‘Wind In The Willows”
August 2001 was a memorable year with many changes and significant events in our family’s life. Of most significance, however, was the arrival of Willow, our beautiful golden retriever puppy. The anticipation of meeting our little roly-poly ball of fur was such that we wasted no time after arriving home from a seven hour flight from Europe to drive to Wolfe Island to pick her up.
Having lost our 11 year old golden retriever, Athena, in February, 2001 we were ready by August to welcome a new puppy, with all her exuberance, energy and life; she did not disappoint! This seemingly quiet and innocent little girl wasted no time settling in and showing us that she was going to be a force to be reckoned with! Her favourite activity in those first few days was to grab the toilet paper from the roll and run, wrapping all furniture and other objects, including the family cat, as her feet took her sailing around the entire main floor. She only stopped when the paper tore or she flopped down for a rest, completely tuckered out.
We have so many wonderful memories of Willow over our 14 years together, camping trips, road trips to the east coast, visits to cottage country and other places and many, many family gatherings. She was truly one of our family, not just our immediate but our extended one. Her gentle, calm and loving personality, her excellent manners and “strikingly good looks” made her a perfect house guest and as such resulted in open invitations to all significant events and get togethers. There is not a picture from Christmas, birthdays, and other family gatherings where Willow is not present. We used to laugh because she always appeared eager and ready to pose when the camera appeared; and photogenic she was, as is evident by the more than 400+ pictures we have discovered in the last few days.
As our family has grown over the past 14 years with daughter / son in laws, grandchildren and grand ”kitties”, Willow was there welcoming them all. Our 3 year old grandson always asked for “Wiwoh” each Sunday when we Skype. Willow was always excited when the kids would visit because it meant an endless supply of food that she would not, so subtly, steal from their little hands or the floor as she passed by the highchair!
Speaking of food, Brian always made sure that Willow was lean and trim with a good diet and lots of walks. Brian’s explicit instructions about keeping Willow on her regular eating regime clearly were missed by our daughter while we were travelling in Greece and Italy in 2009. Upon our return she was waddling and had to go on a diet!!! ( …. ” but dad, I only gave her the occasional piece of toast”!!!!). The hugs and snuggles that she got during that stay with Meg, however, outweighed the extra pounds that she gained
No truer testament to Willlow’s gentle and calm disposition was when she was around my mom, who lived to a ripe young age of 102. From the time Willow was a young dog she instinctively knew that calmness and gentleness were the order of the day when Nanny was visiting. She would sit by her side gently leaning against her waiting for those soft pats that came her way. It seems fitting that Willow and Nanny both lived a long, fruitful and healthy life; they were like 2 “peas in a pod”… gentle, sweet and kind. We have comfort knowing that they are together again.
Willow’s presence in front of (or sometimes) in our garden welcoming all who passed by made her a fixture and somewhat of a celebrity on our street. There were many tears shed this weekend as news spread throughout the neighbourhood about her passing.
The sadness and grief that comes with losing a pet is dreadful but we know that the greatest gift we can give them is to let them go and free them of suffering. Willow deserved no less. Her passing in Brian’s arms was a most befitting way for them to say goodbye given the incredible relationship that they shared.
For 27 years we have entrusted our pets health care to the Brockville Animal Hospital. You have always been there providing support, sound advice, compassion, and professional care for all of our pets. You instil confidence through your knowledge and ongoing commitment to keeping abreast of latest research and information relative to your profession.
Willow was always happy to visit the animal hospital to see Jim, Corrine, Tracy and all the other staff. While the treats were an added bonus we believe that animals know how to distinguish the good people……and good people you are!! Willow loved her newest BFF, Satori, who with Jim, Brian and I comforted Willow as we said goodbye this past Saturday.
Words don’t seem adequate to express our appreciation for the wonderful care that every one of you at the clinic provided Willow and our other pets over the years, so we will simply say THANK YOU!!
Willow, we will always love you and hold memories of your “wonderfulness” in our hearts.
Dorothy and Brian