In Memoriam: Liam, January 15, 2005 – May 25, 2018

The title of this post pretty much says it all. While Liam rallied a bit midweek, it became clear that by Friday something was terribly wrong. He hadn’t eaten since Sunday, and nothing, not even ice cream, could tempt him to take a bite.

We brought Liam to the vets on Friday, and he had an ultrasound, which revealed that he had cancer that had metastasized. The time had come to have him euthanized, and Clif and I were with him at the end. For those of you who have had beloved pets put down, you know how heat-wrenching this is.  But to us it was clear that this was the right thing to do. There was no hope of Liam getting better, only more suffering.

Oh, the house is quiet without Liam. Even in his decline, he had a bright spirit, so luminous that when we posted Liam’s death on Facebook, kind friends who knew him mentioned it over and over. How lucky we were to have this energetic dog who filled our days with joy and pizzazz. Until he went blind, Liam was always ready for a lark—a trip to the beach, a walk in the woods, an ice cream treat at the Dairy Queen.

One of my favorite memories of Liam was how he gleefully raced around the backyard. Soon after we got him, we fenced in our entire backyard, about half an acre, which gave him a good sprint. Liam raced around so much that his pounding paws wove a groove around the perimeter, and our friend Claire dubbed it “The Liam 500.”

When a motorcycle went by, this was especially exciting. Not only would Liam run, but he would stop to twirl once, twice, three times, barking madly. Friends who witnessed this would laugh and shake their heads. Our Liam knew how to liven things up.

What makes Liam’s death especially poignant is that there will be no more dogs for us. Our books keep us busy as we go to various events. Because of Liam, we could only go an hour or so away from our house. Now, we can go two hours and even, on occasion, three hours. While we gladly accommodated our schedule to Liam, we decided that after he passed, our energies would be devoted to our books.

One of the many lessons we learned from our vibrant dog is this: Life is short, so cherish the ones who are dear to you, be they family, friends, dogs, cats, horses, or whatever. This cherishing brings a richness to life that cannot be purchased, no matter how much money you have. At the end of things, there will be grief, but to be mourned is to be loved.

So farewell, Liam! You were certainly loved, and our lives won’t be the same without you.

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64 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Liam, January 15, 2005 – May 25, 2018”

  1. I am so sorry for your loss Laurie. Even though we never met him in person, Liam brightened up our world too. He was very special, deeply loved and deeply loving. You did the right thing by letting him go. A big hug from all of us here. Run free sweet Liam xxx

    1. Yes, indeed! And a very sad heart. But as I mentioned in my post, to be mourned is to be loved. Liam was certainly loved.

  2. You have lost a dear friend, and he will be forever in your hearts. I love the way you write about him and your feelings now. Moving and down to earth, practical but honouring the love and the memories.
    Big hugs. ❤

  3. We are very sorry to learn that Liam has left you – and the neighborhood. He was a wonderful, beautiful dog and he certainly enjoyed the very good (and long) life you shared with him.

    1. Sigh. So many neighborhood dogs are gone. Very grateful to have Magic and Murphy nearby. But we sure do miss our dog buddy.

  4. I am really sorry for your loss. And, yes, I’ve taken two pets to be put to sleep. Cried all the way there and all the way home, dug the graves myself while bawling, and life was never quite the same. But, you do get to a point (age) where you think long and hard about a new pet because it is confining. I wish you all the good memories you hold dear and lots of new adventures. 🙂

    1. Read your response with tears in my eyes. Yes, life is never the same without our beloved dog buddies. As for not getting another dog…As much as we love having a dog around, we both know that our time for dogs is over. Too much traveling with the books, which now must be our main focus now that Liam is gone. But how we miss that dog buddy.

  5. Oh Laurie … I have been so busy putting in the garden that I haven’t been reading blogs and missed your posts on Liam’s decline. I am so deeply sorry that Liam is gone. I know you will grieve for him hard and long. My heart goes out to you.

  6. My sympathy and love is with you… Thank you for sharing beautiful Liam’s zeal for life with us…He will be missed by many fans!❤

  7. You were in my thoughts this weekend and I’m so sorry for your loss. They mean so much during their short time with us and create endless memories to cherish. There were tears and smiles reading about Liam’s wonderful spirit and antics and all the care and love he received.

    1. Thank you so much. I know you are going through hard times with dear little Gabby. Sending pats and kisses her way. Hope she makes a full recovery and that you have her for many more years.

