4/23/2007 - 8/8/2020Our dog Journey was a beauty! She had a slim face; expressive, almond-shaped eyes; and perky, pointy ears. Her soft, plush fur was jet black with distinctive white markings. She had an aristocratic bloodline and acted the part. Journey was stately and majestic.

Unlike many pups, who are separated from their mothers very young, Journey spent two full years with her real mom and grandma, learning how to be a proper Belgian sheepdog. She had a human family, also, who took excellent care of her. But at the age of two, she was ready for adoption, and that’s when my life changed for the better.

Everything I learned about Journey convinced me that she was perfect for our family. I drove from Illinois to Ohio to get her. But when she arrived home, there was a little hitch. She had not lived with any men, so she didn’t know what to make of her new, burly, 6’ 4” dad. She barked at him for two weeks straight, all day long, and she thoroughly enjoyed doing it! She would stand beside the bed in the morning, panting with anticipation, just waiting for Dad to get up so she could resume barking at him. Something had to be done, so finally, my husband gathered her in his arms, held her in a bear hug, and did not let go until she stopped bucking and squirming several minutes later. It worked like a charm! She loved him from that moment on and claimed him as her favorite cuddle partner.

Although Journey was aloof to strangers, she was exceptionally affectionate to us. She stuck to us like Velcro, always following us or lying right beside, making frequent eye contact. She gave us long sponge baths every day with her warm, pink tongue. We teased her that she couldn’t hold her “licker.” But she expected rubs in return and would twist and contort herself to show us each part she wanted scratched or petted, whether her belly or her armpit.

I guess we all acknowledged Journey as the boss of the house. When the kids were little, she used her shepherding instincts to herd them in the back yard, tripping them or nipping their ankles if necessary. They accepted it cheerfully. To me, she was a personal trainer, pulling me through long walks (4 ½ miles a day, in her prime). People would often laugh that she was taking ME for a walk, but I didn’t care—the walks were for her enjoyment, not mine. We went to great lengths to keep Journey happy. When she developed an appetite for socks and underwear, we didn’t scold her much but just made sure to “Journey-proof” the house and keep the doors and hampers closed.

Journey had her quirks, for sure. She was terrified of our waffle iron, which was especially strange, since she was Belgian. She disapproved of dancing and the kids’ piano practice. She hated car rides and wearing sweaters. Unlike most dogs, she had no interest in squirrels. She chased skunks exclusively—and endured several baking-soda-and-peroxide baths as a result.

Journey had a great sense of humor. She enjoyed sneaking up and flipping our forearms with her nose. (It wasn’t so funny when I was holding a cup of tea!) She got very excited opening presents, sticking her whole head in the gift bag and rooting around under the tissue paper to find her treasure. She loved crunching apple slices and licking ice cream. Journey was a character, through and through.

Unfortunately, at age 13, lymphoma got the better of her. On August 8, 2020, Journey left behind a grieving family, a still-beloved early-puppyhood family, several caring veterinarians, a devoted dogsitter, a fond groomer, and a neighborhood of people who still ask where she is. That girl was truly unforgettable. She lives forever in our hearts.
Mary BonatzSchaumburg, IllinoisSeptember 8, 2020
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Journey was one special girl. Although I only knew her for a short time, I could tell just how much her family loved her and how much she loved her family. It was an honor to help her transition peacefully and to share stories about her life with her family. Journey will forever be in the hearts of everyone that knew her.Tyler Johnston - September 10, 2020
What a beautiful tribute to an exceptional dog. I’m sorry for the sadness her passing brings. We were all lucky to have been touched by her light.Sheila Newenham - September 10, 2020
What a beautiful tribute to Journey. Through teary eyes I laughed out loud at “she was terrified of the waffle iron which was strange because she was Belgian” 😁

I was Journey’s dog sitter and it was an honor to be a part of her life. She was part of our family and we loved her so. She was gorgeous! A loving soul. A well behaved girl who was very vocal about wanting attention. Lol!

We will never forget her. Xoxoxo

Rest In Peace sweet Journey. ❤️
Connie Ashley - September 9, 2020
Journey, we loved you so! You will never be forgotten.Mary Bonatz - September 9, 2020

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