Lacey Jay by Mary Powell / Mommy

My sweet, beautiful Lacey you were a gift from God. I brought you home at the tender age of 6 weeks old, such a sweet little red bundle of joy. It had taken many weeks of deliberation over breeds before we finally settled on the Golden Retriever, after all you had to be gentle and loyal because you were to be a companion to my three young children ages 1, 4, and 7. You my dear sweet Lacey became that and so much more.

Your first bed was two clothes baskets made into a crate on my side of the bed, even after the baskets were removed you continued to sleep in that same spot every night for the next 12 yrs of your life. Many nights I would reach down and caress your silky red hair as you were falling asleep. It wasn’t until your spine got so arthritic that you could no longer turn around in small places that you chose to leave my side of the bed and sleep in the living room where you had plenty of room to move.

Your puppyhood was not stressful at all, you were the perfect little fur-daughter. If I had to scold you, which I believe I only had to do twice in the 12 ½ years, you immediately learned your lesson, never to repeat what wasn’t wanted. You pottied on my floor one time in your puppy years, and once after giving birth to your first litter of puppies. You seemed to take such pride in the fact that you were so well housebroken. You wouldn’t even potty in the outdoor kennel that you stayed in while visiting my parents for a weekend. It wasn’t until the last days that the accidents could no longer be helped, and in your gentle, old face I saw that you were so ashamed. I told you it was okay, but I was so sad for you.

Although I am an animal rescue today and it has been many years since I bred a dog, I must say if any ever had wonderful traits worth breeding for, it was you my dear girl. You were the most wonderful little mommy to your puppies. With each litter you would come and retrieve me so I could be with you when you gave birth and I was so lucky to see every beautiful golden baby you gave birth to as they entered this world. No one ever had a complaint about your babies, they all had your sweet, loving temperament. You were such a good mommy that you even adopted and nursed the new baby Chihuahua that came into our lives when you were 4 years old. In your very golden years you would still allow an orphaned kitten to nurse and snuggle with you, many years spayed yet still such a wonderful mommy.

Your first litter of puppies were so adorable, we had to let one stay… his name was Prince Bodhi, a beautiful, light golden, gentle giant, he became your constant companion and playmate. You were so funny retrieving balls in the ponds and lakes together. Although you were much faster than your young son, he was much larger than you and he soon learned that he could bully you and get the ball. You handled it very well when he would take his huge paw and dunk your head so the tennis ball would pop out of your mouth and he could win the game by stealing it and bringing it back to us. You did win sometimes though by avoiding that giant paw and swimming with all your might back to us, on these occasions he would resort to a leaf or stick or even a piece of moss, he just couldn‘t lose the game completely. You were so special, and my how you loved the water. Even in your very last weeks, with the rain pouring from our overcast Ohio skies, you would visit the huge puddle of water by the driveway and come in drenched, looking like you had gone for a little swim.

You had your comical side also, I was wondering at one point if my sweet girl had lost her mind. You stayed in the same spot every morning for several days and I noticed you running along the wall each time one of your human siblings would come in and out of the door. You had discovered the reflection of the morning sun moving on the wall. When the kids opened the glass storm door it would throw a glimmer of light across the wall and this intrigued you completely. My how you wanted to retrieve it! You learned what times of the day cast light through what windows, and on sunny days you would visit all of those places. For hours at a time you would devote yourself to the capture of any ray of light. We had many laughs watching you be silly and we were lucky to see that side of you. You didn’t share your silly side with just anyone, it was reserved for only those closest to you.

Soon after moving into the country we did learn that you had a passion for certain foods. It took us several days to realize that we did not have a tomato thief stealing all the big, juicy tomatoes from our garden just as they ripened. For days I watched the first tomato of the year as it turned a deep red, amazingly enough it disappeared on the morning that it was to be on our table. I came in the house feeling very confused about where my tomato had disappeared to. It wasn’t until all the tomatoes that were near ready for our table had disappeared that I finally caught you spitting out the remains of the yucky green one, I realized then that you were the tomato thief. My Lacey did something mischievous and sneaky, I couldn’t believe it. I laughed, not able to scold you for loving tomatoes. A few years later you actually taught one of your daughters about this wonderful treat growing in your backyard, I watched as you took her to the garden and actually taught her how to pick the tomato without damaging so much as a leaf on the plant. You must’ve known that your tomatoes wouldn’t grow if you broke the plant.
You were such a smart girl.

Your second winter with us I saw the most amazing thing that I’ve ever seen to this day. The snow was a foot deep outside and you and all of your little humans were playing outside. Snowballs were being retrieved and the steps of our deck were being packed with snow and turned into makeshift hills by your creative little playmates as they attempted to sled ride in their absolutely flat yard. You were right there playing in the snow with them that day, I’m sure your only desire was to make your kids happy and to hear their giggles when you grabbed the rope on the front of the sled and began to pull them all over the yard. They didn‘t need hills to sled ride, for they had a very special girl to teach them that there is always another way. For many hours you gave sled rides to your small humans and several other neighborhood children. Many giggles and smiles filled our snowy backyard that winter, and they were all thanks to you. We went through many sled ropes over the years, sometimes two or more in one day. Every winter you would get so excited when you saw your playmates bring the sleds out, you could hardly wait to grab the rope and take them for a ride. Winter was your favorite time of the year, everyone that knew you could tell it. In later years we were lucky enough to have hills for sled riding, you would then chase us down the hill as we sledded and then walk slowly back to the top with us. You continually amazed me throughout the years.

