Writing

Requiem For A Best Friend: Wally The Wonderdog

Posted by Tom Chandler 10/20/2012

Wally the Wonderdog once fell off a mountain, avoided euthanasia by less than an hour, ate a trout that fell from the sky, survived an encounter with a fast-moving truck, and barely avoided a drowning at the hands of two pissed-off raccoons.

He'd dodged fate so many times it seemed he was going to live forever, but mortality makes tourists of us all, and Friday evening, Wally the Wonderdog laid down behind the porch and left us.

Portrait of the Wonderdog Unlike one of his owners, he never whined about being wet.

 

Tomorrow I'll pretend I'm not crying while I dig a hole and lay him to rest. Later, I'll explain to my daughters that their big, tail-wagging friend won't climb up into the car and lick their faces the next time they come home from school.

I think it's going to be a long weekend.

Wally recently struggled with arthritis and the side-effects of his anti-seizure medicine, and for a while, things had grown dire enough I'd stopped taking him on fishing trips.

After we juggled his medications, he got a lot better, and life had returned to normal. I honestly thought we had plenty of fishing trips left, but that's a largely human conceit; you never know when the last anything is headed your way.

Wally the Wonderdog Wally was a quadruple threat: hiking, fishing, skiing and dragging dead things home.

 

Still, I'm grateful I got the chance to boost him into the truck and go fishing a few more times, especially given that -- like a lot of the Undergrounders -- Wally only really came to life when surrounded by wilderness.

If fact, I once joked that he was 80 pounds of gristle, fur and joy, but the real joke is that it wasn't a joke.

Wally loved dead things Yes, Wally loved dragging dead shit home.

 

It's not possible to remember Wally without mentioning all the crazy shit, including his assault on Burger King or his frequent attempts to drag home big chunks of dead animal.

Once I was on the phone with a reporter, staring out the window at a driving snowstorm, when Wally wandered with a frozen, snow-encrusted squirrel in his mouth.

Then there was the day the UPS driver made a delivery and was halfway down the road when he noticed the Wonderdog sitting in the cargo section, apparently happy to take a tour of the neighborhood.

You simply can't fake style like that.

Wally the Wonderdog The dog had style and smarts. (Who wouldn't feel better if they did this every day?)

 

Wally's superpower was that he was filled with the joy of life -- and pretty clearly wanted you to be too -- and for a human who can sometimes get a little grim, he'd become more than a good reason to knock off work and take a hike.

When the choice was between going fishing (or hiking or skiing) or staying home and working, Wally came firmly down on the "let's go find something dead to roll in" end of the spectrum.

Today more than ever, we need more Wallys in our lives.

We first took Wally in because we were afraid he'd be taken back to the pound and killed if we didn't, and if that's all you knew about his story, you might think we saved him.

But you'd be wrong.

What we did for him was simple. What he did for us was priceless, and the debt is mine.

I wish I had a few more years to pay it.

Godspeed, Wally.



 

Wally the Wonderdog Offered without comment.

AuthorPicture

Tom Chandler

As the author of the decade leading fly fishing blog Trout Underground, Tom believes that fishing is not about measuring the experience but instead of about having fun. As a staunch environmentalist, he brings to the Yobi Community thought leadership on environmental and access issues facing us today.

