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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Boyz II Men had it right when they sang "It's so hard to say goodbye..."

Muttley first walked in to the lives of the Lindahl family some 14 years ago when she wandered on to the playground of Notre Dame School in Chico. No one could corral her to find out who she belonged to, if anyone. Though the Lindahl's weren't looking for another dog, Grandma Meg had recently lost her canine friend. On her way home, Nancy stopped at 7-Eleven and was asked to take a small dog that a young girl could no longer care for. Nancy recognized the opportunity for a new pet for Meg, but soon discovered that Meg had already purchased another dog. The choice seemed destined: Muttley would come home with Nancy and become a Lindahl.


But Muttley wasn't exactly an ideal pet at first. She was a scrappy street dog committed to returning to her vagrant lifestyle. After several attempts (many of them successful) at escaping from the yard, Muttley settled in to her new home. Though she averaged only 10-12 pounds, Muttley was all determination. Whether it was asserting her dominance as the matriarch of the family, exploring the deepest crevasses of the yard, or curling up next to your feet in the living room, Muttley committed to things with all her heart.

Smells Fruity

And sometimes this meant a little stubbornness. Molly always thought of Muttley has her dog. But when Molly came home with Grace, a lovable golden retriever, Muttley wouldn't have anything to do with Molly, leaving the room when Molly entered and refusing to show any affection. But Muttley soon recognized that Grace had not arrived to replace her, but to accompany her on her journey as a Lindahl. Muttley taught Grace much of what she knew about life as a dog, navigating other pets, squirrels, the pool, obedience, and love. Muttley lived longer than Grace and was always a little heartbroken after she left.


I didn't have the pleasure of knowing Muttley all that long, becoming more closely acquainted with her after moving to Chico in August. She reveled in the opportunity to teach Drifter the ways of being an outside dog. These included glorious things like the proper places to poop, where the water bowl is located, and how to protect the house from the stoop. In return, Drifter showed Muttley how to chase the chickens, and Muttley was to them like a bowling ball is to pins, plowing through a crowd of chickens, ears flying behind her. Though she was too weak to chase them recently, Nancy carried her for one final run through the chickens in the yard, a chance to feel the exhilaration once more.

Muttley, Statuesque

You will be dearly missed, Miss Muttley Lindahl. You were an excellent mentor, companion, and guide to several dogs in their lifetimes and an even better friend to us humans who were lucky to have been around you during your days here.

For Me?

Eric Lovelin Photography


  1. Beautiful essay in both words and pictures.

  2. "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." Beautiful pics and words, Eric. My condolences to you and Molly's family.