Monday, July 5, 2010

In Memoriam: Hoover

In her book Bliss to You, Trixie Koontz, a golden retriever who is waiting for her human parents at the Rainbow Bridge, shares her secrets for achieving bliss. She quotes Josh Billings, who said, "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself." Then, Trixie writes,

"Dogs give unconditional love so you will be teensy bit prepared for God's love when you die and meet Him. Otherwise, God's love would knock you flat."

Trixie is a wise soul, as are all golden retrievers. Hoover, our furry golden sunshine, went ahead to wait for us today. Our sadness is in direct proportion to the love he gave us. He knocked us flat.

I have more pictures than words.

His puppy picture, taken the day we picked him out at the breeders. They called him Waggy because his tail was always moving.

George with his puppy that same sunny summer day in 1997.

At his first play date at a friend's house. His friend was a black lab puppy named Boise.

George with a sacked-out Hoover. Play dates are hard work!

Hoover was the quintessential annoying little brother to his big sister, Shemya.

See what I mean? When he got a bit older and bigger, he would jump on top of her head. Shemya had a perfect response...she would whip her head around and unerringly catch his lip in her teeth and nip. Hoover never learned.

Family portrait before children.

Off on a hike in the foothills around Boise, Idaho.

Hoover, a.k.a Crazy Whisker Boy. His whiskers totally reflected his goofy, wacky, happy personality.

We humiliated him in our house in Ohio. His claws scratched the hardwood floors, so we made him wear dog booties inside. We eventually gave up, though. The floor has that "a big hyper dog lived here" look. I can live with that. George calls it "distressed."

Eating an orange creamcicle. Hoover loved human food, and got a lot of it in the last four months of his life.

Wriggling with unrestrained dog joy. He wriggled every day. There's a lesson in that, don't you think?

Hiking at a nearby state park. Like all goldens, he loved being outside with his peeps.

Giving us Hoover kisses. He felt we needed our daily dose of dog spit and was conscientious in administering it.

Me with Hoover last Thursday. One of the last pictures George took of him. Also the day of his last walk.

A theme of Trixie's book is to keep from mourning excessively. Trixie's human parents, Dean and Gerda Koontz, were doing just that when Trixie sent them a sign, in the form of an unusual golden butterfly, that she was okay and they needed to let her go. We informed Hoover he needed to do the same for us, just so we'd know he was okay, too.

I'll keep you posted.

Trixie makes another observation I am sure Hoover would agree with, so I'll leave you with it.

"Fame means nothing. Time erases fame. Great power doesn't last. Time erases the powerful. Your anger dies with you. What love you give lives on. Cynic will sneer at this truth. Time erases cynics."

Time won't erase our memories of our Furry Golden Sunshine.


  1. Susan, I've never seen a dog so adorable and beautiful as Hoover. Your post brought me to tears. I'm so sorry you lost Hoover and I know that you'll always have amazing memories of his life with you and your family.

  2. He was really special. I am so sorry for your loss.

  3. This was so beautifully written. My tears are flowing freely, and my heart goes out to you and your family. He lived a good life, a long life, and you got extra precious time with him. I am sure he is waiting for you. All dogs do.

  4. I've read it twice and cried both times. My minister says that this means that God is there. He is with you during your loss. Hang in there.

  5. ”Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”
    -Agnes Sligh Turnbull

    Your love for Hoover and your sorrow at losing him are palpable-what a beautiful tribute to your Furry Golden Sunshine, Susan. I think Hoover is likely pretty proud of his family right now.

    Hugs to all of you,

  6. What a beautiful family Hoover was blessed with. I'm sure that he is as thankful for all of you, as you are grateful for the time you had with him. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm thinking of you all. Thanks so much for sharing such a wonderful part of your lives with us. Blessings and hugs...

  7. I am SO sorry. What an amazing dog and a lucky one to have you for his mom! Take care and let the happy memories sustain you.

