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GriefSPEAK: Losing your human – Mari Nardolillo Dias

by Mari Nardolillo Dias, contributing writer

Tilly – I know you know that I’m a grief therapy dog. You might remember me running the fence with you at the dog park.  We never spent a lot of time hanging out one-on-one because you mostly sat at your human’s feet or under the bench where he always sat. He always made sure we had lots of water and he agreed with my human that walking down the stairs to the park was like walking into another world. A simpler world. A dog’s world.

I am so sad for you. I cannot even imagine what it is like to lose your human. Even though you have been re-homed to a loving family, I am sure you will miss Byron. Your heart must ache. You are probably confused. Maybe you are crying. You know someone you love is missing. The park will be very different without the physical presence of your ubiquitous human. We loved when he wore his “Tilly hat” and we always bought lots of T-shirts and sweatshirts. It was hard to resist him.  

You always loved the shade. Find comfort in the shade and know that Byron’s special orders for you at the butcher’s were just another way he showed how much he loved you. Byron’s spiritual energy will always be in the smell of the grass, the breeze through the leaves, the petrichor following the rain and yes, even in the crab apples! 

I always heard Byron tell my mom, “Mari, you need to wear layers!”  It is always colder and windier here at the dog park. Wear layers, Tilly. Wear layers.  

We, all of us in the “little dog park” will continue to honor both of you by respecting the gift of the park where lots of our favorite memories occur. 



RIP Byron Cahoone 


To read more articles for RINewsToday by Mari Nardolillo Dias, go here:

Dr. Mari Dias is a nationally board-certified counselor, holds a Fellow in Thanatology and is certified in both grief counseling and complicated grief. Dias is a Certified death doula, and has a Certificate in Psychological Autopsy.

She is Professor of Clinical Mental Health, Master of Science program, Johnson & Wales University. Dias is the director of GracePointe Grief Center, in North Kingstown, RI.  For more information, go to:

Dias is the author of GriefSPEAK, Vols. I and II.