Beautiful, Beautiful Boy

Have you ever been so sad that you felt like throwing up? So sad that you could barely breathe — and couldn’t think?

It is October 7, 2017. 10/7/2017. If you add up the numbers in 2017, they equal 10. If you add the month and day, they equal 17.   10/7/10, 172017. But I can’t find any meaning in those numbers.

I can’t find any meaning in the past forty days.


me with Waldo

It was a little longer ago than that, when Waldo stopped wanting to take daily walks with me. That was our thing — walkies. He and I did 1-4 miles a day, depending on the weather, and it was our special time together. Then, one day he said “I’m not walking any more,” and he said it so clearly, that I listened. I didn’t think a whole lot of it. We figured that he was getting arthritic. He was ten-and-a-half years old, and he’d had two ACL surgeries before the age of three. He was also very very large: nearly 100 lbs of lean, gorgeous muscle. Looking back, that was probably the first sign that something was going on.

Waldo was a beautiful boy. We could never really account for his size. He was much bigger than either of his parents. Dalene had his DNA done, and it said he was Boxer and Border Collie, with a little Australian Cattle Dog thrown in. None of them are large breeds.

We lost our beautiful boy today to Hemangiosarcoma: a fucking bitch of a fast-growing cancer that shows no real symptoms until it’s too late to do anything about it.

waldo14wks_sm.jpgHe was pampered his whole life. He only ate the best food. He went to the groomer. He was on heartworm preventative. He was always up to date on his shots. He went to the dog park. He went to doggie daycare. He went camping. He was a ride-along dog. He had a big yard to run and play in. We doted on him. He loved to be hugged and cuddled and kissed. He was a gigantic baby, and so gentle that he let the small dogs in the house boss him around.

How did he get this cancer?

He had half a dozen nicknames. He was Wally and Walrus and Smoosh. Scoobs and Moobie, and Moosh. He was Border Collie brilliant. He could learn how to do anything we showed him, and taught himself to do a few things besides. I’ve never seen another dog teach himself to bounce a tennis ball and catch it. He was an excellent communicator.

waldo_sleep1Waldo and I didn’t like each other much when we first met. Over the years, though, we fell deeply in love. I didn’t think I would ever love a dog the way that I had loved Dillon, my heart dog, but my love for Waldo surpassed even that. He was always happiest when Dalene, and he, and I were together. When we played fetch, he would take turns, bringing the ball first to her to throw, and then to me, or vice versa.

When Rocket joined the family, Waldo would take a mouthful of food out of his own bowl and put it on the floor next to him for Rocket to eat. He loved little dogs, and I think that he thought that he was a little dog, too, the way he would beg to sit in our laps.


Lammy Lamb, Waldo, Rocket Boy and Maria, chillin’.

“Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans. . .” – John Lennon

In August, Waldo started to get fussy about his food. He had a loose front tooth, so we thought that maybe his teeth were hurting him when he ate. We took him in to the vet, and he seemed fine except for his teeth, so they did a dental and removed six of them. He seemed to feel a lot better after that.

Last week, Waldo began having trouble, and not managing to pass anything that looked like his normal stool. He seemed less interested in food. I watched him for a couple of days, checking his gums, and inspecting his poop. I was concerned that he might have a blockage, because he had taken Rocket’s rawhide one night and swallowed it whole. That was something he’d done many times in the past, and it had never caused him any trouble, but when he drank water one morning and then vomited it all up, I was concerned enough to take him to the vet.


He didn’t have a blockage. He had pancreatitis, and it was making him nauseous. It was also causing him considerable pain. Over the next three days we did further tests, and found that he had a mass on his spleen, enlarged lymph nodes in his chest, and an abdomen full of fluid. Not good.

We put him on meds to help with the symptoms. I cooked him some chicken and rice and he ate well yesterday. Then very early this morning, he started this weird panting. Short huffs. I gave him his morning meds, and we went out. He was walking with a hunch: the sign of a dog in pain. He passed a little stool and then slowly walked around a little bit like he was going to try again, but then, he looked up at me, his legs wobbled, and he collapsed in the grass.

I have never felt so completely helpless. He was too big for me to pick him up, so I knelt down next to him and stroked him and told him how much I loved him. How special he was. How handsome. How smart.

Finally, I coaxed him to get up, and he gingerly walked back to the cabin.

We tend to grow dogs old. We’ve had over a dozen dogs, and only one other lived less than fifteen years. Three of them lived to be eighteen. Two of them lived to be twenty. Ten-and-a-half years is not long enough. Not for two people who were very much in love with the beautiful boy.PICT1391

Waldo was exceptional. He didn’t deserve to suffer, and yet he had been suffering silently. We weren’t willing to put him through one more moment of pain for us, so we consulted with the vet, and decided to let him go. I held our beautiful boy, and he went peacefully, my kisses and tears on his gorgeous face, my heart in his paw.

Close your eyes
Have no fear
The monster’s gone
He’s on the run and your mommy’s here

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It’s getting better and better

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Out on the ocean sailing away
I can hardly wait to see you (come of age)
But I guess, we’ll both just have to be patient
‘Cause it’s a long way to go, a hard row to hoe
Yes, it’s a long way to go but in the meantime

Before you cross the street
Take my hand
Life is what happens to you
While you’re busy making other plans

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

– John Lennon

me and waldo cover

Would you like to offer us a helping hand here Up on the Woof? We have vet bills up the yin yang. We are always looking for coupons for certain items we purchase for our dogs on a regular basis. If you have Rachael Ray Nutrish coupons (we are still trusting Ainsworth foods),  Cesar coupons, Bil Jac Frozen coupons, or milkbone coupons that you will not be using, please save them for us. Contact me if you have some to send. Donations can also be sent via Paypal to

We also have a wishlist of items that we just can’t afford, but would make life a whole lot easier. It has recently been updated. Click the link below to view.

Things we need Up on the Woof



About yelodoggie

Ariel C. Wulff is an author, artist and animal advocate. They have been involved in pet rescue for over twenty-five years. They have written two books about their true-life adventures living with an ever-changing house full of pets: Born Without a Tail, and Circling the Waggins, and a guide to animal advocacy using the Internet as a tool: How to Change the World in 30 Seconds". Wulff also wrote a pet column and book review column for the Examiner, and was a contributing editor for They attribute their love of animals to having been raised by Wulffs.
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5 Responses to Beautiful, Beautiful Boy

  1. nancy5vic says:

    Shoot! You’d mentioned on our walk that Waldo wasn’t walking like usual. Poor pup! His was a life well lived. Thinking of you. Xoxo–Nancy


  2. Julie says:

    Waldo was a lucky dog to have such loving and caring parents! We will also miss your beautiful boy! You did everything right for him! I wish I could mend your broken hearts. Julieboylan@yahoo


  3. kathyg92256 says:

    No matter how long they live, it is never enough. I feel your pain. My Julie was healthy up until Christmas Eve morning last year when she was unable to urinate. Thinking she had a UTI, I took her to the emergency clinic and found out she had bone cancer and cancer on her lymph nodes. They wanted me to euthanize her right then but I took her home. She went for walks with her best friend DesiMae & me every day for a month never showing any more signs of even being sick until that horrible last day. I am so sorry for your loss. I know how much she and all your furbabies mean to you both. You are in my prayers. I will miss Waldo too.


  4. Pingback: Year End Update – Up on the Woof | Up on the Woof

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