good, didn’t I?” 

Now he’s gone forever and all I have are memories in the wind. How the wind followed us home, and how it laughingly kissed our faces as we sat together on the school hill, watching the red sun and the children disappear in the dark. 

Well, bum . . . I promise to take you for a walk again when it’s my time to say farewell. 

PS: The other night Bentley came to my daughter in her dreams and gave her a hug in a grassy field before disappearing on a pathway into the sky. 


  1. Lyonel… your photograph shows Bentley smiling as only retrievers do… just keep that grin in mind when you think of him… and smile back rewarding him for all your shared memories.

  2. I am sorry for the loss of Bentley, what a shock to wake up too! I shed a tear for your loss as I could not imagine if this happened to me!!! Bentley has gone to the Rainbow Bridge and will wait for you to come to him one day!!!

  3. Sharon Mattson, Kamloops BC

    I cried as I read your story about Bently. I do believe you lost your best friend but will reunite with him one day. He was a very gorgeous boy and I know you and your family have many cherished memories that will live on and comfort you

  4. Lynonel
    I’m very sorry to hear of Bentleys crossing over , he looks like a perfect best friend and I’m sure he had a happy life from the smile on his face.
    They leave their paw prints on our hearts
    I’m sure he will wait for his last walk with you.
    My condolences
    Linda 🐾

  5. Are they ever one of the best of breeds, just love them, I was sad reading the story about Bently..ps a name to be proud of and what class eh! Bently… for you pal…and your human companion….We’ll meet again, dont know where, dont know when, but we’ll meet again…… some Sunny day.

  6. Hi Lyonel, We are so sorry to hear about the loss of your cherished family member. No regrets (about the vet, how could you have known), he loved you, you loved him. It sounds like you enjoyed a special relationship. May your fond memories help you get through this tough time. Sending you and your family our condolences. Sincerely, Karen and Lionel