You Human Beagles Are Seriously Mellowing My Harsh

Physicist Niels Bohr once said that an expert is someone who’s made every possible mistake in a narrow field.  Well, I hate to toot my own horn, but I’ve made every possible mistake in about a million fields.  Take blogging.  As you can see, I started off to write a blog-treatise on leadership, which became a bogged blog when I reached the topic “leading up in an evil system.”  

So as I prepared the next post, I found myself writing a meandering thesis on the nature of morality—how do you know what’s evil, when is it your duty to act against an evil system and when can you be excused for going along, consider the fact that terrorists always think they’re trying to change an evil system….  Ye gods.  It was a Blog Hydra—every time I’d whack off a chunk of topic, two more would grow in its place.

My blog hydra

My Blog Hydra

So anyway, I’m putting all those thoughts into my next book, because they’re book topics.  Not so much blog topics.  I think. 

I am reminded of a time I gave a speech in one of the Carolinas—I don’t remember which Carolina, because I was speaking so often during that period that all 50 states blend together.  I was tired and jetlagged, and my speech—how shall I say—sucked, sucked, sucked.   I went back to my hotel room with the sound of pity-applause scorching my ears, and schlumped onto the bed under several tons of shame.  Whoever had invited me to speak gave me a lovely room right on the beach, but I closed the drapes, feeling that if I couldn’t deliver a decent product, I didn’t deserve to look at the ocean. 

Verboten to the Verklempt

Far too verklempt to watch TV news or drama, I settled on an Animal Planet program that seemed cheerful—a touching reality show about a woman and her wonderful service dog—until the dog got sick and had to be euthanized. 

I spent the evening in the fetal position, numbed by bitter reality: I’d failed as a speaker, the Carolinians had been disappointed, and someday my dog would die.  This all happened some six or seven years ago.  Last week should have been much worse.  Last week the reality was that I’d failed as a blogger, my Facebook friends had been disappointed, and my dog actually did die. 

And yet, it was a great week, thanks to people like you.

R.I.P. Cookie

I’ve had pets before, and loved them all.  But Cookie the beagle taught me why some people spend more on their dogs than on their educations.  Every morning of his life, he pressed the top of his head against any part of my body he could reach, cooing ecstatically just because I existed.  He was with me during every grueling hour of writing and every rejection letter, before I’d published a thing. No matter how many all-nighters I pulled, Cookie stayed up with me.  He was present for every life-coaching session held in my home office, greeting every client with deafening howls, parking himself in my lap, and silently emitting aromas to back up my tentative advice.

He was a good boy.


Cookie the Good, 1995-2009

True, he was also incredibly old—about 105, in people-age.  He’d been partially fossilized for years, though we knew he was alive because he kept gaining weight.  Two years ago, when he was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, I started feeding him anything he wanted, figuring he’d last a couple of weeks at the most.  But the new food rules made Cookie so happy he went into remission.  Hefty remission.  I thought I’d solved the weight problem when I promoted him from beagle to Bassett hound, but his metabolism kept slowing, he kept finding chocolate bars in my luggage.  I was on the verge of promoting him again, this time to Land Manatee, when Fate intervened.

Cookie was out for a waddle when we met a human friend who sometimes gives him biscuits.  He took off at a dead sprint and tore a ligament in his knee.  It was the beginning of the end.  Last week, an emergency vet gave us morphine and bad news (which as far as I’m concerned should always be offered in tandem).  Cookie’s organs were simply shutting down.  Doped as he was, when I put my arms around him Cookie lifted his head and gave me that utterly guileless gaze I loved to distraction for 15 years.  Then he set his head on my hands and sighed with relief, and never breathed in again.

I cried for three days and two reasons: 1) because the end of a well-lived life is so sweet and sad and poignant; and 2) because so many people—this may mean you—were so nice to me.  Despite my inadequate blogging, despite my failure to produce a cogent, snappy essay on the nature of evil and our moral responsibility to end it, dozens of people have sent me emails, cards, letters, and other varieties of kind wishes, just because my fat old dog died.

This has radically shifted my concept of reality.  I’ve always thought the only way to earn acceptance is through continuous good performance—and even then, I believed, people who don’t approve of the performance want to smack me briskly about the head and face with a croquet mallet. 

I am being forced to reconsider this position. 

