The Cycle of Life: Tales of Reflection
There can be much to learn when we share the tales of
our experiences. We believe that you will agree.
The Go 2 Golden
Poems and Stories for Further Thought
Understanding Golden Soul
Until the Great Until
A Little Golden Angel
A Living Love
Dogs In Heaven?
A Golden Psalm
Message From Max
Poem for the Grieving
Go 2 Dog: For 14 Years, It Was a
By Murph Moore (for Seattle
Post-Intelligencer columnist Jim Moore), March
The managing editor thought I had already passed my master and was on my way to becoming
the P-I's No. 1 sports columnist. The Go 2 Dog debuted with my
review of the Seattle
Kennel Club dog show last month. I was so unimpressed that I planned to enter and whip
them all next year. After that, it was on to New York for the grand-doggie of them all.
But then I got the results from the ultrasound. So instead of trampling Art Thiel and
finding me a spinster at Westminster, I am now the first dog in history to write his own
obituary. All things considered, I'd rather be chasing a stick.
I was born in February 1989. The Go 2 Ex-Wife picked me because I was the mellowest golden
retriever in the litter. Turns out I had worms. Once they were gone, I was bouncing off
walls, soon to become an obedience school dropout. (Train the Go 2 Dog? Yeah, right. I
wanted to give that loud-mouthed instructor rabies.) I was named after Dale Murphy, the
Atlanta Braves center fielder. My master was a fan of his. He was a great player, and a
good man. Murphy would work for me.
For the first four years, I pretty much ate, swam, ate,
drooled, ate, slept, ate, begged. (Come to think of it, that's all I did the last 10
years, too.) Then, just to throw a changeup, I'd overturn the Schmidts' garbage can,
rummage through the remains, listen to the phone ring and watch my master pick up the mess
From our runs together, I knew every inch of the Sammamish Plateau. I spent most days in
Pine Lake, if I wasn't in Beaver Lake or Lake Sammamish. I dog-paddled after every toy --
from the plastic hamburger to the green frog. I returned it to shore, but never took it to
my owner. I was a retriever, not a bring-it-backer.
Because I was in the water so much, every car the Go 2 Guy owned stunk. I always waited to
shake until I got in, spraying droplets on every window. I got a kick out of that. He
didn't. My hair covered the back seat, adding a special touch to the ambience. Vacuums and
air fresheners were no match for me. My master didn't care. I loved it when a passenger
got in, scrunched up her nose and said: "Yuck, your car smells like a dog." And
he would say: "You wanna walk?"
Humans I will miss the most:
Mary Popa, the Go 2 Ex-Wife's mom, who always took care of me
when he was on road trips or being irresponsible. I was your dog, too. Thank you for those
Frosty Paws ice cream treats, and scratching my back with the remote control. I know you
loved me as much as he did.
Chris Moore, the Go 2 Ex-Wife who house-trained me, taught me
to sit and shake with both paws, and was always there when he wasn't. Thanks for
surprising him with me.
Terry Tomchick, my all-knowing vet at Alpine Animal Hospital
who kept me going for 14 years, fighting off one skin problem after another, giving my
owner the best advice right until the end.
Oly, the Mustard Seed bartender who allowed me free run of
the tavern on Saturday afternoons. I was a true bar hound. On our most memorable day, we
arrived at noon and left at midnight after my master woke me up from under the pool table.
Brooke Moore, the Go 2 Girl. Ya know, for some reason I was
never jealous of you. Probably because you were nice to me.
Kathie Moore, the Go 2 Wife. You accepted me from the
beginning. You let my shedding ol' self into your beautiful home. You played with me, you
laid with me. I crawled from the living room to the bedroom, because I wanted to see you
one more time before I left.
The Go 2 Guy. Cheer up. We had a great run. You were my best
I was the one constant in your life, and you were the one
circus in mine. (Two wives, two girlfriends and six moves in my lifetime made you more of
a circus than a constant.) It didn't matter; I was with you all the way. We put each other
first. You let me be a dog. I was never tied up, rarely on a leash.
When your kid was born, people said you wouldn't have time for me anymore, but you always
did. You bought me ice cream cones at McDonald's and bones at Farmer George's butcher
shop. You frequently took me to work, and I even met Phil Jackson once after a Chicago
Bulls practice at the Coliseum. "Whose dog is this?" Jackson asked as he bent
down to pet me. "What a great dog." I remember looking over and seeing you
The best thing was going to Slater Park on Mercer Island. We went there many times over my
last five years. After going through the Mount Baker tunnel, I whined with excitement,
knowing where we were going. It was your outdoor office. You sat there in your $10 chaise
lounge, interviewing someone or writing about someone or taking a nap. (Don't worry, your
editors won't read this far.) I would interrupt you with my puppy bark, wanting you to
throw the stick/frog/hamburger/tennis ball into Lake Washington again. You might want to
spread my ashes there, because it was my favorite place, too.
In the end: On Feb. 13, the ultrasound showed I had cancerous tumors on my liver and
spleen. I heard the word "malignant." Dr. Terry said I had "days to weeks
left, but not months." She wasn't sure if I would make it through surgery because of
my age. It was pointless, anyway. My time had come. It would be better for me to spend
what little time I had left on a beach than on an operating table.
