For the past several years, our good friend Erin has been taking photos of our young family for the holidays. Here is an outtake from this year’s session, taken earlier this evening; a shot of my dear ol’ mutt, Mister President, resting in my lap.

It’s a very timely photo because earlier today he had an MRI, which revealed that, while he does have arthritis (as I mentioned yesterday), the cause of his immediate pain and lameness is in fact cancer. It’s all over his spine, fairly advanced, and basically inoperable.

I’m shattered.



  1. Khoi: I’ve never before commented on your blog, but I’ve followed and admired your work (and Mr. President’s growing up) for years, and I’m a proud user of Basic Maths. As a fellow dog-owner — one who’s suffered the loss of a few beloved pets from terminal diseases, and who’s currently helping two dogs deal with a variety of old-age-related ailments — I can commiserate. You’re beginning what will inevitably be a painful ordeal, for both you and your beautiful dog — but you can take comfort in knowing that you’ve done, and will do, all you can to make his final days/weeks/months as comfortable as possible; and you both can know that you’ve enriched one another’s lives in immeasurable ways. I’ll keep both of you in my thoughts.

  2. So sorry to hear about Mister President. 🙁 I have been following your work for years and I know how much you love that dear old dog of yours.

    Remember the good times and love him while he’s still here, and know that he holds a special place in more hearts, and through this space he still lives on. <3

    - April, a dog loving designer in love with Mister President thanks to your love of him over the years

  3. Hi Khoi

    I’m so sorry. As you know Maxie passed away from cancer. Her condition was so advanced and severe that she couldn’t hold any food down. To ease her suffering we finally decided to put her to sleep. Shirley and I were devastated.

    I know it’s cheesy, but sometimes I watch Marley and Me and it reminds me of how much Maxie was a part of our family and how much she meant to us. She was also my best friend.

    I hope his last days are filled with love.

  4. Hi Khoi, I am so sorry to hear about Mr. President. Having mothered two exquisite canines who succumbed to cancer I can say that the road isn’t easy and that you will always love Mr. President and feel him with you, if you allow it, whether or not he is with you in material form. We do grow attached to one another’s material forms, however, and so the loss, when it comes, and afterwards as well, is real and shattering. Just love him, love him, love him, while he is here and after he is gone. I know you will do that. The biggest flaw of dogs is there way too short life span. xo, Bonnie

  5. Khoi,

    As a photo of Mr President greets me every time I visit our blog, I feel that I’ve known him for years. My family includes two special dogs who I thank every day for letting me enjoy being a part of their lives. I know that one day, they won’t be with us…but my family will know that we cherished each day we had with them.

    I’m so sorry.


  6. Hi Khoi,

    I’ve followed the blog for a long time. The first hook was our shared taste in fine companions. My pal is my black lab named, Mr. Cooper.

    Reading yesterday’s post and now today — my heart breaks for your family. I hope you can enjoy your remaining time together and then cherish all the memories.

    -Matt & Mr.

  7. Hey Khoi,

    I know exactly how you feel. A few years back, when we found out that our pup Pacey had a cancerous tumor that had burst on her spleen, it totally gutted us. After the diagnosis, we were fortunate to have a full month with her. Then one day, she couldn’t move her bowels all day. She became lethargic. I stayed downstairs with her as long as I could, till 2am. The next morning, I found that she has passed on, body cold. It’s as though she wanted to wait for us to go to bed, so she could die — considerate till the end. Shit was the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with as a father and adult. I sobbed uncontrollably. So much so, that my wife told me to pull it together, since my sons had never seen their dad cry like that. They were still young to comprehend death, which was definitely a good thing, in retrospect.

    I hope you get to have some time with your pup, before he moves on. So sorry for your pain, man. You were a great dog dad…

    – Sean

  8. So sorry to hear about Mr. President, Khoi. I found that previous post about your relationship with him both touching and inspirational. Hang in there, Derick

  9. Khoi, like others have said, I’m so sorry to hear this. You and Mr. President are in our thoughts.

  10. Khoi,

    Really sorry to hear about this. I had gone through the same phase in my life when I lost my dog who was the dearest friend for 14 years. I still remember those wet eyes, staring at me, trying to say something, in her last few days of life. After her demise, I decided not to bring any pet ever. The basis of decision was that: no one can replace anyone in life.