Beagle Invasion

So many people have offered me love in the past few days, for no earthly reason except pure kindness, that I’ve come to a radical conclusion.  It seems that the world is filled not only with human beings, but with human beagles.  People who love you even when you’re not “productive.”  People who don’t care how much you earn, sleep, weigh, or vacuum.  People who accept and encourage and care, even when you fall off the communication map for months on end.

Who Some People Really Are

So this is my new attempt to make a few less mistakes in the narrow field of blogging.  I’m sure I’ll make many more.  Someday, maybe I’ll have made so many mistakes I’ll actually be an expert.  But for now, I just had to write and say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to every human beagle out there.  I’ll never deserve to have you in my, life, just as I never deserved to have Cookie.  The miracle is, we get love whether we deserve it or not.  In fact, it may come to find us just when we think we deserve it least. 

Now, that’s something to blog about.

66 replies
  1. Lori Seviola
    Lori Seviola says:

    Martha..your tweet came and I was thrown, who was this in my direct mail box and then I saw your name..I am new to your work and just finishing Steering by Starlight and recently must have signed up for your blog..I started reading and wondered who was this? This is not the same person who wrote the great book I am reading..honestly I thought you had lost it and then I got to the magical words about Cookie…I too have a wonderful four-legged companion named Easton..he is a smiling 9 year old yellow lab. He too has been there for me every step of the way, especially the past 5 years which is when we have really bonded. You see, 5 years ago I was diagnosed with a stage 3A breast cancer and given a 50% chance of surviving past 5 years. At the time my children were 1 and 4, I had stared a new company about a year and a half prior and life was great…my company was wildly successful, my kids were great, my husband was wonderful and nothing could take that..except cancer. So, I went down the treatment road, I had a bilateral mastectomy, 30 weeks of chemo and 6 full weeks of radiation followed by several reconstrucive surgeries…I lost my company to my 3 “partners” and I was at the bottom of the bottom in 2 short years…but guess who sat next to me or on me the entire time, smiling (literally) when I need a smile, climbing in my lap when I needed climbing and just quietly sitting when I needed sitting….during that time he taught me more about myself and about making connections then I had learned in all my 35 years on earth….so when you wrote of Cookie and said you received an outpouring of support and kindness it is because that is exactly what you extened to Cookie during is 105 years on this planet…our animals reflect what they are given which is one of the most beatiful things about them…so you should not be surprised as it was kindness in and kindness came out..we can all hear it in the words you write! So, bless Cookie and may he have fun with all the other wonderful animal souls which have gone before him. I am sorry for your loss but beaming that you had the opportunity to share a bond with one of those wonderful dogs! May everyone be so lucky!

  2. MCat711
    MCat711 says:

    My sympathies on the loss of your beloved friend.

    And thank you for your beautiful column. I realized as I read it that I’m blessed with several wonderful “human beagles” in my life, and it’s time I told them how much they’re appreciated. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    My thoughts and prayers to you and Cookie and your family. He will be with all of you forever in your hearts.

  4. Deb Owen
    Deb Owen says:

    After an awesome week last week, where I was in the Keys with Susan Hyatt (who reported the sad news of your loss)……I’m having an especially hard day. Tomorrow doesn’t look much better. You know, that time where you’re waiting. You know what’s coming. But you’re waiting. And it’s hard.

    And there she is — my crazy, hyper pooch — who seems to sense that something is a bit ‘off’. She seems to know that some things have shifted in a very very good way. But she knows something isn’t right too.

    And she warms my heart and brings me joy and comfort while I wait. Sometimes I learn good lessons about being a better human from her.

    So sorry for your loss!
    All the best!

  5. angie_seattle
    angie_seattle says:

    Martha –
    I have a few human beagles in my life too. Thanks for the eloquent description. Sorry for your loss. I have lost a beloved dog to age also in the past. I’m sure Cookie felt your love as much as you felt his. Take care.

  6. Janet
    Janet says:

    Totally with the beagles on not caring how often you vacuum or blog or nuttin’ – totally with the beagles on thinking the world of you, just because… and you certainly wouldn’t have gotten so wise and become such a jujitsu life transformer without yourself experiencing all the pain and stuckness in your own life… so carry on (or indeed spend more time grieving as needed), and we’re all out here for you!! Extra snacks for my dog, in Cookie’s (and your) honor!!!

  7. Leah
    Leah says:

    What a beautiful, beautiful post. We all need beagle love whether or not it comes from an actual beagle.

    So sorry for your loss. Big love and hugs to you!


