May 31, 2010

It’s Memorial Day weekend, a weekend all about remembrances and parades. It’s a weekend to remember the heros.

From now on, I’ll be remembering a different sort of hero. Our lovely dog Dylan, who had a life filled with love. He spent Saturday morning chasing chipmunks, around 7pm began to act strange, jumped up in bed with us when we went to sleep, then jumped down at 3am and collapsed after taking just two steps.

We rushed him to Friendship Animal Hospital. Dr. Bier was kind, straightforward and empathic when she told us he had muffled heart sounds and a lot of fluid of unknown type around his heart. As we considered surgical intervention and whether we should put Dylan through anything like that, the doctor came back out to the waiting room and said she thought he was trying to die. We rushed to him, held him and felt his life end just twenty minutes after we first walked through the door.

It’s been pretty sad around the Barrow household. Both of us are traumatized, but we can feel the pain and shock lifting, and we remind eachother how much love he gave, and how much we loved him.

Dylan ….
scruffier than you can imagine
as goofy a dog as I’ve ever known
loyal, kind, happy, gentle
tolerated our cat, Beans, but any cat outside was fair game
waited every night for the neighborhood fox to appear on the street, then barked his head off
also barked at owls
but only occasionally barked when someone came to the door
hated the little black dog who roams the neighborhood and growled and chased him off the front lawn regularly
walked with a spring in his step, and sometimes boing-ed
once caught a squirrel, then dropped it when Dennis said “drop”
was the fussiest eater, but loved Smith Family Farm’s liver treats, which we used to garnish his dinner every night
had four coat options, including an orange raincoat
never did anything destructive
wouldn’t let you pick him up
could scream and cry his head off, and did it as a pre-emptive strike when he was frightened
every night, had a bedtime snack of peanut butter and a biscuit in his Kong
slept in our bed, usually with his back against me, and his feet touching Dennis
talked in his sleep
never spent a day in a kennel once we adopted him
went everywhere with us, making friends
made dog-lovers out of even those people who don’t like dogs much
made children squeal with delight
was incredibly gentle and polite when offered a cookie
ran crop circles with his buddy Henry, and sometimes by himself
loved his walks in the woods, especially balancing along fallen trees
didn’t swim, but liked to walk in the creek and get  his tummy wet
chased chipmunks around the back garden
loved nothing more than being with the two of us, and we felt the same way

We’ll bring another dog home one of these days. It will be another scruffy terrier mix, because we like ’em. The dog won’t be Dylan, we realize that, but that next dog will have the same Dog’s Life this sweet little fellow had.

Thanks go out to all of you who have left messages, called and written to express your sympathy. Dylan touched so many people in so many ways and the outpouring of love has been amazing.

We’re glad to have known him. And we’re starting to heal. Here’s a link to the Flickr set – a Dylan Photo Gallery

Special thanks go to
Winchester, Virginia SPCA
Collins Animal Hospital and Dr. Jay Merker
Friendship Animal Hospital and Dr. Bier
Betsy Pritchard and Smith Family Farms
Bethesda Central Farm Market vendors who knew and loved Dylan
PetMac for high quality dog and cat foods and open crates of treats from which Dylan helped himself
And, especially, Portia Wood and her two dog loving children, Jack and Violet, and her dogs through the years – Goldie, Holly, Jones, Henry and Mystic. A place where Dylan always felt safe.

16 Responses to “A Dignified Life, In Memory”

  1. Liz the Chef

    This is a lovely tribute to your beloved family member. I'm in tears.

  2. Jennifer Hess

    We are just gutted for you all. I remember so well the aftershocks of our own sudden loss, and I was crying today as I followed your photo uploads of your sweet Dylan on flickr. He was a beautiful dog, a delightful spirit, and I am so, so sad that I won't get the opportunity to meet him next month as we had planned. Mostly, my heart is with you in your mourning, the difficult adjustment as you get used to that little furry presence not being where you expect him to be. We have many, many in-person hugs for you soon, but until then, know you are in our hearts, and we send hugs across the miles.

  3. Allison at Novice Life

    I am sorry for your loss but take comfort in knowing Dylan couldn't have been more loved in his life!

  4. Miss Whistle

    This is such a lovely tribute to your boy. I am so sorry. Losing dog friends is just the worst thing. Love and prayers to you and your family.

    Bumble x

  5. Marilyn

    I am so, so sorry. What a beautiful tribute to a one-of-a-kind friend.

  6. Winnie

    What an adorable boy- I am so sorry you lost him so suddenly Cathy. I know you will miss him terribly, especially at first, but in time you will honor his memory by loving another sweet and scruffy terrier. I send big hugs to you and Dennis.
    Love, Winnie

  7. Chef Gwen

    Hearts are breaking in Arizona…so sorry for your loss, and what a loving tribute you composed. Bless little Dylan…and you, too.

  8. Margy@hidethecheese

    I am so, so sorry for you. We just adopted a dog and he has been such a blessing for our family. I know how hard it will be when that inevitable day arrives. Thank you for sharing Dylan with us.

  9. Mrs. Larkin

    So very sorry for your loss, Mrs. W. Take comfort in knowing that so many of us are celebrating Dylan’s life through your kind words and photos.

  10. Amanda

    As a fellow dog lover, I empathize; it's so hard to say goodbye to such faithful, funny, loving friends! Peace & hugs to you.

  11. Sasha

    Sending good thoughts and best wishes. Beautiful Flickr photos and tribute — he reminds me of our little Nutleigh, who I will hug extra hard when I get home tonight. I know it takes time to heal, but please send news of the new pup upon arrival!

  12. brooke

    i'm so sorry for your loss. we lost our dog, a standard poodle, in a similar unexpected fashion when she was 12 – we just weren't prepared. that was six years ago and i just found one of her toys two weeks ago. it made me very sad at first, but then i realized how happy i was to remember her playing with it. i hope that as time goes by, it gets easier and that soon, you'll be able to have the same reaction to seeing something of Dylan's.

  13. Jeanne

    Oh, Cathy. I am so very sorry. And sad. Dylan sounds like the very best of furry family members and I am devastated to know he is gone. Please know that my thoughts are with you and your husband.

  14. Rida

    As I was browsing the internet I came across your site..
    I started to read and the tears began to flow..I looked down at my Lucky and can’t even imagine my life without him. Every now and then I see him struggling up the stairs and once in a while I see him fall when he is outside and struggles to get up..Bad thoughts always go through my head..
    I’m so glad your healing..and I’m so sorry to hear about your loss..
    Thank you for sharing your story..


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.