An Ending And A Beginning

August 31st, 2015 - filed under: The Farm » Family

Waits and Harley

One of my favorite pictures of two of my favorite creatures. June 2011.

On Monday, August 17th, we said goodbye to our Harley Dog.

Harley the Happy Dragon

Harley The Happy Dragon joined my life unexpectedly, in 2003. He was with me through my tumultuous twenties, through dating and heartbreak and flings that got flung, he was my guy. He was always my favorite bedmate.

He kept me company studying late nights through college, and saw me off before sunrise when I was doing my field research. He knew me when I was young and dumb and reckless and lost. He knew me before I knew myself.

Harley moved all the way to Portland with me, and then all the way back. He was there through my marriage, my pregnancy, my divorce. He was Waits’s first friend.

Harley and Jeremy

July 2013

Harley the Happy Dragon 1

Harley’s brain tumor grew fast, and his health deteriorated very quickly. In a matter of weeks he went from the Happy Dragon that we all knew and loved, to living in constant confusion and pain. There was no enjoyment left in his life, and that’s when we knew it was time to let him go.

I was able to spend the whole weekend with Harley, before he died. We hung out on the floor in a cuddle pile for pretty much the entire 48 hours, and that was a gift. Many of our friends stopped by to say their goodbyes – a testament to his amazing spirit, that he had touched so many lives and had so many people who loved him.

Damian brought Waits to say goodbye too. We talked about what would happen on Monday, and Waits drew a picture of the two of them together. That picture is hanging in our living room now, as a memorial.

Say and Harley dogSay and Harley

February 2015

I rescued Harley from a kill-shelter in 2003, and he died peacefully in my arms 12 years later. I will miss him forever, but I’m just so glad that I found him.

♥ ♥ ♥

Waits First Day Of Kindergarten

Last Wednesday, Waits started kindergarten. And it was so much more of an intensely emotional experience than I had anticipated.

For me, not for him.

Damian was out of town for the 10 days before school started, and I was so happy and grateful to have that time to savor life with my sweet little boy. I wanted to steep in every last second of it.

Kindergarten is a beautiful beginning, and I’m very excited for Waits to start this great new adventure . . . but I’m also sad, because this is really an ending, too, in its way. I guess that every beginning is.

My baby is growing up, and it’s stunning and magnificent to behold, and sometimes it also hurts. The other moms tell me that’s normal.

Waits and Mom First Day Of Kindergarten

On the first day of school, Waits skipped into his classroom and bellowed, “Hi Miss Anne! I’m Waits Rebhal: W-A-I-T-S R-E-B-H-A-L. This is my class!” and sat down on the circle rug to make new friends.

And I just couldn’t be any prouder of him. I just couldn’t be any prouder.

Waits First Day Of Kindergarten 1

  • Cara

    I know that it hurts a lot to say goodbye, but once you have such a special and strong bond with another being, the two of you can never really be parted. Harley had a great life with you.

  • Gillian Moynihan

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It was wonderful to get to know Harley through your blog – many, many hearts carry a little bit of him in them now, including mine.

  • yogadogwalker

    I am so sorry for your loss. I agree with Gillian that I too felt like I got to know and love Harley through your blog. I feel the same way for my Dylan, whose health has been seeing more bad days than good. I’ve been saying the great quote from Dr. Seuss over and over in my head “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Waits is growing up so fast! I can only imagine how you must feel!

  • Elizabeth

    Possibly the best post ever. I went from feeling such deep sorrow for you (losing a pet is so hard; 3 years later I still can’t walk by a beagle without practically bursting into tears right there on the sidewalk!) to smiling from ear to ear. Life is like that some times. Reminds me of the day I bought a condolences card and a congrats on the new baby card at the same time.

  • Bianca

    Oh gosh, I am so sorry about Harley! But you gave him such a full and awesome life. I don’t know what else to say cause words can’t really help. :-(

  • Sarah

    This is such a beautiful tribute to Harley. I recently lost my dog, whom I rescued as a pup over 15 years ago, and she was my best friend, so I know how heartbreaking it is to lose such a special bond. I always think that when it comes to adopted dogs, they rescue you every bit as much as you rescue them, and it certainly sounds like the case for you and Harley. My thoughts are with you, Waits, and everyone else who loved him. It’s strange how life always seems to move in cycles; every ending brings a new beginning. Wishing you and Waits lots of happiness in this latest chapter of his life! xx

  • Rachel Piotraschke

    Oh man, I almost teared up reading this. I’m so glad you found Harley, too… how lucky for both of you <3

  • Kristin

    Talk about a post of 2 extremes! So very sorry to hear about Harley. What a gift you were to each other and how lucky he was to have gone out with such love. Wishing you all comfort as you adjust to his absence. And good luck to you and Waits as the new beginning unfolds!

  • Tasha

    Oh I’m so sorry for your loss! Fur-babies are so incredibly hard to see go but it sounds like he had a amazingly, wonderful life thanks to you.

  • J.M. Johnson

    My heart goes out to you! You gave Harley an amazing life and really showed Waits what it means to love your furry friends.
    There is too much to say about your only son starting his first day of kindergarten. I can only say that, in my experience, it is amazing to see the little people they blossom into when they are out “on their own” a bit and I can’t wait to read about his adventures in school.

  • Lindsey

    I’m so sorry about Harley. May he rest in peace and rest in your hearts forever.

