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Updated: Feb 3, 2022

By Jillian McWhirter:

Our dear, sweet Princess, our gentle giant, our Great Pyrenees. She was physically with us for almost 12 years, and every year was a new year, a new beginning. Princess came to our home as a birthday present for our three-year-old daughter, Kate. We met Princess at the airport.

She was a ball of fur and pawing to get out of her crate. We put her new leash on her and opened the door. We gave Kate, who was not much bigger, the dog’s leash. Princess stubbornly sat down, and Kate couldn’t budge her; but they grew up together and bonded over the years as best friends do.

We had so many blessings with Princess over the years, and her favorite time was Thanksgiving! Princess would sit by me in the kitchen while I cooked, and she jumped for any treat I gave her. When guests came to the door, she would run to greet them, and everyone loved her as much as we did. When it was time to eat, everyone sat around the table. Princess would sit by her dad, Jeff, at the head of the table. After we said grace, everyone ate. Jeff would take a bite of turkey and then give Princess a bite; bite after bite, they shared dinner.

As the years passed and we all grew older, so did Princess. She held on for one more Thanksgiving, but that year she didn’t eat as much because her appetite had all but disappeared. And although she was weak, she managed to move to the head of the table, where she laid down on the floor to be near her dad. Her big brown eyes looked up at Jeff every now and then, reliving their memory.

When Princess’s time came and she passed on, we had a beautiful ceremony for her. To this day, we keep her ashes in a box by our living room fireplace. And although she is gone, every Thanksgiving, as I cook, I think of her. This past Thanksgiving, we had all our friends over to celebrate another year together. We ate, we laughed, we shared stories, and late at night everyone left.

I enjoyed the quiet in the kitchen as I cleaned, and then I felt as though someone was with me.

I turned from the sink, thinking I saw a shadow, but nothing was there. I wasn’t scared. I actually felt more at peace than I had in a long time. I kept cleaning. I even cleaned the floors. Everything was put back, the chairs and the tables were taken down. Another wonderful Thanksgiving with our lovely friends.

I went to bed and slept a deep sleep until my husband called out my name in the early morning. I went into the living room wondering if everything was okay.

He pointed on the floor and said,

“What’s that?” I looked down and said,

“Those are paw prints! That’s Princess!”

I didn’t think twice of what I saw. The paw-prints started at her box, went across the floor, and then disappeared. I bent down and touched the prints, it was her ashes.

Our loved ones, whether it’s our fur-babies or human-beings, stay near and dear to us after they pass on.

They live in our hearts, and sometimes we might feel a chill running up our arm or smell the perfume they used to wear, or you just might see gentle giant footprints across your floor.


Raised in Mississippi, Jillian McWhirter moved to Paris and New York to pursue modeling before moving to Los Angeles to start her film and television career. She has written numerous feature film scripts and has published over thirty educational books that are used by health and safety organizations all over the United States.

Read Elizabeth Gracen's interview with Jillian McWhirter here.

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