120 comments
[...] and the GF have decided to get a dog recently, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to get a dog like Wally the wonderdog, Perrin’s loyal fishing buddy Morris pictured above or Riley. It goes without saying, [...]
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Touching story.. I can only imagine what life will be like without my pup. Stay strong.
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I've been a follower of your blog for a couple years now and feel like I've walked along with The Wonderdog myself from your well written adventures. I'm extremely sorry for your loss.
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I'm so sorry I missed this - I loved reading about Wally. My two recent old Labs, Riplee and Grace were both treasures, too, so I know how hard it is to lose them I can't remember if it was Gene Hill who said that it's actually a good thing that dogs only live the decade or so that they do because if they lived to 30 or 40 you'd die inside when they left - like the loss of a child. Maybe he's now ... more off with Trask and Grace somewhere causing trouble.
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Thank you Wally for all the great stories! This might not be my favorite blog if it weren't for that dog. R. I. P.
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So sorry.
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Oh Tom, I'm so very sorry to learn of Wally the Wonderdog's passing. He's going to live on forever here on troutunderground and in the hearts of many, including me. I'm glad I got a chance to hike a section of the PCT with him (and you too).
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So sorry; highly recommend "The Art of Racing in the Rain" for a wonderful dog read, as told by the dog. Dogspeed, Wally.
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I knew this was coming, but didn't want to think about it. I'm sorry for you and your family, Tom. He will be sorely missed. Thank you for bringing him into my life; thank you for the beautiful eulogy for a truly fine hound dog, and for the great photographs of him.
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Wally the Wonderdog was someone who I told others about. You wrote about him so well, that I felt that I knew him personally. Thanks for sharing your life with him - with us. Hang in there Tom.
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Tom-- That's a good question about CPR. I found the info below, will try to copy & paste the whole thing right here (although the pictures won't come through). Sorry about Wally, you had a ballsy pup there. From HomeAgain member Emergency Care Library, © Denise Fleck Learning Pet CPR As in humans, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency technique used when an animal has stopped breathing ... more and has no heartbeat. It involves rescue breathing (mouth-to-snout resuscitation) and chest compressions. “While visiting family in New York, I was driving down a dark mountain road and, suddenly, with no time to react, I saw a very large Rottweiler in front of me,” said Lisa Shapiro of Long Beach, California. “His dark color made him invisible until it was too late. Then the worst happened – I hit him. I started crying and shaking, but then quickly realized that I had to help. After all, I could! I was trained to handle the situation – I knew pet CPR. I administered rescue breathing and checked for a pulse. The dog’s heart was still beating, so I gave a few more breaths until he could breathe on his own. He had an ID tag, so we drove him to his owners’ house, who were very grateful, and we encouraged them to have him checked out by his veterinarian.” What could have been the most horrible nightmare turned into a success story. Statistics show that preventable accidents are the leading cause of death among companion animals. According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), one out of four pets could be saved if just one first-aid technique was applied prior to getting veterinary assistance. Knowing what to do during those first few moments can save your pet’s life. The most competent veterinarian will not be able to bring your dog or cat back once he has expired, but by knowing the life-saving skills of CPR, you can keep your furry friend’s cardio and pulmonary organs working until professional medical help is available. As in humans, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency technique used when an animal has stopped breathing and has no heartbeat. It involves rescue breathing (mouth-to-snout resuscitation) and chest compressions. Although you may have taken a human CPR course, dogs and cats don’t share the same anatomy. The concept is the same, but the technique is different making pet-specific training essential. Here are the steps to take to save your pet. Step 1 Look, listen and feel for breathing. If there’s none: Step 2 Place the pet on his right side (legs away from you) and give two breaths into his snout (just enough to make his chest rise), keeping his mouth closed with your hands. Step 3 Check the pulse at the femoral artery (where the hind leg meets the torso). Use your index and middle finger (never your thumb, or you’ll feel your own pulse) and feel for a throb or vibration as the blood pumps through this major artery. Under normal situations, you would be able to count 60 to 170 beats per minute for a medium to large dog and 110 to 220 for small dogs and cats, which may actually feel more like a flutter. If you detect no pulse: Step 4 Gently take the animal’s left front leg and bend it at the elbow, rotating it at the shoulder. Place your left hand where his elbow meets his body. Take your right hand across his chest and place it on the ground underneath him, stabilizing his body and preventing him from rolling as you compress. With your left hand, push on his chest twelve to fifteen times for a medium to large dog (approximately three compressions every two seconds) and then deliver two more breaths. Repeat. Every four cycles, check for a pulse. If there are two people, one breathes and the others compresses at the rate of one breath for every two to three compressions. NOTE: Never breathe or compress on an animal that is breathing or has a pulse. Step 5 Quickly transport the pet to the nearest Animal Emergency Center. Realize that you may not be able to get the animal breath