    Her memory will ever be in my heart and I will cherish every moment we spent together.

    Prayers for Mr. President!

  11. I very sorry to hear about Mister’s diagnosis.

    This summer me and my girlfriend had to say goodbye to our cat, Baileys, who had been with us for 10 years. We both took a day off and spent the day with him outside, feeding him his favorite food (shrimp) and petting him endlessly. In the afternoon a vet came to our apartment and put him to his final sleep.

    As much as we cried that day, I can now look back at it and remember that his last day was a good one, there was no anxiety on his part and we had time to say a proper goodbye.

    Best wishes,

  12. Khoi…I am weeping after reading your post, seeing this picture (how timely and fortunate to have this chance!), and following all of the comments above.

    Yesterday’s was so moving, as well – you beautifully articulated the relationship we can have with our pets, and it mirrored many of the feelings I had about facing Maggie’s illness, and her ultimate passing. (“You care for one another, too, in an admittedly lopsided but nevertheless reciprocal way.”)

    There IS no other word for it but “heartbreaking”. You two are nearly one, and I know you are going to lose a part of yourself when you say goodbye – even though you will always carry him in your heart. It goes without saying, the pain and loss will have been worth it. You saved that dog’s life, and he likely saved yours in a number of enigmatic ways.

    My heart, too, is breaking for you, Laura, Thuy…and Mister P. What a way to spend your birthday; happier ones in years to come, with him by your memory’s side, bien sur.

    Jenni (your almost sister-in-law)

  13. I’m not the first of your readers not to have posted before, despite being a big fan of your work and your blog.

    So sorry to hear about mr. President, all my best wishes for his last days.

  14. Dear Khoi, I’m so sorry to hear about Mr. President. He had a great life, full of love, with you.

  15. Hi Khoi,

    We are very sorry to hear about Mr. President. This is sad news our thoughts are with you and your family.


  16. Sorry to hear the news about Mr. President. I am sure your dog had a great time with you. He knows and cherishes the time you spent together so far.You are both very lucky in finding each other. All the best.

  17. Hi Khoi,
    Long time reader/visitor to

    My heartfelt sympathies to you, the family and Mr. President.
    Have to admit the first time I came to your site I remember being struck by the photo of him on the home page years and years ago. He looks like a super dog and so sorry to hear about his illness.

    I lost my dog of 15 years and it was not easy. However as I’m sure you know our animals know they are loved and not alone. Take him to do all the fun things he enjoys and make the most of your time together.

    Best regards,

  18. Khoi –

    I am so sorry to hear this. My Sally dog is getting older and had a seizure last month and I’ve been coming to terms with the fact that she won’t always be here. I cried when reading both this post and your last one. My thoughts are with you as go through this, but I am sure Mister President feels your love and care.


  19. I’m so sorry to hear about Mister President. He is so lucky to have a wonderful family who will do everything to make sure he’s happy and comfortable. All the best to you and your family!

  20. I’m so fortunate that over 4 years ago, upon my first visit to your apartment as we began dating, the usually standoffish Mister President jumped up on the couch to settle down very close to me. He nearly cuddled me. You were surprised — shocked even — at his warmth to a totally new person, for that wasn’t his typical response. And I was relieved that he liked me. I hate to imagine if he hadn’t, we might not be sitting here together today, with our amazing daughter Thuy asleep in the next room, and with our collected memories of 4 subsequent years as a family of four. He was our family, but he was very much a part of you, Khoi — just as you were part of him. He gave so much to us: loyalty, protection, and endless laughs, and you gave to him your whole heart and 10 devoted years … and the near-nightly marrow bones, which earned him the best looking dog teeth in the whole borough. You were lucky to find one another, but it was clearly never meant to be any other way. And I was lucky to find the two of you. And that he seemed to approve.

  21. I’m one of the many who have followed your site for years, and Mr. President was always a fun, happy part of its identity. Anyone who gives a dog a good, loving home and a good life has made the world a better place, because they give so much to back to us. It’s hard to say goodbye to that kind of unconditional love and loyalty. Wishing you all the best during your transition.

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