  8. Emiko
    Emiko says:


    Thank you for this great post – I’m so sorry for your loss, I know Cookie only from the mentions you’ve made of him in several of your books, but he was clearly loved and marvelously cared for. I also want to say that, as a reader of your blog, I am not disappointed at all! I know when you write something it will be insightful, highly digestible, interesting and beyond inspiring – your blog is like an HBO show: some shows may only have 6 episodes during a season, but those shows kick ass! I would rather see 6 good, high quality, passion-infused shows than watch 20 lukewarm-just-phoning-it ones. If you wrote 6 blog posts a year, I’d read them all and feel nourished after each one – wanting more? yes, probably, but in a good excited way, not in an icky disappointed way. You have helped so many people (myself included) step on the path to living their right lives and you are so generous with your gifts, how can we not fall in love with you? Plus, you are so TAO (Transparent Authentic and Open) it inspires me to be TAO, also. Then there are the fabulous coaches you have trained who have taken what you taught and helped so many others. You deserve all the love that is being lavished on you and more (and more on top of that). You’re the bomb 🙂

  9. Bridgette Boudreau
    Bridgette Boudreau says:

    Hi Martha,
    My mom was just telling me the other day that scientists are on the verge of proving dogs have souls. Both of our response to this earth-shattering scientific breakthrough was, “Duh.” Pets are part of our families, they are always truly present and there for us. (Unless someone else has better food or an interesting scent, but we forgive them for that.) I am so sorry for your and your family’s loss. We here at chez Boudreau-Castro–me, Chona, Scruffy and Trixie the recalcitrant cat–send our thoughts and prayers to all of you.

    Thank you for the heartfelt post and you constantly inspire me with your complete willingness to be who you are.

  10. Nona
    Nona says:

    I am so very sorry about Cookie’s death – I am totally with the beagle brood re: your failure to communicate or blog or whatever else you think you “should” have been doing! Take super care of yourself!

    Cookie was as lucky to have you as you were to have him.


  11. Gerry
    Gerry says:

    Dear Martha,
    I love your blog, especially this beautiful writing about Cookie.
    and of course from Joep Beagle

  12. Tara Rehl
    Tara Rehl says:

    Dearest Martha,
    Oh how we human beagles hold you with love at this time.

    Gentle, loving, wise spirits come in many forms…
    …Amen to those that come in four-legged dog form!
    They often teach us and love us the most!

    That Cookie graced your life and you his for 15 years is a true gift.
    He may no longer wake you in the morning with his soft cooing and warm hello, but his energy, his spirit is still with you, forever loving you and cheering you on.

    I bet you miss him terribly, but for every pang in your heart, there’s a throng of human beagles loving you too!


  13. Julia Stewart
    Julia Stewart says:

    You’re such a silly wise woman, Martha ~ Of course we all love you, regardless of whether you ever write another word. And who says you need to deserve it?

    Anyhow, Cookie sounds like a first class friend. The fact that we get to have canine friends may be the real reason human kind is evolving… Not a few of my friends have confided that they learned unconditional love from their dogs. Me too.

    Possibly we don’t deserve our canine friends. My dog Bindi, on the other hand, lives the life of a maharani! So maybe the trade off is fair. XO

  14. Isabelle from Mtl
    Isabelle from Mtl says:

    Dear Martha,
    My heart goes out to you. About the blogging, I sincerely believe (after reading many books by a famous author=you) that we deserve to be loved just the way we are now in all our imperfect glory. I am an imperfect translator because I’m not a machine but I think that’s also why my work is superior to a machine’s. Mister Roboto not so good at conveying emotion, whatever the field.

    I lost a dog and many cats in my life, and nothing can fill that void when they’re gone. But I hope that your love for Cookie and his love for you can reverberate for a long time in your life like love ripples in an endless pond. Toutes mes condoléances.

  15. Carol Jackson
    Carol Jackson says:

    Martha, this post was so beautiful and moving–Thank YOU! I happened to see a link to this last night when I was up late (coincidentally because of our 14 yr old cat that’s been sick) and tears streamed down my cheeks as I read–feeling such empathy and wishing you comfort and grace, as well as feeling such deep appreciation for your gift of putting into words what so many of us feel. Also, I must mention that when I first read Steering By Starlight, I just HAD to read the passages about Cookie out loud to my boyfriend and a good friend–and they both laughed out loud and really appreciated it–we could just feel how lovable and loving and funny and joyful Cookie was from what you wrote….I hope you can still feel his wonderful presence….

