Goodbye, friend.

Almost a week ago, Meredith and I said goodbye to Orvis, our best friend and closest companion of 13 years. We are broken without him. 

The days leading up to his last were filled with beach walks, bed snuggles, and contraband food. Before saying goodbye, we each read him letters we’d written to try to sum up what he had meant to us. Here’s mine:


You were sent here to give us our start. You bound us to each other and made us into a family. It has always been the three of us.

We used you as our compass and followed your lead wherever life took us. We traveled in ways that you would want. We built a home and a life around a friend that wanted to swim through the ocean in the summer and through the snow in the winter. We grew with you and you grew with us. We learned to appreciate a sunny afternoon in the grass of the backyard just as much as a hidden picnic area in a bend in a stream in Vermont. We learned to love life, and more specifically our lives, wherever we found ourselves at any particular moment in time.

We knew your time here was temporary from the beginning, but this temporary felt like forever at the start, and only too fleeting at the end. We were blessed to have your lifetime and are cursed to have our own thereafter. It’ll be up to us to find our way from here, and although it feels like you’re leaving us alone and lost and empty, you’re leaving us with the life and home and love that you helped build. We’ll miss you dearly, but you will forever be here – on the edge of our minds and in the center of our hearts – in memories, laughter, love, and tears. You will always be our best friend, our little man, our thin mint, and our bear.

Thank you. Thank you for the swims and the hikes. The hugs and nose nudges and long loving looks. Thank you for the puppy stares from your permanent puppy face, the comforting presence in our roughest times, and the countless examples for us to live our own lives through. Thank you a million times over and a million times more. 

Go enjoy this next adventure. Run in the fields and swim in the oceans. Play with all of those that went before you. Watch over us and guide us, and know that one day, we’ll come calling. It’ll be the three of us again – only this time forever.

We will forever love you more than you could possibly know,

Your mom and dad

Of course, words are just words without the memory of why we write them.

Fortunately, Meredith and I spent 13 years documenting almost every moment of Orvis’s life. There’s the blog we filled with random Orvis images, an entire tag (and many untagged posts) on Map & Menu, our instagram accounts (Meredith’s / mine), and countless more photos and videos on our phones and computers.

Here are just a few of the memories behind my words:

We love you Orvis.

An indescribable thank you to Sarah Der and Graham Terhune for some of the images above, and of course to my sister- and brother-in-law, MacKenzie and Philip, for the video that so perfectly captures many of our fondest Orvis memories.

One thought on “Goodbye, friend.”

  1. Michael, I found and enjoyed reading the beautiful tribute blog about your sweet boy, just as I heard about your mom’s passing. Two big losses close together.
    I too lost my dear baby Zoey suddenly this summer. She was always happy to see me, follow me every where and ready to give me happy kisses. She was always happy and goofy and we called her the circus dog. I feel as if Ive lost a family member, we loved her so much and she gave it back double. Worse still was the sudden way we lost her. One minute playing and the next gone. I know some say it was just a dog, but I read that it can be as bad or worse than losing a human family member. She too was a lab. And i think of her and miss her every day. I am so sorry for that loss and now the loss of your wonderful mom. My heart reaches out to you all.

    Martha Shelley

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