Fiona Apple Cancels Her Tour To Care For Her Dying Dog

"She's my best friend and my mother and my daughter, my benefactor, and she's the one who taught me what love is."

Fiona Apple, who made her return to the music scene this year with the release of her brilliant album The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do., was due to take her world tour to South America this month but she has informed fans that she has had to cancel her tour. In a hand-written letter posted on her official Facebook profile, Fiona shares with the world the sad news that her faithful dog Janet is dying. While other artists might’ve pushed forward with their tour despite an ailing pet, Fiona is unlike most other artists. Click below to read Fiona‘s touching and heartfelt 4-page letter to fans below and you will understand perfectly why her tour had to be canceled so that she can be home with Janet.

It’s 6pm on Friday, and I’m writing to a few thousand friends I have not met yet. I am writing to ask them to change our plans and meet a little while later. Here’s the thing. I have a dog Janet, and she’s been ill for almost two years now, as a tumor has been idling in her chest, growing ever so slowly. She’s almost 14 years old now.I got her when she was 4 months old. I was 21 then, an adult officially – and she was my child.

She is a pitbull, and was found in Echo Park, with a rope around her neck, and bites all over her ears and face. She was the one the dogfighters use to puff up the confidence of the contenders. She’s almost 14 and I’ve never seen her start a fight, or bite, or even growl, so I can understand why they chose her for that awful role. She’s a pacifist.

Janet has been the most consistent relationship of my adult life, and that is just a fact. We’ve lived in numerous houses, and jumped a few make shift families, but it’s always really been the two of us. She slept in bed with me, her head on the pillow, and she accepted my hysterical, tearful face into her chest, with her paws around me, every time I was heartbroken, or spirit-broken, or just lost, and as years went by, she let me take the role of her child, as I fell asleep, with her chin resting above my head. She was under the piano when I wrote songs, barked any time I tried to record anything, and she was in the studio with me all the time we recorded the last album. The last time I came back from tour, she was spry as ever, and she’s used to me being gone for a few weeks every 6 or 7 years.

She has Addison’s Disease, which makes it dangerous for her to travel since she needs regular injections of Cortisol, because she reacts to stress and to excitement without the physiological tools which keep most of us from literally panicking to death.

Despite all of this, she’s effortlessly joyful and playful, and only stopped acting like a puppy about 3 years ago. She’s my best friend and my mother and my daughter, my benefactor, and she’s the one who taught me what love is.

I can’t come to South America. Not now.

When I got back from the last leg of the US tour, there was a big, big difference. She doesn’t even want to go for walks anymore. I know that she’s not sad about aging or dying. Animals have a survival instinct, but a sense of mortality and vanity, they do not. That’s why they are so much more present than people. But I know that she is coming close to point where she will stop being a dog, and instead, be part of everything. She’ll be in the wind, and in the soil, and the snow, and in me, wherever I go.

I just can’t leave her now, please understand.

If I go away again, I’m afraid she’ll die and I won’t have the honor of singing her to sleep, of escorting her out. Sometimes it takes me 20 minutes to pick which socks to wear to bed. But this decision is instant. These are the choices we make, which define us.

I will not be the woman who puts her career ahead of love and friendship. I am the woman who stays home and bakes Tilapia for my dearest, oldest friend. And helps her be comfortable, and comforted, and safe, and important. Many of us these days, we dread the death of a loved one. It is the ugly truth of Life, that keeps us feeling terrified and alone. I wish we could also appreciate the time that lies right beside the end of time. I know that I will feel the most overwhelming knowledge of her, and of her life and of my love for her, in the last moments. I need to do my damnedest to be there for that. Because it will be the most beautiful, the most intense, the most enriching experience of life I’ve ever known. When she dies.

So I am staying home, and I am listening to her snore and wheeze, and reveling in the swampiest, most awful breath that ever emanated from an angel. And I am asking for your blessing.

