A message to our friends from Keely’s mama (Mil)

Dear friends

Today I lost the best friend I have ever had in my whole life. Keely was my companion, my protector, the keeper of my secrets, the “person” that was always in my corner and the being that gave my life structure & meaning.

She was also loved by all of you on Twitter & I have written this post to try & help us in the grieving process.

Keely came into my life as a fluffy, snuggly  6 week old puppy on a hot June day in 2005. Having been lucky enough to retire early from full time work I had volunteered to be a “puppy walker” for Guide Dogs and Keely was the first puppy that they entrusted me with. I could not believe how tiny and adorable she was and I stayed up until gone midnight with her that first day, waiting while she settled to sleep & watching her breathe. We then started her journey of training & socialisation to enable her to become a Guide Dog. We had a lot  fun & challenges along the way!

Shortly before she was due to leave me for Guide Dog University our vet discovered a heart murmur & Keely was withdrawn from the training scheme & re-homed with me.

She then took enthusiastically to her second career of “au paw” dog helping me with the training of the pups that succeeded her, Quella, Smartie, Flora and of course #ourWinnie. Her job was to teach them their doggie manners & not to steal her sossidges! She did all of this admirably at the same time as being a fabulous pet, always ready for an outing & keeping one eye open for any extra nomming opportunities.

She was also a great traveller, accompanying me on holidays around the UK, preferably to places with great beaches for romping on. She had the sweetest most biddable nature of any dog I have ever known & I was looking forward to many more happy years of adventures with her. Everyone who met Keely loved her. And she loved everyone right back although she always had a particularly soft spot for the boys!

Her Twitter life was equally full & happy. As you know she met her soulmate Thomas @PuppyNumber7 and after a whirlwind romance they married in February 2011 in a ceremony that many of you attended. She was an enthusiastic pawty goer with a witty line in banter & always ready to join in any fun that was to be had. She also had her serious side & was quick to offer comfort to pals in need, either  furry  or furless, & injustice, cruelty or meanness would move her to tears.

You will know from a previous post that Keely was recently diagnosed with lymphoma. This is a thoroughly nasty type of cancer to deal with & Keely’s was of a type so rare that there was no clinical data or established treatment protocols for it. Her vet, himself a cancer specialist was unable to predict how the disease would affect her or how soon.

Although Keely was recovering well from her recent surgery & had shown no signs of sickness her health started to deteriorate on Wednesday. She showed signs of being in pain & was very disorientated. More vet visits, pain relief and medication followed. The vets were unable to pinpoint the cause of her symptoms but thought it could be due to an infection or blood poisoning following her surgery.  However, last night she became so ill and distressed that I took her to the emergency vet. She was sedated & kept in overnight. This morning she was no better & the vets were of the opinion that she had a neurological issue of some kind. Possibly a  tumour that was affecting her brain or optic nerve in some way.

When I saw her this morning she was unable to see and clearly in great distress and although I was offered a referral to a canine neurologist some distance away from our home where Keely could have an MRI scan, I took the decision that it was kinder for her to go peacefully to the Bridge with me holding her paw rather than to endure further investigations & possibly operations in a strange place surrounded by strangers. There was nothing positive to be gained from subjecting her to that as in the end there was no cure available to her. Keeping her alive at any cost was never an option for me & I had been prepared to take this decision ever since she was first diagnosed with lymphoma.

Keely returned home with me & was carried out to lay on the grass in the meadow that she loved to patrol. #ourWinnie came out to say goodbye to her & then left to be looked after by a dear friend of mine.  The weather today was perfect, sunny & calm & we laid her on her bed under a sun umbrella. I stayed with her telling her how much I loved her until the vet came at about 3pm UK time. She then passed peacefully over the Bridge with her head cradled in my lap and my arms around her. The long meadow grass was waving in a soft breeze, the butterflies & bees were fluttering & buzzing & the combine harvesters were rattling in the distant fields. Probably the only perfect English summer day we have had this year. A perfect day for Thomas’s perfect English Rose.

