Hayley Elizabeth Wigglebutt Hoover Dog WoodenShoes

Rest in peace, dear Hayley Elizabeth Wigglebutt Hoover Dog WoodenShoes, July 2003 – May 2014. Introduced to us as “the perfect dog,” by Elizabeth, the woman who ran the rescue dog organization, she turned out to be exactly that. Part beagle, part lab, 100% wonderful.

Hayley, summer 2009
Hayley, summer 2009

For the first six months we had her, she wouldn’t go any farther than four feet from her Favorite Person, The CEO. She loved Gator rides, chasing Frisbees, wandering and sniffing the 20-Acre field, bacon, getting ear scritches and belly rubs, 6-mile runs with Bookworm and Gaze, and playing in the snow with her people. She was famous for greeting her family with enthusiasm, shamelessly begging for pats, getting into the kitchen trash, vacuuming up crumbs from the table and unattended cat food, jumping into cattle waterers, never bothering the cows, showing doggy sympathy to anyone sick or sad, ripping out the window screens (twice!) and opening the basement door with her teeth to get into the house. Identified 24 of the past 3 potential intruders by barking at any vehicle or person approaching the house – including Jeff the farm guy and The CEO’s mother, both of whom she liked very much once they were close enough to be identified as friends.  She barked like a bigger dog than she actually was, but if she got really excited you could hear the beagle in her voice. She liked to sleep on “her” couch in the family room, on top of the woven afghan that we designated as the Hayley blanket.

Going for a run with Gaze, March 30, 2014. (This was a day or two after she killed a groundhog on one of their runs.) Check out those ears flopping!
Going for a run with Gaze, March 30, 2014. (This was a day or two after she killed a groundhog on one of their runs.)

A slight limp that developed last weekend after a run with Gaze turned into a bigger one.  We took her to the vet’s office on Wednesday, where they did a physical exam and some blood work, and gave her some pain meds.  On Thursday she was mopey and in pain, and she slept a lot; the vet had warned us that the medication might make her dozy. By Friday she was in a much better mood, and thoroughly enjoyed her treat of deli ham (rolled around a pill) and her bacon-flavored treat. She wanted to go onto the porch and smell things and bark at squirrels, and she was as always delighted to get to go for a ride in the van, where she sat on Bookworm’s lap wagging her tail and sticking her nose out the partly-opened window.

They did x-rays at the vet’s office, and the initial diagnosis was bone cancer. Three to six months, the vet said, unless chemo helped. But they also tested some fluid from the lump on her elbow as well as from her lymph nodes, and those tests indicated lymphoma, which has a one-to-two-month course unless we decided to treat that with chemo. I called The CEO and we decided not to treat the cancer. Instead, we planned to manage her pain and make her last weeks or months as happy and comfortable as possible.

Snuggling with Bookworm on the porch, Feb. 2013.
Snuggling with Bookworm on the porch, Feb. 2013.

Then Hayley’s lymph nodes began to swell dramatically, right there in the vet’s office, and she began to have trouble breathing.  Mast cell tumor, the vet guessed, although that usually does not cause such drastic swelling, and she didn’t respond appropriately to antihistamine or steroids. They sedated her and gave her oxygen, and she was relatively stable when Bookworm and I took her to the vet school at Virginia Tech, which offers a critical care unit and round-the-clock care.

By the time we got to the vet school hospital, she was struggling to breathe, and the vet in charge there told us that if – if – they could stabilize her condition, we would need to decide how to treat her. I called The CEO, who brought Gaze and Taz with him, and when they arrived, we made the decision to not continue to try to save her. We did get to go back to the ICU and pet her, stroke her soft ears and tell her what a good dog she was and how much she loved her.

Our thanks to the folks at Radford Animal Hospital and the VA-MD School of Veterinary Medicine for doing their best for her.  Special thanks to Dr. Hansen and Dr. Bisoski, and all the techs.

On Saturday, Bookworm and Taz dug her grave, near dear Silvia kitty’s resting place and near where Hayley would wriggle under the fence to go play and sniff in the 20-Acre Field.  When The CEO came home from Virginia Tech’s graduation, we gathered around and lowered our sweet puppy into the grave on her favorite blanket, folding it around her.  Yesterday, I planted a peony bush as a marker.

Hayley, August 2013
Hayley, August 2013

We will miss our Thump-tail, the Flop-ear, the Underfoot, Canine Security, the Frog-dog, Official Greeter, the Insatia-Dog, the Pupful, sweet Hayley.


18 thoughts on “Hayley Elizabeth Wigglebutt Hoover Dog WoodenShoes”

  1. So sad to hear about your loss!
    I’m sure Hayley felt your love through the years and until the very end.
    She looks like she has lived a happy life: squirrels to bark at, acres of field to explore and monitor, food to steal from the cat…and a loving family around, to play with and to protect. I’m sure she is so proud to be publicly called “the perfect dog”, wherever she is now!
    I send her a virtual scratch behind the ears and a hug to you and your family.

    1. Thank you, Miss Z. We miss her so much… but as we were saying to each other yesterday, we were lucky to have her and she was lucky to have us. It was wonderful, and we’re so happy that we got to give her a good life.

  2. How very hard it is when a dear friend crosses the Rainbow bridge. I think you made the right decision to let her go. She will always be in your memories and in your hearts. Good thoughts to you and yours.

  3. Oh dear oh dear, the death of pets always makes everyone so sad partially because they are wonderfully, exuberantly, innocent.

    But your girl sounds like she was a first class pup and had a wonderful life.
    R.I.P. Ms Wigglebut

    1. Pure love, that’s what they are.

      We miss the Wigglebutt, very much – but she did have a wonderful life with us, and we were so happy to have her.

  4. I am so sorry and so sad for you and your loss of a beloved family member, as that is what they truly are. XOXO

  5. I am so sorry for your loss, and it must be hard on everyone to lose a dear family member (and what a hard decision to make at the end, too!). I am very glad that you all had such wonderful times together! She sounds like a perfect dog indeed 🙂

    1. She was — well, not perfect. Those ripped window screens… and the kitchen trash scattered across the floor… but perfect for us, maybe.

  6. Oh, Mals. You have moved me to tears. What a fabulous tribute to your beloved dog to write of her as you did. I am sorry for your loss, but am happy for the life Hayley led with your family. Thank you for sharing.

    1. We told her every day what a sweet good doggie she was, and that we loved her. COuld I do less even though she’s not here to hear that anymore? I’m glad the affection came through, because we wouldn’t be sad if we hadn’t loved our time with her.

  7. Since they give unconditional love that is so like God’s, I am sure they also share eternity with us. Blessings and grace to you and your family as you mourn her death.

  8. I am so sorry for your loss. Your Hayley girl was clearly well loved. Your post is such a beautiful tribute. It’s made me all misty eyed. Hugs to all of your family in this time. I’m gonna go love on my Cleo a bit extra now. All we can do is love those around us as much as we can, as long as we can–people or pets. Thank you for sharing your love of Hayley. May God be with you.

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