We’ve had a rough stretch here … we’ve lost a dog in each of the last three weeks, all of them our most senior ones.
The first was Travis, who you see above in a photo taken several years ago at the ranch in Montana. He had come to us from a Washington state shelter in 2003 with a fused jaw from a rare muscle disease. He was already an adult dog when he arrived, so while we don’t know his exact age, he had to be at least 15 years old by now. He was losing control of his?back legs, and he had developed some doggie dementia, and we knew the time had come. You can read his story and see photos of his antics?here. We will always remember those images of him jumping the?fences in Montana:
Two weeks ago, we had to say goodbye to deaf Esther, who we always called Mopsy. We knew she was already an elderly girl when she arrived from an upstate New York shelter, but in the past six months’she had really gone downhill. You can read about all of her medical issues here. She had rebounded after we took her off the seizure medications last year because of the side effects — and ironically, the seizures never came back. Alayne spent the last few months nursing her along, trying to ensure as much quality of life as possible. But eventually Mopsy began to struggle to get up, and while we did a lot of lifting and carrying,?we reached the point where she didn’t have the strength or coordination any longer’to manage on her own.
In truth, we had her longer than we thought we would, so we were grateful for the extra time we got to enjoy with her. Here’s how we will remember her, happy and barking to let us know just how happy she was:
Last week came Wilbur, a larger-than-life little character who had also come to us as a senior back in 2012?from a Texas shelter. He made frequent appearances on the blog, and he had a personality that dwarfed his size. He was bossy and demanding in a tiny 8 pound package of adorable cuteness. His attitude was such that he was never overshadowed by any of the much larger dogs here. In his first couple of years with us he went through many medical procedures, including eye surgery and later, bladder surgery. Through it all he was a wonderful patient. A few months ago I did an update on him in a blog post titled “Creaky One” — you may remember this photo:
At that point we knew we were not too far away from having to say goodbye to him. Indeed, over the summer his advanced age eroded his health further. Last Thursday, when our primary care veterinarian came out to the farm for the annual health exam and vaccination day, we had her euthanize Wilbur here at home. Alayne and I were both caressing him when he slipped away. Here’s one of our favorite photos of’the little tyke, waiting for Mopsy to finish her dinner so he can move in and clean up what’s left (and notice how he positioned himself ahead of Darla!):
Each of these dogs had his or her own unique character and personality, and each loved the life they got to enjoy with us. That’s all we can ask for.
I’m so very sorry. It never gets easy when they leave us. You guys have given them all a little slice of heaven on earth and I am so very grateful that you do what you do. May God wtao his arms around all of you right now and forever. You truly are blessings gd to these babies and my hero’s.
Patrice Cochrane says
Thank you for caring for and loving these sweet pups to the very end of their time here. Forever in the hearts of all the lives they touched. <3 Blessings on your journeys, Travis, Esther and larger than life, Wilber. <3
Sue Black says
I’m so sorry to hear of your losses. Even when you know that senior pets are getting close to needing to leave, it still is difficult. I have lost three dear furry friends – all with me over 20 years – in the last few years. Thank you for all that do to make life easy and comfortable for all of the lucky critters that reach the Farm.
I am so very sorry for your losses. We had to let our beautiful 15yo Lab go last week too – so very hard. I hate that so many of us are having to say goodbye right now.
Lynn (in Louisiana) says
I’m so sorry for your loss Kenna.
So sorry for your losses. Thank you for loving them.
Reta Davis says
Oh dear. So sorry to hear you’ve lost all these friends.
<3 you guys so much. Hugs from Atlanta.
Kristi Gross says
Alayne and Steve, I’m so sorry for these losses. All of them treasured friends. Sending you both hugs & love.
Heidi, Emmett & Wilma the Beagles, and Moxie the Kitty says
Oh Steve and Alayne, I am just heartbroken to hear they are gone, and even more heartbroken for your loss. What wonderful quality of life you gave this cast of characters! I know your hearts are so big, which makes the grief even more so. Gentle blessings to you both, and to the other RDF residents. Godspeed Travis, Esther, and Wilbur. You will not be forgotten.
Janet in Hyannis says
I am so sorry to hear of your recent losses. I laughed at the picture of Travis effortlessly flying over the fence. I remember that story!! They become so embedded in your heart and soul and personal space that their absence is palpable. You imagine seeing them coming around the corner. Like a fresh wound, each day is painful until, with time, the wound heals and just a tiny scar remains.
Thank you for the years of love and care you have given them.