  16. Nan Scarborough
    Nan Scarborough says:

    Dear Martha,

    May the memories of your beloved, precious Cookie surround you, may his love continue to warm your heart – may you be well, may you be happy, may you be free from suffering…

  17. Marie-Lynn
    Marie-Lynn says:

    Perhaps you’ve heard of the adage “If God seems far away, guess who moved?!” To tell the truth, I was wondering what had happened to “it” all and I had to push away feelings that I had done something wrong and was somehow excluded from the team. So you see, I was super glad for your blog in me e-mail box today and am resigned to having just a bit more faith.

    Well,….. I am allowed to have human godesses.

    I hug you with love, adoration and an arm full of giggles,

  18. Bonnie Shapley
    Bonnie Shapley says:

    Dear Martha,

    An incredibly beautiful tribute to your furry muse.

    When I read the blog I thought oh no, how could this be? Cookie is a giant among dogs; I loved reading your stories inspired by his ‘beagle taoism’. But mostly, it reminded me of the loss of my 15 year old cat. I was devastated and literally couldn’t speak for 3 days. However, as with most events, the power of speech returned and I was somehow able to carry on. And then a wonderful thing happened, a new kitten arrived who has been the most incredible magical creature I have ever known.

    Take all the time you need to grieve. People who love you and have been where you are will understand if you can’t speak for a while. And know that Cookie continues to live because you loved him and shared him with the world.


  19. Caryn
    Caryn says:

    Hi Martha,

    I am so sorry about Cookie. I think your post was a wonderful, beautiful tribute to him.

    But I have to ask: Is it really possible for you to "fail" as a blogger? Your basic generosity and love for your tribe means the people who need to hear your message will always hear it at exactly the time they need to hear it. And sometimes watching you try things and be brave enough to change directions is part of what we can learn from you. All your tribe expects is you – in whatever form that happens to be at the moment.


  20. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    Dear Martha,

    I am so very sorry about your Cookie. I laughed hard when reading the passages in SBS regarding his encounter with the Gargoyle. He brought joy to many through you.

    I find it interesting that your regularly-scheduled blog post on “leadership in the midst of evil” was pre-empted by an influx of loving kindness. Good overcomes evil yet again!

    There must be a kindness theme in the wind this week because it’s coming at me from all directions – Oprah’s show yesterday, your blog post today and the topic for my online women’s group which I blogged about on Sunday. We use the chapters in a book as our subject matter to give us a bit of structure and this week’s chapter just so happened to be on kindness. I challenged the members of the group to do a bit of an experiment. I wrote:

    “Kindness or the lack thereof is contagious. What comes around really does go around. Maybe you won’t directly see the fruits of your labor when you go the extra mile for others. Maybe the person benefiting from your acts of compassion will not be the one to return the favor or even pass it on to others. Maybe the virus you’re carrying is airborne and not the kind that’s caught from direct contact. However it’s transmitted, kindness is contagious and the more we release into our environment, the more likely it is to spread.”

    “This week, I challenge you to engage in random acts of kindness. Go the extra mile to be nice to others. And keep score. Jot down all the ways in which you have been kind and all the ways that others are kind to you. Remember: these two lists don’t have to contain the same names. At the end of the week, tally everything up and see where you stand. Did you give more than you received? Did you get more than you gave? Were things pretty even? This is a little experiment I’d like to run and my hypothesis is that God is a pretty good accountant. I’ll bet, for the most part, our books are balanced by the end of the week.”

    I think your experience since the death of Cookie is more than enough proof to support my theory that God (or the universe or Spirit or whatever) is indeed an astute bookkeeper. Your loyal followers may never be able to fully repay all that you have given them but they were clearly able to provide just the right amount when given the chance. Your efforts have led others not only be interested in what you have to say but also in you as a person. Through your own kindness and openness and generosity, you have taught us to be kinder, more open and more generous.

    Amelia Earhart said it best I think… “No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.”

    Thank you,

  21. Jessie Alan
    Jessie Alan says:


    I feel like I actually knew Cookie, and definitely felt how much you loved him and learned from him from the stories you told in your books.

    I just recently picked up “Steering by Starlight” and totally lost it when you told the story of Cookie howling and running away at the sight of your Lizard.

    Dogs do mellow on the harsh. Owning a Tibetan Terrier has been one of my WIGs for 2 years now…I trust it will happen and I look forward to a long and loving relationship like the one you had with your beloved beagle.

    Thanks for sharing.

  22. Christy the Mommy-Muse
    Christy the Mommy-Muse says:

    Martha, you are one of the finest people I have ever met.

