Friday, January 30, 2009

RIP Izzy Finlay (1995 -2009)

Izzy is guarding the front door of a previous house we lived in.

Today, my wonderful Anatolian Shepherd (who was part of my life for almost thirteen years) died peacefully in my arms. She had just been diagnosed with bone cancer.

I made the decision many years ago that I would not let her deteriorate or go through any unnecessary pain when there was no hope of her getting better. So there was no inner struggle or conflict about knowing what needed to be done.

She was happy to the end - still guarding the house with vigor.

Izzy had an astonishing talent for friendship, was fiercely maternal and powerfully confident in her role as a guard dog - a job she took very seriously. She adored babies of any species: cat babies, dog babies, human babies.... it didn't matter. If she encountered a baby all she wanted to do was be with it and protect it and take care of it.

I want to say right here that I am grateful beyond expression to all the wonderful doctors and other staff members of Woodland Central Animal Hospital who loved her too, praised her lavishly and gave her the very best of care from the moment she was brought in as a rescue until she breathed her last.

Finally, to those who have been so supportive of me today through emails, phone calls, prayers and presence, thank you. I feel surrounded by care and compassion and sympathy in the very best sense of that word.

I'm going to rest for a while now.

With love to you all,


  1. Oh Ellie - all the humans and animals of the We Are household send love, prayers and so many healing thoughts to you.

    Izzy looks like she was a real beauty and your description of her tells me she was one special dog.

    I wish you peace.

  2. I'm so sorry you lost your friend. She sounds like a wonderful dog.

  3. Dear Ellie,

    My Jane and I send you lots of love and all kinds of feline and human prayers. I am writing because I thought you would like to hear from a four-legged creature. Your four-legged friend was beautiful, and you can see her beautiful soul in her eyes, too.

  4. Thank you so much, Maya Pavlova.

    Henry, Leroy and Harriet (the felines who graciously let me live in their house) are staying very close to me and so that helps.

    Yes, you're right. You can see Izzy's beautiful soul in her eyes. She was an amazing dog and absolutely EVERYONE loved her. (Well, except the plumber and the handyman to whom she made herself truly terrifying. There was no place I wouldn't go as long as that dog was with me. Grown men - BIG men - trembled and recoiled in great fear when she gave her characteristic warning. She really knew how to do her job.)

  5. Dear Ellie,

    Chonda and I have held you and Izzy up in prayer since we learned of Izzy's illness today.

    While I have only seen pictures of Izzy, I have seen her soul through her eyes and her love for you and for her feline brothers and sister. I am glad you have them to keep you company.

    I know that Izzy is in heaven still guarding your home and you and always will be.

    Blessings and love to you, my dear friend,

    Vicki & Chonda

  6. Dear Ellie,
    I read about this at OCICBW while at work and sent prayers for both of you immediately. I also got misty.

    This has been a hellacious week for so many wonderful folk and I was sorry to hear that you faced this too.

    How wonderful and grace-filled that you were able to enjoy Izzy's love and spirit and companion one another in your journeys. May her golden tail wag ecstatically and she and her companions delight Jesus until we are all reunited.

  7. Amen, Paul. Amen.

    Thanks so much for checking in with me here.

  8. oh ellie - i ache at your loss of your pet, your friend and your protector. dogs give such unconditional love - they teach us so much, don't they?

    there's a line in the Mysterious Benjamin Button movie - he asks a woman about dying and she says something like - oh benjamin, if people didn't die how would we know how much they meant to us? Can we not say the same of your Izzy?

    peace & comfort be yours,

  9. My four cats and I also heard of your loss at OCICBW. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God shows us so much love through these wonderful creatures. Peace be to you and the cats. We are so sorry for your loss.

  10. Thank you, Roberta, Goran and Whiteycat.

    I agree with you, Roberta, about that line from the movie.

    I had a hard night (just couldn't sleep..) but I'm all right. I cancelled my obligations for today (usually I teach a class on Saturdays and see individual clients) so I can just take care of myself and recover and get my stamina back. Yesterday was really draining.

    But I'm okay. Everybody's messages of support have meant so much!

  11. {{{{{{{Ellie}}}}}

    The Hillbilly household is praying for you too.

  12. Oh Sr. Ellie, I am so very sorry. May God comfort you in your loss.

  13. (((Ellie))) I'm late, but have been holding you and your sorrow in my heart.

  14. Thank you, Jan. I'm really glad your message came tonight because I'm particularly hurting right now. The animal cremation place called me a few hours ago and said Izzy's ashes are now ready to be picked up. I just couldn't cope with going to get them tonight. I'll get them tomorrow around noon so I'll be able to go back to work after that. Soon - maybe Friday - we'll have a little memorial service for her.

  15. Ellie,
    As I was going through the computer looking for a "tribute to Izzy", the name of our son's 8 year old lab who was laid to rest yesterday because of a brain tumor, I ran across your Izzy tribute... He also lost his 16 year old samoyed lst of November last year... Izzy and my son were best buds... They went everywhere together... Izzy held up his own until Saturday night when he could no longer find his way... It's amazing the trust animals place in us... He didn't know how to get from our back door to my sons to go home, so he put his head against my husband's leg and touched him all the way until he got home... After he past away and rolled in his blanket his mama lab came along laid down beside the blanket and put her head on it... They always laid together from the time he was very young... We lost Jakey, our yellow lab 4 years ago. He was 10 and had spinal cancer...
    He, too, kept up his spirit, wagging his tail even though he just keep going... He was like a soulmate... They are such gifts to us from God, I am truly sadden by so many who are abused, killed or sent to animal shelters...

    Thank you to all of you out there who take the time to send a note... That act of kindness means a lot...

    May the Lord Bless you, Ellie, and may you find peace of heart and rest in the days to come...

    J. Cole

  16. Thank you so much for your comment, J. I'm sure that your family's Izzy and mine are together in some way through the great compassion and love of the God who made them and called all of creation "good". And they are waiting for us to join them when that is meet and right.

    Please, offer your son my sincere sympathy.

    And may all who lose their dear animals be comforted.


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