Hallmark Actress ‘Heartbroken’ Over Family’s Loss

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Actress and comedian Melissa Peterman, who last appeared on Hallmark in 2022’s hit movie “Haul Out the Holly,” is mourning the loss of her family’s dog Fern, who was only five years old when she died over the weekend.

Peterman shared the difficult news in an Instagram post on March 12, 2023. She revealed that because Fern was diagnosed with kidney disease as a puppy, her family — including husband John Brady and 17-year-old son Riley — knew Fern’s “life with us might be shorter than some.” But when the rescue pup’s health started to decline earlier this month, Peterman said her heart “was in denial.”

A longtime animal advocate who was a judge on Hallmark’s “American Rescue Dog Show” in 2020, Peterman has shared her grief over past pet losses before, but she had a special bond with Fern, writing that “she was my girl.”

Melissa Peterman Pays Tribute to ‘My Girl’ Fern

In her Instagram post, which included 10 photos of Fern since she was a puppy, Peterman acknowledged that heartbreak always comes with loving a pet.

“That’s the deal we make when we add a pet to our family,” she wrote. “We know they will leave us first but we do it because being loved by them and getting to love them is worth it. My head knew her time with us would be limited despite doing what we could for her diagnosis, but my heart was in denial.”

“Fernie’s health started to slide about 10 days ago and just kept spiraling,” Peterman continued. “We had to say goodbye to her yesterday.”

The actress, who told a fan in 2020 that Fern was adopted from Peterman’s home state of Minnesota, then shared how sad she is to have lost Fern so young.

“I am heartbroken,” she wrote. “Fern was the sweetest girl. She literally would hug me when I came home. She was beautiful. Her side-eye was epic. She was so happy and so loved. She was my girl. As much as I think it isn’t fair we only had 5 years with Fern, I know we were so lucky we got to have 5 years with Fern.”

Peterman’s post drew hundreds of notes of sympathy, including a comment from her “Haul Out the Holly” co-star Lacey Chabert. She wrote, “Oh Melissa I’m so sorry 💔Heartbroken for you. Love you and sending you huge hugs”

Melissa Peterman Asks Fans to Pray for Her Other Dog, Junior

At the end of her post, Peterman asked fans to “say a little prayer for Junior, he lost his best friend too.”

Junior is her family’s adopted pet Schnauzer, who has often been seen in Peterman’s social media posts featuring the two dogs together.

Peterman’s first adopted dog — and “first baby” — was a pup named Janet, whom she had for 16 years until her death in 2019, the actress shared on Instagram at the time.

Peterman told pet adoption advocacy organization Remember Me Thursday, “I like to say ‘dogs are my favorite people’ and people who love dogs understand what I mean. They love you unconditionally and every day they wake up excited because TODAY is going to be great.”

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