Linda Ramos says
Oh my, so many tears here. Sent my grandson off to college and I’ve been a total emotional wreck all week. Your problems just brought on the tears for sure! It’s such a comfort knowing that some of our babies spend the best years of their lives with us and loving us. I just adopted a sweet little Min Pin…we actually thought it was a Chihuahua at first he was so skinny and if anything can be wrong with a dog this little guy has it. He’s blind, has a minor skin condition, major parasites. The vet says he’s 7 – 10 years old. He was found wandering around a country road. So skinny and just pitiful. I’ve promised him a home for life. I only wish I had the means and time to have an operation like the one you have. There’s nothing more satisfying than the love they offer back for so little. Many prayers for you.
patty c says
My heart breaks for you. I am so sorry that you had to lose so many so close together. I thought Wilbur would live forever! We’re all mourning with you. Love and hugs from Florida. <3
Kathy Hertzel says
My heartfelt sympathy to you and Alayne as well as all of the canine buddies whom I am sure miss these three companions.
I really hate to hear this. Thoughts with you all. I know it is a part of the circle of life, but it isn’t easy to say goodbye to those we love.
Lynn (in Louisiana) says
Thank you both for your work~
Tonya Allen says
I’m so sorry, this is always so difficult to go through. Every time it leaves a big empty space in the world. The good part is that they lived very long lives in spite of their disabilities, and had the most wonderful lives any dog could have, with you.
So sorry. Always tough. Hugs.
Leila King says
Tears for all you have lost, but happy tears also for the love you got to share with them. It has been a hard last week for us here also…….had a friend who died, and also some friends in CT lost their beloved little dachshund and are heartbroken. Looking toward better days ahead and praying God’s comfort over all.
Laura Pomaville says
It is always so hard to say goodbye but what a beautiful life you gave all those dogs.
I am so very sorry for all your losses. It never gets easier. We have a senior dog who is not doing well and we suspect that sometime soon we may have to make that awful decision.
Oh, Steve! We are SO sorry to hear the news of your losses! We are especially sad to hear of Travis’s passing, as I remember meeting him not long after he came to live with you, here in MT. It’s never easy to say goodbye to our dear friends this way, let alone three in such a short period of time. Please know that we are sending love & prayers to you & Alayne at this difficult time. ???
Cathleen Clapper says
So sorry you lost your friends. Thank you for giving them a wonderful home in their last time on earth. Hugs to you and Alayne.
Helen Rietz says
So sorry to hear of your losses, especially Travis, whom I remember from Montana. He was always a favorite of mine. You did so much for him, and for the others and al, your animals. May they romp at the Rainbow Bridge.
You gave them a wonderful home-full of kindness, gentleness and love.
Thank you for all that you do. Hugs & prayers to both of you.
Diane Borden, Chehalis, WA says
They all seemed to give you a clear sign that they were tired of their worn out little bodies, and ready to go. I know from experience that is a great comfort to their human parents who have to make that hard decision. You both give them all you’ve got in love and care. They were all blessed little beings.
Mary Coursey says
Travis, Esther, Wilbur. They found you and you found them. Thank you for caring so much for these sweet dogs. It is so difficult to say goodbye but keep the happy memories. I think we all shed tears with you and Alayne.
Carol Wymore says
What a rough month for you and Alayne; its so hard to lose these seniors. While I didn’t know Wilbur and Esther, I still remember meeting Travis in Montana when we visited with Kent and Diane. Travis’ jaw was still frozen shut and he was wearing a shirt to cover his feeding tube. I just marveled at his happy-go-lucky spirit, in spite of his perilous condition. And in your compassionate care, he was indeed a lucky guy. Take care…
Shirley and James says
So very sad all the way around. We have such wonderful memories and moments with Travis. So glad we got to meet spunky Wilbur too! Never had the wonderful privilege to meet Esther. So many losses so soon. I know that is what happen with older ones.
RIP unforgettable Travis
RIP bigger than life Wilbur
RIP sweet Esther.
We love you RDF!!!
I’m so sorry for all your losses. Thank you for taking such good care of these wonderful creatures and giving them joy.
Peggy and Scooter says
Never enough time with our pets. Hugs to all!
To lose one is hard enough, but three in three weeks is so much worse. RIP to Travis, Wilbur and Esther. May they enjoy their new lives at the Bridge. And thank you, Alayne and Steve for taking such good care of them all!
Wow, that’s really hard to lose three friends in a row.
They spent the best part of their lives with you.
I’ve followed you and Alayne for many years now and I remember Travis
coming to you back in the RDR days. His sweetness really touched me
and I was so amazed at his disposition, despite how he had to be tube fed
for so many years. He was a very special boy on many levels!
I am so sorry that you’ve lost three members of your animal family.
Travis, Esther and Wilbur could not have been more fortunate than to have had a home with
you, Alayne and all the other ranch animals.
Their pain is gone but I know from experience that the pain we feel when we say
say good-bye to our animals is long lasting. My thoughts are with you.
Take good care?.
BA Lubert says
I am so sorry for the loss of those 3 beautiful souls. I have enjoyed reading about all of them over the years and felt like I knew them (and you both) personally. Your compassion towards these animals is admirable and as someone that volunteers often for various rescues as a transport driver, I don’t necessarily get to keep track of all the animals I have helped over the years, so your blog and newsletter gives me more…..Thank you, a thousand times over……