Being prepared for something does not make it any less difficult and although Keely is now free from pain mine is only just beginning. Every pet owner understands the suffering of pet loss & how it never leaves you. My heart is broken but  I find comfort in knowing that Keely had the best life of any dog I have ever known. She was loved & cherished for the 7 years she was with us on earth and up until the last few days enjoyed every day that she was here. She will never suffer the indignities of old age & I am grateful for every minute that I spent with her.

She had many doggy friends  and I have fantastic memories of her both in real life & Twitter life. We have been lucky enough to tweet up with some of our pals on Twitter & all of these experiences have been life enhancing.

I have not yet decided what I will do with Keely’s Twitter account, it is too soon & too painful to make this decision but I hope that I can somehow keep in touch with all of you kind people.

Writing this has been cathartic for me as has reading all of your lovely words of comfort & tribute for which I thank you. You all mean more to me than you will ever know.

Lorraine xxx


47 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Baksta
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 00:37:29

    MIL, our hearts does goes two you at dis time. Youz letter has made me and Pa cry again. Such a sad time. I hopes dat youz feel da strengf frum da outpouring of luv dat be directed towards youz. You gave da greatest gift you could eva give to Keely today, freedom.
    I hopes you can find strengf frum us all two help youz fru dis….



  2. Oz the Terrier
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 00:49:25

    I am truly at a loss for words. All I can think to say is 1) I am so sorry for the loss of such a beautiful (inside & outside) companion and 2) thank you for making what can only be THE hardest decision to allow Keely to pass with such dignity (as she so deserved). May fond memories of your adventures together ease the pain in your heart.



  3. Mario Roever
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 00:52:11

    Dear Loirraine – my heart breaks for you. We do know whst it’s like. You were very courageous in helping her \cross that bridge rather than gave her suffer for who knows how long,.Such a beautiful, gentle looking girl too. Thoughts and prayers are with yoy. One day whjen the time is right, she may lead you to another little dog to love and cherish. a big HUG for you.


  4. Lisa Pearce
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 00:55:51

    A wonderful tribute to an amazing furfriend.
    Always here if you need an ear or a shoulder.
    Take care.
    Lisa xxx


  5. Antoinette Andriese
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 01:15:27

    Dear human of Keely, dear Lorraine, Oh how I feel with you having to let go of your beloved friend. Treasuring your loving years with Keely will comfort you and also feel bitter sweet at times. Keely gave you the experience of 100% love, the most precious gift in the universe, may she rest in peace.


  6. zoe and wylie
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 01:16:33

    I am so sorry for your loss. Keely was obviously very lovely – and very loved.
    Christine (Wylie and Zoe)


  7. Jessie & Jane
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 01:41:02

    Thank you MIL for sharing your girl with us. Your poignant words touched my heart where there is a special place for Keely who has evoked so much love. I honour your bravery, particularly over the past two very gut-wrenching weeks and I just know that Keely felt your love as she passed OTRB. I wish I could lessen your grief but it is a path you travel alone, just know all your friends are beside you every step of the way and if you falter and breakdown we will help you to your feet as Keely has made us better people and this is what she would expect of us

    Tight hugs and purrs from Jessie

    With love Jane


  8. Indy the cat (@indykitty)
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 01:54:33

    I love you lorainne. You raised Keely to be a wonderful warm pawson who did so much. My human jennifer says “Please don’t go away from twitter and the anipals who will love you forever as we did Keely”


  9. Leonardo PussMan (@LeoPussMan)
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 02:25:39

    NIL aka Lorainne…you are so brave to write these beautiful words about life with Keely. She was a wonderful girl and friend to all of us on Twitter. She will be deeply missed. Luv & Hugs, Sue (Leo’s MoM)


  10. IcyPinkLemonade
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 02:27:47

    I am so sorry for not only your loss but everyone’s loss. I cried when I read your description of her final hours in the meadow. Keely was amazing, it brought me great joy reading the family banter between her, Thomas, Jessie, and #ourwinnie, if only for my own selfish reasons and the betterment of the anipal community, I do hope Keely comes back to us on Twitter.

