When His 18-Year-Old Baby Has To Die, Dad Begs Entire Town To Go For Last Walk

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

Losing your best friend is a true heartbreak. It punches a hole in you that can never quite be filled again.

But it’s also part of life, and for Mark Woods of Cornwall in the U.K., it was something he wanted to share with his friends, family, and community.

Woods recently made the difficult decision to have his 18-year-old whippet, Walnut, put to sleep.

Before Walnut’s final rest, though, Woods wanted to make sure he had the best day ever, and got the chance to see how many people truly love and care for him.

Like the community that came together to give a beloved German shepherd one last snowfall, Woods’ community is coming together to join Walnut for one final walk on his favorite beach, Porth Beach in Newquay, Cornwall.

He posted an open invitation on Facebook for others join him and Walnut one last time on Saturday, November 12, at 9:30 in the morning.

“I would love it if dog lovers/owners and friends would join us for a celebration of Walnut on his favorite Porth Beach,” Woods wrote. “He has had an incredible life and having reached the grand old age of 18 is ready for his final sleep.”

The invitation spread like wildfire across Facebook and the U.K., with locals agreeing to join the walk and support flooding in from people farther away.

Walnut’s long and storied life may be at an end, but his memory will live on not only with Woods, his wife, and his three other whippets, but also in the community.

[H/T: Daily Mail, BBC]

Meet Walnut. He’s 18 years old, which means he’s roughly 126 in dog years. He’s lived a long and happy life with human Mark Woods.

But recently, owing to his health issues, Woods had to make the painful decision to put Walnut to sleep.

Walnut has been through many things with Woods, including Woods’ two marriages and three engagements. He’s been by his side the whole time.

To prepare for the end, Woods is taking Thursday and Friday off from work to spend some last, precious time with his friend.

Making the decision to put down a pet is heartbreaking, but in Walnut’s case, Woods feels it’s for the best, and the best option for Walnut’s comfort.

Throughout his life, Walnut loved walking and playing on Porth Beach in Cornwall, running and jumping in the sand even in his old age.

Of course, he wouldn’t pass up a nice nap inside, either.

Especially when there was family to cuddle.

For Walnut’s last day, Woods decided to take him for one last trip to the beach, and invited his friends, family, and fellow dog owners to join them. He wanted to give Walnut the best send-off ever.

Woods posted the invitation to Facebook, where it was shared all across the country and beyond.

Support flooded in from people all over the U.K. and the world. Woods says that reading the responses on Facebook was a moving experience.

And on Saturday morning, Woods and Walnut were joined by people from his community, as well as by countless others in spirit, for one final, beautiful walk.

Hundreds of dog lovers and Walnut supporters turned out to join Walnut on his final walk.

Many brought their own dogs, too, and gave Walnut and Woods their well-wishes and condolences.

Due to his ailments, Walnut had to be carried, but he seemed to enjoy the sea breeze one final time amid the outpouring of love from his family, friends, and community.

Woods made an announcement on Saturday that Walnut had passed at 11:56 a.m.

Thank you to the hundreds of people that attended the walk this morning and to all those that had their own walks with their beloved pets at 9.30am all around the world,” Woods wrote.

“I also want to thank the wonderful people of Newquay for their support which I will never forget as long as I live. God bless you all.”

He also wrote that “if Walnut were here, he would smother you all with kisses.”

The family is still healing from the loss of Walnut, but they also have the beautiful memory of the community coming together to celebrate this special dog.

Watch the video below to see who turned out for Walnut’s final walk.

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