Our beloved Wiley passed away on December 22, 2005, a few weeks short of his 14th birthday. His last day was spent peacefully lying about the living room, enjoying many pets and a hand-fed snack of salmon and cheese.
Wiley came to us in December 1995, one of the flood of greyhounds in need of homes when the dog track in Coeur dąAlene, ID, closed down. He moved straight into our home after only a few days in foster care. Thanks to his great intelligence, Wiley quickly adapted to life in our house, with its stairs, new routines (walkies!), and resident alpha cat. Les and I quickly learned that Wiley only had to be shown or told something once for him to łget it.˛ Wiley trained us, too, coming up with his own methods for communicating his needs. If he wanted to go out, for example, he would thump into a huge, joyful playbow, tail wagging wildly. This display of joie de vivre was so adorable it even made those middle-of-the-night potty sessions bearable.
Wiley was an international traveler, vacationing in British Columbia and the Canadian Gulf Islands, as well as the San Juans and other parts of Washington and Oregon. Wherever he went he stopped traffic with his great beauty but it never went to his head. He had a wonderful "go along, get along" personality, and an enormous store of patience when it came to his housemate, Walter the cranky one-eyed cat. An ambivalent camper, Wiley loved the many novel walks the great outdoors provided, but didnąt much care for Flappy the Tent on a breezy night. During one April camping trip in the Columbia Gorge, the temperature dropped in the night and Wiley began shivering. Les draped a down jacket over our pup; Wiley was suspicious at first, but settled down once he began to feel the warming effects, and slept happily under the improvised blanket. That was the beginning of our winter ritual of tucking Wiley into bed at night with his "bankie."
Les and I will never forget the sight of Wiley dashing in huge circles around us, his spine bending into a tight bow and then springing open with immense power. Nor will we forget the quieter times, when he would do his "baby dog" routine, lying on his side and pathetically waving a forepaw, begging one of us to get down on the floor and scratch his ears or rub his head. When we performed these tasks particularly skillfully, he would reward us with happy groans from deep inside his huge chest cavity. Our house and lives are much emptier now, but Wiley filled us in ways that will never be forgotten. We will scatter his ashes among his favorite parks, where we spent so many happy hours together.
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