    You have midwifed potent change around the world. If you never lifted your finger to type again, you will still have done enough.

    Of course I know that your life’s work is far from over, but you need to know that you are deeply loved for who you are and not for what you do!

    Cookie’s spirit ultimately touched the lives of everyone who’s known you, or even read your words. We deeply honor Cookie’s life.


  23. Maryann Lowry
    Maryann Lowry says:

    Oh Martha, I didn’t know about your Cookie until I read your blog today. I’m sorry. Through your words we all were given the chance to learn life lessons via Cookie. Reading about Cookie brought a lot of JOY when I needed a refueling. Thanks for sharing his life with us. It’s so great that you shared his last earth chapter with your readers as well. Blessings,

  24. Stacy
    Stacy says:

    You don’t need to be anything other than yourself to make an impact or contribution, nor does every blog need to be about some specific teaching. Sharing your own genuine self, does that.

    That you would be touched by the life, the love and passing of your dog Cookie, only makes you more human and accessible.

    The gift of love is the most powerful gift there is and the gift of unconditional love is even more so. It’s presence and the life and passing of the giver of that love is worthy of note. You honor Cookie and his love for you with your words and remind the rest of us how precious such a gift is.

    Be kind to yourself, and I hope the joy and love that Cookie brought into your life will help ease the pain of his passing.

    Love and hugs, Stacy

  25. Layla
    Layla says:

    Hi Martha,
    I’m so sorry to hear that Cookie has crossed over the rainbow bridge. I loved hearing your stories about him & always wished for more. When you are ready, you may want to get Cynthia Rylant’s wonderful book “Dog Heaven” (Amazon has it). It and her book “Cat Heaven” are full of funny, whimsical paintings and verse. I know you like Shakespeare, so here is something for Cookie:

    Now cracks a noble heart.
    Goodnight, sweet Prince.
    And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

  26. Laurie
    Laurie says:

    What a hole our four-legged friends leave behind. Best wishes for filling that space with love and cherished memories honoring Cookie.

  27. Susan
    Susan says:

    I’ve loved hearing your stories of Cookie and they have never failed to crack me up. His wonderful sunshine spirit lives on in all of us who have shared in the joys of his big, fat, wonderful life … thanks to your poignant and humerous writings.
    I’m sending a prayer to Thunder, my Golden Retriever up in Doggie Heaven, to take care of Cookie. He’ll show him where to get the best cheeseburgers, cookies, and bisquits, tell him all about where the best kitties to chase hang out, and point out the best spots to find goobery tennis balls to gnaw on. He and his pals will show Cookie a whole lotta love!

  28. Kathryn
    Kathryn says:

    I’m so sorry for your physical loss, but at least now he gets to be with you 24/7, and by the sounds of it is still teaching you and enabling you to use that to help others. We all need reminding that we don’t need to do or get it right to be loved, so thank-you and cookie for reminding us love just is.

  29. Anna Paradox
    Anna Paradox says:

    Dear Martha,

    How could you not know that we would love you regardless — when you have loved so many of us regardless?

    Curiously enough, last week I found myself wondering how Cookie was doing. I had no material way of knowing anything was up, and otherwise have only thought of him when you wrote about him — you know how this goes.

    From my heart to yours, blessings.


  30. Stephanie Hamilton
    Stephanie Hamilton says:


    Sending much love your way. I’ve adored reading about Cookie & have my own Cookie (Pepper) at home, and alas, she is also getting older too. I cannot even express how difficult it must be for you. Might sound strange, but please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.


  31. JOY
    JOY says:


    since i’ve read (listened to) “steering by starlight” approximately a gazillion times i feel like i knew cookie. what a precious being he was/is.

    you will probably appreciate this wise and heartfelt blog post by a friend who just lost her beloved cat:

    (she, also, just released a new cd of the most amazing songs to- date.)

    thank you for the work you do in the world and the deep and wide impact your work has had on my life.

    big love,
    joy letsinger

  32. annie (UK)
    annie (UK) says:

    hello Martha,
    What a sad and touching post and so insightful in your loss you reach out as ever with YOUSELF ,no holes barred.
    You use the pain and sadness for others,thankyou
    I read your blog and cried ,thankyou for helping me to release thouse tears of sadness and empathy.
    I know from being a singer ,how hard a critic I am on myself when I don’t come up with the ‘GOODS’ and so deprive myself from loving kindness to myself.
    Good Ol’Cookie in his way shows us all ,thru your unsightfulness,that whatever we are loving lovable and loved at all times .
    Thankyou for sharing yourself so openly and honestly with us .
    Bon Voyage to the Zen master Cookie .

