Sunday, May 24, 2009


Last week we said goodbye to someone very dear to us. Our wonderful canine friend Leo has gone to the rainbow bridge, and we will miss her terribly.

Leo was the 15 1/2 year old dog of our good friends Heather, Grant and Quillen--the friends who lost their dog Homer to an unusual illness just a few months ago. Leo's death was certainly more expected--planned, actually--because her health had been failing for many months. She was clearly in a lot of pain and her quality of life was not good, so her loving family made the difficult decision to let her go peacefully and painlessly. I know they're going to miss her tremendously as well, but her passing is a little easier because they know they gave her so many years of love and a very full, fun life.

I'll never forget the first time I spent an evening at Heather and Grant's house and met Leo for the first time. Before Leo came inside, I asked Heather what kind of dog she was. Heather's very matter-of-fact response? Brown. When they adopted her from the shelter a few years before as a puppy, they thought she was a chow mix because of her furry little mane. She turned out to be a very petite and agile little girl that looked more like a Chihuahua than a Chow, but they never really labeled her as any breed--they just called her a brown dog. She was completely unique and very special.

Just a couple of years after we met Leo, Chad and I adopted Steeler and Celtic, and Leo was by far their best friend during puppyhood. We spent lots of time together at Potter Lake (which was the unofficial dog park in town) watching Leo run circles around all the other dogs. We spent many evenings camping out with Leo's family in the woods near their home (before their home was built) where Leo and the boys explored the woods and fields for hours on end. We spent countless hours helping our friends build their current home while the dogs romped and played and chased around the building site, where Leo demonstrated her amazing agility by climbing ladders to the second floor and walked around on the scaffolding. She was very talented, and our boys loved her. When she came to our house to visit, this is the greeting she received from Steeler and Celtic. They would run around the house for 10-15 minutes with one boy glued to either side of their sweet little girlfriend.

Since we knew Leo would be leaving us late last week, we went out to Heather and Grant's on Wednesday to say our goodbyes. Leo trotted out happily yet slowly as we pulled up to their house, just like she did every time we came out for a visit. She greeted us with gentle kisses and seemed very happy to see her old friend Celtic, who she hadn't seen in the 3 1/2 years since we adopted Hope. We showered her with affection and reminisced about her younger days, and of course I took lots of pictures. Not all of them are great, but the series of her and Celtic together is just so touching to me. They were just such good friends, and I'm so glad they got to see each other one last time.

Goodbye, sweet Leo. You were such a wonderful dog. You will be missed.


cw said...

She was an amazing dog. Great pics.

Leigh Ann said...

Kim, I'm just now catching up on your blog because it's after 4 on the tuesday after memorial weekend and i'm unmotivated to do anymore work today. I want to let you know that I really appreciate your blog even though i don't read it regularly, but when i do, i love it! keep it up sister, you are funny, smart, a great storyteller, care about your life and other people in a way many people don't, and the blogging world would not be the same without you! Smooch!

Erin said...

I am so sorry to hear about Leo. I know how Heather and Grant feel. I had to put Lainey down and it was such a hard thing to do. My prayers are with all of you!

Heather said...

Thanks for your kind words, Kim. She sure was a lot of fun. We were lucky to have shared our lives with her!

Amanda said...

What a nice tribute... she sounds like one really special dog. From the pictures, she looks a bit like the much beloved Chuck from Dooce's blog. I don't think they know what kind of dog he is either, but he's definitely one-of-a-kind as well. Condolence to Heather and Grant.