Friday, July 17, 2009

Raleigh Bear


I'm so sorry to tell you that you will never get to meet your Raleigh Bear. Daddy and I just got back from the vet and the news was not good. Raleigh has cancer of the spleen and it has spread throughout his body. Daddy and I brought him home today so we could spend one last weekend with him, maybe take him swimming and play ball a bit, but we have to go back on Monday and we won't have him after that.

Raleigh enjoying the yard this June...he loves his yard and the ball!

My heart hurts so much right now. Raleigh has always been such a dear, sweet dog. He had a rough life before we were lucky enough to adopt him, and he helped heal my heart some after we lost Random. He has always loved food, pets and playing ball or swimming, and now he just really doesn't show interest in food. He's breathing heavily and though the doctor said though he's not in pain, he's certainly not comfortable. So, we're going to love on him and feed him steaks all weekend and see if he's up to swimming a little bit.

Raleigh on the deck today...looking tired, but still happy and eager to please.

This is hard! The vet suggested we just leave him there today, because there was nothing that can be done and it's just going to get worse. We just are going to have such a hard time on Monday because as uncomfortable as we know he is, he still is wagging his tail for us and wants to be near us. Making decisions that you know are for the best isn't always easy, but they are a part of life. My hope for you is that when you come to these types of decisions, you will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you've made all previous decisions in good faith and conscience, and directed by your moral compass--and that allows you some calm.

We adopted Raleigh in January of 2005 from the Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue. He was named Snorkel, and we couldn't understand why. Having a penchant for dog names having some significance, we changed it to Raleigh Snorkel--seeing as he came from Raleigh. Well, sort of. He actually was *rescued* from Raleigh but he was saved from a pound in Onslow County--where we lived!!! We drove all that way, but it was meant to be!

Raleigh's referral picture...he's always been very handsome!

He's checking out his new house...fresh after a haircut!

Our Random was not really sure of why we brought this new dog into the house, and honestly, Random was not the nicest to Raleigh in the beginning. He seemed to think Raleigh was sort of a 'dumb blonde' but that never phased Raleigh. He just grinned and gallumped around the house and loved every second of life. Eventually, Raleigh and Random learned that they were ok with being brothers, and I loved having my sweet boys. Raleigh lives for food, his ball and pets, and has such a gentle and calm spirit...most of the time.

Random seriously questioning our decision making skills...he couldn't believe Raleigh had the audacity to be so, well...goofy!

"Seriously?" Random always seemed to say...(this was our Easter picture that year!)

Raleigh was living the good life and Random was just thinking we were NUTS!

This was our Christmas card that year...

At Grandma's...finally accepting that the big goofy bear isn't *all* that bad...

Raleigh likes his ball a bit too much sometimes. When Raleigh is hunkered over his ball, it's best to just NOT mess with him. He'll "smile" at you if you do. "Smiling" comes from your cousin Ryan--who was making some gestures at Raleigh that Raleigh didn't like, but Ryan thought the raised lip was a smile, not a snarl! One of the things we've noticed lately is that Raleigh doesn't even seem to be too concerned with his ball anymore, and it's pretty easy for either me or Daddy to get it away from him.

Raleigh "Smiling" at Dixie...and she has never been daunted! He ONLY gave it up for her!

After Random died and we brought Dixie home, Raleigh really was concerned about what to do with that little furball. She was a spitfire, and bless his heart, he has always been so good about tolerating her! Up until recently, Dixie has been the only creature on earth that could ever take take a ball from Raleigh or get away with half of the stuff she does! He has come to love Dixie and she's going to be so sad without her big brother.

Dixie has never been afraid to play and Raleigh was a little unsure about this little girl!

Dixie desperately wishing she had her big brother's ball...
"WHEW...she makes me tired!"

Raleigh has a sweet heart and is a love. I am so sorry that he will not be *your* Raleigh Bear, as we have been so blessed to have him be ours.