So my master took time off from work and we went to the Oregon coast. I ran on the
shoreline and waded in the waves in pursuit of another stick. I was "Murph in the
Surf," enjoying my final swim at Gearhart, while the Go 2 Guy took pictures that will
someday bring him comfort. Four days later, I couldn't get up. The same legs that pounded
the pavement for you, that swam a million miles for you, would not cooperate for me. I was
said to have died peacefully.
Now the Go 2 Dog is off to whereabouts unknown. Hopefully, I'll end up in dog heaven. One
thing's for certain: I've already been there.
August 5, 2003 Update:
Six months after the Go 2 Dog died, I'm missing
Murph and still have his bed and water bowl on the deck. Reluctantly, I've been talked
into moving on. A golden retriever puppy arrives from Yakima on Sunday.
Circle of Life Begins Anew
at Moore Household with Arrival of Willie
By Murph Moore (for Seattle
Post-Intelligencer columnist Jim Moore), April
To my daughter Brooke, it's Christmas in August. Until yesterday, she never had a puppy.
For the past week, the Go 2 Girl has been scurrying about, preparing for the pup's
arrival, buying a leash and a collar and making a bed for him. She's been reading
"Golden Retrievers for Dummies," marking pages with a highlighter and pink
sticky notes. (Instead of the vet, the first place I'm taking the new dog is Barnes &
Noble to get a copy of "Dummies for Golden Retrievers" so he will better
understand his new owner.)
Unlike the kid, I haven't been terribly excited because this makes it official: the Go 2
Dog is really, really gone. Murph, my stately hound, died in February at 14, and I admit
to still being a golden retriever griever. I haven't been very good at letting go. For the
past six months, his round green circle of a bed from Costco has been on the deck with his
collar and toy. His water dish is out there, too, and his food remained in a bin in the
carport with all of his pills.
A few days ago I removed his collar and toy but will leave the bed for the new dog so he
can have one outdoor circle to go with the indoor circle that we bought especially for
him. The water dish also stays, and it will be good to hear the slurping and the sloshing
again. After a trip to PETsMART, I replaced Murph's food with the new dog's food. I never
thought opening a bag of puppy chow would be sad, but it was. Saturday night as the sun
set over the Olympics, I washed Murph's old kennel, one that he hadn't slept in for years,
getting it spiffed up for the new dog. That brought back more memories.
Yesterday morning, sensing my somber mood on what should be a joyful occasion, the
out-of-town Go 2 Wife said: "Murphy wouldn't want you to sit around and be sad. He
was a happy-go-lucky guy. "But if it were me, I would want you to be miserable for
five years before you went out with anyone." Buoyed by that bit of levity, the Go 2
Girl and I went to Robinswood Park in Bellevue yesterday afternoon to get the new dog.
Al and Tina Bass of Yakima, drove over to distribute six puppies from their dog's litter
to new owners in the Seattle area. We had a Mexican fiesta while the pups frolicked with
their brothers and sisters one final time before scattering to their new homes.
Our new dog is great. We met him for the first time three weeks ago when he was three
weeks old. He's so light that he's almost white. We chose him because he's a fighter. Al
Bass helped bring him to life, pressing on his chest, nearly giving him mouth-to-muzzle
resuscitation. He's a runt who aspires to greatness, which makes this an appropriate home
for him. We'll struggle together. He's a golden retriever without American Kennel Club
papers, which means he will never win anything at dog shows, a fitting canine for an
I guess I should mention that he won't be called the new dog anymore. He's Willie, the Go
2 Pup. I named Murph after my favorite baseball player in my 20s and 30s, Dale Murphy of
the Atlanta Braves. Willie is named after my favorite baseball player growing up, Willie
Mays, and we also like the Port Orchard connection to Willie Bloomquist, a little scrapper
himself. ("Doba" was a late consideration. I thought it would be cool to name
him after the Coug football coach, but no one else did.)
In Murph's memory, it's time to welcome Willie without comparing him to the Go 2 Dog. Once
he's done piddling everywhere and chewing on every chair leg in the house, Willie will be
loved and spoiled just for being Willie. Besides, there's no way he can pant and slobber
as much as Murph; that's setting the bar too high.
wrote this yesterday afternoon, so I have no idea how it went with Willie last night. But
I imagine he had a rough time being away from his mama and whined non-stop. I was probably
on the floor with him, trying to comfort him on his first night here, just like I did with
Murph on his last night here. Thanks to Willie, I'm finally moving on.
Jan Corey Arnett, Battle
Creek Enquirer, March 5, 2006
It is said that all
things are possible when you have faith and believe.
Kenna, the golden retriever who was my constant companion
for nine and a half years, was more than "just a dog," she
was the answer to prayer.
I had asked my father, as he neared death, if when he got to
heaven, he would send me a puppy. I watched and prayed and
knew when Kenna arrived that she was that puppy.
you choose. I know what I know.