  8. What a fantastic tribute to a splendid companion! You and your family are in my thoughts.

  9. I feel so sad for you, Susan. Cherish your memories of Hoover. The photos you posted are beautiful.

  10. Susan - My heart just breaks for you and the tears are flowing after reading such a beautiful post!

    God sent Hoover to deliver your family abundant love and called him home after doing such a good job...

    We have a white-faced golden - our placeholder kid before our two boys. I know exactly what a blessing a hyperactive golden is and how much they add to a family...

    Big hugs,
    -Amy Kilbreath

  11. Keep those beautiful photos close at hand. Take care over the next few weeks.

  12. Susan and family, I am so sorry for your loss. Hoover was a lucky fellow to have such a loving family to call his own. It makes me sad to think of the emptiness you are feeling right now. Hold tight to all your wonderful memories of him. Hugs to you all.

  13. Oh, I am so very sorry to hear that he is gone. Sometimes a pet takes a special place in your heart and never gives it back. Hoover certainly took a small piece of each of you with him when it was his time to go. You will always miss him, but feel some comfort knowing that part of you is always with him, too.

    Oh, and I hope you see your amazing golden butterfly - tomorrow!

  14. Keep those beautiful photos close. They will help a great deal over the next few weeks.

  15. My heart goes out to you. He sure does sound like a wonderful friend.
    I love the thought that dogs can give us a taste of the magnitude of God's love. A beautiful thing to treasure.

  16. Oh Susan, Im so sorry to hear about Hoover. I always looked forward to the Hoover updates and if you would give him any bacon that day. Your post is lovely and brought tears to my eyes. You've got such wonderful memories to look back on.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful pictures of your dear Hoover. What a gorgeous dog. You gave him a good life and he loved you so much so I hope you can take a lot of comfort from that. This post moved me to tears for your loss. God bless you and your family and dear Hoover.

  18. Susan, George and Family,
    What a wonderful blessing you have all shared for 13 years. Hoover and his waggly antics will be missed, but I know he is running in the meadows with our Lord!
    Thank you for writing those beautiful words about Hoover.
    I am moved to tears, happy ones, by your memories. Know that we all loved Hoover as if he was our own for the time you shared him with us.
    Be at Peace my sister.
    Hoover is with us in our hearts forever, Marilyn

  19. So sorry to read your sad news. You have written a beautiful tribute for a beautiful dog. I'm not an 'animal' person but we had a black lab when I was growing up and although it is many, many years ago I still remember the sadness the day Dad took her on her last journey ..... heartbreaking :( She too had a cancerous lump that sucked the life from her.
    But the good memories stay forever in your hearts so you all just hang in there ... hugs to you all.

  20. My sympathy and thoughts are with you and your family. Our children with "fur" hold a special place within our hearts that will never fade. You now have a "fur" angel looking over you! I'm sure my little "Natalie" has already introduced herself to "Hoover" :)

  21. Sorry for the loss of Hoover, but what great joy and happiness he gave to you and your family for many years as you gave to him.
    I am shedding tears for you. As a huge dog lover, this is the worst part of opening your heart to animals.
    One of my favorite quotes is this and I hope it brings you some comfort:

    Fragile Circle:
    We, who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan. - Irving Townsend

    Thinking of you,
    Maria (and Lily Pumpkin Pie, Nolie Canoli and Layla Paella)

  22. A very sad time for you and your family, my heart goes out to you (and my tears).


  23. Hoover was such a special dog and so loved. Thank you for sharing his photos. I love the last one taken with you. Unconditional love.

  24. What a beautiful tribute to a much-loved dog :o)

  25. Godspeed, Hoover. Buck treeber is 11. It's never enough.

  26. I said I wouldn't read this but I did. What a beautiful friend and I'm so sorry for your loss. Sending a hug.

  27. I cried just looking at the pictures. I know how difficult it is to lose a furry friend. I have many prayers for you today and appreciation for what a brave and unselfish decision you made. With all my love,

    Audrie (girlgeek101)

  28. My goodness, tears flow for a dog I never met, as I understand the fullness/love/richness added to life by a beloved pet. They really are a small representation of God's love and care. May happy memories of Hoover continue to bring smiles in the midst of your grief! So sorry for your loss.
    ~ Carol G.

