Ally. Back from Texas the day I put her down

Ali        Testaments to Ally I mentioned in timelessness. Very long.  No time to read it today.

I’d just gotten back from Texas the day I took Ally to put her down.  I had the lucky black Chevy Impala with her in the mercifully deep and wide rear bench seat.  We stopped at the liquor store for a bottle of whiskey.  We drove over to Rita’s for an ice cream.  It was hot, sunny bright that first October day.  I ordered a large cone of swirl custard for her.  I ordered one for me.  I handed Ally hers, she lowered it to the concrete and set to licking it up.  When she finished, we walked with greater and lesser grace back to the black car, where I opened the right rear door, Ally pointed herself and put her first paw up on the chassis.  I reached down and put my hands fore of her thighs and around her belly and helped her hoist up onto the velour platform.
. . .. 
Last night I finished The Art of Racing in the Rain.  The last part was a re-play of a moment I shared with Ally.  Feeling unsettled, I decided to go for a drive.  For some reason though I felt the need to dress up.  So I pulled on my good jeans, my Fryes and a long-sleeved shirt.  I got into my Honda Element and starting driving down Old Stockbridge.  First en route Victorias, then realized I forgot my wallet.  Back to Mayfair, then the other direction out on Route 108 to Boones Farm.  I had a little cash.  I thought “I wonder if Rita’s is open? … probably not, so when it’s not I’ll just go on to take softserve to Ma and Pete.”  I pulled down St Johns Lane and the Rita’s lights were on, so I pulled in.  Since my eyeglasses popped out one of their lenses yesterday I looked creepy wearing my prescription sunglasses at 9-something o’clock at night.  I bought three small cups of swirl custard, and one large large cone of the same.  I spied a planter with a yucca-looking bush in it.  I walked over, brushed the fronds aside and lowered the cone into the heart of the cactus.  I started for the car to go to Boones.  Occurred to me, and I reached over to the passenger seat and grabbed The Art of Racing in the Rain.  I walked back over to the planter and placed the book, cover-facing out with its dog’s face looking-out from over the rim of the wooden-barrel-stave planter.

