Thursday, February 5, 2009


As I write this post, our house is in the process of doing a little grieving. Last week, Scott had to take our family dog Wally to the veterinarian to be put to sleep. Wally, who has been a part of our family since 1995, would have turned 14 this spring. When Scott and I got married in 2001, Wally was like the rest of the family and welcomed me with open arms. In fact, Wally became my constant companion the minute I walked out the door.

It didn't matter if I was pulling weeds in the garden, sitting on the deck in a chair reading a book, or walking out to the highway, Wally was right beside me. When it was really hot and I was working in the garden, Wally would hang out under the shade of the lilac trees in a place where he could see what I was doing, but in a much cooler place. When I walked out to the road, we'd start out stride for stride, but typically, he'd make it to the top of the hill and then sit down for a break and wait for me to return and he'd plod along behind me the rest of the way to the house. The first couple of years, he'd even chase down a scent on a path through the barrow pit and eventually meet up with me further up the road. As he got older, he'd stop and wait for me closer and closer to the house. He would get so excited for our walks that if he heard me opening the door early in the mornings he'd start jumping and barking, loud enough I was afraid he'd wake up the kids. Occasionally I'd come out to grab something from the pick-up or car and when he realized there was no walk in store, he'd give me a sorrowful look and lay down on the deck.

Another thing about Wally that I always appreciated was his "warning" about approaching people. I could always hear his tail thumping loudly on the deck whenever anybody was on their way to the house, be they friend or foe. He especially loved it when Grandpa and Grandma G came by as that always meant a chicken strip was on it's way as well. Gus and Uncle Don loved to spoil both Wally and Buddy with a hot dog on their morning visits over to the bunkhouses. Wally's love for garbage was something that got old, and fast. If we were gone or busy for a few days, and Wally didn't get his full measure of food for the day, eventually he ended up tipping over the burn barrel and rifling through the refuse with his nose. We didn't even have to look outside at the cans, because his blackened nose was enough evidence to convict him on the spot.

The last few years, Wally began to physically break down, even though his kind eyes maintained their youthful twinkle. His hearing got worse and worse until he eventually didn't even hear it when I banged dishes around so he'd come and eat. His eyesight got worse too, and the cataracts became visible. His fur started to fall out, but the worst part was how hard it was for him to get around. Wally was a pretty big dog and his back hips just couldn't take the full weight of his body, so it got harder and harder for him to get up. As much as we dreaded it, the morning Scott had to lift him up so he could go outside, we knew it was time.

It's strange to drive up and not have him run out to greet our approaching Suburban. It seems strangely quiet to hear only Buddy's barking at night chasing deer and critters out of the yard. It's going to be especially lonely when it's warm enough to do my daily walks to the highway and back without Wally.

Thanks Wally, for your companionship and loyalty. We sure will miss you!


The Farmer's Wife said...

Oh, Traci! This was so hard to read. Someone told me once that our pets won't be in heaven because they don't have souls....I guess you know I had to hang up on them, because I can't fathom a God who created dogs as our dearest companions, wouldn't have them by our sides eternally.

So, now that you have an empty spot in your porch

would you like another kitten?

scott said...

Hey babe,
thanks for the Ode to Wally, he was the best dog I ever had. Everybody loved Wally. Good job on your blog. Love Scott

Marisa said...

Okay, so I have to comment quick, because I'm about to cry in the middle of school! I'm so sorry for your loss. A good dog is hard to lose. Even though we don't have a dog now, I did growing up, and know what faithful companions they can be. Thinking about you!

Pohney said...

What a beautiful tribute to Wally! He sounds so much like our dog Packer. She will be 14 in May, cannot hear, has cataracts, and doesn't like being out in the cold any more. She still gets around ok. Thinking about you.

Kathy said...

I'm so sorry about Wally, Traci and Scott. Traci, how did you have the wits to even do this post? I take back everything I've said about our barky-dog Lady. I know her day may not be far away, so I'll love on her lots more tomorrow. Love you guys!