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December 9, 2015

Every Dog is a Legend

It’s been a tough year for the good guys. Twelve months ago, my brother lost Dutch to hemangiosarcoma. Recently, our friend Rachel lost her Riley to a fatal seizure.  Riley was just a year older than Eko and she was one of his first friends. Riley quickly became one
It’s been a tough year for the good guys. Twelve months ago, my brother lost Dutch to hemangiosarcoma. Recently, our friend Rachel lost her Riley to a fatal seizure. 

Riley was just a year older than Eko and she was one of his first friends. Riley quickly became one of Penny’s favorite romping pals too

A sweet pup, gone too soon

The bad news continued this week when we learned another good dog-buddy, Cash, had to be put down because of an inoperable hemangiosarcoma.

Both Cash and Riley were familiar faces in our Bed and Breakfast

Cash, an affectionate rescue, was just seven years old

In past posts on loss I’ve written about grief, recovery, love and perspective. But today I’m drawn to think not about who dogs are when they’re with us, but what they become when they leave us.

And what they become is legendary. Each dog a heroic champion of their time. In the complicated mythology of our lives, every dog is an iconic character we use an anchor for our own identity.

We remember our dogs to remember ourselves. Their names tell our stories.

I remember Indy, a spotted and wild Dalmatian for my freckled and wild youth. Two speckled creatures flying through the snow together.

I remember Blitzen, a mercurial terrier for stubborn teenager. Two troublemakers bound at the hip.

I remember Dutch and Riley and Cash. Three more legends whose stories help me remember my own.

When we can no longer hold our dogs in our arms, we hold them in our hearts. Legends live on.

Comments for Every Dog is a Legend

  1. Rose says:

    Spot on. I love your blog. I hope you stay employed with petcentric forever. I don’t know where I’d get my daily pick me up from without you. (Clearly today is not a good example). Very sorry to hear about Cash & Riley. They were all our friends through you.

  2. Shana and Hobbes says:

    Oh this blog post makes me so sad! We all know that one day our pups will leave us, hopefully after a very long life but it is just not right when they have to leave us so young like Cash and Riley. Riley was not much older than Hobbes and I can’t even imagine how Rachel or Cash’s parents are handling it. Your perspective on it is wonderful though, we remember all of our pups as legends too.

  3. yes they are immortal…. they were our heroes, because they were there as we were happy and no one can count the tears we cried in their fur…. and they are always in our heart and in our memory…. this was not really a good year for so much people and pets…

  4. meANXIETYme says:

    What sad news. I often wonder how dogs deal with their grief, because I know they do grieve in their own way. I know it has to be better than humans do it, because dogs just do everything better!

    Please let Cash and Riley’s owners know that their dogs touched many lives beyond those they met in this physical world. They will be remembered with love for their joy and their spirit through their time spent with Eko and Penny via your blog.

    Legends is a perfect word.

  5. Kismet says:

    We lost Kyla to melanoma exactly 51 weeks ago today. We have to do something about this cancer plague.

  6. Emmadog says:

    The most important lesson is to treasure every moment because we never know when it will be the last. Mom is afraid she will come downstairs and Katie won’t wake up one morning, but every morning she is breathing and wakes up is a joyous morning. We are all at the mercy of fate. Hopefully it will be kind and let us all live long, and healthy lives. So sorry to hear about the loss of your friends.

  7. Ogee says:

    A perfect sentiment, Will – and beautiful post. Run free, Cash and Riley.

  8. coastingnz says:

    That is such sad news but your thoughts on loss never cease to amaze me – so thoughtful, so thought provoking and so darn true. You make the loss of our beloved fur friends all the more bearable – if that is at all possible. Big hugs to Eko and Penny as they will be feeling the loss of their friend too.

  9. So sorry to hear about Cash and Riley…..loss is never easy – whether it be human or animal, there’s no “right moment” for it to happen. We are left wondering why but still FEELING in our hearts their presence always helps us get through. That little warm spot never EVER goes away…………

    Hugs, Pam

  10. And our hearts are wonderful libraries of love.

  11. DZ Dogs says:

    I’m so sorry for their loss….

  12. Elyse says:

    They do stick in our hearts, don’t they, the little stinkers. My sympathies to Cash & Riley’s families.

  13. Genevieve says:

    Legends live on…..

  14. Eve says:

    Very sorry to hear about Cash & Riley but what I will remember about them is being in your blog so when we need one we can find the perfect pick me up story about them. RIP Cash & Riley – Forever Young!

  15. Joan says:

    Nine years ago out of nowhere my Golden Bear died of kidney failure due to the bad dog food episode. It was very hard to deal with. Now my daughter has a yellow lab who I totally believe has inherited Bears’s spirit and soul and it makes me feel good to know he is always around.

  16. KDKH says:

    So sorry to hear about your losses. Condolences to all.

  17. So sorry to hear of your friend’s loss..and yours too – I know we tend to get attached to all dogs don’t we. My sister’s dog has hemangiosarcoma too – it’s nasty. She’s been doing okay after surgery removed a huge tumor. Keeping our fingers crossed for her.

  18. Geri Zeibert says:

    I lost my beloved heart dog, my Leonberger partner in crime (and training) Titan to that awful disease, hermangiosarcoma. By the time we found it, it was already inoperable. The vet gave him 3 months, at most. He fought valiantly and never cried or wavered for a full year, even while we changed his bloody bandages 3 or 4 times a day. One day he quit eating and barely drank; just laid down and did not want to get up and we knew it was over. It is still the hardest thing I have ever had to do and I will regret it till the die I die, although I do believe it was the right thing. Titan had dignity. He deserved to choose his own time and I do believe he chose. I have since adopted 2 more rescue dogs. I love them both dearly but I miss Titan every day. You are not supposed to love any of your children more than the other but I always felt he brought out the best in me and completed me. I am so sorry for all the people out there whose animals are the lov s of their lives. We live too ong or they live to short. Separation is inevitable, as is great sorrow. The only balm is in saving another life. I hope your friend Rachel is able to find her way to salvation as your brother did.

  19. I’m so very sorry Will for your friends pets. Gone to soon for sure. Your words were spot on again. Bless the animals.

  20. Rick says:

    Great article, and great blog Will, congratulations.
    I’ve lost my friend last saturday, on January 02. “Toquinho”, a small and cute pinscher, was 11 years old, and was with me since I was 11.
    He had cushing syndrome diagnosed in early December, which worsened so fast that we did not expect. We took him to the vet on saturday, because he wasn’t eating, shaking badly, not walking and not holding bak the urine. At the same day, we found out he had 3 tumors, and blood infection. He was suffering. We just couldn’t keep him with us, it would be painful for me, my family, and him. So I took the worst decision I had in my entire life: to put him to sleep, with no pain and peacefully.
    I’m deeply sad. Really sad. Crying every our. It looks like the pain will NEVER get away.
    I always had the fear of loosing him, even knowing that one day this would happen. We are not eternal, no one.
    This pain will will end? Please tell me ”(
    Your article about Dutch was really beautiful, and I’m sorry for you brother’s loss. Every day is a struggle. To wake up and don’t see him barking for food. To leave home and look at the place he used to say. To remember these horrible days, where we couldn’t eat and moving so slowly. But I know he’s not suffering anymore. He slept. And he had a happy life, full of happiness not for him but for me too. He was loved. He game me so many moments, that will live forever with me. I still love him, and miss him so much. And I will love him forever.
    Thank you for you support, and for allowing me to express my feelings. Your job is amazing, thank you and keep going!

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