Brant Daugherty Shares Heartbreaking Loss: ‘I Wasn’t There at the End’

Brant Daugherty

Heavy/Getty Actor Brant Daugherty

Brant Daugherty is opening up about a loss that’s been so difficult to process, it’s taken a year for him to write about it. The Hallmark Channel actor shared a lengthy Instagram post on March 3, 2023, in honor of his dog Knuckles, whom he called his “best friend.” The rescue pup was present for some of Daugherty’s biggest milestones, including getting married and becoming a dad, so it’s been hard for the actor to put into words how much their relationship meant to him.

“It’s been just over a year since we lost you and I haven’t had the heart to write about it until now,” he wrote.

At the end of 2022, Daughtery, whose most recent Hallmark movie was November’s “#Xmas,”  alluded to losing Knuckles in a final post for the year, but couldn’t bring himself to share much about his death at the time.

“We lost our best pal Knuckles and honestly I haven’t had the heart to write about it yet,” he wrote at the time, “but it didn’t feel right ending the year without acknowledging how much we love and miss him.”

In his new post, Daugherty shared details of his close bond with Knuckles, who he rescued from a shelter, and wrote that he still regrets being away from home, filming another movie, when Knuckles died.

Brant Daugherty’s Dog Was Part of Major Milestones in His Life

In his tribute post, Daugherty wrote, “I always grew up with dogs but Knuckles was the first dog that was MY dog. I went to a shelter and knew immediately we’d be best friends. He rolled over, did his little shuffle and let me rub his belly.”

“I took him everywhere I could, even though he hated most places we went (especially camping),” he continued, admitting that Knuckles wasn’t the most graceful dog, recalling a time when he broke a coffee table while they were playing. Daugherty also said the rescue pup “once completely destroyed my trailer” while he was shooting a movie.

“I loved that dog anyway,” he wrote.

Knuckles was part of Daugherty’s wedding to fellow actor and screenwriter Kimberly Hildago in 2019, according to People, wearing a dog tuxedo to accompany the ring bearer down the aisle. Hildago’s dog, Luna, was also involved, walking with their flower girl.

The couple welcomed their first child, son Wilder David, in April 2021. Shortly before that, Daugherty wrote, Knuckles was diagnosed with a heart condition that caused him to “faint and fall over.”

“His cardiologist had never seen a dog of his age with this condition,” Daugherty wrote. “It usually kills them much younger. But Knuckles powered on for two more years. He was stubborn like that.”

Daugherty wrote that once the dog realized there was a new baby in the household, Knuckles always wanted to be around him.

“I always imagined him playing with my kids someday,” Daugherty wrote. “But he didn’t even know Wilder was here for the first six months. But when he discovered we had a son, he wouldn’t leave his side. He wanted to be as close as possible to that boy. He was too old to play with Wilder by then, but in a way, I got what I imagined.”

In October 2021, he posted photos of Knuckles sleeping right next to Wilder’s Pack ‘n Play, and another of the baby grabbing the dog’s nose.

“He went from an ‘only dog’ in a shelter in the desert and went on to have a family,” Daugherty wrote in his memorial post. “He gained a mom. He gained two sisters and our little son. We gave him everything we could and in return, he gave us all the love we could want.”

Brant Daughtery’s Beloved Dog Died While He Was Filming Hallmark Movie

In his post honoring Knuckles, Daugherty revealed that he still thinks about how much he wishes he could have been with his dog when he died.

“Last year, I left to shoot a movie,” he wrote. “I gave him a special goodbye. And I’m glad I did… because he didn’t make it until I got back. One of my deepest regrets is that I wasn’t there at the end to comfort him. But I know I gave him the best life I could while he was here, even if I couldn’t hold his paw while he left.”

The timing of Knuckles’ death — a little over a year ago — aligns with the weeks Daughtery spent in Canada in February 2022, filming “A Royal Runaway Romance” co-starring Philippa Northeast. The movie premiered on Hallmark Channel that April.

He shared several posts from the set, including one in which he showed how technology and props made it look like he was driving in Chicago, and another on wrap day as he headed to meet his wife and son in the Caribbean. Though he didn’t mention the loss of Knuckles, he did write a week later that being away from his little boy during the four-week shoot was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

Daugherty ended the tribute post to his beloved pet with a heartfelt sendoff.

“Knuckles, you were the goodest boy I’ve ever known and I’d do it all over again if I could,” he wrote. “I miss you. I love you. Rest easy.”

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