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Comment on Requiem For A Best Friend: Wally The Wonderdog by AC http://t.co/EXlNtiPS
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Tom, sorry to hear about Wally. We had to put our Molly (12 1/2 black lab) down this past June. It still hurts. We were coming back from vacation this past Sunday and it hit me that I didn't have to go get her from the kennel and I broke down. My heart still aches. Dave
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We'll all miss the Wonderdog stories. He always reminded me of my Lab/Chow/something else mix that I had to say good-bye to last spring. We have a new friend now and he's wonderful, but sometimes I still expect to see Percy's face staring at me out of the window when I get home and I get a shock when I see something completely different. It's amazing how much part of our lives these bundles of 'fur, ... more gristle, and joy' become.
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"Barring love I'll take my life in large doses alone--rivers, forests, fish, grouse, mountains. Dogs." Jim Harrison Farewell Wally
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Comment on Requiem For A Best Friend: Wally The Wonderdog by Andy Marx http://t.co/peIwoFyH
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condolences. what a "wonder"ful dog, what a terrible loss.
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Comment on Requiem For A Best Friend: Wally The Wonderdog by SJD http://t.co/rtO0VCH7
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Sat here with Ruby my Choccy asleep on my feet , Labs are wonderful creatures you have my sympathies....
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Tom, So sorry. What I want to know is who is going to clean all the food out of my van when I bring M home? Condolences
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Shoot, terrible news. Only slightly balanced by the obvious awesomeness of his time here.
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Very sorry to hear about Wally. I hope he enjoys playing up there with my Zoe, chasing after frogs and splashing fish. I thought I lost two of my dogs this weekend and the pain was nearly unbearable. Condolences and good thoughts to you and your family.
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My best friend in the world was Harley, my black lab. While not nearly as well known as Wally, he had a following in the industry from his days entertaining guests at the fishing and hunting lodges we worked, at the outdoor shows we attended and in the fly shop here. This is now over 6 years ago and I still have clients who stop in looking for Harley. Whether it is that they need a "big dog fix" to ... more thinking it is time to introduce their young children to a dog that they felt they could trust. That was Harley. One thing that someone who replied to my email regarding his passing was, "It is a favor to us that they live to just 12 or so, because could you begin to imagine how awful we would feel if they were in our lives for 25 years?" Still find myself looking around for him...
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Tears....my girl Emma is moving slower. This really touches deep. Very sorry Tom.
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Always the saddest day, condolences to the whole family.
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Damn, there I was sitting in a hotel room, missing my greyhound and I read this story. I just started bawling. I could so just live with dogs and never see or deal with another human being. Thank you for sharing this wonderfully sad story. What a great friend he was and I love the statement: "what we did for him was simple, what he did for us was priceless." Beautiful!
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My condolences. I always thought about Wally when my dog, Pete, swims in the hole I'm getting ready to fish.
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Now, every time you see dead animal parts you will get a smile on your face, and your friends will think you are beyond a little odd (try nuts) - the Wonderdog will always have the last dog laugh...
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May the wind be always at your back, Wally. I never met ya, but my heart always goes out to K9s with soul. We presently live with a longhaired Daschund named Lewey who is a constant source of joy and surprise. We have them for so few years and they occupy so much of our hearts. Loving kindness to all your family, John
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My sincerest condolences.
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Comment on Requiem For A Best Friend: Wally The Wonderdog by Bob Bruns http://t.co/N9usZfNE
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My deepest sympathies on the loss of your beloved Wally.
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[...] about the untimely demise of one of the fly fishing cyberworld’s fav fishing companions, Wally the Wonderdog. All of team Chi Wulff sends our heartfelt condolences to Tom and the [...]
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The inevitable cycle of life. When my daughters when too young to understand, I would, with tears in my eyes, bury our furry four-legged friend. Years later, as the girls got older, we would share the pain of another lost canine pal. And as our daughters have become wonderful, caring adults, they have taken on the responsibilities of driving to the vet to put a sad end to a suffering pet (but, ask ... more dad to take care of the teary-eyed burial duties). I have always marveled how Wally got more blog hits than I ever do. I always knew he deserved them.