  • Amey

    Ack- the tears!! Honestly, it was the story of little Waits waltzing into class and confidently spelling out his name that really got me. What a month you’ve been through. I wish I could come by with some flowers and a hug for you.

  • Kristen

    Both of your stories touched me. Thank you for sharing stories of two beautiful beings in your life. Inspiring, as always.

  • Kelli

    I’m so sorry for your loss of Harley, Sayward. Cried reading this post. :( It’s never easy to lose one of our furry friends, but the time that we have with them in our lives is such a gift, as you were to him. My thoughts are with all of you.

  • Meredith

    What a radiant boy you have! Kindergarten is so bittersweet, man. It’s really tough being on that emotional rollercoaster! So sorry about your Harley. I have a 12yo pup who has been with me since he was 8 weeks old, and I feel like I’m already mourning him in some ways. There will never be another Atticus, and that’s hard to come to grips with. I’m feeling all the same feels, lady!!

  • stephie137

    Oh Sayward. My heart is bursting.

  • lysette

    Aww sheee I’m really sad to hear this, so lucky to spend a deep 48 hours saying goodbye. <3
    That kid is a force -he's The Force ;) Gonna change the world!

  • Shawnna

    What a beautiful tribute to your companion Harley. I am so sorry for your loss :(

  • rebecca

    So, so sorry for your loss :(

  • Sonja

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Sayward! Harley seemed to be such an amzing companion to you and Waits. But he had the best life thanks to you. Your tribute to him is so moving <3 And Waits is such a great little human being! Love to read about his adventures. It's really weird how endings and new beginnings come into our lifes… Lots of love, Sonja

  • The Vegan Cookie Fairy

    My heart’s breaking for you, it’s so tough to lose a friend. But what a beautiful little boy your kid is turning out to be! No wonder you’re so proud.

  • Sara Therese

    Big hugs. Thank you for sharing, as always. You say what most of us don’t know how to.

  • Christa

    Oh man Sayward, this one hit home; so, so sorry for your loss. I get it. I so, so get it.

    My 30th birthday was in June and we had to take our cat to the vet that day. She hadn’t been eating well for a little while and had lost some weight and wasn’t herself anymore. My husband and I (naively) assumed she was just being fussy.

    Turns out she had a tumor in her abdomen and the vet said she wouldn’t live through the weekend. We brought her home to spend one more day with her and then brought her back in the morning to say goodbye. I’m crying about it right now.

    This is what I wrote about it after it happened: “she died as she lived; in our arms and right between our hearts.” I know how much it hurts. :(


    Waits however, is adorable as always! I’ve been reading your blog forever, and can remember when you announced his birth. I feel like I’ve watched him grow up! :)

    Much love to you,


  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Cara. I know a piece of him will live with me forever. ♥

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Gillian. That is such a sweet and comforting thought – he really did have so many people who loved him, and he is living on in their hearts. ♥

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you, and I’m sorry for your Dylan. That quote is so beautiful and so true, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less when you’re in the middle of it.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Life is *exactly* like that, right? It’s sort of why I wanted to put these two things together in the same post — because that’s life, isn’t it? Highs and lows and all the feelings in between.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Bianca. “Sorry” is enough, and it means a lot. ♥

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Sarah, and I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. So heartbreaking. But it is the price we pay for the pleasure of their lifetime of love. So painful at the end, but worth it for the journey. ♥

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Rachel, I feel so lucky to have had him in my life.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Kristin. It is definitely a pull between extremes these days — but I guess that’s life.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Tasha. ♥

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you so much. I’m also so excited to see how this adventure unfolds!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Lindsey. ♥

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Oh I get it, I was crying like a baby when I was writing about Waits. Actually I had to write this post of the course of a couple of days because each part was so emotional and tearful for me!

    Virtual hugs are good. Thank you Amey.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you, Kristen.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Kelli. ♥

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Meredith, and I’m sorry to hear about your aging pup. I know the feeling you describe. Just cherish the time you have with him now! Harley was so totally healthy until one day he just wasn’t, and it all happened so fast from there. I”m not saying that to be morbid or to scare you, but it’s just that you never know what the future holds. Make these moments count!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you. ♥

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Lysette. And yes on The Force. He is pretty incredible. =)

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Shawnna.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Rebecca.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Sonja. And yes, endings and beginnings are what life is made of, right? Cycles. Sadness and joy. ♥

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Sara, that means a lot to me.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you Christa, and I am so sorry to hear about your sweet kitty! What a horrible unexpected tragedy. So heartbreaking. I’m so sorry.

    And wow, you’ve been reading for a long time! I love hearing that. You’ve watched Waits grow from the start! Thank you for being a part of our lives all these years. ♥

  • Rebecca Carnes

    I am so sorry to hear about Harley, but so very happy you all got to say your goodbyes and surround him with love <3….. and that top picture of baby Waits & Harley is so incredibly sweet

  • yogadogwalker

    I have been repeating that quote over and over in my head to soothe myself in regards to Dylan. It just seemed fitting, but in no way did I think it would make everything better. Again, I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Minna T.

    I actually cried reading this post..! How you described your relationship with Harley is so beautiful. I guess the thing that reallt touched me in this post was the concept of t i m e and how everything is constantly changing. Impermanence. It always makes me cry, not because it’s sad, it’s just so powerful. Yup. That’s all I wantes to say.

  • Angie

    This is such a beautiful post! I am so sorry for your loss, but what a beautiful tribute to Harley. Waits is getting so big!