Art/Racing/Rain and my dog Ally


Begin forwarded message:
From: justin giron <>
Date: October 4, 2006 7:52:48 AM EDT
To: amy crawford <>, haley crawford <>, Lori Davis <>, Laura Ennis <>, ma bradford <>, jon watson <>, braddock bradford <>, Brett Davis <>, Mark Davis <>, rene vela <>, Peper Long <>, kathi watson <>
Cc: amy crawford <>, haley crawford <>, Lori Davis <>, Laura Ennis <>, ma bradford <>, braddock bradford <>, Brett Davis <>, Mark Davis <>, rene vela <>, Peper Long <>, kathi watson <>, jon watson <>, Erik Parker <>, joe la Bruno <>, ann klarich <>, Lilly & John Lombard <>, lombard johnLilly <>, kathy kilday <>, stuart eisenberg <>, michelle pelescak <>, Kevin D <>
Subject: Re: ally has moved on
Yesterday I released Ally to the winds, her rest and perhaps eventually to her next mission.  Ma & Pete were present to help me maintain my resolve and see through giving Ally the ephemeral gift of peace in the fleeting moments it was within our grasp.
I say “our” because Ally was not my dog.  She belonged only to herself.  Each person on whom she bestowed herself had their own relationship with her, a relationship in which i had no say and mattered not.  My friend Ann once told me “everyone grows up in their own family,  one family is never the same family to the members therein.”  And so it was with Ally.  I didn’t know how much she meant to others until i debarked the plane from San Antonio to two voicemails from my brother Brett–the second necessary because he got all choked up and crying too much to speak on the first.
During this period, I’ve had people say “you’re strong” or “i’m proud of you” or “you gave Ally so much.”  None of these are as simply true as they might appear:
–If I ever for a moment had the capacity for strength, it must be that the vessel has been slowly filled over the years by all who might read this–mostly though by Ma & Pete.
–If then the vessel were filled, i still needed the time and place and perspective in which to drink of it.  The place was a house in central home-state Texas with no cell reception.  The perspective came from family circulating in the porch breeze, a creek filled with snapping turtles, water moccasins, catfish and scrub oaks in which called calf to her mother and gunshots rang in another quarter.   My un-worried presence there was possible only because of Peper.  She took Ally into her house instead of the planned Dog Country Club.  When a raging UTI took visible hold of Ally on the second day,  she tended to her day and night.
–If there were to be any pride felt, it must belong to those who made doing the right thing possible, not to the irrelevant agent of its doing.
–Of any gifts I might have given to Ally, they pale in comparison to those she gave me.  In the room of Ally’s death bed, Pete told the vet “She saved his life.”  She didn’t pull me from a roiling river or go for help Lassie-style after I’d fallen into a well.  She came into my life though, after a four-year set of experiences in Ranger School, the Korean DMZ and field trials in the Mojave Desert.  I was estranged from everything and everyone i knew, and from whom i had been before.  I’d resolved to live not past thirty-six years.  Ally brought me out of those places.  She brought me into light spaces where i found my daughter standing.  She gave me her full lifespan.  
A person described Ally as an old soul.  She said “She’s coming back as a person.”  She said “Maybe her dog form this life was a penance, because she’d certainly been a person before.”  I argued that point and said “No, she was just a being with certain qualities that i needed in my life.  There was only one shape in which i might recognise those qualities, and that shape was that of a dog.”  It was up to Ma & Pete to find her.  With their wise eyes and six months’ looking, they did.
Something else came to light through this.  Haley did.  And her capacity for strength and compassion and sweetness did.  She called me throughout Sunday and Monday.  The support from lovely eleven-year-old Haley made Ally’s passing softer, sweeter and all the more meaningful for it showed that Ally lives on through her.
On Oct 1, 2006, at 6:12 AM, justin giron wrote:

Hi All

Ally’s going to her next home on Monday.  Her work with me is done.  She’ll be thirteen this November and time is simply catching up with this physical body.  If i can ever return to her a small part of what she’s given me, it is the gift of peace i hope she finds and perhaps shares again–hence the arrangements for Monday.  Though we might clear up her current infection, her system can’t stave off repeats.  
Ever since my mother brought her in her arms to me, shortly after my return from four difficult years in korea and the california desert, she’s been my beloved and generous companion.  At the time the message was “you got wierd, now you’ve got a dog, and it’s time to get un-fucked.”  And that happened.  Ally and i spent every morning and night in the sand of Virginia Beach.  She came to work with me after giving me “the eyes”.  We slept in the same sandy bed.  We surfed the same board and paddled with dolphins.  I trained her in some things that dogs do, she taught me more things that people can be.  While I worked in the S-3 shop, she had the run of Fort Story and every formation commanded on the parade ground.  While I didn’t work, she ran around the beach but always came back to where i was reading and dug a hole right beside and then under me or my soccer ball pillow.  She led me through the pitch-dark woods on my mountain bike in Williamsburg, when the only cues were shifting shadows and the jingling of her dog tags.  She taught me I could be not a poison to anyone come close or entrusted to my care.
She jumped out the window of my (slowly) moving truck, got her paw caught in a rabbit trap, she got stung by underground wasps, cut her foot on broken glass in a chicago river but she never complained.  Later, much later in life, her hip ground on itself,  the bottomland of her lungs crackled with fluid and her hind end slowed its signals.  Still she never complained.  I’m told that she wanted to please me, to be what i wanted her to be, to be a good dog.  I hope those observations are incorrect.  i hope i pleased her.  I hope i became what she thought i could be.  i hope i was her good person.  Perhaps when i doubt these, I can look at my daughter and be re-affirmed for it seems entirely possible that it was Ally unlocked the doors to fatherhood.
It’s 0430 and I’m near San Antonio, Texas, getting ready to fly home.  I’ve been here with Ma, Pete, Ma’s cousin Rene and his wife Beatriz.  We came here to renew family and recon the hill country around Medina–where a new life for MP might begin.  While doing these things, my girlfriend Peper refused to let Ally go to the kennel and has been up every hour of the night since, tending to a raging UTI that brought considerations of dignity and quality-of-life to bear.  As with the putting to bed of Grandma, Grandpa and Terry, I must confess to the fatigue that accompanies the uncertain watch of physical decline.  These four days without a cell signal in southern texas though have been friendly for reflection on Ally and what should best be done.  Without Peper, I shudder to think what these days and longer nights would have been for Ally.  While on the phone with her, on a street corner in Bandera, the right course of action became clear.  Peper has been a gift for me, for Ally and those who care about us both.  
Now I’m going to ask for something from you.  Each of you is a holder of pieces of my life with Ally.  I’ll be very grateful if you’ll think of sharing one of them so the mosaic with which I’ll remember her will be most complete.  If this doesn’t seem appropriate i hope you’ll just think a good thought to speed her on to her next mission.  
▼ ally
▼ reportaje
▼ times w
▼ the arrival, meeting @ belquest kennels vic mt airy
• ma walking up to the buick wagon w her in her arms and handed her to me
▼ virginia beach
▼ on the beach
• surfing every morning, the clawing of the back onto the surfboard, the hosing off afterwards at the beach house
• meeting Ginger and her dog
• meeting Amy and walking to the beach
• running across the waves up and down the beach
▼ at the house
• big scary dog next door
• two pitbulls next door
• walking around on her own while i lay sick on the blue couch summer of 1994
• sitting outside CuppaJoe’s
• sitting inside K-Street Cafe
• watching Huffamoose concert at VB museum o art w Ginger
▼ @ fort story
• free-range doggie
• the dunes while doing SDO all night
• fell asleep on my TA-50 & rucksack
▼ williamsburg
• mountain-biking at night in the woods behind the house
• getting her foot caught in the bear trap out back the woods
• walking downtown old-town wbg pushing haley’s stroller
• into the wbg movie theater w amy and haley to watch a movie
• chicago
• lone tree court
▼ boones
• walks down to the entrance to the nature trail
• walks down by the Middle Patuxent behind the houses
▼ @ work
• @ Fort Story
• @ REI
• @ ACS
• @ Impact
• @ walk
▼ @ play
• sledding @ monticello
• swimming at 24th & Arctic
• farm house
▼ mayfair
• chasing cats at their windows
• figaro curled up inside her legs, brushed her muzzle with his tail
• walking w figaro & dahlia in tow
▼ travlin
▼ in my ’83 nissan z24 pickup truck
• i built her a bed w a door and dog bed in the bed o the truck
• she spent a lot o time on the cupboards i’d built along the wheel wells in the bed o the truck
▼ road trip w grandpa
• @ monticello
• up shenandoah valley
▼ e/r chicago
• sledding @ monticello
▶ fort McCoy Wisconsin