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My kids loved Wally, even sang a song about him. I'm sure the UPS guy, who had to kick him out of his truck often will miss him too.
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Tom, so sorry to hear of your loss, having gone through this last June, I know how hard it is...
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I am so sorry for your family's loss. Loved your Wally posts best of all. We lost our Black lab Baxter two years ago and I still have a hole in my heart.
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Can't remember a dogs OBIT bringing tears to my eyes before. Wally's did. Hope to meet you some day Wally.
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A great dog adds so much to our life that it's hard to fathom until they leave us. I am relieved to find that I was not the only guy moved to tears when I heard The Wonderdog had passed. So sorry for your loss Tom. Dogs just don't live long enough. It's really the only thing wrong with them.
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RT @tcunderground: Requiem For A Best Friend: Wally The Wonderdog: http://t.co/587FprnL Wally was a great dog.
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Tom - my heart goes out to you and yours. Dogs are the ultimate, and after you "own" and lose a few, you realize, you never did really own them - but if you listened and stayed close to them, they made you a better human being than you ever made them a better dog... "If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers, 1897-1935
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Aw, sorry to hear about Wally, T. He's up there in dog heaven playing with my big ol' boy Malcolm, my wonder dog.
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R.I.P. Wally. If you haven't already done so, I suggest reading Merle's Door by Ted Kerasote. It made me appreciate dogs more than I already did. I think Wally is very similar to Merle.
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Comment on Requiem For A Best Friend: Wally The Wonderdog by Jeff House http://t.co/CV4rgW3k
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So sorry about Wally. The first thing I ever read on your website was the story of him eating a fish from the sky and was hooked from there. As a reader who has lost 2 labs in the last couple years, I can sympathize. As a father of young daughters, my heart goes out to you and your family. Remember the good days and know that he's chasing a big elk leg in the sky!
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Do you know why they do that? Because they can!
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Very sorry to hear about your loss. Having lost my 15 year old shorthair Beau last fall the pain is still strong but as I look back and think about all the good, I can't help but smile, laugh and shed a tear. Wally will be missed.
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I didn't think a blog post could make my weep. It must be dusty in here. Godspeed indeed.
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So sorry to hear about this. I grew quite fond of the Wonderdog and was always interested in hearing about his latest shenanigans. He will be missed on this end as well. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
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Requiem For A Best Friend: @tcunderground says goodbye to Wally The Wonderdog http://t.co/eBZes3un
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Sorry for your loss. I've enjoyed the pics of Wally that you've posted for years. I believe all of us will miss him.
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Wow,RIP WallytheWonderdog.A huge piece of the @tcunderground family has left for a better place.Heartfelt condolences...http://t.co/8jxQE5eF
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Tom, So sorry for your loss, it has really hit home. I started following you at TU over three years ago, and you and Wally were a huge inspiration that pushed me to create my own blog. Wally was surely one of a kind, and I'm sure he will be greatly missed by all of your readers. My lab is on her last leg of a 14 year lifespan and I'm not sure how I'll handle it when she is finally gone. This post ... more was a great way to send Wally off-thank you for sharing the adventures the two of you shared for so long. Hope all is well across the way, and best wishes go out from Maine to you and your family. -Ben
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Crap. I grew up with dogs that weren't very lovable. My dad had Collies who were borderline rapid and then wolfhounds who had all the personality of a lump of clay. When they moved on to other realms I didn't find the occasion all that moving though they weren't my dogs and maybe that was part of it too. As an adult, I'm on my first dog. Ripley is a black lab with no sporting instincts though she ... more does have a pathological need to fetch. She's the perfect house dog - hasn't chewed anything she wasn't supposed to. Outdoors she's pathologically friendly to people and dogs, good and bad, alike. She's not a fishing dog but that's mostly cause the places I fish I couldn't let her roam free lest she wander into the street or someone's yard. But she is a part of the family and a part of our, my, heart. I expect to see her when I'm wandering about the house, to have her with us as Ann and I walk through life and I have an unreasonable expectation that she'll be here forever. I'm sorry your fishing buddy is gone. This damn mortality thing has precious few rewards. Now I know why Ann says she's going first. I wish you peace, my friend, and Wally a prime spot in the sun for eternity.
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Rest in peace, Wally. You've earned it.
