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some more HarrietAugust 14, 2009

This is a guest post by Lala, who still has not fixed her own blog.

Harriet&me_kiss It was love at first sight when I met Harriet. I got her the weekend after my honeymoon - not the one with The Knitter, the first one, with Aura (aka The Late Mrs. Smartyboots). We'd been talking about getting a dog, and I wanted a weiner dog. I woke up that Saturday and said "Let's go see if Milo Foundation has a weiner dog for us today!" And they did! Well, a dachshund-cocker spaniel mix. (She had the best qualities of both breeds - the dachshund trait of having one person who is THEIRS, and also the cocker spaniel trait of loving everyone. They sound like they don't go together, but they did.)  All the volunteers were so happy that she found a home because they all loved her (in fact Milo volunteers continued to recognize her for years after she came to live with me) and it's hard to find a home for an older dog. At the time I had estimates of her age as anything from 9 to 12 years old, but I decided she was 9 because she acted like a puppy. 


Harriet_party About six months later, Aura died of skin cancer at age 24. There's no way I can convey how devastated I was. Harriet had taken great care of Aura when she was sick, matching her energy level and being such a sympathetic companion, and she did the same for me. Walking with her was the only bright spot in my days back then. Watching her get so much joy rolling in the same damn patch of grass in the park across the street every day would always make me smile. She used to go to my grief support group with me, and inevitably cheered everyone up, at least a little. 

Harrietm&m1_bed We went through so many things together in the last eight years and a month. So many moves, so many couches slept on, a new puppy (who I thought she would hate, but since I liked Miss Idaho I guess that meant Harriet could tolerate her), girlfriends, cats, hairstyles, another new dog (Clara added years to her life, I'm certain of it), her own backyard. Once she gallantly protected me from a big mean pit bull in west Oakland. She was my unfailing companion at social events where I would have otherwise been too shy to talk to anyone. When I met The Knitter, Harriet took to her immediately - she even rated Harriet's trademarked Ecstatic Greeting, which made you feel like a combination movie star and ice cream truck and whatever the other most awesome thing you can think of is. For her part, Rachael immediately started letting Harriet spend the night at her house with me, and discovered the joys of having a dog. 

Harriet&rnap Harriet was no spring chicken when we met, so of course she slowed down over the years, but up until the last year or so I was able to point at her tell people at the dog park "She's 12 years old!" (and 13, 14, etc) and see a look of amazement on their faces. And hope - everyone wants their dog to live a long and active life like Harriet's. In the last year she started Getting Old. She was incontinent, or at least wasn't remembering where the right place to pee was, so she couldn't sleep on the bed with us anymore. I knitted her a special blanket for her dog bed in the living room. Cleaning up after her was a pain, but it was the least I could do after everything she'd done for me. She was deaf, and would sometimes wander away and get lost at the dog park, so I'd find myself running after, waving my arms and calling her name till she saw me and trotted back.

Harriet_tidepool When I got laid off one of the upsides was that I would get to spend more time with Harriet, because I knew she wasn't going to live forever (even though it was starting to seem like she might). In the last month or so I started to wonder about her quality of life - her trademark joie de vivre was ebbing. She slept a lot and sometimes had to be coaxed to eat her nasty prescription dog food. Then last week we couldn't get her to eat at all. We took her to the vet hoping they would find something that could be treated easily with antibiotics or something, but no. She'd lost 5 pounds, too. The vet said we could hospitalize her and hydrate her, but there's no way I was going to put an 18 year old dog who hates the vet through that, so we took her home. Harriet_running I finally got her to eat by offering her awesome stuff (and she somehow managed to find some chicken bones on the sidewalk, which is unusual in our neighborhood - I think the universe sent them for her). She bounced back a little but not much. She was already suffering enough, and I didn't want to wait until she was in acute pain - The Knitter and I have both already seen that with humans, and we weren't about to put Harriet through that. On her last day she got cat food for breakfast, and we shared some smoked salmon and laid on the bed and read for a while. Then we went to the dog park and she got some of my bagel with cream cheese. Everyone complimented her. I had to carry her back to the car, but I think she enjoyed it. Then she got her own special raw tri-tip, and we went to the vet and said goodbye. That may be the hardest thing I've ever done. 