• rei kayak, boat day in va
• e/r dollySods w me & michelle
▼ cars
• back o truck (1983)
• back o subaru wagon (1987)
• front o corolla (1998)
• back o corolla (2000)
• back o jetta wagon (2002)
• back o subaru wagon (laura’s)
• back o impala (2004)
• back o taurus (2006)
▼ adventures
• w sadie @ the patuxent vic lone tree court
• camping dolly sods w michelle
• campout w the horses behind boones lane
• hiking, climbing, bears vic old rag mountain
• hiking billy goat trail w lombards and zuca
• hikes in snow in chicago along des plaines river
• swimming swamps o michigan w haley
▼ in the am
• rolling around gleefully on her back, w mr fluffy in her mouth
• the underneath back rub
• the legs kicking wildly into the air
▼ w other critters
• w the barbie dogs
• w the cats
▼ playing and fending off puppies
• kristin’s bella @ mayfair
• zeena’s yoda @ mayfair and old stockbridge road
▼ dangers
• riding my bike w her running in trail fr vb house to ginger’s house
• rabbit trap in williamsburg
• ground hive bee sting in wisconsin
• tied up at the lake @ wisconsin
• cut her pad @ des plaines river chicago
• ate the tops off my chippewa boots
▼ sleeping
• first night i slept in basement o loneTree w her in her little cage
• sleeping in alcove upstairs loft @ beachHouse VaBeach, then ate insulation, then graduated to my rose-sheets mattress-on-floor bed w her sand
and chewed-stick remains all in the sheets
• had pride o place w any new girlfriend, didn’t give up her spot w/o proper tribute being paid
• sleeping outside the tent @ interior o DollySods
• sleeping inside the tent @ Fort McCoy Wisconsin
• sleeping w me and Sadie, sans tent, at bluff vic LoneTree
• sleeping outside w the horses vic boones
▼ toys
• mr fluffy
• chippewa boots
• beef bones
▼ outlasted all the girlfriends & wives, kept her spot on the bed
• ginger
• amy
• kit
• sadie
• michele
• michelle
▼ water
▼ atlantic ocean @ vaBeach
• while i surfed
• swam w the dolphins
▼ pond @ kennel/vet/spay place south vaBeach
• chasing ducks immed after got spayed
▼ creek @ wbg
• sniffing around, drinking in the creek
▼ snow @ monticello
• chasing me on purloined sled
▼ Niles River @ Chicago
• cut her pad on broken glass
• Lake @ Fort McCoy Wisconsin
• Devils Lake @ Baraboo Wisconsin
▼ Deep Creek Lake
• in the frozen lake, w me, @ thanksgiving
▼ Patuxent River @ Lone Tree
• while camping w Sadie and her blueHeeler
▼ Potomac River @ Billy Goat Trail
• walking w jon, lilly & azucar
▼ Centennial Lake
• rolling in the goose shit by the lake’s shore
• following me as i rollerbladed around
• walking the loop, picking up sticks, swimming for sticks into the algae-filled summer lake water
• chasing ducks into the air
• reflecting pool @ national mall
• fountains @ national capitol
• fountains @ WWII memorial
▼ aquatherapy @ Paradise Pet Hospital in Catonsville
• w joanne & kris
• laying in the creek @ mayfair to cool off her inflamed hips
▼ analaje
▼ temas
• “sit, stay, say nothing”
• “ask forgiveness, not permission for going into places”
• always in the front seat of my truck
• always in the garage while i played the drums, always sat quietly and smiled when i played the drums, no matter the crashing and banging
• conversaciones
• touching my indian bear claw necklace as a way of touching Ally, to calm her
• how it seemed i’d never been w/o Ally … my memories of driving the length & breadth of california are in-filled with her sitting beside me on the bench of my truck;
how her spirit was ever with me; how her spirit will ever be with me
▼ the good she did for people
▼ for me
• Ma:  “she re-opened your heart”
▼ for terry
▼ sitting on the floor of her apartment @ Harmony Hall, petting Ally
• “oh, you’re so precious, girl”
▼ for ma
• always toys and treats for Ally
▼ for haley
• taught her how an animal can be treated with respect
• how an animal can be mindful, not mindless like the male labs her family’s had
On Oct 1, 2006, at 9:47 AM, Ann Klarich wrote:
What a fitting testimony and wonderful tribute to a remarkable spirit whose time is coming to an end. Also, how fortunate that your life is at a point where you could carve out the moments needed to articulate a retrospective of the time you spent with Ally and the impact she had on you.
I can attest to the truth of some of your conclusions. You were “weird” when you got back from Korea and your job in California, and you did need to be re-introduced to the ways of normalcy, or some version thereof. I wondered, at first, if you would keep up your end of the relationship with a pet–you were obsessive when you did something but not too inclined to stick with it when it became a bother. Not so with Ally.
Your delight in the dog was obvious. That she would be with you while you went through your “people” day was reassuring because I knew you would not neglect her, but I wasn’t sure you wouldn’t treat yourself with the same consideration. She brought you laughter and many touching stories about the times spent together. The great thing is that you knew her worth while you had her–you did not wait until she passed to consider what she meant. Even when she was a puppy, you delighted in her antics and unconditional devotion to you. That’s a gift.
