The Dog

Goodbye, Rally.

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I share this update. As I write, Rally is laying next to me chewing a bone, one that she picked from the dog store at the conclusion of a tour of all of the dog friendly downtown shops. In a few minutes she’ll go to sleep, exhausted from a wonderful day of visiting with friends and exploring new places. By the time you’re reading this, we will have packed her in the car for one last ride, driven to her favorite vet’s office, and said ‘goodbye’ for the last time.

On December 11 Rally was diagnosed with something called Congenital Lobar Emphysema. In the most basic terms, her lungs didn’t form properly in her early days, and the result is a condition that is incompatible with life. In one of the hardest decisions we have ever been forced to make, Will and I chose to end Rally’s life on a good day, before the condition worsened and took her in a painful way.

Before Rally joined our little family I used to look at Hilde and wonder: “How could the personality of another dog ever live up to you?” then boom – there was Rally. Hilde is big and floppy, Rally petite and precise. Where Hilde is all grins and bear hugs, Rally is pensive and persistent. Hilde loves to go with the flow, but Rally is always working on her next achievement. Their personalities couldn’t be more different, but I couldn’t imagine Rally any other way.

Now I look at Ral and wonder the same thing. How did I get so lucky that you “get us” the way that you do? To have found another dog that I love with my whole heart? The answer, of course, is the brilliant thing about dogs: they take the love you give them, and return it exponentially. We are lucky to have them in our lives, however short that time may be.

So, this is the end of the road with our sweet Rally Roo. We will miss the light stampede of her feet bounding down the hall, and the way she jubilantly attacks the bell when she wants to go outside (for the 6th time that hour) to dig in the fresh snow. We will miss seeing the wheels turning when she is figuring out how to solve a problem, find a “lost” person, or convince someone to give her the last bite of their dessert. Most of all, we mourn the days we’ll never have: Rally as an exuberant young dog on her first real search, a seasoned dog showing youngsters the ropes, an old girl soaking up the sunshine at the end of a long day… my heart aches for the memories we will not get to make.

From the human perspective, the last few days have been so, so challenging. But from Rally’s perspective, they were some of her best days. She didn’t know she was sick, she wasn’t in pain, and she got to see all of her favorite people. We are so grateful for the opportunity to give Rally a goodbye worth remembering. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to all who helped make her last few days the best she ever had.

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