The Reordering of Bowls

The normal ordering of the big dog bowls will never be the same. Sydney's bowl should be in the second position, but it isn't and never will be again.

She is gone.

Sydney was born on November 22, 2008 and she died on April 18, 2017.  

She lived a well-loved and interesting life in Montana...

A Grand Champion, trained and titled in tracking, draft, and agility, Sydney's most significant achievement was her ability to love. 

When she was a  puppy, Sydney would whine after people who did not stop to meet her. To Sydney, everyone was a new best friend; she never met a stranger. 

Sydney gifted every person and animal she met with unconditional positive regard.

Even Canadians.

There are not words to do justice to this dog -- Sydney was everything all of us should strive to be: kind, loving, and accepting...

...trustworthy and decent...

Sydney will always be an important member of our family...

...important and beloved.

Yesterday Sydney conveyed very clearly that the benefits of her life were overshadowed by the burdens. She did not enjoy her daily bone, or her dinner. As I supported her useless rear end with the harness, she walked to an unused gate and simply looked out, as if to tell me that she needed to leave. It was chilling.

The veterinarian who has traveled with us for every step of Sydney's osteosarcoma journey happened to be doing the evening Urgent Care Clinic. Her compassionate, intelligent care of Sydney has enhanced Sydney's life and it supported a gentle ending to a well-loved life. Much gratitude to Dr. Shonie Card of Pruyn Veterinary Hospital -- she is an exceptional veterinarian and human being, and that made her the right person to care for Sydney.

We are also grateful to oncologist Dr. Andrew Vaughan from the Las Vegas Veterinary Specialty Center, Dr. Mikell Bodner who continued to care about Sydney even after she sold her practice to Dr. Jenny Elwell-Gerken (thank you, Jenny), and much love and gratitude to our own Dr. Toby for her long-distance support and guidance. The best care for humans and animals happens with a team -- Sydney had a terrific team around her.

Although Sydney was diagnosed with osteosarcoma 15+ months ago and we know she had a mass in her lungs and a possible lesion on her spine, we do not know if the cause of her death was the osteosarcoma. Sydney participated in a clinical trial, and in order to provide relevant information to that study, post-death biopsies are being done. Loving and giving in life, it seems appropriate that Sydney continue to make contributions in death.

Even when you know time is short, the end is always so abrupt and unexpected. Our hearts are in pieces -- and that allows space for gratitude that we were blessed with such an amazingly awesome dog. 

The world has lost an Ambassador of Goodness. In her honor, will you please do a random act of kindness today?


by joan on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 07:19

I am so so so sorry. Hugs to your whole family, human, canine, and feline.

by Dianne on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 07:36

I am so very sorry M-A for your loss of sweet Syd. She was a perfect representation of our beloved breed, bright, beautiful and oh so sweet and will be dearly missed by all who knew her. Hugs to you and Kim as you move forward today with one less bowl.

by Kris from Cape Cod on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 07:38

I am so very sorry for your loss. My boys will get extra hugs today in memory of her......

by Becky (Bozeman) on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 07:42

Such a beautiful tribute to an exceptional dog! I'd write more but the tears just won't stop. So sorry for your loss!

by Emmy on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 07:43

I'm writing through the tears... Syd always made me feel like I was her favorite person in the world, I will miss that. I'm so sorry she is gone. Hugs.

by Favorite Auntie... on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 07:43

Best. Dog. Ever. And, I am so sorry for your loss, and so grateful you shared your Syd with us. Love to you.

by Lori S. on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 07:44

I am so, so sorry. The tears are flowing in NY. Much love and comfort to all of you.

by Sarah Lisinski on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 07:46

Maryann, the only words I have to offer is how sorry I am. It is so hard to lose a cherished family member. Sounds like Sydney gave all she had to everyone she met
Take care,

by Barbz on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 07:48

Sending love and hugs to you and your family. She had the best life ever.

