In Memoriam: Oliver Doyle

In Memoriam: Oliver Doyle
03/02/03 – 04/30/15

Ollie was a well-traveled dog. His road trips included 4 round trips to Park City at 2200 miles each way.  That’s more than 17,000 miles of road trips including a detour to Laramie when they closed I80. He enjoyed that more than we did – especially since one of the nicest hotel managers ever gave us a special big room to wait out the storm.

alisonollieguardsmanHe enjoyed Zion National Park and the beaches of Long Island’s North Shore. He loved Killington and the cool Vermont air. He liked to go for rides to the park and loved it up at the farm where he could sniff good smells and play with his cousins, both human and canine. In his early days it was out east on Long Island, where he was a champ at barreling through screen doors. He was also a champ at knocking over little kids in his exuberance at seeing them. I had forgotten that until his Aunt Jill reminded me!

With sincere apologies to Dr. Seuss…

Oh, the places we went! The fun that we had! Our mountains were waiting and we got on our way!

Of all the places we went, Park City was his favorite. He liked going for a ride to the top of Guardsman Pass and down the other side. He never met a skier he didn’t like and he loved taking a walk up the base of Park City Mountain Resort where he was always greeted as a very cool dog and with a pat on the head.

He loved, too, meeting people who knew he was a Clumber Spaniel and who shared the stories of their dogs with us.  He literally stopped cars on Three Kings Drive on several occasions when people wanted to say hello.

Towards the end, our loop through the cemetery a few times a day to pay our respects to the dead people, and with no hills to climb, was more than enough.

As Katie said, he had a good last winter even though the snow out west was lacking. Both he and Mike were on high alert for any signs of snowolliekatie on the way and loved it when we got some. Most of all, he was a snow dog and would find that absolutely last patch of snow at the end of each ski season to cool off in. Some of his ashes will be coming back on one more trip with us to Utah to be buried in the mountains he loved.

Ollie was a character from the time he arrived. It was right on the heels of another great loss. It was time to let our beloved Ian, the best rescue golden ever, find some peace. And through some quirk of karma or fate or luck, my dear friend and getter of rescues for us, Leda, happened to know someone who had a litter of Clumbers and the rest was history.

I just found the first email I sent to his breeder after we brought him home and it said he walked into the house like he always lived there. Followed by: he is really, really sweet and we’re in love.  I don’t think he could have been loved more, and in that he was very lucky.  I was luckier. I will never forget how he talked to me the first time I picked him up. It was love at first sight for both of us. I am very grateful for how much he loved me. He was always with me or was waiting by the door for me to come back. His love knew no bounds and it was a loyal and steadfast as a dog’s love can be.

He never knew anything but love from the time he was born to the time he died gently in my arms, thanks to the kindness and caring of his friends at Homestead Animal Hospital who helped keep him with us for longer than we expected. That time was a gift, as was being able to let him go with love and peace.

To be honest, Ollie wasn’t ever really a good dog though he mellowed in his old age. He wholeheartedly loved the people and the dogs he loved. He especially loved his sister Xena who left us last fall. If there is such a thing as forever, they are back together with the rest of the pack with my Dad giving out treats. He was grumbly and grumpy with the people and dogs he wasn’t too sure about. Those who could understand it was all bluster had a friend for life.

After a run in with a mud puddle and then a hose when he was a puppy, he never set within 10 feet of a hose again. Our elderly neighbor always reminded me of the day Ollie looked brown instead of white. He really did graduate from obedience school but you wouldn’t have known it. Listening well wasn’t in his vocabulary. Once he caught a scent he was on it, or if he found something interesting he had to go find it or figure it out.

Ollie7He was about as stubborn as a dog could be. If he didn’t want to do something or go somewhere he planted four paws firmly down and stood his ground. He was rarely without a tennis ball or a toy in his mouth and Mike helped him pick out his favorite toys each night to take to bed. There were always a few. Michael also kept that 10 lb bag of really big milkbones in the garage so Ollie could pick out his own treat.

As we grieve, we very much appreciate the condolences and the kind words.  They mean more than I have the words to say.

Of all the dogs that I have loved and lost, this one has been the hardest. There are no other dogs to take care of or kids around to fill in the empty spaces in our hearts and home. He is my heart dog and I’m lost in the silence of this house.

I know that, one day, he will fill in that space where my heart is broken and I’ll remember those happy days with a smile instead of tears.

Someday, another dog will wend its way into our hearts, but there are four big furry paws to fill and we are bereft.

For now, we grieve.


At the rising of the sun and at its going down
We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter
We remember them.
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring
We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer
We remember them.
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn
We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;  for they are now a part of us as we remember them…

  • May 1, 2015


  1. Kristin
    June 12, 2015

    I am so sorry. I have a Clumber too and I was in tears as soon as I started reading your memorial. I hope that your dad is giving treats out to all of our babies up there!

  2. adrienne guss
    June 12, 2015

    One of the most beautiful tributes I’ve ever read. Of course I am crying my eyes out. I am so very sorry for your loss of Dear Oliver. Big paws to fill, but you have such beautiful memories to fill them with. Godspeed sweet Oliver.


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