Does This Thing Have a Pause Button?

by Shannon Paul on December 7, 2009

[tweetmeme source=”@shannonpaul”]
I know you’re probably reading this because you want to read up on social media and something to do with its impact on marketing and communications for business, but I needed to take a step back this last week.

It’s been a crazy year for me. My mom had a bout with cancer, I changed jobs and moved across the country from Detroit to Seattle and now I’ve lost one of the most consistently supportive presences in my life: my dog, Jupiter.

He was very old — thirteen years old — ridiculously old for a St. Bernard, but no amount of thinking on the matter prepared me for losing him. He has been by my side in three different cities over the last 13 years and he was with me for almost four years before my husband and I started dating.

It’s been difficult to concentrate on other things, not because I’m preoccupied with thoughts of him, but because I’m so afraid of forgetting him — his different looks and mannerisms, his smells (even the bad ones), and because I also look for reassurance everywhere I go that he is indeed okay.

I apologize if you came here today for something else, but I had to share where I’m at in order to begin to move forward — I hope that’s okay with you.

I promise the next time you come back here I will continue to share things related to social media marketing and communications. Hopefully you’ll even find it useful.

Today I had to use social media to help me remember my best friend and I just have to hope you’ll understand.

Unfortunately, we all know there is no pause button on life — online and offline, but sometimes I think it’s okay to let some things go on without you in order to give yourself a chance to regroup. What do you say?

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

December 7, 2009 Jeremiah Staes 1

Aww Shannon – So sorry! My dog has been by my side through thick and thin, and I always have known no matter the kinda day, there’s a wagging tail.

With all the craziness in this line of work, the inflamed passions, the debates – I think sometimes people forget what’s most important – your loved ones and family (even if they’re furry and four-legged).

Thanks for taking a hitting the paws button (pun intended) and my condolences for your loss.


December 7, 2009 Lori 2

Beautiful post, Shannon. I am so sorry you lost Jupiter. He is undoubtedly resting in a good place, happy to have had you as his Person for so many years.


December 7, 2009 Nikki 3

I’m very sorry for your loss, Shannon. We all have the right to create our own pause button when life’s happenings force us to slow down and regroup. Allow yourself time to soak it all in. I’m very confident your readers will forgive you if you need some “me” time. Sending warm thoughts your way from the “D”!


December 7, 2009 Allen Mireles 4

Hello Shannon,

My condolences. We have a 14 yr old dog who is a member of our family and I know we will face losing her one of these days…

This is a very sweet post and one that illustrates the “social” part of social media.

Sending a *cyber hug* for your loss.




December 7, 2009 RG 5

So sorry to hear that. Losing a companion, a dog, a St. Bernard is never easy.
Of course it is ok to share.


December 7, 2009 Rufus 6

I’m so sorry. There are no words.


December 7, 2009 Larry KLein 7

Shannon, it really hurts when they leave us.

Funny how they never seem to have a bad hair day – always so happy to see us come home.

What a wonderful way to show your rememberance of Jupiter! I know by your comments that you gave him the love and affection that enriched his life.


December 7, 2009 Adrian Pittman 8

Shannon, sorry for your loss of a close family member. You have my sympathies.


December 7, 2009 Kristy Bolsinger 9

Oh dear Shannon! I am so very sorry for your loss! Losing a pet is such an awful awful experience and I’m so sorry you’re having to go through that right now. I wish there was something I could say that would make the pain go away, but having gone through this very same thing not that long ago I know there is not. Just know that I’m sending you all kinds of love and positive thoughts right now and hugs and cocktails! Love you girl!


December 7, 2009 Ungvall 10

I’m sorry for your loss! Everyone should have a big fat red virtual pause button on life – and it must be OK to use it and allow yourself to step back and gather your thoughts or just to let your brain go offline…


December 7, 2009 MikeP 11

So sorry to hear, all the best


December 7, 2009 DaveMurr 12

So sorry for your loss Shannon. Pets are incredible, and their ability to heal us is amazing. I don’t think you need to worry about forgetting Jupiter. He will always be part of you.