  33. Helen Shultz-Kamadulski
    Helen Shultz-Kamadulski says:

    Dear Martha-

    I’ve just started reading your writings and now find myself simultaneously in possession of three different books of yours compliments of my local public library, one of them I even have the CD version as well as the book.

    Now i’m reading your blog as too. I just want you to know that I found your entry about your Cookie beautiful, funny and poignant. I’m sure there is nothing new or original in what I’m sharing here, but I feel moved to share it nonetheless. Thank the Creator for our Cookies, Ellas, Sweet Peas, Elliotts, Olivers, Allies, Aslans etc. etc. (yes all the unfamiliar names are those of my sweet critters past and present) They do teach us, when we let them, about unconditional love and acceptance. I can’t imagine life without them and am so grateful that I haven’t had to.

    You are loved and appreciated Martha, imperfections and all. I have no doubt of that. Your way of sharing your wisdom is both accessible and inspiring and much needed in our world. I’m glad you found your way to that place in you that knows these things and are sharing it with the rest of us. I’m so glad that I’ve found my way to it now too.

    Love and best wishes, Helen

  34. Sandie Marrinucci
    Sandie Marrinucci says:

    Hi Martha,

    I’m in transition right now and have been doing research on life coaches etc and came upon your website and blog. This post really touched my heart as I have a yellow lab called of all things “Owen” (named by my daughter – but he has at least grown into it), a kitty who is 105 and going strong, and a horse called Bailey who completes my brood of animal pals. They each have their incredible personalities and they all somehow know how to support me through all my ups and downs. What a blessing to have them in my life. Remember you are enough – perfect just as your are. Your writing, and I’ve only read a small amount I must confess – is inspirational and moving. Thank you for being you!

  35. SP
    SP says:

    Dear Martha,

    You could have blogged more, if anything. It’s not like your credibility is at stake! But I guess being you makes it difficult to write freely like regular blogger folks out there.. ’cause you might hear gasps from your national audience..

    I’ve read five of your books, three of which I also owned the CDs. I knew all about how Cookie threw up on the carpet or how he consecrated your new stone statues. My deepest condolences to you.

    On the other hand…… I vote for a white Standard Poodle pup. =)

    You are one of my favorite authors, partly because you wrote so engagingly but mostly because you were so brave and honest to have said (and done, as portrayed) a lot of things that you did. You have inspired courage in me. Thank you, Martha.

  36. Fiona Newsome
    Fiona Newsome says:

    Martha –

    The world is a poorer, sadder place now that Cookie has gone, but a richer, more joyful place because of the lessons he taught you – and through you, us.

    Thank you Cookie!

    With love
    Fiona x

  37. catherine
    catherine says:

    i was born in the chinese year of the dog, i have always been a human beagle to others, and thanks to YOU …and beaches, chocolate, boxes of wine, sweet hubby, a good therapist, and aging… i am learning to be a human beagle to myself as well. it is a good goal.

    i am so sad about your loss. wallow in the bittersweetness of that cookie-pup!

    i wish you the best!

  38. Deb
    Deb says:

    Martha, I am so very sorry about your loss of Cookie. and of course it doesn’t matter that he was old, or fat or a dog. You loved him. and will miss him. He added something special to your life.

    I love my golden retrievers more than some people and I don’t see that as a bad thing. I love alot of people too. and my boys give me so much that no person ever could. They love unconditionally. and give so much.
    God bless Cookie.

  39. Lynne
    Lynne says:

    Dear Martha,

    I am so, so sorry for your loss. I loved reading about Cookie, and as “mom” to three dogs myself, I know first-hand about the depths and delights of the canine/human relationship. Nothing is quite so unconditional or pure.

    Wishing you peace, and the comfort that comes from many happy Cookie memories…


  40. Layla
    Layla says:

    Hey y’all, any team members going to Chicago for the Inner Genius class? If so, I would love to try & get together. I’m flying in early to stay the weekend & see Chicago. You all can email me at, I can set up a get together.

    We move at dawn!!!

