Golden Retriever
Picture of Lady, a female Golden Retriever

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Home:Lucernemines/Indiana/Johnstown, a  [I have a diary!]  
Sex: Female   Weight: 51-100 lbs

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   Leave a bone for Lady

Lady-bug, stinky, Old lady, Ma'am, Lady-bear

Quick Bio:
-purebred-pound dog

September 14th 1991

Lying in the sun, swimming, being petted, FOOD!

Nothing. Very easy to please dog.

Favorite Toy:
Anything edible, most things not. Favorite was cat toys, 'specially mice

Favorite Food:
ANYTHING, even some things not food.

Favorite Walk:
By the lake, as long as it wasn't a long walk. ;)

Best Tricks:
She only knew "sit" :)

Arrival Story:
I was working that the Humane Society here when a matted, sad looking old golden retriever was brought in as a stray. As I filled out her paperwork, the name "Lady" came to my mind. She was at the shelter for just days and my manager talked of putting her down because she was arthritic and had some other health issues that made kennel life hard for her. My heart ached to see her laying on the concrete floor and struggling to stand, but I thought that she still had a lot of life left in her eyes. I asked to be allowed to foster her until she could find a home. I was reluctantly given permission to take her and so Lady came home with me. She went to a vet and other than arthritis and probable hip dysplasia, she got a clean bill of health and the vet thought she'd live happily for at least 6 more months. I was informed the next day that someone had shown interest in meeting her and was asked if I could arrange to take Lady to the shelter to see them. I broke into tears and admitted how hard I'd fallen for her. That was the end of that and I signed the adoption papers that day. Lady would always know she was home.

Lady could never climb the stairs in our house, so we outfitted the first floor to be like a doggy apartment for her. Scatter rugs in the kitchen helped her stay upright on the linoleum, the water was always fresh in there. She had comfy beds all over the place and we even bought a small loveseat that folded out onto the floor so she had a big comfy bed to lay on. We put nightlights in each room, including an actual flourescent bulb in a lamp in the living room, so she could get to the kitchen for a drink if needed. We sometimes slept downstairs to be with her. She loved going for walks but made sure I knew when she was ready to turn back! She liked to splash in water at the lake but sadly we didn't find that out in time to make it a regular event. She was hard of hearing and hard of sight but listened very well. She cooperated with me more than her daddy, which always made us smile. She brought such joy and meaning to our lives. She would play with Sally as if she forgot how old she really was! She would eat cat toys and her motto was "eat first, ask questions later!" just like any golden I've met. She was gentle and beautiful and if you look closely at her pictures, you may be able to see her wonderful soul in those cloudy eyes. Lady was with us from September 26th, 2003 until September 14th, 2004- just 12 days before her one year anniversary with us. I'd like to think that her last year was the best year of her life- it was mine. RIP Lady, we love you, still. :(

Forums Motto:
Eat first, ask questions later.

I've Been On Dogster Since:
April 27th 2005 More than 11 years!

Rosette, Star and Special Gift History

Dogster Id:

Meet my family
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An angel among us

Letter to Lady's first "family"

April 28th 2005 5:33 pm
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To the previous "family"- though I do not consider you as such- of an aging golden retriever affectionately referred to in her last days as "Lady," my name is Crystal. I want to let you know that my fiance and I carried out the responsibility that you could not. When Lady's life hung in the balance at the Indiana County Humane Society in Indiana, PA, we did what you refused to. We felt sympathy for her. We took her into our home, asking nothing of her and offering everything to her, and we loved her. We loved her as if we had been with her from the days when she was young. It's difficult to think of Lady as ever being a puppy, because we met her as an arthritic, seemingly ill, depressed old dog. From there she did not change much physically though her health improved somewhat and the depression waned, but in our hearts she only grew more and more beautiful. She became a part of our lives so important, so cherished, that I find it difficult to remember a time without her. We did this, when you cast her from her home to wander alone in a world too dangerous for her. I hated you for quite some time, because you could have, should have taken better care of her. I hated you because your cowardice and pride stopped you from doing the right thing and finding another home for her when you lacked the sincerity and love to care for her yourself. I hated you above all because it was obvious that she didn't care about those things, and that she was missing you all the same.

Lady never completely lost the sadness in her eyes that she had when she first arrived at the shelter. I don't know if she ever forgot you completely, but after a while I did. She was not an adopted part of our family any longer. She was just family, and seemed she always had been.

