1996 - June 6, 2008
Daisy Doolittle was our Staffordshire
Bull Terrier that we adopted from the local shelter in 1998. We named her after
my favorite flower the Daisy and my husband’s favourite movie character Elisa
My Fair Lady. Daisy, like her mother, liked to sleep late,
hated the cold and loved to cuddle on the couch with the man in our lives, Daisy’s
greatest love, my husband.
Daisy was in rough shape when we adopted her. She had recently given birth to a litter, but the shelter was not sure where the puppies were and as a result she was extremely emaciated. Several of her teats were badly infected and she had a massive hernia. Before we could bring her home she was spayed and her hernia repaired. This surgery was difficult for her and she stayed three nights at the hospital.
Upon arrival into our home she soon became my husband’s
Daisy was so quiet and sad looking, it summoned up every protective instinct we
had in us. When we would take her out, people often told us how ugly she was and
we were duly insulted for her. As time went by, she healed and became a happy, friendly
demo dog at puppy school.
While Daisy was alive she had many adventures. Probably the most notable was the day she and her brother Riot, a Rottweiler, got out of the yard and decided to do a little grocery shopping at the local Safeway. I was told they headed straight for the meat isle!
Surprisingly, Daisy possessed a stunning model quality and as a result she agreed
to model for a line of Greeting Cards dedicated to her called
Daisy Doolittle Creations.
The line of cards are for all occasions and were inspired by Daisy and created by
Barbara Lloyd. Although the cards are a terrific legacy of her life, her true legacy
was her ability to love completely with an open heart.
January 1994 - March 20, 2008
Khan was our Neufi/Akita X that we adopted from the shelter when he was eight weeks old. It was with a heavy heart we made the decision to euthanize him at the age of 14 on March 20, 2008 as a result of arthritis in his spine.
When we first brought him home we knew he was going to be huge so we named him after Ghengas Khan, the Mongolian Warrior. But when he was little, the name was far too big for him so we nicknamed him Boo-Boo Bear.
As a puppy he was a going concern. He was always into something and the only way we could keep him out of trouble was to keep him on leash at all times in the house. Our older, now deceased Husky Timber, loved Boo-Boo. He was so gentle with him and patient, but he would not hesitate to reprimand Boo-Boo if he got out of hand.
Watching Timber and Khan I learned much about dog-dog dynamics and about how important it is for a pup to learn from an older, wiser dog. Over the years Khan grew into his name and became the older, wiser dog that pups learned from.
As Khan matured he earned the privilege of laying in strategic spots in the house to enable him to monitor all the goings on in the house and yard and control the movement of all the other dogs in the house. Even when he was ancient and crippled by arthritis he still laid in those power positions throughout the house and he commanded such respect from all of the younger dogs that they never challenged him.
The day he died I felt like I was saying goodbye to a much respected and loved Elder, someone who had earned the title and was ready to say goodbye to us. I think he thought we had grown up enough to be ok without him. He died with dignity, surrounded by those who loved him most, my husband and me.
July 12, 2001 – July 11, 2003
On Friday, July 11, 2003, one day short of his second birthday,
Skinny Bum died of heart failure while we were hiking on trails
just east of Regina. He was a magnificent dog and even a better friend. His life
has been described as one big party! Every day he had was lived to the fullest,
either running on trails, playing with friends, visiting children in schools and
long term care patients at the Wascana Rehab or working with me at the school.
He was confident, gentle, intelligent, loving and beautiful. He had a sense of humor
too. When he would walk past the living room coffee table he would glide by, never
changing his pace and then we would notice something was missing. Whether it was
a cork from a bottle of wine, a Kleenex or just a piece of paper. Then we would
Skinny Bum, Ouse! and sure enough he would spit something out the side
of his mouth, hence the nickname
Slight-of-Mouth. He thought we hadn't seen
him relinquish the contraband, then he would roll his eyes to the back of his head
and look at us sideways very sheepishly and come and sit on the couch with us.
His gentle nature earned him many friends, dog and human alike. He especially held a fondness for puppies. He was extremely patient with them. He would bath them, play with them and even let them steal his treats right from his mouth. He also enjoyed when we had dog guests in for a few days. He would make them feel right at home.
Some of his favorite things were running in the country on hiking trails, agility and walking other dogs and people. He loved grabbing the leash and walking them around. He was not a puller on the leash. He always walked so nice when he was connected to the leash, but when he could get a hold of another dog's leash, he would walk them! It was so funny to watch. If the other dog was pulling or resisting, he would shorten the leash and walk in the opposite direction.
There are two memorable occasions when he did this; one was with Montana, a Golden
Retriever who was staying with us for a few days. We were out on the trails and
Montana disappeared. It seemed like he was gone forever, then he finally appeared.
I was afraid he was going to go A.W.O.L. again so I put a leash on him and had Riot
walk him. Riot took that leash and pranced around the trail, never going into the
bush because he knew he was walking
someone. Poor Montana, he could not figure
Why was Riot walking him? Well it kept him safe and he had a good
The second memorable occasion was when his Uncle Mike decided he wanted to see if
Riot would walk him, so he attached the leash to his belt loop and Riot had the
end of it
Lickidy Split. When Mike would stop, Riot would back up and then
pull Mike forward. It was so funny to watch. Mike looked like a rag doll, and Riot
was having so much fun.