  41. sandra kay, tvgp
    sandra kay, tvgp says:

    a beautiful post! beautiful testimony! wonderful pictures and memories. we all love you – unconditionally –
    permanently -beagle~ly-

    you are a rare and wonderful person martha beck.. but remember you are ONE person -and there is only so much ONE person can accomplish at a time

    in this short life time. your contributions are enormous! and if you cut back to only 1/3 of what you do

    your contributions would still be enormous! “to the joy diet!”

    love, ~sandra kay, tvpg

  42. Uma
    Uma says:

    Dear Martha: I’m so sorry for Cookie’s departure onto the next dimension. I’ve enjoyed reading about him in your books and articles. As an avid animal lover myself, I empathize tremendously with your loss and can only imagine how much medication I’ll need the day my own beloved pooch passes on.

    I wanted to alert you to a wonderful book I just finished reading entitled


  43. Janelle
    Janelle says:

    Martha, I wish I could give you something other than a virtual hug, but this will have to do. I’m so sorry about Cookie. I’ve had friends who have chokingly admitted that losing their dog was much harder than losing a parent. I think it’s because dogs (as you pointed out) always love you, and parents may always love you but sometimes don’t show it.

    If you never write another word, please know you have changed my life for the better in so many ways. Your sage advice and witty explanations have made me laugh and cry, reflect and actually win a trip to Australia (if you want to read my “thank you to Martha Beck” it’s on my blog at:

    I just recommended your book, “Steering by Starlight” to a friend the other day. You are a brilliant, wonderful person and I’m sending you all my love and gratitude for just being you.

  44. Sharon Kelley
    Sharon Kelley says:

    Hi Martha,

    You (and Cookie) have been in my thoughts so much today. I am having a ‘one damn thing after another’ day, and hope so much I will see you this weekend. My 7 year old daughter is sick, and hopefully will improve before I have to make a decision about traveling.

    I feel like I am a ‘dog whisperer’ and I have this feeling that there are a lot of mutts out there who are sending you and Cookie warm hugs and licks…

    Hope to meet you soon–

  45. Katlego
    Katlego says:

    In my culture (Sesotho) we say “Rela le wena” (We cry with you) when a loved one passes. And although I never knew Cookie I cry with you becuase I learned to love him through your writing – what a sage! Thank you for that Martha, you too are an awesome Beagle.
    Khotso, Pula, Nala (Peace, Rain, Abundance)


  46. Kelly Pratt
    Kelly Pratt says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Cookie. I’d hoped to have the opportunity tosomeday thank Cookie in person. Last spring you wrote about Cookie and how he loved to lift his paw. That he positively vibrated with excitement every time. And that, living by Cookie’s example, we should all “work like dogs.” I listened. Cookie inspired me to follow a 10 year dream to become a Life Coach. I did – a Martha Beck Life Coach! Thank you Cookie. And thank you Martha.

  47. Tracee Sioux
    Tracee Sioux says:

    I’m sorry about your dog. I’m thrilled that you’ve benefited from human generosity of spirit. I’m glad to have you back for more insights. Enjoying the paragraph a day too. Will buy the book on leadership I guess.

  48. Annette
    Annette says:

    What a beautiful post.
    It resonated with me on many levels.
    Cookie was (and will continue to be) a great read, and an inspiration to many.
    I must tell you what stands out most to me in this post:

    If you did NOT ‘deserve it’, why why why would you have all this love and support from your readers, your people, your beloved Beagle/Basset/Land Manatee?
    Perhaps a new look at what ‘productive’ means to you is in order.
    Perhaps that is one of the things Cookie meant to show you.

    Blessings and More Manifestations to You and Yours

  49. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    Just want to express my sincerest blessings to Cookie and may you keep his memories and love to you forever .

    I too have just lost my dearest Latina, 10yrs old but I prayed and will keep praying for her..and for all the wonderful animals on this planet. Will also include Cookie as well…… Take care yourself.


  50. Gwen Joynerwood
    Gwen Joynerwood says:

    Ah, human beagles. I love that.

    Someone? once said something along the lines of, I am 10 000 pieces of all the people who have been and are in my life.

    The love of the many people who have been in my life has carried me through numerous painful times and it never ceases to surprise me.

    I thank you for always being so open and sharing your experiences with us so generously, always providing insight and lessons from which we all benefit.

    I missed you and we do love you

  51. Kathy Quinn
    Kathy Quinn says:


    I had a beagle for 15 years. Her name was Peaches. I got her from the SPCA. Someone had named her “Hey Girl”, and it was clear she had been abused. It took her months to come out of her shell, but she turned into the most charming and delightful little friend. I loved that dog! She got old and sickly, and I had to put her down. It has been 4 years, and I still have not gotten another beagle. I have lots of beagle stuff, though! One of these days I will. I know exactly what you mean by human beagles. That makes all the sense in the world to me.