I was so lucky to have Harriet. When I got her I wanted a dog because the people I saw at the dog park on the way to work seemed to be having a lot more fun than I was - I had no idea how much I would love having a dog. Harriet was a dog who made everyone smile and got along with everyone (unless you were a cat or wanted to keep her from eating something she found on the sidewalk). I know your dog is nice, but Harriet was the best little dog in the whole world. I got to live with her a lot longer than I expected and I'm supremely grateful for that. I'll always miss her. 

Nobleharriet

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Comments

You two really know how to make a girl cry, don't you? I'm so glad you were both able to experience that kind of love with her and that she got so lucky as to have you in the later part of her life. What a lovely way to go out, if only we could all call it a day the way she did.

Thank you so much for being open and sharing your grief with your readers. I know in the years I've been reading this blog I really feel like all of your critters are a part of my own family. <3

Much Love to you both (and furbabies, who'll miss her as well).

that was really beautiful. thanks.

This made me cry - I'm so sorry for your loss. Harriet seems to have been the perfect companion and friend.

This is such an amazing tribute to Harriet. She really wad the perfect dog, and it sounds like you guys really needed each other. So many hugs to you and Rach, Lala - my heart is hurting for you guys.

I am so sorry you lost your sweet Harriet. She was a true companion, and I hope all your loving memories of her help stave off your sadness.

I'm blubbering like a baby reading Lala's post as Janie Sparkles naps on the couch next to me. I have never lost a pet, so I can't imagine the grief in your house. Please surround yourself with love know that your lives and Harriet's were both better for having each other.

I am so sorry. I know she's looking down on all of you and will always be with you. I know it.

Lala, this is a beautiful tribute to Harriet. You made me cry, dude. My heart goes out to you and Rachael, and Miss Idaho and Clara. I'm glad you all have each other.

And thanks for reminding me not to lose patience with Frankie dog, who recently started to slow down and forget things.

Take care,
Kathie

So sorry Lala, what a terrible thing to go through. I am sure that her years with you were her happiest, and the same for yours with her. Sending big doggie hugs

With love and sympathy. I'm so grateful for people who love their animals. Thank you.

oh Lala. oh Rachel. I am so sorry to see Miss Harriet go. She was such a good girl.

She lived a long life. And she knew how much you loved her. What more could one ask for?

My mom's pup Patience died last month. I know exactly how you feel.

Oh, Lala...you brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad that you and Harriet had each other for as long as you did...you were truly meant to be together. Thanks for sharing your love story.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Harriet sounds like such a wonderful dog - your heart dog. My Shannon sends licks and doggie kisses and the all-over body wiggle.

Beautiful post Lala...thanks

Lala, this was a wonderful story! So sweet and so loving and so real.

Thank you for sharing this part of your journey, as you (both) have so unselfishly shared the fun parts of your lives, too!

xoxo

Losing pets is...well, not the worst, but it's up there. Our hearts go out to you two and your furry family.

-Lynn, Chance, Abby, Petri and baby Monsoon

Hi there,
I have been reading your blog for a while, really love it so thank you. I too love books, yarn and my dogs. The joy of loving a dog and being loved by a dog is special and something that we always carry with us. Grief is the price we pay for love and for being loved but we know that they made our lives better and that the fun days had running and playing together will be there forever. Take care and and thanks for sharing what a fantastic and loved dog she was.

Sending you my love and one giant hug from the other side of Oakland, Chez Hehu. I have lost pets that meant the world to me and I know Harriet meant the world to you. Thank you for telling us the story of your life together, it is a tribute fit for the queen that she was.

xoxo
Cheryl

Thank you for sharing with us what a wonderful, special member of your family she was. Many hugs to you and Rachael.

thank you for sharing such a beautiful, beautiful story, and now I'm totally bawling...you gave her such a wonderful loving home and in return she gave you more than you ever expected - may we all be so lucky to have such special souls in our lifetimes...love to all and p.s. I love those pictures you posted! La you are such a pretty woman, inside and out...

What a beautiful tribute to Harriet...

I have three dogs that I love very much, but my Allie girl is the dog of my heart, and not a day goes by that I'm not amazed that I get to share my life with her. A dog can share your life with you in a way that sometimes even those humans who are close to you never can...

There will never be another Harriet.

Many, many hugs to you...

