i lost my best friend yesterday.

my house feels weird and deafeningly quiet. i’ve gotten so used to every little sound she made. climbing down from the bed, shaking off, and puttering about the house every morning, waiting patiently for me to wake up. so many things i’ve gotten used to. so many things i couldn’t have noticed until now.

i adopted olive from the humane society in february 2008. i was 24, she was a 9 months old. to this day, i stay amazed and unbelievably thankful for whatever circumstances allowed her to be watching as i walked in front of her cage that day. she had been there for months, and i will never understand how. she had already developed a few of her signature moves, and deployed them aptly as i stooped down to say hi.… the hopeful eye contact; the lazy, swaying saunter; the toy haphazardly stuffed in her mouth. i was already sold, but i was most impressed with her demeanor. here she was, in a stinky cage she had spent months in, in a giant room full of stressed-out, loud, frantically barking dogs, and she just sat there quietly, wagging softly and looking at me with big brown eyes like i was the only living thing in the world.


the theme would continue. from that point on, we were a package deal. our bond was immediate, deep, and unlike any i’ve ever had or likely ever will. i think every girl i ever dated probably felt a little chagrinned by it at first, only for olive to win them over anyway.  i started to resent anything that kept me from being around her. work, travel, social events. i had a few opportunities along the way that logistically couldn’t include her. at the time i felt i had to take those opportunities, but the more commitments i made to those kinds of non-dog things, the more i didn’t want to bother. this is mostly why i quit traveling. i just always, always wished she were there.


god, i had no idea. i could never get used to being without her, and now i really need to learn.

i don’t know how i am supposed to do this. it feels like she was always there my whole life, helping to make me a man. i don’t know how to be one without her. i don’t know anyone or anything without her. i only know how to be half of a whole. like, do i like things? do i have preferences? do i wanna go to the park? there’s a squirrel on the fence outside my window right now, should i go chase it like olive would?

i know in my heart that she is still with me. i know that i’ll never see a squirrel on that fence again without thinking of her. i know i’ll still wake up with my legs diagonally across the bed, making room for her at my feet. i know i’ll still hear her feet tearing through the house to greet me every time i come home. i know i’ll never grab ice out of the freezer without looking over to see her sitting politely, waiting for me to toss her a cube. i know i’ll never leave for work without thinking to kiss her on the head and say “sorry ol, you stay here.” i know she is still present in everything i do. i know this is the hard part. i know this is what love is. i know this is what will guide me through the next chapter, and what gives me pain now will give me strength later.

but FUCK it hurts right now. i can’t believe she’s gone and i miss her so much already.IMG_2693

still, there is some sense of relief. i have been dreading this day for a long time, and this last month was hard. i’m glad i was able to take more time to spend with her during her last days, but in retrospect i realize i probably didn’t really NEED to do so and it was probably more for me than for her. in classic olive form, she was always happy with whatever she got. even as her tumors grew, uncomfortably restricting her movement and taking away her breath, she loved all the same stuff the same way. her last hours were spent eating cheeseburgers, chocolate cake, and ice cubes and lounging in the yard. she looked as happy as ever. i tried not to let her see me tear up, but she knew anyway; she had seen that a lot lately.IMG_3099

so now it’s about following her example and being happy with what i have. and i am. i have been lucky to share a (dog’s) lifetime of love and laughs with the sweetest, funniest, absolute best creature i’ve ever known. her spirit and soul will endure long after her body’s passing, and i am so thankful to have been a part of it.

we had fun, ol. thanks for always being there. i’ll see you soon, in this life or the next.  <3<3<3


*a special note for clients: i realize this is the first blog post i’ve made in a long time. perhaps it’s the first thing i felt was worth writing about. i also feel i owe some explanation to those of you who have emailed me anytime in the last month or two…. you probably haven’t gotten a response, and i think this explains why. if you haven’t heard back from me and are still interested in getting tattooed, please feel free to re-send and i will get back to you as soon as i can. i have a lot of scheduling and rescheduling to manage, but i’m looking forward to getting back on track in the coming weeks. as always, thank you for your continued interest and patience.*


  1. So very sorry. Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute.

  2. Angie Ringwald

    Hi Ryan,

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I applaud your vulnerability in sharing more about your relationship with Olive and how she has given you profound support in life. You and Olive have been in my prayers since you posted on Instagram that you were taking time off to be with her. May you find solace knowing that her spirit is still with you.

    Please see below where I have pasted my original booking request. My best to you during this time of transition.

    Angie 503.320.1400

    Begin forwarded message:

    > From: Angie Ringwald > Date: April 17, 2015 at 4:58:45 PM PDT > To: ryanscapegoat@gmail.com > Subject: Deer thigh tatoo – Request for Booking > > Hi Ryan, > > I have been following your blog/Instagram since 2011 and would absolutely love to have you tattoo a female deer on my right thigh/hip. Available for appointments and last minute cancellations on Sun/Mon/Tu. I have total faith that you will design something amazing! > > Thoughts on images attached: > 1. white_deer: I prefer a realistic deer rather than with lines throughout as shown in this image, but I like the general shape of the deer. I want to include a feminine headpiece. I’m on the fence on whether or not to include a light geometric pattern, perhaps in the background. Will follow your lead on whether this is too many design elements for this piece. > 2. IMG_2329: I would like the deer to go above and around the outside of my thigh above the tattoo shown in picture. > 3. IMG_2378: Love this > 4. photo (1): This color palette rocks! > > Thanks Ryan. Hope to hear from you. Enjoy yourself! > > Best, > Angie > 503.320.1400


  3. What a post to sting your eyes and tighten your heart. Thanks for sharing and for opening up. I’m always amazed and in awe of those willing to admit when they are feeling loss and hurt. My advice to you is lean on those around you who love you…it’s your best bet and to be good to yourself the same way you were to your best friend over the past few weeks. Do the things that make you happy, treat yourself, be good to your heart and do some things you’ve always wanted to do. Looking forward to more tattoo work with you and hope the next couple of days aren’t too hard on you.

  4. Kearse

    I’m getting ready for a similar experience with my pup, so this hit so close to home. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your story was a beautiful way to remember your doogle. Thank you for sharing it.

  5. Ryan this is a beautiful post even though the subject is a hard one. It shows the caring and love Olive taught and brought out in you.

  6. Amy Bene

    Our condolences

  7. Ugh, so hard. Hang in there, Ryan.

  8. Ryan,

    So sorry to hear about the passing of beautiful Olive. You have popped into my head a few times over the past few months and I wanted to check in. Your post about Olive was incredibly touching. I lost my girl Pea on valentines day this year and what you wrote about Olive really spoke to me. I don’t know how to help ease the pain but I can offer you something that helped me with the process. It’s a book I got at new renaissance called “when another door opens” and it gave me a lot of peace after Pea passed away. It’s not a self help book, I would love to lend it to you if your interested.

    Lots of love to you both,


  9. I have followed your work & life for awhile now…I have always found your writing poetic….I feel the same way about my fur baby & am extremely sorry for your loss …olive was one lucky lady …stay strong …sara, mae

  10. Just seeing this post now, so sorry to hear of her passing and your loss. I’d only met her a few times but she was very sweet and I could see how much love there was between the two of you.

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