  8. So sorry to hear of Liam, and I agree with all you’ve said in your post… Enjoying and appreciating the precious times in life is so important. We also had a beloved family pet & we missed her terribly when she died. It was just about the time our girls left home too. Like you we decided not to get another pet at this stage… Best wishes while adapting to life without Liam and I’m glad you have summer sunshine and your long winter is finished.

    1. Thanks so much! And you are right—the sunshine and being outdoors helps so much. How much worse this would have been if it happened in the winter, and we were cooped up inside.

  9. Liam lived a good long life with you, and you did the right thing to end his pain from the cancer. He was a special dog and has a wonderful story that needs to be written. I will plant some perennials here for him on our farm. He would have loved it here, too.

    1. Oh, my gosh! How lovely of you. Many, many thanks. I know Liam would have loved running, running, running at your place.

  10. Oh dear, always so difficult when a beloved four-legged friend reaches their time. It really changes the landscape of our days. Liam has had a good life with a loving family…his family. My thoughts go out to both of you, Laurie and Cliff.

  11. Grief is the big price we pay for loving them but the huge love makes the price worth it. He was a lucky dog; you were lucky dog people–I’m so sorry he’s gone . . .

  12. Oh, Laurie, I am so sorry for your loss. I know Liam was a huge part of your lives and you will all miss him terribly. You wrote a lovely tribute to him; hugs to you.

  13. What a handsome dog Liam was. I am glad you had him for so many years and that you were with him when he died. It’s awfully hard to lose a dog. They know so much about you and you about them and they are woven into your life in such a way that you’ve got a tear in the fabric. I’m sorry to have missed the last few weeks of your blog–goodness, flowers (your irises!) and gardening and bike rides. It looks beautiful up there. I hope the book business is satisfying.

    1. Thanks so much! Finished the second book in the series—Library Lost. But all has been put on hold as we have tended to Liam. Now, it’s back to editing.

  14. I have only known of Liam since Shannon and Michael been down in North Carolina. But, by seeing his pictures from your blog Laurie, or from Shannon pictures of him, Liam was well loved. My sympathy goes out to you both. Ruth

    1. They sure do! They bring so much joy to our lives. How lucky we are to have them. If only dogs lived longer!

  15. Sorry to hear the news Laurie. I read that he was ill in a previous post and didn’t know what to say. I still don’t. Judging from the photos you are left with some great memories.

    We had our two cats for 20 years and after we had to have them put to sleep in successive years I couldn’t believe how much we missed them.

    1. So beautifully written Laurie….my eyes are misty thinking of dear Liam. Our beloved pets do not stay long enough. I am thinking of two things – one is you gave me a beautiful Sheltie mug that looks so much like Liam – if you would treasure it now I would certainly not be offended if you would like it back as a memory of Liam. The other is – anytime you want a “puppy fix” just let me know – I can bring Murphy over to visit. Warm thoughts to you both during this time

      1. Liam was such a sweet boy. We have our own Liam mugs so please keep the one we gave you. Would love to have you and Murphy over for a visit. Either message me or give me a quick call. We are home much of the time, but we do go out for bike rides, etc. Please plan on coming when you can stay for tea.

    2. It is hard to know what to say when someone has lost a beloved pet or, even worse, a family member. What you wrote was just right, and I so appreciate it.

  16. It sure did seem that you cherished every moment with Liam. From little treats under the table and watching him romp around the yard to helping him adjust to losing his vision, he was a dog who brought joy into your lives.

    1. He sure did! Until he went blind, Liam was a joyful dog with a zest for life. Even when he was blind, he was a sweet, patient buddy. We sure do miss him.

  17. I am so sorry that you have lost your dear friend! Your tribute to him is very moving and the photos show him to be such a character! We are an animal-less house since our cats died some years ago. These furry friends are missed so much!

  18. So sorry for your loss of this beautiful family member. I know how quiet the house becomes when a dog leaves us…and heartbreaking to have to put them to sleep. But their love stays with us. A few months after our Bumble (also blind for the three last years) left us, he whispered in my ear that we might consider opening our home for another rescue dog. A few weeks after that Dylan, who was found abandoned on the street, came home. Hugs

    1. Oh, yes! You captured just how it is. Love the story about your Dylan. Give him a pat and a scratch for me.

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