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Sip poured for Wally....there's no greater companionship than a man and his dog , I'm gonna go home tonight and scratch my Joe extra good and then maybe plan that next fishing trip , just me and my best friend.
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Comment on Requiem For A Best Friend: Wally The Wonderdog by Tom Chandler http://t.co/HkyJDHjg
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No greater loss than a beloved pet - we share your pain but grateful on how Wally enriched your life and ours.
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Goodbye Wally, so glad we all got to know you through your sidekick TC. We will all miss you, but none more so than than your family. It's always hard, but better to have had the time with him and he with you all than not. Take care and fond rememberances of the Wonderdog Tom.
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I can only hope I can be reincarnated as a dog so full of life, joy & love. If I am, it will mean I am getting close to Nirvana, maybe even the last stop. Farewell Wally, may your joy & love continue. Thank you Tom, for sharing, I think the whole TU-verse shed a tear today.
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That's a wonderful sendoff. Thank you for sharing it and Wally.
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You always know that time will come, but nothing makes it any easier when the day finally arrives. I always looked forward to a new episode in the adventures of Wally the Wonder Dog.We will all miss him.
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Fantastic tribute Tom. I lost my boy Fisher and best fishing companion in June. Just cracked a cold one for Wally and will follow with one for Fisher. All the best and my condolences.
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Im very sorry that Wally has passed away. Condolences to you and your family.
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Sorry for your lose, remember he loved your family just as much as you did he
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Mark: In a way, you’re a little lucky he checked out on his own, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Probably, though it didn't seem so while I was trying to revive him. If a person was in his kind of trouble I'd know what to do; in this situation I was essentially helpless. How do you perform CPR on a dog?
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Thom Schwabauer: Wally was the reason I joined the underground…I will miss his contributions. A common refrain. I expect traffic will now drop by 50% or more.
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JP2: A sorry time for the TU world…… Amusingly, the L&T feared some of you would take it pretty hard...
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mike: Going to give our dog Jackson a hug right now. Mike If he's anything like Wally, he'd prefer a walk followed by the theft of the chunk of tri-tip sitting on the kitchen counter...
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Arizona Wanderings: These pups sure do have a way of enriching our lives. Really. Now I've got no one else to blame when I'm skunked on a small stream...
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Mike Sepelak: We humans could learn a lot from them. True. If I get the chance to lick my own private parts, I'll know exactly how to go about it...
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PSumner: Our furred friends are the best kind of friends Correct. Wally never once took the last beer.
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Hang in there tom.
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Very sad to hear about Wally. I lost one named Oliver last year around this time. It is never easy when they leave us but seems as though Wally at least went peacefully. I am director of a humane society here in Colorado, and I talk to many people after they have lost their beloved dog. They sometimes say, that its a shame that dogs live such short lives. My answer to that is that they live life to ... more the fullest, and I think they live short lives so that we have the chance to meet even more of them. I too will miss reading of Wally's exploits. Sorry for your loss
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Dammit, Wally. Hope where ever you are, it's a place filled with sticks, balls, trucks, and plenty of dead things to retrieve.
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Tom, So sorry for your loss. Godspeed Wally.
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Tom, I'm currently on a plane somewhere between Dallas and NYC. Reading this I went from sheding a tear to laughing in a blink of an eye. Not all dogs have that type of style. Having a five year old daughter myself, I wish you well with helping your daughters through the adjustment. May you always remember the blessing that Wally was to your little peice of this world. Robert
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So sorry for your loss Tom. Godspeed Wally.
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Very sorry to hear of Wally's passing on. Condolences to you and your family.
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Wally's exploits were regularly reported to our labs, who also waded into the "perfect pool" when they thought we'd stayed long enough. We will all miss him greatly.
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[...] http://troutunderground.com/2012/10/requiem-for-a-best-friend-wally-the-wonderdog/ [...]
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Condolences.
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So sorry to hear Wally has left us, Tom. Labs are a gift from God, and like one of the kids.
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So sorry to hear that Wally passed on. He was a great dog who lived with gusto.
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Very sorry to hear about Wally...and very grateful for the fun stories through the years.
