Ali Jafarian
Ali Jafarian

We recently lost a special part of our family…

Our 11 year old dog, Raja, passed peacefully in our bed around 3am on May 23rd, 2022. Gabrielle and I were with her until the very last breath.

My heart is completely broken as I type this… 💔 I’m not even sure there are words to express the pain. My constant tears seem to make the feelings clear… and it’s likely I’m still in denial that she’s truly gone.

Yet I want to write this while the emotions are fresh. I want to honor our sweet Raja girl.

And so, this is a short tribute to her life 🙂

Raja was a rescue pup. She was my first real dog. Gabrielle and I adopted her shortly after moving to Colorado. She lived with us in 3 different homes. She slept with us almost every single night, even into her old age where I had to occasionally lift her up to bed.

Raja was our companion, our best friend, and an important member of the Jafarian clan. She was everything and more.

10 things we loved about you, Raja.

1. Playfulness

We love how playful and energetic you were from the day we brought you home. You did these crazy circles as a puppy that gave Gabrielle and I so much joy. You bounced on and off the bed like a kangaroo. You found the funniest places to hide in. You were simply an amazing ball of life.

2. Wrestling

We love how you wrestled, with both me and your toys. I used to play tug of war with you for hours. You were relentless. You also knew exactly how hard to bite to prevent puncturing my skin, yet still making it hurt. You were my little warrior.

3. Snuggling

We love how you enjoyed snuggling with us. Both on the couch and in our bed. In fact, later in life you basically took over our bed and we were sleeping with you! You were so good at finding the most comfortable spot before anyone else. You also knew how to guilt a full couch into letting you squeeze right in. We had many great naps and movie nights with you by our side.

4. Turkey

We love how much you enjoyed deli turkey meat. You could hear the bag open from a mile away! We didn’t even have to call you… the unzipping alone was enough to pull you directly out of a power nap. I can still see you charging down the stairs and into the kitchen with eyes wide open.

Raja taking down some turkey
5. Frisbees

We love how much you chased and destroyed frisbees! Not only did you hunt them down, but you could snatch them right out of the air like a wide receiver. And then you’d add them to your pile of frisbee victims after using them to keep your teeth sharp. We probably went through 200 frisbees in your lifetime.

6. Particular Pooping

We love how you never pooped in our backyard. Yep, we bought you a nice open backyard with plenty of place for poop. But you were adamant about only pooping on walks, in the front yard, during hikes, in our house (on occasion)… but not the backyard. As frustrating as that was at times, I know you had your reasons and I still love the shit out of you 💩

[*no pic needed]

7. Surgeries

We love how many surgeries you ended up getting. From the first toy stuck in your stomach to the 3 leg surgeries in middle age. And let’s not forget about your root canal (yep, dogs can get those)! Thank god we had dog insurance… but I still would have gone broke keeping you alive.

Raja recovering after her 2nd cruciate tear surgery
8. Chasing squirrels on the fence

We love how much you wanted to catch those squirrels on our fence. You would perk up and get laser focused on their location. Then you’d sound the alarm for the humans to open the door. I admire the effort you made with every dash towards the fence, and on different occasions, you almost caught a squirrel or two! That’s probably why you had so many leg surgeries 😉

Raja after [almost] catching a squirrel…
9. Spazzing out when we returned home

We love how much you spazzed out when we’d get home. This started when you were young and Gabrielle or I got home from work. Years later it evolved when we’d return from family trips. Your sister, Rudy, also caught on and it became a 2-dog symphony. It was so loud that the whole neighborhood knew when we got home! I will truly miss your excitement and greeting now that you’re gone.

10. Kid Love

And last but not least, we love how gentle you could be with Everest and Sepia. You accepted them into our home as babies and embraced them like they were your own. You protected them and watched over them, even when Everest terrorized you with his toddler curiosity. You were the best dog sister they could ask for. Watching you interact with our children was a whole new level of love and bonding.

Bonus = Connection with your Mom

You and Gabrielle had a unique connection. From the day we brought you home to your last few hours… your mom always knew you best. She knew when you were hungry, when you wanted to play, when you were uncomfortable… and everything in between. I enjoyed watching you two bond over the years. I know you hold a very special place in Gabrielle’s heart ❤️

That’s just a shortlist of all the amazing, funny and beautiful qualities Raja possessed. She was one of a kind. Also a dog of many names, including:

  • Raj
  • Rajee
  • Rodeeja
  • Big Raj
  • Doby
  • Donkey
  • And many other variations of the above!

A final note from your Dad –

Hey good girl,

I still can’t believe you’re gone. My body is dried up from how much I’ve cried these last 48 hours. I knew losing you at some point would be difficult… but I had no idea how much it would actually hurt. I would give anything to hold you again or take you for one last walk.

I woke up this morning and felt your absence immediately. There will be a hole in my heart for a while, maybe forever. You brought me so much joy and were always there when I needed a friend. You were such a big part of my young adult life. How I learned to care for things and nurture them. I know I’m a better father today because of you.

To say I miss you would be an understatement…

I miss you sleeping in my bed.  I miss our hikes together.  I miss you laying on my office rug while I worked.  I miss playing frisbee and soccer with you.  I miss you snuggling up next to me on the couch.  I miss the way you would freak out at the TV when a dog appeared.  I miss your paw jabs.  I miss the way you’d come put your head on my lap when you were hungry or ready to walk.  I miss everything about you.

I’m so sorry for a million things right now. For yelling at you when you went crazy at visitors. For not walking you more. For not taking you to the park more. For not giving you as much attention after the kids came.

That said, I know you had a good life. These are stories I tell myself to deal with the pain. And oh it hurts so much, Raja. You left a mark on this family and everyone who met you. You weren’t just a dog, you were part of us.

We love you so much, Raja girl. Thank you for being a part of our lives. You’ll always be remembered and never replaced. I can’t wait to find your soul again in another life.

Your Family (Ali, Gabrielle, Everest, Sepia and Rudy)

p.s. We went to the park yesterday to throw some frisbees in your honor. It wasn’t the same without you 🙂

Ali Jafarian

Ali is a father, husband and serial entrepreneur with a deep drive to create. He writes, records, codes and builds things to inspire the artist in all of us.

Did you find value here?

If so, jump on my email list to be notified of new posts.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Articles
2023 Retrospect

2023 was another amazing year! The Jafarian family chose challenge as our word for the year and we tested ourselves in new ways. We also mixed in a bit of…

View Post
Reflecting on 2 Years of Podcasting

I just passed my two year anniversary of podcasting. It’s been a journey. Here are some key reflections from being on the mic – 1. Creative Outlet First and foremost,…

View Post
Jafarian Adventure: Europe (2023)

The latest Jafarian adventure was 3 weeks in Europe. We visited 4 countries over a 23 day span including Norway, Germany, Italy and Greece. It was a full adventure with…

View Post