Mark Woods from Cornwall, England, and his beloved dog Walnut had a very special relationship. When the 18 year old whippet deteriorated to the point that he had to be put to sleep, Mark Woods launched an appeal for people to join him on Walnut’s last walk.
“That’s how the world came together to say a final goodbye to one ‘very special’ Cornish dog,” Pirate FM reported.
The pair lived in St Columb Minor near Newquay, so Mark decided they would go on one final walk at Porth Beach on Saturday morning – and posted to Facebook to invite the public along too.
Woods was 35 years old when Walnut came into his life. “I was searching for some emotional direction at that time of my life as I was really not too great at holding down relationships,” Woods, now 53, told TODAY via email.
For years, Walnut had been Woods’ constant companion, calming nervous divers at the scuba diving center Woods owned, and chasing thousands of squirrels through London parks. When they moved to Cornwall in 2012, Woods and Walnut would frequently walk up and down Porth Beach, so one last walk seemed a fitting way to celebrate his life.
“He always loved getting his feet wet and having his toes in the sand,” Woods said.
After Mark put the call out on Facebook, asking people to join in Walnut’s final walk, he was surprised when Saturday morning came, to see such a large crowd gathered.
Hundreds turned out to make Walnut’s last walk an incredible morning filled with love.
“It was an incredibly humbling experience for me,” Woods said. “I had no idea anyone would come … (so) as I approached the beach and saw the huge crowds on the beach, it dawned on me that something special was unfolding for Walnut’s last walk.”
Woods carried the exhausted dog almost all the way, however, Walnut did manage to walk around a bit and even played with the many dogs who came to the beach to celebrate his life with him.
“He was very calm and seemed happy to me,” said Woods, “but he also looked so very tired and I believe ready for his final walk to heaven.”
After the overwhelming show of support on and off the beach that day, Walnut was put to sleep at 11:56 a.m., and it’s clear the support from so many people — including countless strangers — definitely eased the blow.
Walnut left this world with his family and his siblings — whippets Monty, Nelson and Charlie — by his side. “He went very quickly in my arms,” Woods wrote on Facebook, “I am writing this post because I owe it to everyone who has supported myself, my family and most importantly Walnut.”
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