Saying Goodbye by Vera McGill


On September 2nd, we said goodbye to our precious dog Albert. He lived much longer than anyone (even the canine cardiologist) ever dreamed he would, and it was good quality life. I have this wonderful memory of what turned out to be the last evening he was with us where I was cooking chicken for him (mind you we don’t eat chicken but I cooked it for him for months as that’s how he liked to take his medicine) and he stood in the kitchen barking at me the whole time to hurry me along. We are fortunate to have had almost nine and a half months with him since his cardiac event last November. Many times we lose people or pets we love with no warning and never get to do the things we would want to do to say goodbye. We had that time with Albert, and made the most of it. One of his favorite activities, other than running, was hiking in the woods, so I found a carrier for him and we went hiking. He would walk when he felt up to it and gladly let me carry him in his “pooch pouch” when he was tired. We covered 10 miles on the AT this way one day. We joked that he looked like King Albert enjoying being carried by his faithful servant. Every day he wanted to walk, we walked and every day he wanted to just nap in the sun, our other dogs gladly curled up with him. We wanted every day to bring some joy to his life and I truly believe that it did. He was a happy little dog right until the very end, when we held him and cried and said goodbye...

It was a sobering reminder that there are small things we can do every day for those we love that will make them smile and bring a little joy to their lives. It doesn’t have to be big stuff, just a kind word or a hug or walk or playing catch or anything you know will make them smile. All that we did for Albert this year pales in comparison to the unconditional love and joy he shared with us throughout his life.

We’ll be at Animile again this year, without Albert, but with Salsa and Montana and our newest edition, a wonderful little guy we’ve name Pinetop that we adopted from a shelter after we lost Albert (it didn’t take us long to realize we had room in our home and our hearts for another dog). If you see tears in my eyes and a smile on my face, you’ll know that I’m missing Albert and celebrating his life at the same time, doing what he loved most, running in front of all his fans.


Albert ran with his human in every Animile since 2002:

Year Time
2009 7:16  
2008 6:21  
2007 6:13  
2006 6:05  
2005 6:08  
2004 6:21  
2003 6:23  
2002 6:25