Today I want to write about my dog, Wally.
Wally was a beautiful, big, golden retriever. When we first met him he was a guide dog in-training. My husband, David and I were lucky enough to know the puppy trainers who were going away for a few days and needed a dog sitter. We just got married a year and a half earlier and were working many hours a week, but we both grew up with dogs and loved them, so we jumped at the idea. They instructed us to take Wally everywhere we go; stores, parks, restaurants- everywhere. So, we did. We took Wally to Ikea, the grocery store, and the mall. We even took him to the local sushi restaurant. (They were not happy with us!) But tough. We didn’t care and neither did Wally who just plopped down under the table and took a nap.
Well, Wally was kind enough to fail out of guide dog training. They said he was too soft-- which is code for the perfect dog for us.
The puppy trainers couldn’t take him, so they recommended that we get Wally-if we wanted him.
Are you kidding?? Of course we wanted him! The sweet, too-soft, 95-pound ball of fur was ours!
We were so excited. At last our house felt like a home!
Coming back from work was awesome. Wally was always waiting at the door with his tail wagging and tongue slobbering. It was heaven!
We went to the park, out on hikes and walks-anywhere we could with him. He no longer had the guide dog vest, so no sushi, but that was fine. He didn’t mind hanging out at home.
Three months later we found out I was pregnant---with twins! Surprise!
Wally watched out for me and made sure I was okay. When David traveled for work, Wally was my guard dog. (He had a huge bark- but absolutely no bite- just lots of licks!)
I was on bed rest with the twins for six weeks and he never left my side.
He was my hero.
Abby and Josh were born and they were tiny, but our 95 lb. dog was so gentle. Nothing was going to happen on his watch! He licked them gently, let them play on him, and only stole some of their food. He was also the best cheerio vacuum cleaner. Danny came five years later and Wally loved him just as much. Our family was complete.
Years passed and Wally started to get older. He had painful arthritis, his vision was poor and his hearing was even starting to go- but Wally never complained. He’d always follow me up and down the stairs, but the stairs were getting harder for him. I had to trick him to stay downstairs and run really fast to get whatever I needed so he wouldn’t follow me up. That only worked some of the time.
Every time I came home, there he was, sleeping near the door. He’d get up when he saw me and give me a cuddle and then lay down again. My doggy was getting old and I didn’t like it one bit.
On December 23, 2012, we got home from an errand and Wally couldn’t walk. I prayed that he was just tired, but he was no better in the morning. The unthinkable was happening and I couldn’t deny it. I was sick, couldn’t talk with laryngitis, and I was devastated. My dog, my guard, confidant, pillow, and especially my friend was dying and there was nothing I could do about it.
It’s almost been a month and I’m still sad. I know I will always miss Wally.
In the past, when there was something on my mind, I’d write it out. So, here it is.
Wally had a great life. He gave us 14 happy years. We are so thankful for every one of those years. Now, we have memories (and still golden retriever fur around the house somehow!)
Thanks for listening. Cherish everyday with your pet. Love them and let them love you. That’s all they really want to do!
Have a wonderful, tail-wagging week.