Harley Bear MacDonald
November 20-1999- June 30 2012
When my first ex and I broke up, we had 2 tweenie doxies. Allie and Stanlee. Susan took Allie and I kept Stanlee. At the time, Stanlee was 5 and I felt like he needed a brother, so I got Oliver. I don’t know what made me decide that I needed another one, but I originally went looking for a long haired girl. I went to a puppy show that Oliver’s breeder told me about. Harley’s breeder was there. She told me she had a 7 month old wire at home and if she didn’t find a home for him, she’d have to put him down. She was a breeder for show and since he was only born with one testicle, she couldn’t show him. My aunt was living with me in Long Beach and she told me she would buy him for me. I went to the breeders house in Orange and she showed H to me. At the time, his name was Marty (short for Martini). He was so cute, but oh so dirty. He slept outside with his mother Bonnie. There were flies buzzing around his mother and my first though was “ I gotta get this boy outta here”. I paid 250.00 for him( the best money I’ve ever spent) and brought him home. My aunt gave him a bath right away. From that night on, he always slept in the bed with me. I took him with me everywhere, and let him walk off leash.
He was already potty trained and he rarely ever had an accident in the house. He was a really fast learner. There were so many words he knew, but to me, the most important was “wait”. When we would walk off leash, I would tell him to “wait” and he would stop in his tracks. He would “wait” at crosswalks, not moving until I told him “Ok”.
I don’t remember how he became afraid of other big dogs. That was the only “quirk” he had. He would bark like a lunatic and lunge at them. Julie felt like he was protecting me, more than anything. Even at the dog park, he would run up to the fence that separates the big dog side from the small dog side and bark and lunge. Before I moved to Canada, I used to take him to the dog beach in Huntington Beach and he was fine with the other dogs.
He loved kids, especially Chelsea. I have so many pictures of them together. My most favorite was taken in the car. Chels was maybe 6 or 7 and she fell asleep buckled in, she is slumped over and is sleeping on him. He was so patient with her, but he also tried to hump her numerous times. I remember hearing “ No Harley” many times while Chelsea spent the night . Because he spent almost 8yrs of his 12.5yrs of life in Canada, I have so many memories of Harley with Chelsea. He loved going for walks at Morrison Damn, he loved the beach, he loved the snow. When it was cold and snowy, Oliver would run right back into the house. Harley would get so excited if he saw his dog sweater. Robin took him faithfully for walks, no matter the weather. Sometimes, he’d get chunks of snow or ice in his paw. He’d stop in his tracks and not move until we came over to him and pulled it out. Then, he’d continue on his merry way.
When I had kidney stones in 2009, he never left my side. Everytime I took a nap, Oliver and Harley slept with me. He sat next to me on the sofa too, keeping me company.
Something changed in him when I left Canada for those 3 weeks. By the time I came back to get my stuff, I hadn’t seen him for over a month. I’ll never forget that day, July 2nd 2010. We drove up in the morning from London to meet the moving van. Robin let them outside, they both jumped in the car and wouldn’t leave for anything. They say that dogs have no concept of time, but I believe they both knew that I was gone for a while. We left for Wisconsin on that day. We spent the first night in Kalamzoo, MI. Julie still tells the story of Harley crawling up between her and I and giving her a big kiss. He loved giving us kisses. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, Julie would turn over and he’d plant a big kiss on her. He was the sweetest, most loving dog.
There are so many great things about Harley, I don’t want to forget any of them. He could poop and potty on command. Seriously, we’d go outside and I’d say “Go potty poops” and he would. Every single time. I never worried about him having an accident anywhere.
Before I left Canada, I made him a service dog. I do have a legitimate disability, but I did it so he could travel on the airplane and stay in hotels when we drove to Wisconsin from Ontario. I didn’t want my boys going into cargo on the airline. Of course, he was an angel on the flight.
Over the last 2yrs, we took him with us almost everywhere. Because he was a service dog, he could go into restaurants. He loved it. He loved going with us to the mall, walking around the outside patio. He loved going to Costco where I’d give him my samples of meat. He loved going to Target or Wal*Mart. We’d put a towel in the cart and he would sit there, keeping a watchful eye. On one particular trip to Target, he was so quiet, I forgot he was there as I haphazardly tossed toothpaste and deodorant into the cart. He didn’t make a peep. Everywhere we went, people smiled when they saw him. They often thought he was a mixed breed, but Julie and I were quick to say “No, he’s a wirehair dachshund”.
