Sunday, April 16, 2017

Tail from the Back Seat: Days of Walks and Greenies

The days of walks and Greenies
Smile and run away like a child at play
Through a meadow land toward a closing door
A door marked 'Nevermore' that wasn't there before

The lonely night discloses
Just a passing breeze filled with memories

Of the golden smile that introduced me to 

The days of walks and Greenies...and you
                           (Adapted from "Days of Wine and Roses" by Johnny Mercer)

Let me start by stating the obvious--in case you didn't notice--there is only one tail from the backseat...for now.
Karly--beautiful, bold, brave (and yes, sometimes bitchy)--my best buddy, backseat and otherwise, has died.

One day we were walking together...
The next day she was hobbling around, dragging her back foot...
The next day she "stayed home" all day relaxing in the warm sunshine...
And then there were no more days with Karly...
Now it's Just Jake.

    She died peacefully and on her terms.                                During her final days she ate only Greenies and barely drank water...her terms, of course.

Karly had a fun-filled glorious life of  nearly 13 years, quite a lifespan for a gal of her breed, size, and temperament--a bit "always on edge" compared to me.

Instagram's "thedogist" summarized us the best:


                                                                                         She was smart and sassy and enjoyed a bi-coastal life--from sea to shining sea--and for all of my 10 years I joined her on this adventure....

...and what a trip it was!

Fittingly (for a dog), Karly's life ended in the Chihuahuan Desert.
It makes me smile to think of her everlasting spirit--holding court over and chasing those little mutts around in Chihuahuan Desert Heaven--and those who knew and loved her best, know exactly what I mean!

P.S.  The backseat is just not the same anymore....

But don't worry, I'm just keeping a spot warm....

....for Wesson
(Born March 6, become part of the Vowell family on May 1, 2017)

EPILOGUE (by Susan)
One of my favorite authors is Edward Abbey. Traveling as much as we do in the Southwest, I feel as if I am "living" Abbey's writings.  My most favorite book is Desert Solitaire, given to me by a very dear friend/fellow traveler  who introduced me to Abbey's work and which I incorporated into the last "Tails from the Backseat" post, which ironically was the last to include Karly.  I foolishly loaned out my copy a couple years ago and it was never returned. I've been searching for a replacement, preferably a used paperback copy reminiscent of my friend's, but Abbey's books are rarely found for sale, they are keepers for personal libraries.

Karly died on our way to Big Bend National Park, in the heart of the Chihuahuan Desert of Texas. We had several towels, sheets, and blankets from her final days of basking in the sunshine that were ready to be washed, as much for an emotional cleanse as a laundering requirement.  There was a small "laundromat" (one washer, two dryers) at Big Bend National Park--surprising since visitor services at the Park were very limited--and since it was also one of two places to get internet access, we decided to take a break from hiking and do our laundry.

As I was transferring laundry from the washer to the dryer, a tour bus pulled up to the adjacent snack bar/gift shop, and the "Roads Scholars", an educational tour group, disembarked for a restroom and snack break...they also enjoyed petting Jake...and Jake enjoyed being petted!!  Upon their departure, I went to gather my dried laundry and noticed a pile of paperback books and magazines on the folding table that were not there before.  I assume they had been left behind by the tour group since I have discovered  that laundromats have an admirable policy of "leave a book, take a book".  

But "what to my wondering eyes did appear" dizzying disbelief??  
A pristine, paperback copy of Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire!!!
With all the giddiness of winning the Publisher's Clearinghouse Jackpot Sweepstakes, I grabbed the book and ran out to show John.
The universe works in mysterious ways, especially if you are open to it... Karly, I know this one's on you!!!


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss of Karly. I know how much it hurts. Don't think I'll ever get over the loss of our family dog 10 yrs ago. A word of daughter just lost her dog & feels that the "greenies" were the cause.
    Once heart aches for you.

  2. It's never easy, but 13 years for a large breed dog is a pretty good run. Greenies are definitely filled with all kinds of wheat-based garbage. We give them as a treat about three times a month. We definitely wouldn't recommend them on a regular basis (although they do help with the dog breath). Towards the end, Karly wouldn't even eat a greenie. That was one of the ways we knew she had definitely had enough with life.

  3. Sherry and I send your our deepest sympathies. I was excited to start reading another Tails.... but quickly realized where we were heading. Not many dogs have had as wonderful a life! So many fantastic memories. Looking forward to seeing you all soon, especially Wesson.

  4. Dear Susan and John, we are so sorry for your loss. What a good friend was Karly, and we are glad she was our friend too. Thank you for sharing the eloquent memorial post on your blog. We look forward to visiting with you all again, and meeting your new addition Wesson. May peace be yours. Your loving friends, Gari and Steve

  5. I am so sorry to hear about Karly. Having Jake to love on should get you through until Wesson (adorable!) joins you soon. We had to let our 16-1/2 year old mixed breed Bailey-girl go last June. She had recovered fully from a stroke in 2015 and, although she couldn't hear & her eyesight was going, she remained in good shape until she decided she was "done" & just stopped eating.

    But we still had Casey, our beautiful Sheltie. In November, at just over 11, he started having violent seizures -- 26 total in 5 months. We tried numerous meds & increasing dosages. After one day last week when he had six in 12 hours, & couldn't rest in between (panting, pacing, disorientation, falling down, & crying), we could not let him continue to suffer. So we are now dog-less for only the 2nd time in 36 years together. Working to try to find at least one Sheltie that fits our -- and their -- requirements, but it's so hard to face the day. Haven't managed to get through a day yet without breaking down.

    I'm just so sorry for the both of you; we can totally understand how you feel.

    Renee & Dave Zittel (fellow New Horizoneers, in case you don't remember...)

  6. My love, my niece, my princess, my Karlita. I love her with all my heart. I am forever grateful we had Christmas together and I will have her paw print ornament for a keepsake of my beautiful girl. I am grateful that she had you both as her parents and was so wonderfully cared for. I am comforted by the fact she went on her own terms and I am not surprised at all. She ruled and I couldn't ask for a more fitting memorial than this post. I look forward to Wesson and I send all my love and peace to you both and to Jake. I love you.