    You did a very brave and kind thing, if you ever need to talk I am here, as I’m sure many other shoulders will be, because your girl touched so many.


  11. Moose
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 02:33:02

    I heard through mutual twitter pals and so sad to hear. Even though I didn’t know her she was surely a most beautiful and special girl. You were brave to help her go like that and I know she must have felt how loved she was. I wish every labbie could be so loved and appreciated.
    Big hugs!


  12. Zorro
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 02:49:57

    God bless, we are so sorry for your loss and broken heart. Rest in peace sweet Keely.


  13. hikingonthemiddlepath
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 02:51:32

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Keely was one of the first Twitter pals I met. I am shocked (I didn’t know she was ill) and very sad. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.


  14. Gina the Min Pin (@GinaTheMinPin)
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 02:52:12

    Our family has been so wrapped up in our own G’paw’s medical issues this week that we hadn’t read Keely’s Timeline or your blog until just now. How beautifully you’ve written about Keely’s final moments, and your love for her shines through your words. Sending you big hugs and comforting thoughts.


  15. rahusky
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 02:57:13

    We came to paw our respects, softest huky woooos,

    RA, Isis & Nanük


  16. Lori
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 03:05:30

    No words. ❤


  17. Dash Kitten
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 03:25:41

    Oh Lorrane, I am so very very sorry to read this. I ahd such hopes she would ve able to fight on. Bless you for allowing her to join her friends across the Bridge, I am in tears.


  18. De Cunningham
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 03:33:49

    Thank you for sharing your love with all of us. Keely was a beautiful soul that it was my honor to know. My prayers are with you all.


  19. Jana
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 04:07:35

    We are so, so sorry to hear of your loss… Keely was a special girl and we were privileged to know her on twitter; so kind and thinking of others, even at the end. Thank you for giving her the dignity of a peaceful passing, surrounded by love.
    Lucy the Lab and Jana xx


  20. Janis Felidae
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 05:19:27

    Sending all our love to you, Lorraine

    Janis & huMum Sabine


  21. Lexie the Pom @Lexiedew
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 05:43:55

    Mil, thank you for sharing Keely with her friends on twitter. What a beautiful way for her to go OTRB in the meadow she loved. Sending you hugs & prayers of comfort. I feel safer knowing she is watching over us from OTRB. Xx


  22. Lisa
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 06:01:13

    My labs Lolita & Delores and I did not know you or your sweet Angel.. but I have heard such good things on Twitter about her .. and when I read your letter I cried.. I have alwatys loved dogs and I have had to say goodbye to a few in my life and your words hit home and tugged at my heart. You are right, she is in peace now, playing with all those before her, and some day you will be together again to walk through the sunny meadows of heaven. God bless you and your family always…
    prayers and hugs Lisa, Paul Lolita and Delores


  23. Ryker's Boys and Allie
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 06:16:19

    ohhhh, OH! What a beautiful precious way to honor your best friend. The meadow and the beautiful English afternoon…it brought tears. We’ve not been tweeting as much now that Ryker went OTRB, but we’ve been lurking. Just wanted to come out of hiding long enough to tell you how our hearts ache for you – and how well we understand the cathartic nature that writing such a post can bring. I did the same after I lost ryker so suddenly.

    Please know our hearts and paw prayers are with you at this time of such great heartache. May memories of Keely be sweet and bring you comfort.

    Ryker’s Boys, Maxwell & Faraday – and Allie, too


  24. david & pamela lunn
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 06:53:58

    Our hearts go out to you at this very difficult time. We loved meeting Keely & Winnie last Christmas & Ruby was very privileged to be asked to be Keely’s bridesmaid! We had such fun tweeting!

    We know from our own many experiences how much your heart will be aching but we do hope you will have another doggy soon. We only managed a week after our beloved lab died & then acquired Ruby as a rescue! She certainly distracted us, well that is one way of putting it!

    We are thinking of you & it would be lovely to see you again sometime on one of our many Yorkshire trips! xxx

    Pamela & David (Ruby’s staff)


  25. Bear's mom
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 07:11:02

    This is Bear’s Mom. Thanks so much for sharing the joy of Keely via twitter and now through this beautiful letter. I understand your pain but know that Keely will always live in your heart. Overtime, your tears will turn to smiles everytime you think of her. Mom to Mom Hug.