Wirehair doxies are wirey, but Julie didn’t mind. She loved having her wire sleep next to her at night. Harley didn’t have a very full beard or eyebrows, we often joked around that because he only had 1 testicle, he didn’t have that much testosterone. He had the bark of a much bigger dog, and when he’d bark, he’d bounce a little off the ground.
Harley loved to eat( most dachshunds do). He’d twirl around for his kibble, he’d twirl around for his treats or his chewies. Oh how he loved his chewies.
He was super protective of us. Whenever we’d come home from anywhere or when we would go outside in the morning, he’d wait for us. He would not go upstairs until we were behind him or in front of him. One time, we took the girls and Harley to the dog beach in Long Beach. Bella took off running and Julie had to run after her. Harley never left her side, he stayed with her while she ran up the beach to find Bella.
Harley LOVED going into Julie’s station. He walked around like he owned the place. He loved walking up and down 2nd street in Long Beach too. He’d stop and drink a little at all the places that had doggie water.
Julie took such a shine to him, that I gave into my “no more dogs stance” and we got another one. My hope was that Harley would teach Wally a few things. Now that Harley is gone, I can see more of him in Wally. Someone told me that they’ve heard that the soul of a departed pet can reappear in another pet. Looking at Wally when he kisses me, makes me think that’s true.
Harley had a couple of things he did that were annoying, but I loved him so much, I forgave him. If we didn’t take him with us( especially when we were in Long Beach), he would find a shoe( most often my aunts) and destroy it. Then, he’d be sick the next day, throwing up parts of the shoe. I don’t remember how he ended up destroying my Steve Madden platform shoe. I had those shoes for a long time( bought at Nordstrom). He also loved to throw himself onto other dog crap at the park. He’d rub his neck into it. It would dry before we figured it out and then we’d have to scrub his neck with baby wipes or throw him in the shower before bed.
On Monday, June 25th, we took Harley and Wally to Santa Barbara. I had a hysterectomy the previous Wednesday and I’d been home for 5 days. Julie was on vacation, so we wanted to get out of the house. It turned out to be too soon for me, I wasn’t feeling well, and I think Harley knew that. Everytime I looked at him, he was watching me intently. I’ll never forget how he walked around town, with Wally keeping up the rear. I’m glad we were able to take him on one last trip.
He threw up Wednesday morning and wouldn’t eat anything. I asked Julie to take him to the vet, because I had a doctor’s appointment. I drove to the vet afterwards and after numerous test and x-rays, the diagnosis was acute pancreantitis. Harley had to stay at the vet for 2 days for fluids, antibiotics and pain meds. The house was empty without him for those 2 days, but Julie and I were hopeful that he would get better. When we picked him up on Friday afternoon, my heart sank. He didn’t look good. The vet said he was on pain meds and was still somewhat out of it. We brought him home and put him on the sofa. He didn’t move. He began to pant and shake. I fed him water with a syringe. I did that for the next few hours. We put him in the bed with us, but he wasn’t comfortable. We made the decision to let him sleep in the large crate that we use for the dogs. Julie woke up every 2hrs to check on him. By the time morning came, he wasn’t any better. We called the vet, who said we could bring him back for more fluids. I knew he didn’t need fluids, because he was still drinking. He still wouldn’t eat though and that is when I knew. I offered him chicken and he wouldn’t eat that. He wouldn’t kiss me either.
I knew it was time, my heart was broken. I didn’t want him to suffer any longer. This was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I just knew he wasn’t going to get better.
Julie, my aunt, uncle and I surrounded him and told him we loved him and that he was going to the park ( his favorite place). I’ve never had to put a dog down before, and it was hard. Its hard for me to put into words how much I loved him. It hasn’t even been a week yet, but it feels like months. The house is empty without him. He was so filled with love and personality that we all are feeling his absence.
Its hard for me to hear that “ he is in a better place”, because honestly, it all came on so suddenly. Its not like he was sick for a long time or that he suffered. He had a great life and I was an excellent mama to him. One day I will see him again and until then, I’ll think about him and miss him every single day.