Lovely. Maybe there are 2 writes there.
I have no kids, but my ex husband wanted dogs, so we got them, and I fell madly in love. The helped me through the divorce. ANd they died last year.
I will say a prayer that your beloved Harriet will have a peaceful spirit and you will find peace.
( we don't just love the KNitter. We love Lala, too)

OH, OH, OH....Lala, Rachel, I'm so sorry. Harriet was so lucky to have you. What a beautiful remembrance of a lovely dog. I'm so sorry.

That was so beautiful - I'm here crying.

I'm so sorry for your loss. You gave her the best life, full of love. She was a very lucky pup.

A fantastic tribute to Harriet, I'm so sorry she's gone.

Goodbye Harriet.

What a beautiful tribute to your loyal and beloved friend. Thank you for sharing your wonderful stories. I am so glad you found each other and created so many memories. You provided the best life possible for Harriet, I'm sure she was the happiest dog ever.

I am so very sorry for your loss.

Hugs for you and Rachael.

Hugs to you both. Thinking about the sweet dog I lost to cancer. And glad that you had that lovely last day all together.

so so sorry. I am in India until September 11 and will offer up tributes for Harriet today.

Hugs, and comfort

I'm so sorry for your loss, It sounds like you shared a truly wonderful bond with Harriet, and I'm sure you and Rachael will miss her very much.

Thanks Lala, I enjoyed hearing more about Harriet (and you).
I am very sorry.
I've been thinking of you and The Knitter and Harriet and all my dogs, missing the ones who are gone, all day.

I am so sorry for your loss. We have lost so many little babies, all so special to us. It never gets any easier. Our hearts are with you both.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Your post about Harriet is beautiful. I know how very, very hard it is to have to make decisions about elderly, unwell pets.

Hugs and pats on heads from Seattle.

Oh, my goodness. Such a lovely and loving tribute. I'm crying here. I hope we are all lucky enough to have a dog like Harriet someday (though I know to you there is no other dog like Harriet), and that all doggies are lucky enough to have people like the two of you.

thank you for sharing your story with us. we also found our dog at MF and are grateful for her. We hope that we'll have her around for as long as you guys had Harriet. sending you big hugs. xoxo.

Oh my darlings. I do know the exquisite joy and pain of loving and losing a furkid. Our lives are so much richer for having them and they leave such a gaping hole when they go.

I send my love.

And I'll hug my furkids a little tighter tonight for our Harriet.

Big, huge hugs to you all. Harriet was a true gem.

Oh, Lala, however long it is, it's always too short. Thanks for telling Harriet's story. hugs.

Rest in Peace Harriet and know you were SO very loved by all of your Mommies.

So sorry Lala and Rachael, as a dog owner have some inkling to how very much you both loved her.

RIP Harriet.

Sending big hugs to both of you. Remember all the good times you and Harriet had - you have lots of pictures and memories; hold them near your heart.

My Katja sends her love too, and a lean-on-your-leg to comfort you.

I'm so sorry - I have enjoyed all of the Harriet posts and pictures and videos. She was obviously a dog who brought joy, and received it from you two.

just the most wonderful thing ever. thank you, Lala.

Wow. Such a beautiful tribute. I am sitting here crying, and I think my heart may have broken a little for the both of you. Wishing you comfort.

This is a beautiful tribute to the best dog ever! Thanks so much for sharing. I am so sorry Harriet is gone--I know you and Rachael will miss her like crazy, but you have wonderful memories that will comfort you.

Oh Lala, I know exactly what you mean, it is the very hardest thing you will have to do, but you do it for them. It is really the most unselfish thing you will also ever do. I had to let my beloved Tyler go just after Christmas 2005 and I thought I would die... the hurt was almost unbearable. Hugs to you both and thank you for loving Harriet so much, she knew it every day she spent with you.

I'm so sorry for you loss, but so happy that you had the opportunity to have Harriett as your companion all these years. I will keep you all in my thoughts.

Lala & Rachel,
I'm sending you both love and peace. And I'm going to hug both my dogs, who have been driving me crazy since last night. I'm going to stop being annoyed with them and give them scritches and love. How lucky Harriet was to have you both, and how lucky you both are to have had her.

So sorry for your loss. And, yes, I am crying.

My heart is so breaking for you...

Rest in Peace Sweet Girl.