  26. Shari
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 08:21:09

    Dusty and Hurley
    DUSTY: We send love and caring to you, as you grieve dear Keely. SHe was so special to us. Her gentle enthusiasm was contagious. HURLEY: Thank you for sharing Keely with us, through Twitter. It was an honor and a pleasure to know her.


  27. Kathy (Billie and Alfie's typist)
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 08:53:14

    We became pals on Twitter and you inspired us to become puppy socialisers. We were told yesterday, just after hearing that you had made your very brave decision, that we have been assigned a puppy who will come to stay with us on September 10th. Keely’s legacy. I hope this gives you some comfort Lorraine. xx


  28. Miss Molly Cat & Mama
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 08:58:12

    Keely touched everyone’s heart she met whether in the real or virtual world. Know that her legacy lives on in every beautiful guide dog. She is gone from this earth yet you will always feel her presence in your life. Don’t let that make you sad (though that may make you sad) Rejoice in the beautiful life that was Keely. She wil still be there guiding you & the nee pups while #OTRB. Bright Blessings, Ms. Molly Cat & Mama


  29. Briar @wonderwinger
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 09:39:07

    Keely was one of the kindest souls ever to grace this earth. Her character was so evident from her twitter posts. A loyal dog always up for fun and adventure. Her love for Tom & #ourwinnie was lovely & I never tired of reading their tweets to each other.

    It seems unfair that Keely should be taken OTRB at such a relatively young age. However, I expect she must have been urgently required as a chief angel to keep the other angels in line.
    Anyway, it was a pleasure to have known you Keely; until we meet again…


  30. fiona christie (@555SMOKEY)
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 09:50:52

    My thoughts are with you at this very sad time. I enjoyed following Keely’s posts on twitter. She and Thomas made me smile many a time. From OTRB I’m sure she will be watching over you and all the trainee guide dogs to come. Love from Smokey,Toby and their uhMum. x


  31. Shawnie
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 10:47:19

    Lorraine I’m deeply sorry for your loss. I was so sad about hearing about Keely such a loving girl. We will miss her on twitter


  32. Pasikathleen stalker (@pasikas)
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 10:55:34

    Yesterday,when the vet was due I walked out of the hall I was in and there was a weedoggy waiting for his lady.I gave him wuzzzas and said they were from Keely.a truly lovely lady..he liked them.Thinking of your loss while clapping a wee doggy,a stranger,seemed right..I think.Keely would approve.PASIHUGGS X


  33. Rosie J. Russell (@RosieJRussell)
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 11:49:13

    So so sorry to read about Keeley. Made @potentilly and me cry. xx


  34. Fester@LeighButler3
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 11:56:22

    I am so sorry for your loss. I haven’t known Keely long but she is in my heart now and forever. Thank you for sharing this with us, it brought me a lot of comfort and I hope, over the coming weeks, you will find comfort too. Sending you and #ourWinnie lots of hugs, nose kisses and purrs xxxx


  35. Maria slough
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 13:22:51

    Dearest Mil, there are no words and although Star and I were only twitter pals we felt as if Keely and you all were family. I understand the overwhelming bond that you shared it is my life with my girl Star and all the animals I have cherished. The loss is unbearable, the pain indescribable and this morning at dawn when we woke the pain came crashing down and the tears flowed once again. As you know Keely plays a key role in our book which should be ready for a read in september. We would love her to live on in that book and would of course work with you to make sure that you were happy with her portrayal if you decide that is what you want. We cannot bear the thought of twitter without Keely and her beautiful and unconditional spirit that radiated through the adventures that you allowed us to share. We still have the footage of her playing with #puppynumber7 and our hearts swell when we watch. It is worse for us as those left behind. You are blessed to have shared that love and dear Keely is at least peaceful. We feel your pain and wish we could do more but know that it is only time that will allow it to become bearable. Life cannot be the same but Keely leaves an immense legacy of love and joy that she gave us all. Thank you for allowing us to share in her truly special spirit. With love. @staratiara and her mum @mariasloughpics


  36. Suzannah Katz (@Sukie_Katz)
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 13:51:37

    So sorry to hear you have lost a dear friend. That is the downside of being a true animal lover, having to go through the terrible pain of saying goodbye. My thoughts are with you.


