I have been trying to think of the best way to write down how I feel about Wallace, but there is so much to say and I always get overwhelmed at this task. Just in his last year of life his book came out, he waded in the ocean, went to the Great Salt Lake, met Betty White, rode in a motorcycle sidecar, floated in a canoe, cruised in a convertible, competed in the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge regionals, and spent a whole lot of time at home rolling in the grass, sleeping in the sun, and eating good food. How do I begin to describe such a dog and how I feel about him? He thrived. He proved himself. He made us better people. He lived.
I guess it’s pretty simple. I miss him. I have so many vivid memories and hundreds of amazing photos and videos, but those things aren’t enough. I don’t think there’s another way to say it: He was famous. People came out of the woodwork when Wallace succeeded, when he got sick, when they had a Wallace-related story to share, and when he died they mourned with us. I love all of the connections we made through him and knowing he made positive changes in the dog community. All of that is amazing and wonderful and huge, but what I miss most is my family member, my pet, my boy. I miss his pink pouty lips, his old man waddle, his rolling-in-the-grass happy roars, his super pathetic whining at mealtime, kissing the big divot in his head (though Hector has one, too, and he is getting extra smooches now that Wallace is gone), his happy willingness to go anywhere and do anything from adventures to vet visits, his mild but mischievous nibbles on his only friend Angus (“Wallace, don’t pick on Angus! He’s your only friend and you don’t want to alienate him.”), and I miss being his caretaker– I realized after he died that I really liked organizing his pills and assembling his special food and taking him to acupuncture– I felt important.
Since this is in fact my art blog, I will mention that one of the things I miss most is his enthusiasm for being in my studio. My space takes up the top half-story of our house and every time I opened that door to go upstairs, Wallace jumped to his feet to join me. It might have had something to do with the giant box of stuffies that many people sent to him when he got cancer, but whether or not I pulled out a stuffy from the closet for him to de-stuff, he was content and oh so pleased to be spending time in the special room.
The last week or two he started having trouble getting up the steep stairs. Sometimes he could do it with a little coaxing and the other times Roo carried him upstairs. We spent most of Wallace’s last night up in the studio. He slept on the magnet therapy dog bed while we camped out on the floor.
We had a lovely last day with Wallace. He rebounded a bit from the difficult day before. We took him for a walk around the neighborhood with Angus. He stopped in someone’s yard to soak up some rays, catch his breath, and smell the good smells. We gave him some leftover roasted chicken for lunch. He hadn’t had poultry in years because of allergies. His face lit up and he begged like a puppy. It was a beautiful day so he spent a good amount of the day in the backyard. The afternoon came around and it was time for the vet to come over. We said goodbye to Wallace while he lay in his fluffy bed with one of his favorite toys.
Wallace, you changed my life. You taught me hard lessons about unconditional love. You showed me what is possible. You made me feel needed. You were meant to be ours.