December 7, 2009 Kipp Bodnar 13


I am so sorry for your loss. My Sally dog has been sick recently and it is a very difficult thing to deal with combined with all of life’s craziness. I wish you the best.

If I can do anything to help please let me know! I will be sending good thoughts your way.


December 7, 2009 Mike Barbre 14

Hi Shannon,

My sincere condolences for the loss of your St. Bernard. I lost my my dog Barney, also a St. Bernard, when I was young enough to believe he was my entire world. It’s a tough situation to deal with, especially when our dogs were around for so long. Barney passed when he was 13 as well.

If your St. Bernard was anything like mine, he was truly loving, gentle, mild-mannered and a heap of slobbery joy throughout his time. As I write this, I’m reminded how much I loved Barney, yet I know good times are also ahead when you’re ready for a new friend to drag you by the leash around Green Lake. My best wishes to you in your time of healing.


December 7, 2009 Brian Crouch 15

Shannon, my sympathies, it is so hard…. we lost our beloved dog Vanna in February this year, a day before our daughter’s 4th birthday. She’d been such an important part of our lives, traveling with us all over the US. Can definitely relate to the need to turn away from the world to grieve.


December 7, 2009 Brad Domitrovich 16

Condolences to you. Just lost my buddy about 10 days ago. His bark will be missed. I feel your pain.


December 7, 2009 jamiefavreau 17

My thoughts and prayers are sent. It is always tough to lose a pet and it is okay to have a pause button in life too.


December 7, 2009 tedrightmire 18

So sorry to hear about Jupiter.

To risk the moment, and to risk sounding a touch callus, I wanted to say that this is just as much a part of social media and blogging as your “typical” posts. You shouldn’t apologize, because the purpose is to share and connect, not just market ourselves and our knowledge.

So to that extent, thank you.


December 7, 2009 Brandon Chesnutt 19

Hey Shannon,

I’m sorry to hear about Jupiter. :(

We’re all thinking of ya.



December 7, 2009 Michael Schechter 20

Hi Shannon,

Thanks for sharing that with all of us. You give quite a bit to all of your readers, the least we can do is be there when you need to share.

I am sorry for your loss, 13 years with Jupiter is amazing and I am willing to be you do not forget any of it soon (especially the bad smells…).

Thank you for sharing and hopefully it helps to put it out into the world.


December 7, 2009 Jennifer Wilbur 21

Oh Shannon – So sorry to hear about Jupiter. Our pets are so important. They are a member of the family and dear to us is ways those w/o them can’t understand.

You’ll never forget him. I promise. In fact, one day soon, he’ll bring a huge smile across your face when you really need it.



December 7, 2009 Cheryl Smith 22


I’m so very sorry for your loss. There are plenty of times in life when we must take steps to regroup and care for ourselves, despite the clamor for one more post, one more tweet, one more…

You’re a trusted source for all things social media. Glad you’re also modeling what it’s like to be human.

Blessings my dear!


December 7, 2009 Daria Steigman 23


My condolences. My parents lost our dog in Feb. after 16 years (an amazingly long life for a retriever). I saw there the day she arrived and, it turned out, the last day of her life. Even now, half the time I walk into their home I expect her to be waiting to greet me.

It may not have been a surprise, but it was still a huge shock. I feel your pain.



December 7, 2009 mack collier 24

Aw Shannon I’m sorry, but happy that Jupiter had a long life, and more importantly, had that long and happy life with YOU!

And more importantly than wanting you to talk about social media, we want you to be human, and you always are and that’s why we love you.

Bet Jupiter would agree ;)


December 7, 2009 Kevin Spence 25

I’m really sorry to hear it. Don’t worry about forgetting — you won’t. Sometimes you might think you have, and then there will be a trigger that will bring it all back again. You never forget a friend like that, no matter how much time passes.




December 7, 2009 Maya 26

So sorry Shannon.

