Singer Fiona Apple cancels tour dates to be with ailing dog

LOS ANGELES, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Grammy award-winning singer

Fiona Apple said in a handwritten letter posted on her website

on Tuesday that she has canceled upcoming tour dates in North

and South America to be with her ailing dog.

Apple, who vowed to make up the concerts, called off three

shows in Brazil between Nov. 27 and 30, a Buenos Aires festival

appearance on Dec. 1-2 and a Dec. 9 performance in Mexico City,

according to her record label, Epic.

The "Criminal" singer and pianist said her 13-year-old pit

bull Janet has been suffering from a tumor in her chest among

other ailments and appears to be dying.

"She's my best friend and my mother and my daughter, my

benefactor and she's the one who taught me what love is," Apple

wrote in the four-page letter she penned last week but did not

release until Tuesday. "I can't come to South America. Not now."

Apple, 35, said that she wants to appreciate the final days

with her dog. "I will not be the woman who puts her career ahead

of love and friendship," Apple wrote.

The singer-songwriter, who is touring in support of "The

Idler Wheel ... " album, was arrested in September in Texas and

charged with felony drug possession for having four grams of

hashish, a form of cannabis.

(Reporting By Eric Kelsey; editing by Patricia Reaney and Todd

Eastham)