In loving memory . . .

IMG_1639 On June 10, 2015 Bear “Puppy Chow” Haley passed away peacefully, surrounded by people she loved. She was twelve-years-old in human years, but around ninety in dog years.

Bear was born on July 1, 2002 in Flora Vista, New Mexico to a Blue Heeler and a Beagle. Her parents were unable to take care of a litter of five puppies, so Bear and her siblings were put up for adoption when they were two months old.

Though her first three siblings quickly found homes, the days came and went, and Bear still waited. That’s when Jason and Laura Haley came into her life, welcoming her into the family she would be part of for the remainder of her nearly thirteen years on this earth.

Bear developed an early taste for fashion, with a particular affinity for Laura’s shoes. She also loved the written word, once attempting to devour a hardback copy of HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE in a single day.

Though she never graduated from obedience school (despite her parents’ regular threats to send her there), Bear knew every trick in the book. Except stay. And heel. Oh, and she wasn’t very good at drop it. And she only came when wanted to. Other than that, she quickly learned shake, roll over, play dead, and speak. She could also count to ten. She loved food, walks, food, playing fetch, food, her people and mostly food. She hated fireworks and swimming. And cats.

As she got older, Bear settled into a routine with her family. She loved to hike and camp, and her family always slept better knowing Bear was on guard. She enjoyed the company of other dogs, as long as they went home when she was done playing.

Bear eventually welcomed several siblings into her home: two human children named Vince and Shelby who she loved dearly. She was less welcoming of her canine sibling Kona, and her feline sibling, Sprocket. In fact, she probably would have eaten them given the opportunity.

For most of her life, Bear held down several careers, including, but not limited to guard dog, river dog, obnoxious dog panting and whining in the back seat because she hated car rides, cat and rabbit chaser, lizard de-tailer, and eater of all things, even broccoli, but especially New York strip steaks that were left on the floor by unexpecting grandparents.

During her last few years, after a leg injury received while bravely defending her backyard from the yappy dog on the other side of the privacy fence, she slowed down, taking up residence mostly as a doormat, and an obstacle to trip over in the kitchen. She remained an eater of all things until her final days.

After a brief illness, compounded with severe arthritis, Bear’s family made the painful decision to let her go. Her last few days of life were full of laughter, love and plenty of tears. In fitting style, Bear’s final meal consisted of ice cream and waffles.

Bear is survived by her human parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and siblings, as well as Kona and Sprocket. She was preceded in death by dozens of squeaky toys, countless plastic bottles, several pairs of shoes, and a couch that she swore had a squeaker buried somewhere deep within its stuffing.

Bear will be greatly missed by all who knew her. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to your local animal shelter. Or better yet, go take a dog for a walk.

We love you Bear. And you will never be far from our thoughts.


Dakoda’s Fight

I’m going to take a break from my usual style of blogging today to ask that you all keep my friend’s little boy Dakoda in your thoughts and prayers.

I met Dakoda when he was around 9 months old. He was a happy, smiling little boy with huge cheeks, and he was only a month older than my daughter. A few months later, that happy little boy was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors found a Rhabdomyocarcoma, which is a tumor in the soft tissue. Dakoda’s was located in his pelvis.

Dakoda’s first birthday was spent at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. He underwent a year of treatment. Chemo and radiation. IVs and tubes being stuck out of his body. He lost his hair. And through it all, Dakoda never stopped smiling. His Facebook page is full of pictures of him smiling and playing despite the tubes.

Last summer, Dakoda finished his year of treatment. He finally got to have the tube removed from his nose, and the line taken out of his chest. He was finally able to take a bath and go swimming, play with other kids his age, be a normal two-year-old little boy.

Since then, Dakoda has been undergoing regular scans to keep an eye on the remaining tumor. The doctors didn’t know whether it was just dead tissue or if the cancer was still lurking. For the first few sets of scans, things looked good. Nothing was changing. While it wasn’t shrinking, it wasn’t growing either. However, at Dakoda’s most recent set of scans, there was some change in the tumor. Today, little warrior Dakoda is undergoing surgery to do a biopsy of the tumor. There is a chance that it’s just fibrous scar tissue, but there’s also a chance that the tumor could be growing again.

So please, even though you may not know me, share this post. Share Dakoda’s fight. Because right now, this little boy can use all the positive thoughts, prayers and healing energy that we can muster for him.