The signs that Kenna was "the one" were unmistakable and the
essentialness of her in my life, undeniable. Her perceptive
and compassionate ability to nurture my needs and nourish my
spirit was heaven sent. She instantly knew when I was
playful, sorrowful, anxious or distressed, and how to
minister to me. It was Kenna who helped me endure some
difficult life passages.
At a holistic health class three years ago, we were asked to
sketch and then talk about something that gave meaning to
our lives. The sketch of Kenna still hangs in my home.
Kenna had deeply expressive eyes and said more with those
eyes than she ever did with her voice. When she spoke, it
was with sheer ecstasy in "woa woas " and "wum wums "
reserved for special occasions
and special people.
We had our own
way of expressing mutual love. Kenna would press her cool
nose into my neck near my ear, inhaling and exhaling slowly
and deeply as if memorizing my scent. I followed her cue and
did the same in return, my face buried in her fur.
When we walked in the woods, she bounded ahead pretending to
be distracted, knowing I would hide and she would have to
race back along the trail to "find" me. She thrived on
finding a tennis ball hidden in the house, waiting until I
gave the signal that she could use her keen nose to locate
it. Then she instinctively sat and stared intently at its
hiding place until I revealed it. She rarely went anywhere
without a tennis ball.
friend accompanied me to a cottage in the Upper Peninsula
last summer. Sometimes she leaned against me, sighing
contentedly as we watched the reflection of stars dance in
the water. She was always beside me when I worked at my
computer, reminding with a nudge on my leg and a piercing
gaze when it was time for a play break. Her image appears on
the cover of one of my books and on personal stationery.
Kenna never tired of hearing my mantra, "You are the light
of my life, the joy of my world, the center of my universe."
Many times I told her that I did not know how I could ever
be without her. I still don't.
became more expressive in the last weeks of her life. I
attributed her faltering appetite late last November to an
ill-timed change in dog food as she looked uneasily up at me
from an untouched dish. Her sad gaze when I dressed for
work, I assumed was her wishing I wasn't leaving without
her. Anxious glances at bedtime I mistook to mean her
arthritis was bothering her. I did not know that my soulmate
had intestinal lymphoma and that this demon would seize
control before Dr. Ben and I could muster a good fight.
The excruciating decision to end my best friend's suffering
came after one attempt at chemotherapy and many efforts to
make gourmet concoctions she might eat, as I begged G-d for
the slim chance at remission. We took more walks in the
woods because walks and playing ball were the two things she
still craved in addition to asking me to stay closer beside
her than ever. She needed my touch and words of love,
tear-filled as they became.
It was "time" Feb. 10 when Kenna could no longer make the
trek to the woods and let her tennis ball drop at her feet.
We took only a slow walk around the yard that morning
before, as I pressed my face to hers, Dr. Ben gently helped
her slip away.
Friends brought cookies and home-baked bread, sent flowers
and cards, and offered consolation. I learned of the Rainbow
Bridge and the belief that "dogs already know how to love so
they don't have to stay as long."
I had written a story about Kenna soon after she came to me,
to record how I knew her to be my puppy from heaven. I was
certain then and am more certain now, that she came from a
divine place with a divine purpose. Within an hour of her
death, Dad sent a sign to let me know that she had returned
Kenna's purpose may have been fulfilled and her story may
have a new ending. Or, in time, a new beginning.
Believe what you choose. I know what I know.
||Jan Corey Arnett is an
author, speaker and operates Coralan
may be reached at
As I arrived at the Bridge, I faced all the
animals who had gone there before me. Before each of us go to the Bridge, we
live our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles, mirrored in the
eyes of the animals awaiting us. An animal Angel sits before each of us
sewing our quilt squares together in a tapestry that is our life. But as my
animal Angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and
empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square
was labeled with a part of my life as a rescuer that had been difficult, the
challenges I was faced with in my quest to save lives and the times I had
been tempted to take the easy way out and avoid the controversy rather than
speak for the animals who could not speak for themselves. I saw hardships
that I had endured for the sake of the animals, which were the largest holes
I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole
here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the
bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was
disheartened. My animal Angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth
together, threadbare and empty, like binding air. Finally, the time came
when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of
truth. The others rose, each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled
their lives had been with the riches of the Earth. My animal Angel looked
upon me, and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame.
I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter
and the sweet kisses of the precious animals who honored my life with their
presence. But there had also been the trials of illness, and death, and
false accusations that took me from their world as I knew it. I had to start
over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to
somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights
crying and praying that somehow the strength would come to go on, asking for
help and guidance as I tried to help the helpless. I had often been held up
to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time enduring it for the sake
of the animals who looked at me with trust and love in their eyes.
And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to
accept it for what it was. I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of
my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at
the animals gathered there, who stared at me with wide eyes. Then, I looked
upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image
of an animal who had depended on me. All the animals at the Bridge stood
before me, with warmth and love in their eyes. They said, "Every time you
gave over your life to help us, it gave us life. Each point of light in your
life is when you stepped aside and let us shine through, until there was
more of us than there was of you." May all our quilts be threadbare and worn,
allowing the animals to shine through.