Tails of Seattle: A pets blog
Old dogs, no children
Posted by Tim Gilmore
Reader Tim Gilmore submitted this guest post to Tails of Seattle. Abby, his golden retriever, right, died late this summer.
Our Wallingford neighborhood has become a village of empty nesters in the past couple of years as our youngest children have departed for colleges and universities. We are a close community, and we all talked with each other as we walked our canine companions to the park or up to the store for a few provisions.
Some unusual karma, or perhaps the fact that we all brought puppies home about the same time in our children's lives, led to a bittersweet year for us, dogwise -- all of our old pooches passed away within a few months. We have all discussed our aging pets as we passed on the sidewalk. Several choked throats and tears have been evident.
Molly the schnocker, right, left us first. She was always eager to keep my dog, Abby, and me company if we took a walk past her house. She started having problems with her joints and then began failing in other ways. Molly would howl with a little prompting and accompany anybody who got her started with an out-of-tune chorus -- annoying but endearing.
Sophie, the blind Golden, right, who survived cancer a few years ago, was often on the sidewalk to greet us and get a scratch or a rub behind the ears. She knew her yard intimately and never strayed past her sidewalk. Her acute hearing picked up our footsteps a block away, and she would start wagging her tail -- she could tell some love was coming her way -- and she reciprocated fully. She passed gently after a brief warning that her health was failing.
Abby our Golden was running around Greenlake with me into May but suddenly didn't have the wind to even walk up to the park. X-rays confirmed the worst -- she had metastatic cancer, and at her age (12) it didn't seem right to put her through exploratory surgery and treatment, which would likely make her last days miserable. She hung on for a couple of months, then we had to say goodbye as the sun set over the lake cabin we own. I've planted a nice azalea on her final resting place.
Last, Heather the faithful shepherd, right, succumbed to a bony cancer. She also was on our walking route and would bounce down the steps to greet us and lead Abby back up her stairs for a treat from her owners. Heather was the old lady of the group at 15, and she lived the longest.
So there is a sea change in the 'hood.' We're all a bit older, part of us dies with our pets I think. Two families have new pets who are starting to fill the void in the house. We'll get another puppy at some point I'm sure, but not just yet.
If you are walking your pooch and a guy with white hair and a droopy mustache comes over to talk, please wait a minute and give me time for a little canine fix. Thanks for understanding.
Photos courtesy of Tim Gilmore, Cheryl Waldman, Joe Roby and Valerie Piacenti,
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