4/4/2005 - 10/26/2018It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Lily on 10/26/18 at the age of 13. She peacefully passed at home surrounded by her favorite humans and canine companions after enjoying a 2 pound rib eye steak, tons of treats, and lots of attention and loves.

Lily’s favorite pastimes were watching tv, being with her people, chasing dogs, squirrels, and birds, trail adventuring, and snuggling. Lily was my greatest companion, traveling with me as we journeyed through national forests and the beaches of the west coast. She was my guiding light during the darkest of days.

Lily had a long list of friends and admirers, including those who live on the streets, in memory impairment facilities, and in senior facilities where she gave her attention and love to those in need. Lily was eagerly greeted and remembered by countless establishments we visited, who would often have doggie treats on hand just for her. Lily created a fan club where ever she traveled, so much so that people would approach me if I were alone on the streets or bus and say “Hey, aren’t you the lady with that sweet dog who walks weird? How is she doing?”

Lily was the first dog to provide me with medical assistance, catapulting me into a whole new world where I found purpose, joy, and meaning like no other. We were so close and connected that she trained me on what an assistance animal was, and how I can benefit from having one in my life. For this alone I will be eternally grateful.

Lily had a brain disorder, cerebellar hypoplasia, which made it physically challenging to keep her balance, be aware of where her paws were, and move like other dogs. This didn’t stop her though, and to the contrary she inspired many people through her life. Lily was a happy, compassionate, gentle, affectionate, and devoted dog all around.

My most vivid memories of how Lily touched others were two separate instances in downtown Portland. The first happened on the bus when we were sitting kitty corner to a lady experiencing what looked like a schizophrenic episode. She was picking apples off of a tree only she could see, all while mumbling how she needed to hurry before it got too dark to make the trek home. At one point while she was bending down picking up imaginary apples off of the ground, Lily leaned towards her and gently touched the back of her hand, something Lily never had before done with a stranger. The woman immediately stopped and looked at Lily, then at me, and proceeded to enjoy the rest of our bus ride in fully coherent conversation about the dogs she had own during her lifetime and what powerful creatures they were. When my stop arrived, I told her goodbye, and she asked if she could pet Lily. I agreed. As I walked down the isle to depart the bus, I could hear the woman continue her apple picking. This is only one example of how Lily had this amazing magically power of pulling those she engaged with into the present, where they could be at their best.

The second memory also involved someone who looked to be experiencing homelessness. I was on course to take Lily to one of the few parks in the area so she could relieve herself. It was a good trek for Lily. About half way there I started to notice a gentleman going the same direction as us (I never walked in a straight path but instead zipped and zagged at ever street corner to add a little spice to our routine walks). The gentleman slowly gained pace and finally reached us one block away from the potty park. He politely asked if he could pet her. I’m not a fan of strangers, nor of them loving on my dog, so I hesitated. He proceeded to explain how life challenges had gotten the best of him; that he was at the lowest point of his life. He felt that he didn’t have the strength or courage to fight these challenges any longer and he was on his way to jump off one of the many bridges crossing the Willamette river when he saw Lily. In an awestruck kind of voice he said, “I had just finished praying...that if I was to continue living, God would give me a sign; a sign that I could push through [my challenges]. Then when I opened my eyes there was your sweet dog. I watched as she crossed the street, struggling to get down and up the curb.” The man paused while staring at Lily with this sense of purpose and direction, “Ma’am, you see, I figure if your beautiful dog here can not only have the courage to walk proudly down the street, but do it with such a big smile, then I got no room for complaining or giving up. I want to thank her for that. Thank her for being her.” I let him not only pet Lily, but hug her before we continued on our journey. Lily had a way of drawing out the evils others were succumbed by, sometimes for just a brief moment, other times for much longer.

These stories are not outliers, Lily had this amazing ability to draw people to her, whether it was while she was volunteering at senior citizen centers and memory units, accompanying me at work and my outings, or just laying in our front yard. Lily had the ability to allow others to open up and pour out their hearts to a stranger. The ability to feel whole, even if for just a brief moment. This, was Lily’s superpower.

A piece of Lily will remain with ever human and animal alike who was blessed to know her. Goodbye my dearest sweet friend. May I never forget the feelings of unconditional love you showered me with every moment we were together, and while apart.
Portland, OregonJune 11, 2019
Light a Candle

Submit a candle