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Sorry to hear about the loss of your fishing buddy. Sounded like he had a fantastic life and clearly looked happy in your video. Labs are the best... b
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My deepest condolences, Tom. Rest in peace Wally
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I know how hard this is, hang in there. This article is a heck of a tribute for a friend who I am sure can never be replaced. Rest in peace Wally! Godspeed!!
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Ever since my pal, a chocolate lab, suffered an FCE, I've been living a little vicariously through Wally. Somehow my guy is still going 8 years later. Sorry for your loss, Tom.
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Comment on Requiem For A Best Friend: Wally The Wonderdog by tcunderground http://t.co/qEseI1RS
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RIP Wally. The Chandler family will miss you. Wally knew how to wake up guests at his retreat (home) in the morning.
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We recently lost our lab, who gave us many happy memories while on the trail. I wish I had written your requiem for our dog.
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I am so sorry. I know how you feel. I put down my beloved border collie, Vamp earlier this year. She was nearly 14 years old and taught me many things. I still miss her even though I believe she led me to adopt another great dog, Anna. Even though I love Anna, i still miss Vamp.
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Sorry to hear that Tom. Thank you for sharing the Wally stories......
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I laughed while reading your funny stories about Wally...I was worried when he was sick. I'm crying now knowing he is gone. Thank you, Tom, for sharing him with all of us. Through you, he was our friend, too.
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Sad news. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.
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I am so sorry.
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Beautifully written and expressed. So sorry for your loss. I've already walked and ran them today, but after reading your post I'm heading out on another walk and run with our black lab (8) and English setter (2).
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Adios Wally.
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Requiem For A Best Friend: Wally The Wonderdog: http://t.co/rhrFgvtX
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Most dogs just get to snuggle their way into a single family. Thanks for bringing The Wonderdog to all of us. Tears will dry up but both your family and the rest of the Underground will always have memories of your special mutt.
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They don't tell you when you adopt a dog that you're probably going to have to put him down. That was one of the hardest things I had to do when the time came. In a way, you're a little lucky he checked out on his own, but that doesn't make it any easier. You know you'll get through it; and lots of people who only know you and Wally through the interwebs will be thinking of you.
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Wally was the reason I joined the underground...I will miss his contributions.
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I am so so sorry to hear this, Tom. I feel like I know Wally The Wonderdog! I still miss my basset hound who left us four years ago so I know how hard that loss can hit you. Sending best thoughts to you and your family...
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I laughed, cried, and gave my lab a big hug. So sorry for your loss. I am not looking forward to that day, and my kids wonder why I didn't want to get another dog. I guess if had to choose a way to go it might as well be while I am sleeping in the sun. Gary
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So very sorry for your and your family's loss, Tom. And a beautiful requiem for the best of friends....we are in their debt indeed.
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My heart goes out to you, L&T, and the girls. Wally lived a life better than most dogs and I'm sure he's in no pain and happy wherever his spirit may be.
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Very sad news to loose a family member,hang in there
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A sorry time for the TU world......
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Sorry Tom. Words can't make it better. :(
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Ah man, so sorry Tom. Going to give our dog Jackson a hug right now. Mike
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My condolences. To keep it simple (like dogs have a way of doing), I wish you happy memories and fond reminiscences.
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Our hearts are with you.
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happy tails Wally.
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Very sorry for your loss
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Very sorry to hear that Tom. These pups sure do have a way of enriching our lives.
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So, so sorry. They hold a special place, these simple, joyful souls. We humans could learn a lot from them. Godspeed, indeed.
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So sorry to here that Tom. Our furred friends are the best kind of friends. Always just simply there for us.
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Requiem For A Best Friend: Wally The Wonderdog http://t.co/8q4m7Z4Q
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Requiem For A Best Friend: Wally The Wonderdog http://t.co/AkVxTMRD
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