As this year began, Wally was well into his senior years and had been slowing down steadily for over a year. From his home, Wally’s Place, for each of his 4 walks/day in the neighborhood, he needed to descend and climb our building’s 15 stair steps, something he liked to do less and less despite increasing human assistance. He had other ailments as mentioned in earlier posts.
Laurie & I knew he was nearing the end. He was still a wonderful companion and valued family member, causing us to wrestle continuously with the ambiguities of his afflictions and warmth to us and others. By May his scores on the Quality of Life scale had declined to a level that conveyed that his overall wellbeing was clearly compromised, something we knew even without a scorecard but wished we didn’t.
On May 31, 2020, we took our wonderful companion to visit a veterinarian who also was a family friend. She had just taken a new position near San Francisco and was to meet Wally for the first time.
Waiting in the parking lot due to coronavirus restrictions, Wally was his normal self but his guardians were anxious. After a short wait, the vet came out and met Wally; she and he then entered the building. Laurie & I waited outside, as hopeful as circumstances allowed. Wally and the vet soon came out – the vet had done an ultrasound and found a good sized tumor in Wally’s abdomen. She explained the tumor would be both painful and fatal if it burst, which it could at any time and without warning. Given Wally’s age and ailments with which we were familiar, compounded by the newly discovered and frightening tumor, Laurie & I felt the only sensible path was to let him go.
We were so sad to say “goodbye” but knew it was time. We sensed Wally felt that way too.
Wally was a wonderful dog who brightened the days of thousands of dogs and people. As is evident from this website, he was a favorite of Laguna Beach’s Main Beach visitors and regulars, and was often greeted by name in his San Francisco neighborhood and while on bay front walks on Crissy Field. It’s safe to say he made the world a better place.
Comments from some of his many, many friends & acquaintances:
“Dear Wally, You have been a great dog. You are so fuzzy and your owner takes very good care of you…you are the best dog ever born. Thank you. Love, Gwen.” – (Gwen was a 5 year old who met Wally when he volunteered in youth reading programs in public libraries.)
“Wally was such a great dog!” – from a niece
“Wally was such a sweet dog and we will always think of his little tail wagging when he and Ruby would be whispering to each other.” – neighbors
“…the sweetest, happiest, most fun & loving wheaten around. I am so glad we knew Wally. A great dog!” Love, Sudy & Pippa
“Dear Wally, Thank you for being in my life.” Judith