I’ll be seeing you.
Love, Fiona

OMG! I cannot with this letter. I’m not sure if it’s merely because I’m in a more fragile state these days or what but I teared up a few times when I first read this letter. I believe Fiona when she says that Janet is her “best friend” and “mother” and “daughter” … you can tell she is not exaggerating at all. It is really sad to know that Fiona is going thru the awful pain of the imminent loss of her companion and I, personally, can understand why she finds it impossible to move forward with her tour right now. I hope Fiona‘s South American fans can understand. And I hope that Janet is able to pass away as peacefully as possible. Blah! And here I thought I’d made it thru the day without crying :(

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  1. I am in a decently happy place in my life at the moment and I still cried….so don’t feel bad. My puppy is seven, and I cannot imagine the day when he will be gone. :(

  2. KiTX

    I’m openly crying at my desk and couldn’t even read the last page. This is exactly how I feel about my dog, and Fiona is amazing for putting Janet first.

    • I’m right there with you. Just crying at my desk. But I’m thinking about my cats who are pushing 16 now. I will be a disaster when the inevitable happens. I love Fionna even more now.

  3. Jax

    My cat passed away Nov 5th of kidney failure. I had him for 10 yrs and was & am still devastated. He was 11 yrs old. These pets are our babies, so I understand Fiona. She’s being a great “mom”.

  4. MJ

    OMG! I’m joining the desk cry party over here! I have a 4 year old and a 3 (best vet guess ’cause I found him on the street) year old. They drive me crazy sometimes, but I could not imagine life without them. I completely understand how she feels.

    Simply stated: Dogs. Rule.

  5. Lulu

    :*( Blubbery mess over here..

  6. Also bawling my eyes out. I had to grab one of my cats and snuggle the living crap out of him. This gives me even more respect for this woman. Sure, she may have moments of crazy (I’m looking at you VMAs from 98), but she’s so genuine.

  7. Splacer

    I totally get it.
    Bless her. And bless Janet.

  8. karen

    Well this had me practically sobbing! It’s been nearly 3 years since my dog died but I still think of him all the time and miss him. He was my heart and we were totally intertwined, the way it sounds like Fiona and Janet are. This letter breaks my heart for Fiona, but she is lucky to have had this relationship in her life. There can be something transcendent about the connection between a person and her/his dog (maybe the same with other animals, I don’t know — I’m a dog person). There was no other decision for Fiona to make & I’m sure many of her fans will totally understand. I’m glad she can be there with Janet.

  9. Megan

    I know exactly how she feels. My dog was 14 when she started getting sick, and stopped eating and just wasn’t herself. I never would have left her either and was glad to be there when we finally had to put her down for the sake of being humane. We got her when I was 7 so I barely remembered life without her. It’s been a year and I still think about her all the time. My best wishes to Fionna and Janet!

    • I feel the same way. I have had my cats since I was 7 as well and I can’t remember not having them. I will be a wreck when I lose them. They are a part of me. I’m so sorry for your loss!

  10. Ella

    I was going to make a cynical ‘Western world problems’ comment, but then I read the letter and am surprisingly weepy eyed. Thank you for the lesson in love Fiona and Janet. Sincerely.

  11. Jay

    I am a wreck now. I’ve gone through this twice with the dogs I grew up with. The first I was there for and the second I wasn’t. One of my biggest regrets in life is that I couldn’t be there to help my girl transition out of life. That was four years ago and I still get choked up thinking about it.

    I have three dogs now and I don’t know how I’m going to handle this three more times. But the love and joy they give us far outweigh the pain. I’m so touched that Fiona chose to be there for her dog.

  12. So sorry, Fiona. I sadly know exactly how you feel, also losing some of the best friends of my life. Dog, Chipper. Cats, Clara, Tiffy and Riggins. RIP♥♥♥♥

  13. Fiona,
    May God bless you during your time of sorrow.
    Pets become part of our families.
    The sorrow you feel now will turn to warm and loving memories.

    Prayers & blessings.

  14. diva

    really taking ma time@divaakamimi on twitter

  15. NE1

    I like that she greived her dog in such a respectful way. I had a cat that died last year and it was really hard, and nobody seems to really care.. Everyone is like, oh, well cats die sometimes. But it was hard for me because I loved her.

  16. gayana

    crying ……………………………………..

  17. RSAboy

    really so sad, had to put my dog down about a year ago (he had cancer and was in great pain). Stayed with him to the end, and it was truly the saddest but most spiritual moment of my life. He had been my best friend for 17 years. Miss him still.

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