This note originally appeared on my personal Facebook wall on June 9, 2010. Sydney passed away on June 8, 2010 (aged approximately 14 years) from kidney failure. She had lived with my family since August 2007. When we adopted her, we were told the kidney disease would probably give her only 6 months to a year to live. That, more than anything else, motivated us to enjoy every day with her and truly see her time with us as something special.

I’m reposting this here today in honor of several family members and friends who have recently lost pets, or learned of their beloved companion’s terminal illness, including, once again, my own family, in Sydney’s steady companion/seeing eye dog/hearing ear dog Bailey.

Two dog companions
Sydney and Bailey – friendship is forever

She came to us like most shelter dogs – some good, some bad, but mostly unknown. But her Beagle pride and quirky personality soon shone through, in her tolerance for Bailey’s wildly waving tail, her penchant for cat poop and cat toys (both swallowed whole!), and her absolute conviction that we had been sailing cluelessly through life’s dangers until she arrived to save us.

We would like to extend our thanks to the shelter staff and volunteers who helped care for her in the shelter and bring her into our lives. Though she spent only two and a half years with us, we trust they were among her best. We hope that her long walks in the woods and illicit trash dinners enriched her life as much as her sneaky napkin grabbing missions and unbounded optimism about life enriched ours.

We will not soon forget the greatest lesson she taught us: life is short, grab what it has to offer and hold on with all you have.

Old Dog

As always, my thanks to all the individuals who dedicate themselves to the difficult work of shelters and rescues, through work or volunteer activities, especially those who look for opportunities for older, harder to place animals.

Please feel free to share your stories and memories of beloved pets in the comments.

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