One day, sadly, we'll have to have this conversation for your Dixie Belle, and you'll know that I will truly understand how your heart hurts. The worst part of pet ownership is this part...when you realize that he won't be with you anymore and you'll miss him so. Take comfort in this--the time you have is so worth it, though. The memories and joy and love and dedication that comes from having a pet (and especially a dog!) are *so* worth it.

Dixie's always loved her brother...

One of Daddy's favorite memories of Raleigh Bear...he loved that day with Uncle Kevin!


  1. What a beautiful post. I will be thinking of your dear Raleigh all weekend. He is the cutest thing.(I am crying and one of my three dogs, an Affenpincher, is jumping up on me, worried.) My Weimeraner is old and everyday I leave the house I give her an extra kiss and hug in case I don't see her again. She too is rescued, as are all my dogs. When I first met her at 4 months old, she was living in a small, filthy crate and had never been outside. She was afraid of everything, but over the years, became a confident and very spoiled girl. We even bought her her very own futon bed; a deluxe one. We have to lift her into it now because she can't jump anymore and refuses to use the ramp we got her. I admit that I get teary eyed all the time thinking about life without her, even though I initially told my husband, "no" to her, but he put his foot down, thankfully, and 12 years later, we're all still together! I always tell myself, never again will I get another dog. But of course, I do. In the end, they are worth every bit of pain when it's their time to go and knowing they've had the best life ever, as your Raleigh obviously has had.

  2. This is a beautiful tribute to Raleigh and a wonderful memory for Matthew. You had the love in your heart to take Raleigh into your life and give him the home he needed. He had the love in his heart to give you these memories. There's nothing so sweet as the love of a rescue dog.

  3. Well written Lori! Such a handsome boy Raleigh is! He looks like he's really smiling in many of the pictures. I am sad for you & John. Have a great weekend with Raleigh making memories!


  4. My heart feels for you! So hard to lose a pet....if only they could speak and say what hurts them....but they hide pain so well...I am so sorry you will lose that sweet boy....and I am sure Dixie will be heartbroken too. I am crying right now, as his pictures show how special he is! Prayers for you and yours! Lisa

  5. I'm praying for you & John this weekend as you hold tightly to your Raleigh Bear! I never got to meet him, but he always looked like he was so full of energy & fun - just like his mama! ;) I love you guys and pray God will comfort you with the peace only He can give.

  6. I could just feel the love pouring out of this post, and having had to make the same decision recently, I know your heartbreak. Raleigh is obviously just a loveable goofball -- the best kind of dog. I laughed out loud at many of the pictures of him, especially piled up on the bed and the Christmas card! I'm so sorry you are having to go through this right now. You know that my heart aches for/with you. I will be thinking of you especially on Monday. It's such a hard thing to do, but such a blessing to be able to hold and love them as they go -- knowing you didn't allow them to suffer and allowed them to pass in love. {{{hugs for you}}}

  7. Lori, I am so so sorry to hear about your dear sweet Raleigh. You know how I understand the sadness. I know that this weekend will be a mix of creating those sweet last memories with Raleigh and the pain of knowing that it is time to say goodbye to a faithful and loving friend.

    You and John did right by Raleigh and you can have some peace in knowing that the life you gave to him was truly a gift. I always loved Raliegh for his persistance on getting my attention to pet him some more and of course for his gentle nature.

    Your post was a kind tribute to your Raleigh and I know that Matthew will one day be a wonderfully compassionate person because his parents open their hearts in such amazing ways.

  8. I am so sorry that you are going through all of this. Raleigh really does seem like such a sweet dog. We have a 7.5 year old Bichon and I could not imagine my life without her. Just know I am thinking and praying for you as you enjoy your time with Raleigh.

  9. Lori,

    I hope you can enjoy this weekend, and I am so sorry you are going through this.

    It is so hard to lose a pet.



  10. Lori, my heart goes out to you. I recently found out one of my dogs has bladder cancer, though she may have a bit more time. My other dog is just old, not yet ill, but she is a Golden also and they are just the best.

    I'll be thinking of you on Monday.

  11. I'm so sorry Lori. I hope you will have a peace tomorrow.