Fond Farewell for a Darling Doggy.



Wiley, painted by Eliza when she was 9

A sentence uttered by Eliza when she was five years old paved the way for a little dog named Wiley to enter our lives.

We already had Lucy, a basset hound rescue. But Lucy was a sweet, sedentary creature with a lot of emotional baggage who basically lived in our closet or on our bed, making her a dull companion for a kid. One night, at my friend Von Rae’s annual holiday party, Eliza decided to amuse herself by chasing Von Rae’s cats around. “Be careful with them, honey,” Von Rae cautioned. “They’re old.”

“I’m sorry,” Eliza said. “I’m not used to a pet that moves.”

Hearing this, my husband Jer and I decided that Eliza deserved a pet that moved. Two years later, on December 22, 2007, she picked Wiley as that pet on a visit to the Amanda Foundation, a rescue in Beverly Hills. Wiley immediately anointed himself Eliza’s protector, making her bedroom his home. During his first weeks with us, he barked at Jer whenever he passed the room. Wiley had one chipped tooth, which we joked he broke during a bar fight.  But his tough-guy  phase quickly passed, and he proved himself to be a wonderful dog, affectionate in the gentlest of ways. He was a total pet catch. I honored him by writing him into my mystery series as King Cake, the sweet doggy protector of the local exercise instructor.

We never knew how old Wiley was. The rescue put his age at three, but he’d been there a year, so I guessed him to be at least four when we brought him home. As he aged, he slept more and played less, but that was to be expected. Then, a few months ago, I woke up to find him shaking and contorted like Quasimodo. I thought he’d had a stroke and rushed him to the vet. She said strokes were unlikely in dogs and diagnosed him with a bad neck strain. We coddled and babied him for the next few weeks and the pain went away. But Wiley was never the same after that.


He lost his hearing. His eyesight began to go. He became incontinent. We bought doggy diapers, a Swiffer, and rug cleaner. Jer said we were like orderlies at a doggy nursing home. The week before Christmas, we invited friends over for a holiday dinner. I’d bought a rotating Christmas tree stand that I couldn’t wait to show off. As soon as our guests rang the doorbell, I lay down on the floor to switch it on. But instead of walking into a Christmas tree rotating while soothing carols played, our guests were greeted by the image of me running by them yelling, “S—t, s—t, I just lay down in a giant puddle of dog pee!!”

A month or so after the rotating tree debacle, worried about Wiley’s continuing deterioration, I took him to the vet for a quality of life exam. “There’s no quality of life here,” the vet said as she watched him walk around in circles, which was all he seemed to do anymore. “It’s time.”

Of course, it’s never time when you’re a pet parent. Our goodbye was especially difficult since Eliza was at college 1800 miles away. Bereft, she insisted on Facetiming with us at the vet as we crossed Wiley over the rainbow bridge.

As I write this, it’s been a week since we gave Wiley his final hugs and kisses. Eliza asked for pictures of him, so I put together a Power Point of them for her. After the last photo, I wrote this:

Wiley Byron Remillong

A life well lived.
A dog well loved.

You will be in our hearts forever…

Readers, do you – or did you – have a beloved pet?

50 thoughts on “Fond Farewell for a Darling Doggy.

    1. You had me in years reading about your precious dog. We have had to put 2 dogs down both due to cancer. It was heartbreaking to say the least. We swore we would never get another dog. Then one Christmas, our 10 year old grandson presented us with a dog because he said we needed it to not be lonely anymore. GOD love kids and dogs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh Rhonda, what a wonderful story. You brought ME to tears! And agreed. God does love kids and dog. Which is why we most return their love and nurture them.

        You have a wonderful, wonderful grandson.


