Thursday, January 26, 2012

RIP Steely Dan, my best furry friend

(June 23, 2005- January 25, 2012)

Steely was diagnosed with an aggressive type of lymphoma on November 1, 2011. He was 6 years old. I was devastated.

We tried all the different chemotherapy meds but, in the end, none worked. I took him off all cytotoxic chemo drugs and kept him on the prednisone, and made the best of the limited time we had left together.

Steely declined at first by the week, and then by the day. Still, he lived well and was happy and playful for all but the last 2 days of his life. Even now, it's hard to believe that 3 days ago, we went for a 2 mile (slow) walk and played tennis ball.

But then his body systems started failing and he stopped eating. It was a quick decline after that.

In the end, Steely died yesterday at home with Tim and me at his side. He died without pain or suffering. He was free at last.

I feel as if I started the mourning process the day he was diagnosed, knowing then that even the best successful treatment was a one-year remission. Unfortunately, we weren't that lucky.

I am engulfed in sorrow, but there is a glimmer of relief that I remember him in his physical glory running on the trails with his tail up and his ears flopping, always looking back at me especially from the tops of the hills, waiting, watching, as if saying "What's taking you so long? It's just a hill!"

Aside from Tim of course, Steely was for me the best companion in all areas of my life, running being one of them. And boy did that boy love to run! He would regularly and easily run 20 miles with me, crash for an hour or two afterward, and then spring to his feet, scoop up his tennis ball, drop it in my lap, and beg for a game of fetch.

He was a goofy boy, he loved life, and if he wasn't lying on his back waiting for a tummy rub, then he was looking at you with a smile and a wagging tail, which would usually result in a treat.

He was a poser, loved the camera. I have never before known a dog so much a ham for the camera.

I could go on and on about how empty my life will be without him and how I fear my rescued greyhound (who learned everything he knows about the dog world from Steely) will get very depressed without his brother around. I could go on and on about how Steely became my best furry friend and how his life enrich ours greatly, but I have already said enough, and wish to post a link to my eulogy for Steely.

He will always be in my heart and I will remember him for his zeal for life and running, and even more so, for his steadfast selfless companionship.

Rest in peace, Steely.


Olga said...

Lisa, I am so sorry to hear about loss of your dear friend Steely. That's the worst thing about having an animal close to your heart - we tend to outlive them. But while they are with you, they give you so much love and compassion that it's all worth it.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, I read about the loss (ultra list) of your Steely with tears in my eyes. I had two Weimies who were THE BEST running partners and amazing beasties. I lost my youngest 4 months ago, her sister a year before her. Steely was indeed a ham for the camera. You were a great mom/guardian for him. I'm sure your heart hurts. Keeping you in my meditations for ease of heart. The video you made was beautiful. Namaste.

Dirty Running said...

So sad. I'm sorry for your loss. I have been running with my dog 3-4 times a week and we have really bonded on the trails. It's a deep bond, and I hope that your good memories of your dog will comfort you.

Chris Ⓥ said...

So sad to hear about Steely's passing. (Read it on the ultra list.) Looks like he brought a ton of joy to your life...and I'm sure you brought joy into his life. Remember the good times.

Scott McMurtrey said...

Sorry, Lisa. He was such a good boy the couple times I was able to meet him. My heart gets heavy just thinking about the day I have to go through something similar with Sadie.

Rest in peace, Steely. :)

Rachel in Raleigh, NC said...


I think one of the greatest pleasures in life is the time spent with our 4-legged companions. Rich beyond words, unconditional love, hearts the size of the sun... My one really BIG complaint about k-9's? - They never live long enough! I feel your pain.

Dogs have always been a part of our family and our home. My current running partner is a 3 yo lab mix rescue mutt by the name of "Chudleigh". Gotta love a running partner that never complains and thinks every suggestion you make is absolutely BRILLIANT!!

I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in '97 with my husky/lab mix "Micah". He was just over a year old when we started our adventure. I don't know that I could have done it without him. 7 months of 24 hour a day constant companionship, in good times and bad. Micah was diagnosed with a brain tumor at just 7 years of age. We fought the good fight, but after 6 months, Micah passed in my arms and my heart still aches when I think of him.

Much love to you and your aching heart.

Rachel (fellow runner from Raleigh, NC)

John Vonhof said...

I understand completely. We lost our 2nd cocker after a short illness. We get so close to them as they become a huge part of our lives. Jenny just runs around the yard, but she's special. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Lisa: We have them for as long as we are so incredibly and amazingly fortunate and blessed to have them in our lives. And it is so great,SO SO GREAT, we humans do what we do. We want more time. But that is part of the lesson. To know that life is transitory-it's essence: love--that is what they give us without reservation. Namaste.

Budducci said...


I'm sorry for what you are going through, it is always so hard to lose our little companions. Rejoice in the great memories you have of Steely, it sure looks like you made the most of your time with him. He surely had a great life with you.


Juli said...


I am SO sorry about Steely... The video was a joyful celebration of his life with you. It was beautiful. How lucky Steely was...

JoJo said...

dcDue to the love of one of your co-workers...many had become very much appreciative of the love you and Steely Dan shared...we watched his spirit and strength as he smiled and cheered you on "Dr. B"...we heard of the two of you sharing moments of gratitude Steely Dan warmed your soul...and gave you and others confidence to love...thank you for sharing your story...and God Bless Steely Dan...until you meet again...This "moment" video...will last a life time :)

AJ Johnson said...

Lisa, again I am so sorry for your loss. Steely Dan is beautiful; the same color as my pit-bull. The first song got me a little choked up too. You gave Steely Dan a wonderful life. Take care.

AJ Johnson

Mike said...

Lisa...Sorry for your loss. Steely looked like he was a happy dog and great running partner.

Linda Seppa Salisbury said...

Hi Lisa,
My name is Linda Seppa Salisbury and I am a communication teacher at Spokane Community College. Recently you gave a talk at a TriFusion meeting and I heard about you through my daughter Jessi Seppa Thompson and my son-in-law Roger Thompson. They were inspired by your talk.

I am contacting you to see if you might be available to be the keynote speaker at our Spring Communication Conference at SCC on Tuesday, May 8th.(8:30-9:30 am) The theme of the conference is on conquering the internal challenges and conflicts we face. Jessi mentioned that you were once a community college student and that would be such a boost to the students I serve there. She described the enormous physical feat you covered and some of what you spoke about.
Roger said that you brought in life lessons that would be helpful for my students.

I know you are a very busy person, but I am so hoping that you might have this time free to share some of the journey you are on and the challenges you have faced that are not just physical. I've taught at SCC for 35 years and so many of my current students are so discouraged and disheartened. I think hearing you speak would be a great encouragement to them.

You may reach me at SCC at 533-8055. I also left you a message at your place of work. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks so much Lisa for considering this.
Linda Seppa Salisbury
(509) 533-8055