You listened like a human, actually better than most that I’ve known. You knew every room in the house by name and would go to that room when asked. Leave it, drop it, sit and lay down were immediately obeyed. You heard all I said to you, and I’m sure that you understood also. You never jumped on people for any reason, but when I came home you would look at me with those gentle eyes, “hugs” is all I had to say and up you would come with paws on my shoulders and a kiss on the cheek. I have so missed your hugs the last couple of years, but your old, arthritic body would no longer allow them so I would bend down and give them to you instead. You were always right by my side, especially if I was unhappy or sick, and you always had a look of absolute love and adoration in your beautiful eyes when looking at me, I don’t think I was deserving of such admiration, but I do know I surely adored you and
you were deserving of it.

You moved with me several times, the car rides, some of which were 7-8 hrs long, were always perfectly peaceful with you and your big son. You were immediately at home no matter where we lived just as long as you had your family. I never left you if we were going to be gone for more than a day and you were always welcomed into my friends homes because of your sweet, calm and gentle nature. Gentle as you were, you would still defend your home and family from all strangers, but just until you were told that it was ok, and then you would happily greet any who visited our home. That is an unusual trait for the golden retriever breed, who has been said to “lick the hand of the thief as their home was being robbed“. I believe you were just the perfect girl, a perfect balance of all traits. You were very much a well-behaved lady which made everyone you ever met offer to take you home for themselves… “not for a million dollars”, was heard over and over.

The last year was rather rough on you, although the pain of your arthritis was partially controlled with supplements and a prescription medication, your hearing and your heart were both failing and the vet believed you had cancer. Your heart made removal of any cancer impossible, so we just loved you, made you as comfortable as we could and enjoyed the rest of the time we had with you. You had many good days, you would follow me on my daily rounds, feeding all the animals and checking fences. Just this fall you went through the fields with daddy and I and took a nice little swim in the creek, we laughed out loud, but I smiled deep inside, remembering you in your younger years and thanking God for such a special dog.

Before thanksgiving you became horribly sick , you were vomiting and you would no longer eat. Dr. Jenny thinks the medication you were taking to help the cancer and arthritis caused you to develop stomach ulcers. I had no idea you had ulcers and I believe the few table scraps I treated you to a few nights before caused the ulcers to flare up, thus making you very ill. I am so sorry for that. We could feel several tumors in your stomach area too, so we’ll never know exactly what it was that made you so sick. You spent some time in the veterinary hospital where you received iv fluids and several other medications. Dr. Jenny and I both hoped you would recover and we could all have a few more happy times. You were very depressed about not being at home and so was your family. I came to see you twice a day, I took you for walks and sat outside and visited with you, but each time I left you would become even more depressed. After three days you finally came home, but you still refused to eat… Daddy handfed you for the next 3 weeks, hoping that you would eventually have the desire for food again, unfortunately you never gained that desire and you started to grow very weak. In the evenings I brushed and hugged you and thanked you for all the love and companionship that you had given my children and I over the years. You were so special and I hope you knew how much you were loved. I was so blessed to have had you for those 12 ½ wonderful years.

Your last few days broke my heart, you could no longer get up without help, and when you went potty you began falling down. You would patiently wait for us to come help you back into the house. I did watch you one day as you chose to lie down in the yard. You were lying so proudly, like a lioness, looking out across the back field. I had seen you lie in the yard many times before, but this time it was so different. You had your gentle, old gray face tilted upward so the cool gentle breeze of the day would blow directly into your face. Your dark red coat was gently stirring and I could see that you were smelling the crisp winter air, your face was dreamy and serene… you were reminiscing on the winters past, I could see it clearly.

A couple nights later I watched you go to the barn, you drank some water and laid down in the doorway of the barn, once again I could tell that you were smelling the familiar smells and remembering much happier times, your face once again showed this very clearly. You got up after several minutes and attempted to play with an animal that I could not see, but I could see your perky play stance and wagging tail. The trip to the barn surprised me because that day had been your worst so far. You could hardly walk at all that day and each trip outside had ended with one of us carrying you back into the house and gently placing you on your blanket. I could not help but feel a little glimmer of hope, watching you in your barn that night, although deep inside I knew you were saying your final goodbyes. When you were done, you walked back to the house on your own, for the first time that day.

After the night in the barn you were no longer able to stand on your own nor could you go potty without falling. My heart broke when you tried to get up to go potty and you wet yourself before I could even get to you to help you out. You looked so ashamed, you didn’t need to be and
it broke my heart.

On December 16th, 2005, I picked you up and carried you into Dr Patchells office. I held your head against my chest and told you in your ear how special you were and that I loved you so much, as you made your way to the Rainbow bridge….. I stayed with your body for awhile after you were gone, I was sobbing like a child and I didn’t want to let go. When I was finally able to leave you, I let your head down down gently and kissed you goodbye, it was then that I noticed that you looked so at peace. Your pretty head was lying on your paws, just as I had seen so many other times while you were sleeping. Your pain had finally ceased and I know that you are waiting for me, tail wagging, brand new tennis ball in mouth, and brand new body to run with, at the Rainbow Bridge. You are so loved and missed by me, Daddy, Michael, Joey, Bodhi, and your many other fur brothers and sisters. Ace, the rescued boxer, misses you especially much. Although Ace had just recently come to live with us, he loved you immediately. He spent the last month lying with you on your blanket, many times with his head on your side, even he could tell how special you were. After you were gone he followed your big quilt wherever it was taken until the day that I washed it, now that it doesn’t smell of you he has no desire for it…..

Inside my curio cabinet is a little wicker box, inside the little wicker box is your ashes and on top of the little box is your well worn leather collar that has adorned your neck for so many years and a small tuft of hair that I took from your beautiful tail. These are the physical things that still remain here with me and everyday as I look through those glass doors, I think of all the wonderful memories I have of you, I thank God for them, and then I cry a little. I will never forget you my sweet Lacey Jay.


You Will Be Forever Loved and Missed,
Lacey Jay
Mary Powell