  37. Shorty (@spookyshorty)
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 16:46:16

    What a sad sad day it was that Keely left us. Everyones comment has brought tears over & over again streaming down my face. Keely left us to soon but she left behind so much more then we will ever know. Because of a heart murmur as a pup that kept her from being a service dog, gave us a chance to know her & love her & be in her life from her courtship to her wedding with Thomas @puppynumber7 & the arrival of her beautiful little girl #OurWinnie. But for some reason she was needed OTRB it had to be a hard decision for Keely to make. Lorraine you were very strong for Keely when she needed it, and you were with her at her final moment when she left our world to cross over. Take it easy and never lose hold of the memories Keely has given you. Much Love Spooky & Mom


  38. Zulma
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 17:10:30

    I understand your pain, I have lost 6 dogs to all age but I lost 1 to a brain tumor he was my favorite, I loved all but he was so special.. We never forget them, we remember the good tImes Its hard but the heart heals, but we never forget.My sincere condolences may God give you strength


  39. jansfunnyfarm
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 19:17:37

    We didn’t know your Keely but we know the pain of loss, so we came by to leave purrs and pawhugs.


  40. Christine Roberts (@diamondbertie)
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 19:30:31

    Thank you for the beautiful blog and sharing your life and Keely’s life with us, she was well loved and that is all a dog wants


  41. Susan K Stacy,PhD
    Aug 12, 2012 @ 02:42:27

    The kitties & I are overcome with sorrow at the loss of dear Keely. After losing a beloved 17yr old cat, I have a sense of the loss you must feel. Although you will always miss her, only time will ease your pain. You wrote a beautiful blog about precious Keely, which I’m sure was difficult for you while in such pain & sorrow of losing her. It expressed what all of us that knew Keely already knew – that she was greatly loved, treated with exceptional kindness & well taken care of by her human mom.


  42. LilyLuWhoT
    Aug 12, 2012 @ 21:01:46

    Everyone whose life Keely touched is better for having known her and I thank you Mil for sharing your sweet girl with us, her twitter furiends. Keely’s sweet, loving personality endeared her to everyone, and we are all beyond sad at having her cross the bridge so young. I will hold her in my heart, remembering her wedding to Tom, the #puppyShower I was so honored to host when #OurWinnie was on her way, and all the tender moments Keely shared with Tom, #OurWinnie & Jessie. To live in the hearts of others is to never die, and Keely is so beloved she will live forever. ((HUGS)) & ComfortingPurrs to all from a furiend whose heart is broken too. Love you!


  43. Henryandfriends
    Aug 12, 2012 @ 21:36:00

    ther dusnt be no werds wot can elp in this sad time

    bigg uggs an luvs from Henry


  44. Cokie the Cat (@CokieTheCat)
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 19:13:53

    I’m so sorry. She was very lucky to have found a home with you.

    Much love,
    Cokie the Cat


  45. sheila
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 21:37:15

    It some how makes it a bit better knowing she had a wonderful life HUGS xoxoxo


  46. Karen McGuire Whittaker
    Aug 14, 2012 @ 05:12:01

    I am so saddened by your loss. My “furkids” are my loves and best friends and the loss of them is devastating. I too lost My Tasha a little over a year ago and she was my soulmate. I miss her sooo every day….She was taken too soon as was your Keely. They are now running free at the Bridge waiting to see us again one day. She is loved and missed by many…May your pain ease and you feel her breath upon you….


  47. Fulvia and Pantoufle
    Aug 14, 2012 @ 20:46:49

    Dear Lorraine, I think there are no words to say thank you for being part of Keely’s life, with your blog and twitter.
    Keely now is a beatifull angel watching on you.
    Warm paw hugs


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