by Sandy on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 07:49

A beautiful tribute to an amazing and wonderful Sydney. I am so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you and family.

by Michele on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 07:54

I'm so sorry for your loss of your remarkable Sydney. Our walk in the woods today will be dedicated to her memory.

by Amber on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 07:54

Mary-Ann and your whole family, I am so sorry for your loss of a much loved member of your family. This is a beautiful tribute and the least I can do is an act of kindness with grace.

by Kris O on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 07:57

I am so very sorry for your loss of such an incredible girl. I feel priveledged to have known Syd. She was truly a very very special girl. Thinking of you and remembering Syd..........

by Andrew V on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 08:11

Sydney was a truly amazing dog with such an amazing heart and love for life. Your tribute to her is so special. You can tell how many people she touched and that she was beloved to all of them. I am just so sorry for your loss.

by Pam Solomon on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 08:13

So sorry that you lost Sydney. Thoughts to you and your family.

by Kathy L on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 08:15

I am so sorry. There just are no adequate words for such a loss. She was one of the most amazing dogs I have ever known. What a gift she had for making each person she met feel so important. She was a girl who loved life and met each challenge with such determination and joy. We all could benefit from her excellent example. I know you are devestated. You have lost a treasure. I am sending soldiers and lots of love to you and your entire family.

by Terri Zimmerman on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 08:46

So damn sad for you and family. She was such an incredible spirit.

by Linda Trudeau on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 08:59

....hurt, sadness, pain, and yet .... love

by Lynn M Cobb-Alvarez on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:17

Reordering the bowls is gut wrenching. May memories of all the friends made and titles earned with Syd bring comfort and peace.

by Cousin Julie on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:18

I am so sorry. Lots of tears. Lots of gratitude. I am in awe of how you bare this, again...

by RobinS on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:22

So sorry Mary-Ann and also condolences to Kim, Galen, and the rest of Syd's family. I always think with fondness of the short time I spent with her; thank you for bringing her and other dogs like her into the world.

by Debbie Sharlow on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:26

So sorry. You have been and will be in my thoughts.

by Maddie's Mommy on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:37

While it's said that we should not mourn a life well lived--and surely Sydney lived hers well and to the fullest--what a wrench her leaving is, and how we shall miss her. We will miss her, but never forget her. Our hearts go out to you at this time.

by Farpoints Farm on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:45

Such a lovely tribute to a gentle soul! Hugs to you!

by Kay on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 10:00

Missing the beautiful Sydney who lead an exceptional life. Condolences and love to all of her family.

by Murray Johnston on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 10:06

A beautiful tribute to a beautiful dog - and so touched my heart - we lost our son's golden yesterday to ( we think) a tumor in his spinal canal - slowly became totally paralyzed - except for his eyes - his soulful dark eyes were still with us -
my heart is broken for all of us - but as you say - the pieces let the love and light get in - thank you, Murray

by Jill on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 10:08

I'm so sorry that Sydney is gone. So sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing her
life with us.

by Tami on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 10:25

Your tribute to your beautiful girl is so nice. I'm terribly sorry for your family's loss. Some of these berners just touch us so deeply with their love. Sounds like she was a very special girl.

by Katie S on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 10:44

I am SO SORRY. I wish you peace, comfort and strength as you all mourn the loss of such a wonderful dog.

by Mary A Lindsay on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 11:20

So sorry ..the hardest thing in life is knowing the choices we must make for our fur kids. Being their steward in life is not only an honor and privilege but a enormous duty: one however I would never not have. Prayers and peace knowing Sydney is now well and running free.

by Lawrence on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 11:58

This is heartbreaking, more so because we just lost our Hannah a short time ago. My spelling might suck typing is hard through the tears. Just know I'm truly sorry for your loss!

by Toby E on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 12:15

Such a special soul, such a deep loss. So many of us are so fortunate she touched our lives. Hugs to you, Kim, Galen and Bethany.

by CA Heidi :-( on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 12:20

Sweet Sydney. She is the benchmark for grace, goodwill, and kindness. She is irreplaceable, so we will all have to do our very best to carry her many wonderful traits forwards with us.

