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One year ago we said goodbye to our Goldendoodle, Pilgrim. Just before his passing, he asked me to write this letter to the world.

Dear Friends — If you’re reading this, I am gone.

I was diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease in 2018 and it’s been a steady slide down the grassy hill for this proud old Goldendoodle.


Despite everyone’s best efforts, I slipped into a heap of heart failure. I didn’t see it coming; like stepping in a pile of yesterday’s lunch in the backyard. The vet told us my heart was enlarged — go figure — and we were running out of time and good options.

Honestly? I think I knew before they did.

And before I forget, the doc and his team were wonderful. If it’s true that all dogs go to heaven, it better be true for veterinarians and their teams, too.

But back to me.

Pilgrim during a final photoshoot on the morning he passed (Photo credit: Kodi Wright Photography)

After the diagnosis, the gang gathered for something they call family council. These can be wildly entertaining — trust me — I’ve sat through a lot of them over the years. Sometimes I’ve tried interrupting by dragging over tattered, teeth-scarred toys fetched from my brass bucket. Other nights I’ve hunted for bare feet to smooch with some slick slobber.

Not this time. I just listened.

I was thankful they even called the two oldest kiddos at college. The folks put them on speakerphone and maybe I’m a softie, but I was reassured at the sound of their voices. The girls might not know it because I am — well, you know, a dog — but I’m sure proud of those two young ladies.

The fam talked through the options and there were tears. So. Many. Tears. But they also shared some laughs and memories they’ll never forget.

As they finished, Pops offered an emotional family prayer that he struggled mightily to get through. I hadn’t heard my entire squad cry like that in a long time.

Watching my teenage brothers fall apart was harder than I expected. I love those two rascals and I’ve cherished our hijinks. I’ve been so honored to watch them grow, and they’ve been so loving as they’ve watched me die.

Jason Wright and his sons posing with family dog Pilgrim in last photoshoot before he passed (Photo credit: Kodi Wright Photography)

I’ve relished every relationship. Though if I’m being candid, I’ve been a mama’s boy since I arrived in their home as a puppy on Christmas Eve, 2008. Mom was my nurse, my protector, my confidant, my chauffeur and my very best friend. I loved her. I still love her.

After the nicest night’s sleep I’ve had in ages, we all went for a drive and took some poignant pictures. The old man bought a bag of gummy bears. We shared.

Later, lying flat on a cool floor in a private room, we said goodbye. It only took a few seconds for my tired lungs to empty. You could almost see my last breath softly sail into the space around us. The family breathed it in and my soul watched them weep.

And, just like that, after 3,925 days of joyful living, I was gone.

Jason Wright with Goldendoodle Pilgrim before trip to vet on his final morning (Photo credit: Kodi Wright Photography)

I hope the long naps, river trips and the stolen snacks, the car rides, silly videos, the peanut butter treats, the tricks and licks will live on. I’ve loved it all.

Along the way I’ve seen family failures, victories, and a lot of days in between when we simply survived the worst the world could hurl at us. We did it together.

Like most of you, I know that God makes no mistakes, even when it comes to His furry creatures. I believe I was sent at the right time to the Wright family. (See what I did there? I still got it.)

Yes, indeed, it’s been an adventure.

As I say farewell, on behalf of dogs everywhere, I’d like to share some final lessons for a happier life. These worked for me. They just might work for you.

Pilgrim at the vet’s office before his final goodbye

???????????????? ???????????????????????????????? — As the youngest in my family, I learned a lot about love. Just do it. Love those who are different. Love your family, even when they dress you up in weird costumes. Love them when they’re happy, but mostly when they’re sad. Like today. Love them when they want just one more selfie with you, because it just might be the last.

???????????? ???????????????? ???????????????????? — Seriously y’all, don’t be afraid to nap. Take a break and remember that no one counts money in heaven. I’m here now and they don’t even inventory the dog treats. It’s an endless buffet. Get rest. Snuggle with your family. Snore. Sleep at the foot of a friend’s bed. Don’t run so fast that life starts living you.

???????????????? ???? ???????????????????? ???????????????????????? — I think I’ve been happy because I forgot my mistakes so quickly. Stole a cheese stick from the trash can? Got sent to my crate by mom? Moved on. Got blamed for a smell that was most certainly my brothers? Let it go. Accidentally killed a baby bunny rabbit in the backyard? I licked mom’s face when I saw her crying, gave her space, and let the moment pass.

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???????????????????? ???????????????? ???????????????? ???????????????? ???????????????????????? — Admit that your crazy clan is sorta fun to be around. Look up from the phone, the iPad, or whatever device you’re hooked on. Put your family first. Your memories with them are the ones you’ll take to the other side.

???????????????? ???????????????????? — It works. A friend of mine used to say, “If you’re happy, tell your face.” He was right. Look people in the eye and smile. It’s a drug for the soul that soothes and has power to heal. Yes, smile at dogs, too. We just might smile back.


Thank you, world. For everything.

For the love, the laughs, the visits, and the prayers when I feared I might not make it another day.

I’ll see you on the other side.





Jason F. Wright is a New York Times bestselling author, columnist, and speaker. Find his books on Amazon and join him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Have an inspiring story that you’d like to share with Jason? Visit his website and connect today. 

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Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Introduce Their New Dog Panda -- See the Family Pic

$800 a week to test employees for COVID-19. Could rapid, cheap tests help? From cereal startups to fast-food chains, everyone wants to cash in on people eating breakfast at home Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Introduce Their New Dog Panda -- See the Family Pic © David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra's family just got bigger! The couple took to Instagram on Saturday to announce the latest addition to their pack, Panda, an adorable Husky-Australian Shepherd mix.

"Our new family portrait! Welcome to the family, Panda! We adopted this little rescue (soon he won’t be so little) just a few weeks ago. We can’t be sure but he seems to be a Husky Australian Shepard mix.... and those eyes... and the ears!!! ❤️????❤️????❤️???? ," Chopra wrote alongside the pic, adding that her pup Diana "wasn’t around for our little photoshoot, but we couldn’t leave our #1 girl made it work! ???? ????."

Jonas shared the same photos, adding, "Welcome to the family Panda! Panda is a Husky Australian Shepard mix rescue and we’re already in love ❤️."

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Priyanka Chopra Jonas (@priyankachopra) on Aug 8, 2020 at 10:00am PDT

Panda joins Diana and German Shepherd Gino. The couple posted photos and videos of their new puppy on their other dogs' Instagrams.

"these kids... looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me. #ElderSisterDuties," Diana's latest post reads.

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A post shared by Diana Chopra Jonas (@diariesofdiana) on Aug 8, 2020 at 10:30am PDT

"Boundaries bro... boundaries," reads the caption on Gino's post.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Gino Chopra Jonas (@ginothegerman) on Aug 8, 2020 at 10:38am PDT

ET spoke with Chopra on Friday, where she shared that she could not be more grateful for her health, family and friends amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"I have to say, I feel very blessed to be in such a good spot compared to so many people in the world," Chopra told ET over the phone. "We're healthy, friends and family are healthy, and I've had time to really be creative. So I have to say this has been a blessing."

She also expressed the importance of giving back, no matter how big or small.

"What's important right now is to do something, and anyone can do something," she advised. "The point is, the world is breaking, everywhere in the world. So even if you do a little bit, it goes really far."

For more on the couple, watch below.


Priyanka Chopra Reveals She's Never Watched Nick Jonas in 'Camp Rock'

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