Riot’s last days were filled with the dogs and people he loved. He celebrated
his second birthday a week early, a pool party at
Chez MacKay. He and his
friends had a blast, eating steak and hot dogs, swimming in the pool and playing
We felt privileged to have loved and raised Riot, and are grateful for the time
we had with him. The morning he passed away I got up out of bed and walked over
to where he was lying and said
Skinny Bum, give us a Kiss. He looked up at
me and gave me a big kiss and then I said
Mom Loves you Skinny Bums and then
we went for our last hike together with his brother and sister Artemis & Isis,
his Friend Ozzy and his Auntie Paddy.
Jake was my first dog as an adult and he was a Terrier. I adopted him from the Regina
Humane Society when he was just a pup. He was so cute; he looked like Simba from
In those days I thought that crate training a dog was cruel, so everyday when I went off to University I would barricade Jake in the kitchen and every day I would come home to a Random Act of Puppy Terrorism. One day he had chewed up the leg of a chair, the next day it was the leg of the kitchen table. Next he moved onto the baseboards, and the bottom of the kitchen cupboard doors. For his Grand Finale, Jake tore up the linoleum in the kitchen.
I was pretty concerned by this point so I consulted several books and they all said:
Crate Train Your Puppy And crate train my puppy I did!! Much to my surprise,
Jake loved his kennel and I could leave the house without worrying about any further
Acts of Puppy Terrorism.
As Jake matured and aged his true terrier form was paramount in his dealings with
the world around him. Till the day he died Jake had the energy of a two year old
and in spite of his 45lbs Jake believed he was
The Lion King.
In the fall of 2006 at the age of 15, Jake passed away and it broke my heart. I had become an adult with Jake and I was not sure how I would navigate through life without him. His passing has left an empty space not only in my bedroom at night but also a void in my heart.
Rex was one of our Rottweilers, a Professional Working Dog and Protection Dog. In June 2004 he retired and became part of our family.
Rex used to love our morning hikes, car rides and pizza and all of his playmates. He never strayed far from me and was always ready for a belly rub or a scratch behind his ears.
In 2006 Rex starting exhibiting serious seizure activity and as a result we made the difficult decision of euthanasia. The day that Rex was scheduled to be euthanized we did all of his favourite things: we went for a car ride, we went for pizza, he had a great game of tug and shared a steak with his brother Gabriel. Then later, at the end of the day, when he was tired and ready to have a sleep, he was given an injection to ensure he slept a forever peaceful sleep. The last gift we were able to give Rex was the last best day of his life.
Timber was my first Husky and he was seven years old when I adopted him from the shelter in 1990. Prior to his incarceration, he had been picked up running at large in a rural Saskatchewan community. He was on death row and was scheduled for euthanasia because he had already spent three months at the shelter and as a result was severely depressed and was on a hunger strike.
When I took him home he continued his hunger strike and I became very worried. He seemed to have a death wish. To make matters worse he kept escaping and running away. Luckily good hearted neighbours would spot him on the lam and aide in his safe return home. After about a week of running away and not eating, I became very desperate and decided that I needed to do something different. So instead of feeding him dog food, I hand fed him tuna. At first he was not interested, but then eventually he decided to eat. He had chosen life after all. As the days passed his appetite grew and so did our bond. After that his loyalty to me was unwavering and he never ran away again. All he wanted was to be with me in his quiet, confident way.
With the passing of years, Timber developed arthritis in his spine. It became very
debilitating but he never complained. Every day he put on a brave face for me, shadowing
my every move, and even though I could see the pain in his eyes, he would assure
me he was not ready to leave this world. Then one day he stopped eating and I knew
he was telling me
it was time so I carried out his wishes and let him sleep
peacefully and pain free forever. When I look back on those last months of his life,
I realize that he had hung on for me, waiting until I was strong enough to live
Odin was rare, a white Akita. He was massive in form and brilliant in nature. Odin was the first dog I had that gave me a reason to think about the intelligence of dogs. As an Akita he possessed a strong guarding instinct but it was how he exhibited it that fascinated me.
He understood that a reflection in a mirror was just that, a reflection, and in order to guard our house completely he would stand in front of a bedroom mirror that was angled in such a way to allow him to look out of one side of the house while at the same time monitoring another side of the house through a set of windows.
Paired with his inherent guarding ability was a surprising agility, Odin could jump a six foot fence from a stand. He was remarkable, but what made him phenomenal was his true nature, his loving, kind personality. He loved to play with Khan. They wrestled all the time and when Khan would get frustrated by Odin's ability to outmanoeuvre him, he would let Khan win in order to give his little brother more confidence.
As big as he was, he was always a true Gentleman, living each day with integrity, right up until his last, when he died at the age of five of an idiosyncratic drug reaction related to anti-seizure meds he was on. Devastated does not even begin to describe how I felt when Odin died. As a tribute to Odin, we adopted a scruffy little pup from the shelter shortly after his death and we named that scruffy little pup Artemis.