I share your tears. I am so glad to have spent time with her. Thinking of you all with lots and lots of love today.



by cindy holcomb on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 13:08

I too lost my 14 year old today.... these words of yours "Even when you know time is short, the end is always so abrupt and unexpected. Our hearts are in pieces -- and that allows space for gratitude that we were blessed with such an amazingly awesome dog. " are resonating in my heart. I haven't reordered the bowls yet, pretty sure it will stab me in the heart.
I am very sorry for your loss of such a special soul.

by joan on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 18:03

Cindy, I don't know you, and I didn't know your pup, but I know your heartbreak. Take care.

by Favorite Auntie... on Thu, 04/20/2017 - 07:06

This has been a tough week for my heart hurts for both of you. Peace to you, Cindy.

by john h. and family on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 14:09

We are so very sorry to hear the news... thoughts and prayers to you and your family. So many great memories
and friendships that have formed sure do make a great Legacy... the G litter in particular holds a special place in our hearts.

by Sue N on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 16:36

We are so sorry to hear about Sydney. She was a wonderful girl who will be missed by so many. Random act of kindness completed in her memory today. Thinking of you and your family with tears in our eyes and love in our hearts.


by andrea on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 16:47

Let us agree
for now
that we will not say
the breaking
makes us stronger
or that it is better
to have this pain
than to have done
without this love.

Let us promise
we will not
tell ourselves
time will heal
the wound,
when every day
our waking
opens it anew.

Perhaps for now
it can be enough
to simply marvel
at the mystery
of how a heart
so broken
can go on beating,
as if it were made
for precisely this—

as if it knows
the only cure for love
is more of it,

as if it sees
the heart’s sole remedy
for breaking
is to love still,

as if it trusts
that its own
persistent pulse
is the rhythm
of a blessing
we cannot
begin to fathom
but will save us

—Jan Richardson

I am so very sorry for the loss of sweet, beautiful Sydney.

by CA Heidi on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 23:57

What a beautiful blessing.

by David Thompson on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 18:50

Sadness and joy for your journey, for all the wonderful thoughts on the circle of life

by Amanda on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 19:47

I will do this in her memory. I'm so sorry to hear of it.

by Nell in Cedar City on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 20:19

So sad to read about Sydney's death. One less bowl always seems so heartbreakingly final.

We are glad we got to visit with Sydney several times.

Comforting love to you, Kim, Galen and Bethany and all others that loved her

Nell & John

by Laurie Spease on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 20:47

So sorry Maryann. What a wonderful dog. I wish I had met her

by Mary P on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 21:11


Mary & Stu

by Joanna Vatsis on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 21:22

I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to your loving girl! You made me cry! My heart dog died last year a week after her tenth birthday! And all I know is that our pups live in our hearts, that is why it hurts so bad when we must say goodbye! Blessing on all of you for producing and loving such a beautiful girl!

by Sandy Forde-Fai... on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 21:43

Such a beautiful tribute to Sidneys life . So sorry for the much felt loss in your lives now; so happy you had so many wonderful years with her -and you with her.

by Linda in Salt Lake on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 22:45

I too am writing this through tears. Although I never met Sydney, we followed her by your blog and stories and came to love her and admire her courage. I am so so very sorry for your loss. She was an amazing girl.

by Annie Bell on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 23:42

A beautiful salute to a great dog. So sad for you and your family but you heard her at the right times me. Run free Sydney.

by MadDog N Oz on Thu, 04/20/2017 - 04:12

That was one of the most beautiful tributes I have ever read. My heart goes out to you. Wish we could hold on to these awesome dogs for longer. Big hugs ... Big sad hugs - fly free Sydneyxxx


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