  1. I’m crying. I am so sorry for your loss. I’ve had lots of dogs but the love of my life was Liam, my first Irish Wolfhound. When he was a puppy, we used to sit side by side on the couch watching TV. I’d balance the remote on the back of the couch and he’d balance is rawhide next to it. One day while we were watching TV, he looked over at me and smashed his muzzle into my mouth. A kiss. And every day when I came home from work, he’d sing to me from inside the house as I walked from the garage to the mailbox and back to the house. Not barking. Not howling. Wolfhound singing. Not all of them do it, but he did it. No one sings to me anymore when I come home from work.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. So sorry for what you and your family are going through, Ellen, and I know how much this hurts. My own sweet boy, Boo Boo, has been gone for over five years, now, and I still get choked up thinking about him and our times together. I haven’t even been able to get up the nerve to get a new dog and don’t think that I could go through all of that again. Your pics make it clear that Wiley was very loved AND very happy!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you, Becky. Every dog, like every human, has their own personality. I’m sure we’ll eventually get Pogo, who’s still with us, another friend, but we’ll go into it knowing he or she won’t be another Wiley.

      Liked by 5 people

  3. I’m so sorry you had to go through this, but that seems to be the price we pay for their unconditional, goofy, chipped-tooth love. (Nala had some teeth pulled, one right in front. When she smiles, she looks like a hillbilly from central casting.) For me, there’s probably not a day that goes by where I don’t have some memory of my childhood dogs, and I investigate and fret over every one of Nala’s limps and weird noises. I love that Eliza was able to Facetime with you to get some closure, despite how hard that must have been. Hugs!

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Oh, Ellen, I’m so, so sorry — big hugs! Love how this little guy came to be part of your family. “A pet that moves” — so sweet! Wiley was a total pet catch, and you, Jer and Eliza were a total “family catch” for him.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I cried at random times for three months after we put down our loving, wonderful Aussie-Border Collie Rosie. I can’t think of anything harder to do. But everyone said it was “time,” and in retrospect I now agree it was absolutely the best thing for her to do. But that doesn’t make it any easier. Sending you love and hugs, my dear. You gave Wiley an amazing second life. xoxo

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Ellen, we love our pets so much and they become our families. We had two male orange tabbies and one of them would greet me at the front door after my morning walk, jump into my arms and wash my face with that rough tongue. He only lived to be eight but he lived that short life fiercely and lovingly. His brother made it another three years and had a chance to come into his own without his alpha brother taking over our household. Now we’ve got the two new boys who look very similar to the last two and they have their own personalities. I know it is hard to think of losing them some day but we love them so much while they are here. Thanks for sharing your story and I’m so sorry for the loss of Wiley.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Aww, sorry for your loss, Ellen. But Wiley looks so cute and it sounds like you gave him a great life. I had to put down our Casey back in 2011, and it was one of the most difficult things I ever did. But as with Wiley, it was time. 😦

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Beautiful, Ellen, so wonderful that you have put Wiley in to such loving words. I still have trouble even expressing my feelings at losing Lily in September. There is nothing like that unconditional love.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Oh, how beautiful!

    I did have the most wonderful, splendid dog in the history of dogs and sometimes the grief finds me all over again.

    His name was Cooper and we lived together for 15 years and 4 months and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!

    I’m so sorry for your loss but they are marvelous creatures, aren’t they?

    Liked by 3 people

  10. What a wonderful tribute to your precious furry family member. I have had this up all day thinking of what I wanted to say. Yes we have had and lost too many special dogs. However we sure were blessed to have them. I was rescued by my sweet Tyler when we rescued him after the loss of my Rufus. We recently lost sweet Motzie due to a rapid bought of cancer. There really are no words others can say that make things easier. We are blessed with each dog for a short period of time, but that time is worth the world. So very sorry for you loss.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kay, I’m so honored by your appreciation. I’m so sorry about the loss of your furbabies. But I couldn’t agree with you more – any time we get to spend with precious creatures is time worth the world. What a beautiful sentiment.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Ellen, this is just the perfect tribute to adorable Wiley and the love you shared. He had the most wonderful life with you. (And Eliza’s portrait–awww!) Pets really do become a part of us, so Wiley and Lucy will be with you forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ellen, what a beautiful tribute to your beloved Wiley. I’m so very sorry for your loss. When I was young, I lost my Beagle, Skippy. My mom told me he went to live on a farm by my grandmothers house in Queens. I don’t think they have farms in Queens? My Rusty will be 9 soon. He’s such a part of my life, I can’t even imagine your heartbreak. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s