My memory would be of the time Chuck and I visited you, Amy and Haley, and we went to Williamsburg for an afternoon. The day was beautiful, and Haley was in a stroller with Ally circling the people in her group. In the old section of town, workers in authentic dress staffed the various buildings where the work of the earlier era was duplicated for visitors. You let me push the stroller for a while when you and Ally frolicked between buildings with either a ball or Frisbee, I don’t remember which. Whichever, the activity was done in defiance of the signs all over proclaiming that the grass was not to be walked upon and dogs were to be kept on leashes. Only when enough time had elapsed that you figured the police would be stopping by shortly did you return to the group. At which point you told me to let you push the stroller because the police would be less likely to do anything if you looked domesticated. Meanwhile, Ally settled down immediately and walked close to you in a very civilized fashion as if the frolicking had never occurred at all. She was the better actor, by the way.
She’s had a good life, but the time always comes when moving on has to be done. You loved her for her whole life, and she returned the sentiment. That’s the best that can be said. Eras of your life are entwined with hers, and you will always remember the two together. So she isn’t really leaving–I believe that. I think of Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abby” when he refers to recalling in later years the memories experienced in natural settings and experiencing once again the joy of the original event. Nature continues to teach, to soothe, and to make joyous. Ally could be the incarnation of that nature in your life. You will think of her simple grace in the future when days may seem dreary and uneventful. Remember the good times.
“Tintern Abbey”
FIVE years have past; five summers, with the length
Of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur. — Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
The day is come when I again repose
Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,
Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,
Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
‘Mid groves and copses. Once again I see
These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines
Of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral farms,
Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke
Sent up, in silence, from among the trees!
With some uncertain notice, as might seem
Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,
Or of some Hermit’s cave, where by his fire
The Hermit sits alone.
These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man’s eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration: — feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man’s life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened: — that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on, — 
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.
If this
Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft — 
In darkness and amid the many shapes
Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
Have hung upon the beatings of my heart — 
How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,
O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro’ the woods,
How often has my spirit turned to thee!
And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
The picture of the mind revives again:
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years. And so I dare to hope,
Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first
I came among these hills; when like a roe
I bounded o’er the mountains, by the sides
Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Wherever nature led: more like a man
Flying from something that he dreads, than one
Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then
(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days,
And their glad animal movements all gone by)
To me was all in all. — I cannot paint
What then I was. The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms, were then to me
An appetite; a feeling and a love,
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, nor any interest
Unborrowed from the eye. — That time is past,
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur, other gifts
Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompence. For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear, — both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.
Nor perchance,
If I were not thus taught, should I the more
Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
For thou art with me here upon the banks
Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once,
My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; ’tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e’er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain-winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance — 
If I should be where I no more can hear
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
Of past existence — wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream
We stood together; and that I, so long
A worshipper of Nature, hither came
Unwearied in that service: rather say
With warmer love — oh! with far deeper zeal
Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,
That after many wanderings, many years
Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!
By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).
[Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey,
On Revisiting The Banks Of The Wye
During A Tour. July 13, 1798.]