There was nothing that we would not do for Lady, whom you may have considered "your dog" but most certainly was not. We wanted the best for Lady and did our best to make sure she got it. She went to the vet regularly and received whatever medicine she needed regardless of cost or type. She went from being dependent on pain medicine to only needing it on cold, damp mornings. I want you to know that through sickness and depression, we were there for Lady. Right up until the end. And Lady loved us for it. We were not with her for the majority of her life, but we tried to make her last days the best. And Lady loved us for that. We returned that love as best as we could, and we were rewarded with a dog that extended her own life as much for us as for herself. When it was time for her to go, my boyfriend and I did the only thing we could. We both dropped to our knees, cradled her in our arms, and petted her and stroked her as she said goodbye to this world that should have treated her better. I held her head in my lap, knowing the exact moment when her soul left her body and she was free to go home, feeling her legs finally strong again beneath her. I was the one who kissed her, not you. I was the last person she saw. Not you. Never you, because when it became too tough for you to carry the responsibility for this gentle old Lady, you tossed her out onto the street to die. And she did, but not when you'd planned. And when she died, she was MY friend, MY companion, MY dog. Not yours. And you'll never know the miracles that she was capable of, because you did not care to see.

That day, twelve days before the one-year anniversary of her acclimation into our family, my beautiful Lady passed away. Had I known that I would only have her in my life for a such a short time before feeling the heartbreak of her loss, I would have changed nothing.

So to the people who Lady called her "family" before she walked into my life, thank you.


Poems in memory of Lady

April 28th 2005 11:06 am
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They say memories are golden
well maybe that is true.
I never wanted memories,
I only wanted you.

A million times I needed you,
a million times I cried.
If love alone could have saved you
you never would have died.

In life I loved you dearly,
In death I love you still.
In my heart you hold a place
no one could ever fill.

If tears could build a stairway
and heartache make a lane,
I'd walk the path to heaven
and bring you back again.

Our family chain is broken,
and nothing seems the same.
But as God calls us one by one,
the chain will link again.

Author unknown


I Loved You Best
Copyright © Jim Willis 2002,
all rights reserved

So this is where we part, My Friend,
and you'll run on, around the bend,
gone from sight, but not from mind,
new pleasures there you'll surely find.

I will go on, I'll find the strength,
life measures quality, not its length.
One long embrace before you leave,
share one last look, before I grieve.

There are others, that much is true,
but they be they, and they aren't you.
And I, fair, impartial, or so I thought,
will remember well all you've taught.

Your place I'll hold, you will be missed,
the fur I stroked, the nose I kissed.
And as you journey to your final rest,
take with you this...I loved you best.

The Messenger
Copyright Jim Willis 2001

I dreamed I came upon a meadow
sunlit and fragrant, a small dog at my side.
As we walked on in silence I saw
across the blue ribbon of a river, a field,
where animal spirits licked the morning dew
from brilliant poppies...basked in sunshine...
batted at butterflies.

"Is this Heaven?" I asked.
He nodded yes and as we rounded a bend in the path,
I saw ahead a wondrous garden
surrounded by a halo of mist,
where animals and children lay among the flowers.
Cool breezes rustled leaves
and over all hung an aura of beauty and peace.

"Is this Heaven, too?" I asked.
"An honored place," he said, "for those who lived
a Hell on Earth - who died of neglect, torture,
unloved, unwanted and abandoned."

We walked on until we came to a precipice
that overlooked a dark canyon.
Lightning crashed above the horizon
and illuminated iron prisons on the desert floor.
I heard the wails of captive men,
the screams of women imploring for water,
railing against the absence of Light amidst an acrid smoke.

Before I could ask he answered, "These were their tormentors."

We continued solemnly
until the sound of laughter and music greeted us,
and we came upon a village square,
where carefree women, children and men played at games,
or walked arm in arm.
"They are happy," I said.
He agreed and replied, "These were their rescuers.
They are blessed above all."

I spent time among them until I awoke, bathed in a new peace.
For whatever this Earthly day may bring,
I knew that no wrongful deed goes unpunished,
nor is any saving grace without its reward.

I hugged my small dog closer to my chest
and blessed him as a messenger of truth and love.

Promises Kept
Copyright Jim Willis 2001

You run in different fields now. Effortless.
You jump and play with wild abandon. Painless.
Eternally young and carefree. Timeless.

There is a shroud over my heart. Darkness.
Days are longer and empty without you. Cheerless.
I still keep your pillow next to my bed. Sleepless.

The years march on. Ceaseless.
The memories never wane. Impervious.
I feel the moment of my fading, then...Brightness.

We run in different fields now. Effortless.
We jump and play with wild abandon. Painless.
Together for all eternity. Glorious.

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