    I’m sure Cookie and Peaches are burrowing into a purse, trying to find Hersey’s Kisses, in doggie heaven right now.


  52. Darla
    Darla says:

    I am now reading Steering by Starlight, and laughed so hard when you wrote that Cookie screamed “Sweet Jesus!” when he saw the dragon.

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Love for our animal friends is absolutely pure love; the best kind there is. Losing them is pure grief. My angels on Earth are cats but the love is the same, I love them more purely than I can ever love a human being, and they are gifts from Heaven as far as I’m concerned.

    Sadly they don’t live forever, the best we can do (I tell myself, having just lost one of my precious cats last month) is give them the happiest possible life we can, love them with all our hearts, and watch over them until the end.

    What more can a doggy want than a long life with a thoughtful guardian who loves him and looks after his well-being and happiness? He was a lucky fellow to be so loved and of course, you were so greatly blessed to have his love.

    I know that you will miss him forever, like I miss mine who have passed on. I hope you find comfort in your memories and in knowing that through your writing, Cookie has the prayers of many other people who will remember him.

  53. Darla
    Darla says:

    By the way, Martha, blogs are meant for rambling! Sort of stream-of-consciousness stuff that is fun to read. Nobody wants to get all serious and thesis-ish, imaging the pressure that puts on us for our own blogs! We’d be all “Well, I was going to post today, but I don’t have my Style Manual at hand or three hours to organize a well-thought out report, and that darned Martha Beck has gone and set the blogging bar so high…remember when a blog was just for informal rants and thought-sharing? THOSE were the days!”

    I sure enjoy reading whatever emerges from your magical mind and if it’s impromptu, then it’s just all the more entertaining. So, please, don’t stress!

  54. Cathy Schultz
    Cathy Schultz says:

    I’ve just today discovered your blog. I’ve been listening to your book on CD (Starlight) this week while on the treadmill in an attempt to get my life on track (the metaphor in that statement is screaming at me!). As I read through your blog I found myself laughing and feeling buoyed (I think I need to take your advice about slowing down) so I was quite surprised when I got to your confession about feeling a failure as a blogger–and then you reveal to us your beloved Beagle had died. I have had a Westie for 11 months (my first dog as an adult–I’d had cats for 34 years before that) so I could imagine how you must be feeling losing such a dear friend. I just wanted to add my condolences to the many and my thanks for sharing your life with us. Who can feel close to someone who seems to have it all together all the time? It’s picking ourselves us each day and starting over that makes life interesting. Living truthfully is what life is all about.

  55. Jeane
    Jeane says:

    Martha, I’m so sorry that you and your family have lost such a good friend as your Cookie. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about Cookie in your books and articles. I hope that someday you will find another sweet doggy to love. I read a quote recently that said something like “My goal in life is to be as good a person as my dog thinks I am”. Nothing like a dog to make you feel special.

  56. jana braswell
    jana braswell says:

    I’m speechless.

    First, I’m so, so sorry for your loss and what a beautiful, beautiful tribute. I just have to say, Im completely blown away by your writing and your blog. I also feel completely inspired. Ironically, Im out of commission with a bum leg, feeling totally out of whack, but in the midst of ‘finding my calling’.

    Anyway, I just wanted to send you a little note. I am so excited I’ve found your blog. Please keep writing! I’ve also recently entered the ‘blog-o-sphere’ and would be honored if you ever wanted to check it out.

    Take care and blessings in Cookies memory.

  57. Lucila Dowson
    Lucila Dowson says:

    Hi, I am aware this is probably somewhat unexpected to hear, but your blog helps me to get through my day, when my boss is complaining to me every single waking minute! Some of my friends told me about it but I did not find it for some time, so a couple days back you can imagine how pleased I was to finally find it! Me, I don’t do much blogging because I simply don’t have the time but I do love to look at other people’s work. I just need to comment to show my appreciation for your posts and I also wanted to let you know that many bloggers do not get any credit for their excellent work, credit which is, in my opinion well deserved. Given the subject matter you might not believe it and perhaps doubt that anyone could like it so much, but I honestly want you to continue as you began. It’s awesome!

  58. Khadijah Shouts
    Khadijah Shouts says:

    I’am thinking of getting a golden Retriever as a puppy for my daughter. Is this a solid choice? Is a Golden Retriever good with young children? My daughter is 6 years old.

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