Nothing really makes us feel any better when we lose a pet. I still weep for my doggie that I lost less than 2 months ago. But I am grateful for the time we shared together.

You should grieve the way you know – and work to feel better. They never leave us really – I still feel my dog around me and the memories only get stronger. I do miss his farts though :)

Take care of yourself. The social media world can tend to itself ;)



December 7, 2009 Todd Schnick 27

Hi Shannon – very sorry to hear about Jupiter. I know how difficult that is.

I just lost my dog of fifteen years a few months back. Still not over it.

In fact, you might enjoy this little post I did about him. Please know, I don’t drop blog posts in comments like this, but thought you might appreciate this little story…

Good luck…


December 7, 2009 Mona Nomura 28

I love this post so much.
Call if you need — you know I am always here. <3

Love you lots but you already knew that,


December 7, 2009 Leslie Poston 29

As the mom of a 14 year old Rottie, I am just not ready, even though I am “ready”, that this could be his last year. I get it.



December 7, 2009 jpmarth 30

So sorry, Shannon! It’s amazing how much they work their ways into our lives and hearts.

Raised our little guy from a puppy and don’t even want to think about him living less than us.


December 7, 2009 Gwen 31

Shannon -

Our lives are more enriched when we welcome furry friends to share our days. They love us always, in good moods or bad. They sense our need for affection and snuggle closer.

They have quirky habits and sometimes kick us out of our own beds. They make us laugh when they play. They make us cheer for them, when they catch that well tossed frisbee. They are friends and loving companions.

While losing them is very hard. Our lives wouldn’t be the same if we hadn’t taken the journey with them by our side. May you find peace. Trust yourself to remember. Tell yourself that you will remember the details of him when ever you need. The memories will gently return. All you have to do is ask.

May you always remember the nudge of his wet nose, asking for your kind touch & loving affection.


December 7, 2009 Amanda Risi 32

Shannon, this must give us pause.. you’ve taken this moment to share your feelings, and it’s very real.. and we sympathise with your loss.

To my mind, this is good use for social media, the way it should be. Remember Jupiter is right where he always will be, in your heart & you’ll always find him, and he will always be ok now.


December 8, 2009 Mike 33


I am sorry for your loss. I too had a dog for many years and it is harder than anything I have ever had to deal with.



December 8, 2009 lkprobyn 34


Those of us who’ve lost a canine companion know exactly how you feel. Someone on an online message board (see, I’ve brought it around to electronic communication and social media) once wrote that it’s a very painful journey for us when our friends have to move from living in our homes to living in our hearts. I felt like that was a very good way to explain it.



December 8, 2009 midwin 35

Jupiter looks like he was really good at hitting the pause button. My Golden Retriever has an amazing ability to put things in perspective, slow me down and give joy to everyone around him. I am trying to learn from him.



December 8, 2009 Laurie Freeman 36

Shannon- I’m so sorry for your loss- I also pray for your mom’s health- been through both traumas myself. Stay strong girl!



December 8, 2009 TQnation 37

I’m so sorry to hear about your dog, Jupiter. My prayers go out to you during this time. His spirit will live on and will never be forgotten.


December 8, 2009 Alexis Dias-Nascimento 38

Shannon, I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. I have two dogs who I consider to be my best friends, my “kids” and my trusted companions. I can’t imagine what you must be feeling at this moment.

You are more than entitled to pause for as long as you need to for Jupiter. May you always feel his presence and his love, now and forever. I pray for peace in your heart, and that his memory lives on within you.



December 8, 2009 Tom Swift 39


Wishing you the best. Thank you for showing us how to pause – even through as you say no pause button on life. –Tom…


December 8, 2009 Louise 40

Very moving post Shannon. It reminded me of when I lost my beloved Floosie (so named because she was fast and loose!). She was a half-lurcher and we were inseparable for 16 years – through marriage, children and divorce; the one constant in my life. She actually saved my life too when she woke me in the middle of the night and refused to budge until I got out of bed. It transpired that the house was full of carbon monoxide and if she hadn’t woken me, my children and I wouldn’t be here today.
There is nothing I can say to make you feel better at the moment other than she clearly had a fabulous life with you and you will always have your wonderful memories. And, in time, maybe you will bond with another furry four-legged friend. I now have two Jack Russells who are full of character and equally special – although in a different way to Floosie. But the memory of my time with her will always remain.
Take care of yourself.