I read this morning: the price of love is grief. Thanks for a lovely lovely post.

OH, I'm so sorry. I really am.

Tears shed and love felt over Harriet, all the way over here in Sweden. That dog has spread her love through you guys wide and far!

I'm so sorry for your losses and appreciate your sharing this amazing story. We're going to be facing that tough decision over the coming months with our lab Cheddar, whose arthritis in combination with another Michigan winter may be too much for him. I keep telling myself that I do not have the courage to face this choice, but I know we human beans are made of tuffer stuff than we realize. Thanks again and love to you both. (and the rest of ye beasts)

Adding my voice to say, "I'm so sorry." I, too, know what it's like to have to make that choice to say goodbye when "it's time." So difficult, even though we know it's best for them.

What a lovely tribute to a wonderful friend. I've enjoyed seeing her pictures all along and thought she looked like such a lovey. Hugs, good thoughts, comfort in knowing you made her life wonderful, too.

I am very sorry for your loss. Harriet was a great dog.

Lala, thank you for sharing Harriet's story. Knowing now that she was a dachshund-cocker mix, I'm sure she was the best dog in your world. My mom's Jake was the same mix (we think), and he was definitely the best dog ever in my world. I'm not much of a dog person, but if I could find another dog like Jakie, I would adopt him/her immediately. I know, too, how hard it is, even though you know that it's time, to know that you're doing the best thing you can for your pet, to finally let go. You and Rachael are in my thoughts.

I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved doggie. I am giving my 3 doxies a big kiss right now, especially my 14 year old "Old Man" whom I can't remember my life without. Thank you for the beautiful memories.

What a wonderful tribute to a sweet little girl. I'm happy that you all had each other to love.

I knew better than to read this at work but I did it anyway. A beautiful tribute to a sweet and beautiful dog. If only the pain we feel from the loss didn't have to be as great as the love we feel from our pets during their lives. Sigh. Hugs to both of you!

Rachel, Lala and all the other critters,
You all have my very deepest sympathy. Such a wonderful dog! I have been there, many times.
Someday, if I ever meet you in person, I'll bore you with stories of my little old lady cat who lived to age 21 (or more, not sure!).

Beth

I am so, so sorry. Just... so very sorry. For your loss and theheart wrenching sorrow of losing someone so dear.
But I am so glad to think of how much she loved you two and you her. How joyous life was with such a special wonderful dog.

A lovely tribute. Like others, you got me sniffling.
My first kitty, who I got as a kitten when I was 5 and he was the best present in the world, died 2 years ago at over twenty years of age.
I cried so hard, though the event was much anticipated. There wasn't anything sad about the wonderful, overly indulged, long life that he'd lived, but it broke my heart that he would no longer be a part of my life. I no longer had the benefit of him.
Again, hugs and heartfelt sympathy to both of you. I have a notion of how much you will miss her.

Beautiful photos and words for Harriet (love the one of her running on the gravel). So sorry she is gone.

Like many others who posted here, this made me cry. Alot. As a pet owner, I dread facing a decision like this, although it's the right, humane decision.

Thanks for sharing beautiful Harriet and her history with us.

Peace to all at Chez Hehu.

I'm so sorry, both of you. If we humans are lucky, we get one pup in our whole lives that we love that much. Riley and Lewey send their love, too.

What a special little dog and what a gift she was to you and Rachael (and vice-versa).

That was beautifully written, those old girls are just the best dogs ever. I hope Miss Harriet is enjoying the company of all the old girls who found loving homes late in life in heaven.

I thought I had finished crying for you and Harriet but apparently there's some left. I'm so sorry.

Thank you, Lala. Just...thank you. You're wonderful.

What a lovely girl. So sorry.

Harriet was an awesome awesome dog, and this is a very good tribute.

Please accept my belated condolences (at first, I typed "bleated" which I thought you'd like too).

So sorry for you loss! Sitting here again crying. We had Josy put to sleep in July and am so missing her. She was 13/14 and still fit, got sick and after two days we had to say goodbye. It hurt so much and I fell in such a deep black howl. I love how you spoiled Harriet on her last day. We can be so glad that we can help our beloved pets in the end and stop them from suffering.
I am not here very often (here means online and reading blogs) but I always enjoy ypur dog pics and stories.

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