My favorite memories of Ally are:

-Searching for her own stuffed toy in Old Ellicott City, and choosing the Bunny that she carried around and bathed. (and later, the look of disgust on her face when I washed it in the washing machine)

-Her happy sneezes

-Her ears flapping happily in the breeze as she rode in the back of the car

-Her “is that really necessary?” look (the eternal Zen dog)

-Her ‘drive through’ moments where she’d get excited and jump into the window of the car to say hello when I’d pull up the car to park

-Looking out the window into the parking lot either with someone or by herself waiting for you to come home

-Following you back and forth as you work on your bike

-And what I’m most gratefulfor: the way she mothered Figaro. I was so proud of Ally that she was smart and sensitive enough to understand that though Figaro’s a cat, he and Dahlia can’t be chased like other cats.  Figaro lived for Ally, and I’m so happy his last days were with Ally taking care of him. I couldn’t ask for a better being to do it.


Take care,


On Oct 3, 2006, at 2:53 PM, wrote:
I’m so so sorry to hear this deeply sad news.
I seem to recall two events that Ally was involved in that changed my life for ever…..
On one occasion Ally convinced you & me to take her for a fresh walk around a lake in the mountains of Western Maryland. Ally, our ringleader, decided that you needed a bath and the dumb Brit needed to rescue the trained military man, at which point you dived into the frozen lake and began splashing around, I got ready to save you (ie reaching for nearest cell phone) and the only person capable of dragging you out of the lake was Ally, what a friend.
On the second occasion Ally could not be with us in person but her spirit was with us during a  long long  long walk in Wales. Ally could not be with us because of those dam stupid english rules on bring dogs into the UK, so to overcome this her blanket would have to do. So with a suitable hole cut for you head we set out to cover just 8miles before lunch time …… So after some 16 ish miles and now getting dark we popped into a local pub and attempted to explain to every welshman ever born that this was a dog blanket and that you normally dressed this way..
All the best mate, hope to see you soon.
Kathi sends her love.
So sorry to hear about Ally.  She must of been a queen of a companion.  I dread the day when my buck goes to another path. 
This sucks, man.  My heart goes out to you and to all who loved Ally.  

Although letting go is hard, it is the right thing to do for somebody who has given you much more than you have given her.  You gave her food, comfort, medicine, and companionship while she returned the favor with unconditional love and a chance to return to humanity.  What more could you ask for?  After you cut loose the strings that bind her to this world and allow her to sail to the comfort of the next, you’ll be square with her.  Your accounts settled.

It’s unfortunate that the hardest thing and the right thing are usually the same thing.  

I only met Ally once.  I couldn’t believe that you had brought her to work with you in the back of your car. I found it funny and endearing at the same time.  We went out to the car and, upon seeing you, she jumped up as best she could and greeted her best friend.  What a wonderful treat.  As she stretched on the limited grass available, I could think of nothing more than my own dog and how much I hoped I could care for her in her old age as well as you have cared for Ally.

As my eyes well up in tears, I hope you spend as much quality time as you can in these last few hours with the one who will be with you always.

On Oct 2, 2006, at 11:50 AM, Pat Davis wrote:
Ally…an old soul, a proud and strong spirit, a loving mess of dogdom, a sweet and peppery temperament, a faithful and protective friend, a goofy and silly playmate, a noble beauty.
I’d like to think I knew all that about her when I picked her out of that squirming litter of pupplies but…no, I didn’t.  All I saw was  chubby clumsy puppy full of curiosity and independence.  But there was something about her even then…
I will never forget carrying her out to the car and putting her in your arms–your face was classic as it went from “awww…a lab puppy to ohmigod she’s my puppy and what do I do now?!)  What a moment.  What a start for the most beautiful man and his dog relationship I have ever been privileged to see or know about. 
You did her proud, Jay.


Kathy and I are so sorry for your loss, and that Ally has moved on, we have so many great memories wrapped up in our long friendship that Ally has shed her fur upon.

Our similarly aged canine queen Sasha, and Ally had such a tense first exchange before they came to their easy “alpha-alpha” big girl-dog truce.