  29. So sad, but how much joy, love, fun and spirit he brought to your life. I have several friends and family members who just had to do the same heart-wrenching. Thanks for sharing these memories with us!

  30. A beautiful, tribute, Susan. My love to you and your family. I remember an earlier post where one of your sons remarked on the photo of your dog Shemya and her place in heaven. Now Hoover is back to aggravating Shemya while waiting for all of you at the Rainbow Bridge. His tail will be wagging away and he'll be doing the Golden Retriever happy dance when he sees you, George, and the boys.

  31. Susan, thank you for sharing those joyful photos. I'm sorry for your loss. Hope you feel all the prayers and support being sent to comfort you.

  32. Oh Susan--what a wonderful amazing and fitting tribute for Hoover aka Waggy. I knew you all were preparing for his departure, and I am sure he was preparing also.

    It's been a year since we lost our eldest girl dog, Crystal and our newest member (by no means youngest) Red Dog. The left within a month of one another and both were a huge hit to our family (pack) dynamics. They've both visited me in dreams so I know they're doing fine. I always ask for dream visits...

    Big hugs to you and the family. And perhaps you too will receive a dream visit.

  33. What a beautiful life he had with you!

  34. Susan, you and you family have been blessed to have had such a loving member of your family.

    So sorry for your loss.

  35. What a lovely tribute to Hoover. He was a beautiful boy. May all your wonderful memories keep him alive in your hearts forever.

  36. Susan - You were so blessed to have such a wonderful companion! My favorite dog quote: "Dogs lives are too short....their only fault,really" - Agnes Sligh Turnbull. I have always had dogs and always will no matter how painful it is to say good-bye so I understand how you feel - it's not easy! But I am sure Hoover knew how lucky he was to have all of you as well! Hang in there......

  37. What a beautiful and loving tribute. Hoping that you will soon see that 'sign' from Hoover.
    Big hugs!
    Sharon D. from Canada

  38. I'm so, so sad and sorry for your loss, Susan. I know how precious furry friends are. You had 13 happy years with your Furry Golden Sunshine, and he had 13 happy years with his Perfect People--that's more happiness and love than many people and doggies ever know. I hope you all can get back to wriggling soon.

  39. Susan, you've shared so many words and pictures of Hoover over the past months, that I began to think I actually knew him! So I wasn't surprised to feel my eyes fill with tears once again for this lovely creature who brought such joy. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  40. Susan, your love for Hoover shines through in this heartfelt tribute. He will live forever in your hearts.

  41. I am thinking of you and your family as you miss Hoover over the days and weeks to come. So glad you had more time with him than you had expected but of course not as much as you would have loved to have.

  42. Oh Susan, I was so sorry to read about Hoover. Your photo essay is a perfect tribute to a wonderful part of your family. We're brave to love animals that we know won't be around forever, but we do it anyway and are the better for it, don't you think?

  43. Susan, I'm sorry for your loss. Hoover was truly special.

    I don't know where this quote comes from, but it seems appropriate:
    "Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really."

  44. Okay - I guess I don't ALWAYS leave your blog smiling. I've been without my computer for a while - and missed this post. I'm so sorry about Hoover. What a beautiful friend he was.

  45. I recall awhile ago, coming across your blog, and reading about Hoover. I commented about enjoying your last days with him, and how I wasn't looking forward to the golden years with my Stella. You emailed me back, with a lovely little note. I have thought of you and Hoover frequently since then and wondered how he was doing, but couldn't remember your blog to look!! I saw a link to you through a PTI post and looked you up- I am sorry to hear that Hoover finally lost his battle. I cry for you as I write this, as you have given him a lovely and fitting tribute and memoriam! Hugs to you and a scratch under the chin for Daisy. I have bookmarked your blog now, so I can follow her adventures...


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