Don’t Feed the Alligators

A Personal Finance Blog from a Small-Scale Landlord’s Perspective
11.27.2008
Val

Val photo figure credit: ScrapperMom

Yesterday evening, ScrapperMom and I had to let our first “baby” Val pass on to Doggie Heaven.  Valkyrie was an 8 year old Great Dane that we bought together shortly before we were married.  We loved taking Val to the dog parks in the Seattle area when she was a puppy.  Later, Val got a tour of the country, visiting Yellowstone, the Badlands,  Mount Rushmore, and Madison, Wisconsin among other great destinations while moving back east.

Val took training classes off and on, and eventually earned her Canine Good Citizen award. She loved going for rides in the car and taking walks in all kinds of parks.  When we bought a house we added another puppy to the mix.  Orion and Val eventually became good buddies.  Val loved to go under stuff, and tables were her favorite.  She also loved laying in the sun, and would follow it as it moved across the floor or the yard.  She was universally described as “sweet” and loved having company.

When she was just 3, Val was tentatively diagnosed with Wobbler’s Disease, which is a degenerative instability of the cervical (neck) vertebrae.  The disease started out with Val dragging her rear foot on the ground while walking, and over the next 5 years progressed to the point where she could no longer stand up.  When she did stand up, she often fell.

Yesterday was a day that I dreaded since the day we first considered buying a dog — we knew inevitably that we would lose her someday.  However, the decision we made in the presence of our vet yesterday was an easy one to make.  Val was clearly in pain most of the time, having taken a turn for the worst this past weekend, and really had no quality of life left.  There were no wags left in her tail.

We will miss her dearly, and hope that she has found green fields for running and beds of clouds for sleeping in Doggie Heaven.  We desperately hope to meet her again when our own turns come.  We love you, Val, you were a good dog.  Goodbye.

Here are the lyrics to a song that sort of captures my feelings.  And please visit:

Val — A Life in Photos

OLD BLACK CAT by Ian Anderson

My old black cat passed away this morning
He never knew what a hard day was.
Woke up late and danced on tin roofs.
If questioned “Why?” answered, “Just because.”

He never spoke much, preferring silence:
Eight lost lives was all he had.
Occasionally sneaked some Sunday dinner.
He wasn’t good and he wasn’t bad.

My old black cat wasn’t much of a looker.
You could pass him by ? just a quiet shadow.
Got pushed around by all the other little guys.
Didn’t seem to mind much ? just the way life goes.

Padded about in furry slippers.
Didn’t make any special friends.
He played it cool with wide-eyed innocence,
Receiving gladly what the good Lord sends.

Forgot to give his Christmas present.
Black cat collar, nice and new.
Thought he’d make it through to New Year.
I guess this song will have to do.

My old black cat…
Old black cat…

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12 Responses to “Off Topic: Our Dog is Gone”


  1. Michelle Says:

    I’m so sorry.

    I hope she is now full of wags.


  2. Frugal Babe Says:

    I’m so sorry. My heart goes out to your family.


  3. kristen Says:

    I am so sorry for all of you. I know that it was not an easy desicion. As a mommy to 2 dogs and 2 cats it is also a day that I dread. I know that it also won’t get any easier with a little one who would often prefer to play with the doggies then with Mommy! Just letting you know that we are thinking of you!!


  4. Eric Says:

    Phil, Steph, Eleni and Orion - Zoi, Arminda and I are very sorry to hear about Val. She was a sweetheart and we will all miss her! You are on our thoughts today. I am thankful and grateful that we got to know her :-)


  5. catherine Says:

    I am so sorry that you had to make that decision, it is so hard- and yet so necessary. Just by viewing her pictures I can see that Val was a beautiful, sweet, gentle creature that was greatly cherished, respected and loved. I hope the days ahead become easier, and that your memories of Val soon bring smiles instead of tears. You did the right thing for Val.


  6. MITBeta Says:

    Thanks to all for your thoughts and kind words. If anyone who knew Val has any good stories about her, we’d love to hear them.


  7. Nate Says:

    Sorry to hear, folks. Hope the family is dealing with it OK.


  8. Beth Says:

    I am so sorry for the pain that Val felt but I am glad that it is now gone and that she is in Doggie Heaven. As he owner of 2 dogs myself I dread this day to make the hardest decision to say goodbye :( I will keep you, Steph, Eleni, Orion and Val in my prayers tonight. I hope that the tears get replaced with all the wonderful memories that you have of her!

    {{hugs}}


  9. Matt Says:

    I’ve been off the net since Tuesday and I am very sad to hear this news. I know how difficult this must be for you and we will keep you and the rest of your family in our thoughts.


  10. Jessica Says:

    Sorry about your sweet dog. I remembered something about her. You brought her to a party at our old place in Sterling and there was a horse there. It was funny to see Val near a horse. She was nearly as big! Thinking of you guys! Lots of love…


  11. Cari Says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Val. I remember her, just as a pup, when you brought her up to Bellingham, WA. for a visit. Instantly, I knew she was a wonderful dog and had wonderful parents. It was my joy to have met her, and I’m sure the memories you have of her will keep your heart warm,forever….


  12. ScrapperMom Says:

    Thanks Cari, She was really in her prime then, but no less loving as the years went on. Sorry to have lost touch over the years. Hope you are well.


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