Dierks Bentley: “I Can’t Deny How I Feel”

Watching His Dog Suffer Was Brutal

When Dierks Bentley reflects on his Nashville life, his dog Jake is always on his mind.

“My life’s changed and he’s made those changes with me,” he said of the dog who found his forever home with Bentley 15 years ago.

Bentley recently opened up to Billboard about what he and his wife and three kids were going through up until Jake died in July.

“On my birthday, November 20 (2015), I found this bump on his neck. I was like, ‘This doesn’t feel right. I’ve been petting this dog for 15 years. That’s new,’” Bentley said of his dog lover’s intuition.

And he was right. It was lymphoma. Jake had surgery, and after coming home to recover, Bentley saw that he could no longer walk.

“My wife and I were very conscious (that) when his quality of life reaches a certain point, that’s it,” he said. “We’re not going to watch him lose his dignity at the end. So we made a decision.”

Even though Bentley braced himself for the end, it turned out Jake just had a slipped disc in his back.

“It was the biggest 180 in my entire life,” he said. “I went from thinking I was going to have to put Jake down in that moment to he’s going to be OK. It was crazy. We ended up getting an extra six months with him.

“I try to be conscious of all the suffering and true sadness in the world. At the same time, I can’t deny how I feel, and it’s been tough.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.