“Oh I don’t care, you pee first, no you pee first, no I insist. Grrrrr.”

Only your carpeting was the loser in that initial meeting.

Kathy and I have so enjoyed the dog-sitting: especially when the Lombards’ two hounds were over and it was crazy kennel time at the Kilday-Eisenbergs.  I could really let my inner-dog Nazi go. We loved to line the dogs up at chow time and have them dive for their bowls all at once, to avoid the inevitable ” You gonna eat that?” that the slow poke chow hounds got from the vacuum cleaner mouths.  Ally always expressed her tiny rebellion at the line up, refusing to lay down before her bowl. She knew the kibble was better in the other bowls.  She was always as good in a pack as solo.

Much to my Type-A, compulsive chagrin, upon her visits, Ally regulary took a dip in our backyard garden pond, taking about 10 % of the water out with her upon the inevitable retreat commands.  She knew to wait until at least three people were in the splash radius before shaking off.  You just can’t train that into a dog: that’s breeding, that’s special.

I agree with those who observed that Ally was very generous in allowing for all of our human flaws, as she observed them, and always stayed very forgiving and tolerant.  We humans are, after all, a very errant species, and need much grooming and patience if we are ever to learn.

Thanks for sharing your goodbye to Ally with us, Jay, and let us know how else we can help.

Stuart & Kathy


On Oct 4, 2006, at 11:47 AM, Peter Bradford wrote:
Monday was a day that combined sadness with loving memories—and all bathed in warm Maryland sunshine.
We were all so distraught at her moment of leaving us, but sitting outside Checkers later on we felt a warm kinship in our memories.  Having just returned from a family trip to the “Hideaway” in Medina, Texas, we were in a relaxed mood and were able to truly bond knowing as we did that Ally’s moving-on was, sadly, the best thing for her tired old bones.
You have all said so much about her, and so eloquently, that my two-pennorth is hardly worth adding, but here goes:
I was there at her entrance into the family, and it was appropriate that the same group of four was at her moving-on.  I won’t profess to be as good a judge of puppyflesh as Pat is, but we both fell in love with Ally’s sweet mother, and that meant there were likely to be some great genes back there somewhere.  When Jay took her back to our house that Christmas Eve, my mum was knocked out by how lovely she was.  This last Christmas I spent with my mum was the first I spent with Ally, so will always be a special occasion for me.
The two major memories I have of Ally—among a thousand others—were part of a special link between the two of us.  I could never resist that big, black, hairy nose of hers, and we would play the “Gonna grab your nose” game at every opportunity.  She would feign disgust, but a few seconds later would wave it in my direction with a laugh on her face, teasing me with a look that said “Don’t grab my nose. Please don’t grab my nose!  Wink-wink“.  In her later months she was not truly in the mood for nose-grabbing, but I must ‘fess up to one last, gentle nose squeeze as she left us.
The second major memory I have started when Jay was away on a course for several days, and Pat and I looked after Ally at our house.  Of course she was always a little disgusted at staying at our house; not because she didn’t like us—she loved the hell out of us—but she couldn’t understand why these ‘old uns’ wouldn’t take her for hour-long walks like her daddy did.  After a couple of days, however, I began to notice that as I sat on the sofa with my feet up on the coffee table, she would inch her way under the safe haven of the ‘den’ under my legs.  Needless to say, this did lead to a couple of scary moments when I forgot she was there and decided to stand up suddenly!  After that, whenever she came over that was one of her favourite places to be.  When I took Ria over to see her on Monday morning, Ally did the same thing.  I was sitting on a log outside Jay’s house, and Ally—weak hind-end and all—shuffled into position under my legs for one last time.
I’ll miss that dog.  But she won’t be lonely with her friends of old; Kayley, and the imperious Shadow.  If Shadow gives her any nonsense up there, Kayley will soon put an end to that, just like she always did.