Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My precious boy has passed away

Oliver Winston Mullen Ballard
1994 – 2010

Last night, shortly after midnight, my little Oliver slipped from his sedated sleep and into the forever-after. Yesterday morning, concerned that the end was near, I contacted his former mama, Kelly, who was able to come to say her goodbyes. She brought with her some pictures of a young Oliver, his sweet serious eyes so easily recognizable. We carried him to the garden where she sat with him in the evening sun, a light breeze kissing his fur, while I took Sadie and Charley for a walk on the beach. Then we changed his bedding, covered him gently, and over a cup of coffee we talked about the joy he brought to both our lives.

Oliver, my funny little polar bear, my happy-dance dog, my little old man. You came to me in September 2008, uncertain, deaf, visually impaired, and showing the beginnings of Canine Cognitive Disorder. Your CCD became worse but your personality exploded to envelop me and all who met you.

You made me laugh, you frustrated me, you melted my heart, you kept me on my toes – quite literally, as I rescued you from behind doors and under tables and beneath beds.

You loved the pasture on the farm, racing ahead with Sadie to eat the alpaca and piggy poops. But you adjusted well to the move to the island and went from refusing to walk past the end of the driveway that first day, to walking down to the beach and all the way along the front – always going for a little dip in the water, my hand firmly on your leash to guide you back.

And I promised to keep you safe forever.

But that promise was broken when I hired someone I thought I could trust, someone who works with dogs every day, someone I explained your disabilities to, but I didn’t spell out for her that you must not go off leash. And so she let you off leash on the beach and you ran into the water and became lost in the ocean. And despite her running in to get you, and despite the aftercare I gave you, you could not recover and now you are gone.

I am so sorry I failed you, my precious boy. You had so much life left in you, and there was no need for it to end this soon.

Some may say sixteen years is a long life for a dog. But I say it is far, far too short.

If I could rewrite history, I would never leave you again.

We kissed your soft fur
And our tears washed your face
As your spirit slipped gently away
But love held you near
As our hearts broke in two.
At the Bridge we will see you one day.

Your mamas, Jean and Kelly


Janice Gillett said...

Oh Jean, I am so sorry!!!

Anonymous said...

I am weeping with you both Jean and Kelly... Oliver, you were one very special, precious little man. We will celebrate your life and the joy and smiles you brought on the weekend.


sobe said...

oh Jean, my heart goes out to you and I wish we could surround you and hug the pain away!


Sheryl said...

I am so sorry, Jean and Kelly.

From the stories you tell, I feel like I know him personally. He was a sweet, funny little guy.

Rest in Peace, Oliver.

Good dog!

Anonymous said...

Dear Jean and Kelly....My heart sank when I read your post today. I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Oliver. I am so thankful that I was priviledged enough to have met your handsome sweet boy. He was so loved by so many. We are sending you the biggest of hugs. Hugs and loves from Katherine and Possum xo

Black Jack's Carol said...

I am heartbroken for you, Jean. R.I.P dear little Polar Bear.

Jen said...

I am so sorry to hear this news Jean. My heart goes out to you and I wish I could bring him back for you.

Run free little Oliver... you'll truly be missed.

Jen and the Black Dog Crew

ruth said...

I am so sad and sorry to hear this news!!!
Oliver always had a special spot in my heart. He brought so much joy to me through your stories and I believe he found so much joy with you as well.

Huge virtual hugs to you, Jean, and to Kelly.

I will give my pack extra hugs in your memory today, Oliver.

Anonymous said...

Oh Jean I am so very sorry about your wonderful Oliver who brought so many smiles to me. I feel like I knew him through your blog and that favorite photo of him amidst the flowers. I'm grateful he had such a home with you, tears are flowing here. we will all remember Oliver. Sending hugs to all of there.Lynda

Anonymous said...

Dear Jean,

I am so very, very sorry for your loss - Oliver was indeed a very special little gentleman.

If there is a way to comfort you in the tiniest, please remember how very happy he was with you.


Karen said...

Jean, I am so very, very sorry for your loss of your Oliver. My heart is with you.

Dog Foster Mom said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

Of all your dogs I think Oliver was my favorite. He was such a funny little man with such character. I'll miss you sweet Olly.
My heart is breaking for you and Kelly.


Hunde Haus said...

So very sorry on your and your crew's loss Jean.

EvenSong said...

So sorry to you , Jean, and to Kelly. Oliver was such a character! RIP.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry! Oliver seemed to be so enjoying his life in your new home. My thoughts are with you and we will all miss your posts about him.


EvenSong said...

Another thought:
Jean, I don't think you (or your dog-sitter) should take any blame for what happened... I think, with the state the world's in these days, God just needed someone to do a "Happy Dance" for her each morning.

Jackson sends kisses for your heart.

shihtzustaff said...

Jean - I am very sorry for your loss. I know there is nothing that can be said in these situations. Know that you gave him the best life possible. Accidents happen. You must forgive yourself and not beat yourself up. Hold the others closer tonight.