Some very sad news

Late last night, our beautiful french bulldog, Serena, passed away. Last night, she was restless and could not settle and then she hid under the bed in the early morning. The Mr. and I helped get her out so I could cradle her. She was not in any pain and I held her right until she took her very last breath. She slipped out of our life as peacefully as she slipped into it.

I’ve not shared her story widely. We got her at a time when our then family of three was very much in need of mending. She was truly an angel for us. She came into our lives after I had survived an act of brutality and was afraid to leave the house. With her at my side, I started to develop the confidence to go out. For a while, she came with me absolutely everywhere. I never drove anywhere without here. She slept in my bed and was forever at my side. I wrote my entire book with her sitting on my lap.

She offered my children tremendous comfort when I was not able to fully be their mom. And then, when things were better, she provided levity in our often too serious household. She was a natural clown and absolute diva. She liked her bed shifted from sun patch to sun patch. And in the new house, she’d knock on the fireplace in the winter, demanding we turn it on.

She did not initially take to suburban life. A former show dog (she was top frenchie in Canada back in the day), she seemed irritated that she was no longer on the jet hanging with her glam squad (Serena and I had that in common.) When I met my husband and we blended families, she got a Portie as a step brother. I tell you, she wanted none of it until she discovered that Sailor was a beta and she could boss him around like a personal assistant. But the two became best friends. They followed each other around the house all day. They were Frick and Frack. He will miss her terribly too.

Serena also provided comfort to the patients at the seniors’ day program. Most of the participants had Alzheimers and were forever delighted to meet her for what seemed like the first time. She patiently sat on lap after lap and did not flinch when the pats were too rough. She did not react when someone would be sick on her. She was a generally grumpy little dog, but displayed infinite patience for those who needed her. I truly believe she was a healer. I know she healed our family.

Serena van der Woofsen was so much more than a dog to us and we will miss her so very, very much. I know she’s up in heaven with my grandmothers, and cousins, and formidable aunts who will be thrilled that another feisty blonde has joined their ranks.

Rest in peace, Serena.


  1. I am so sorry to hear about Serena. Her personality shined brightly in every photo you shared of her. She was your angel in a great time of need and I know she's taken a large part of your heart with her. Her spirit left from the safest place, your arms. Sending love and prayers. XOXO


  2. Dear Jen – I knew Serena had passed but I haven't written yet because I wanted to catch up on all your blog posts first. With all the things happening in our own family I fell way behind on my reading. I am so sorry about Serena. She always made me smile when I saw her sassy face on Instagram. I had no idea that she was such a big part of your healing. That is such a sweet story and similar to what one of my old girls did for me. We can never fill the place they leave in our hearts can we? Even with one old dog and a new pup I sometimes tear up over my old dog. I'm sorry Jen but also happy that you have peace in knowing that all dogs really do go to Heaven. Blessings friend,Patti


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