December 8, 2009 Shannon Paul 41

Thanks everyone who commented or sent email and direct messages on Twitter.

I’m overwhelmed by the touching stories and wonderful memories shared here. I so appreciate the support of this wonderful community — times like this remind me of how meaningful all of this can be when we extend ourselves.

Thank you ALL for teaching me (again) that human connection really is the point of all of this.


December 8, 2009 roger ewing 42

No apologies necessary. Thanks for sharing your personal tragedies in such a public forum. You demonstrate great wisdom and strength.
Best wishes,


December 8, 2009 SaraKate 43


So sorry about the rough times. It’s always hard when loved ones are in pain or pass on. Take some time out for yourself to let yourself grieve and rest. When you come back, we’ll still be here.



December 9, 2009 Sonny Gill 44

Really sorry to hear that, Shannon. I don’t have a dog (yet) but I have a love for them and the type of joy they bring people – as I’m sure Jupiter brought you. Keep your head up.


December 9, 2009 Mike Billeter 45

As most of the kind people here have said, I’m sorry for you, Shannon. I’m not much of a dog person, but my parents recently got a dog and it’s already grown on me more than I ever thought it would. I can’t imagine having one and losing one that had been with me everywhere throughout some of the most important moments of my life as Jupiter was with you. For that reason, I’d say it’s perfectly fine to let things go on without you while you regroup. People will be here when you do decide to unpause life and reconnect. And we’ll all be happy to have you back.


December 9, 2009 Oyalep 46

Very touching!

Cheer up!!!!!!

Greetings from Mexico!


December 10, 2009 Lisa Grimm 47


Thank you for sharing. I thought your post was lovely and I am so glad you shared. I’m a dog lover and owner of two amazing bulldogs. One is very old and I know we’ll face losing him one of these days (I’ve never lost and animal), so getting insight to what it’s going to be like is soothing in a way. Dogs don’t live long enough and that’s a shame becasue really, they’re better than most people:) Take care.


December 10, 2009 Shonali Burke, ABC 48

Shannon – I’m just catching up since I was going through my own “stuff.” I’m so so sorry for your loss. Yes, you are doing the right thing by taking some time off. Social media’s not going anywhere, and we’ll all be here when you get back. Take care, my dear, and heal well.


December 12, 2009 Eric Brown 49

Hey Shannon, Really sorry to hear about your loss, I actually never had a dog of my own until a couple of years ago, I got Gus, a crazy Bull Terrier, who is with me all the time, at home and goes to work with me too.

Before that, I wouldn’t have understood, not that I do now, but I have an idea, and feel for you.

We miss you here in Detroit, and wish you well going forward,



December 13, 2009 Kris C. 50

I just saw this Shannon. I feel for you, so much. You’ll never forget him. I had my girl Daisy (australian shepherd) with me for that long, and she has been gone a year this last July. She was my child (I don’t have any human children) and actually with me more than a child would be – a constant presence for all of her nearly 14 years with me. I watched her on the doggycam at daycare when I was on a business trip, heard her snore every night, walked and fed her every day, and she witnessed heartaches, wins, losses, pleasant and my most unpleasant moments – more than anyone else ever has, in fact. I still miss her. We have Baxter now, and he is wonderful in his unique ways, but he is shared with my husband and though a spoiled little child I love dearly, no one is Daisy. I realized the other day that of course I’ll never forget her, never stop missing her, and never “get over it” – she was a family member. She was and is a part of me and my life, and now we are physically apart. And it sucks. Time will make it easier though, to deal with the remembering the time spent with her. I wouldn’t trade the good times when she was healthy, or the bad times when she was sick in her old age, for anything in the world. Hugs.


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