Last week, we had to say good-bye to our wonderful friend, Spencer, who loved all baby animals.

Our old Labrador, Spencer, has been failing for the past couple of months, getting weaker on his legs and losing weight slowly. On Wednesday morning, he couldn’t get up, even with our help. His back legs were just limp. So we knew it was time. And boy is that the hardest decision anyone can make; taking a wonderful friend to the vet to be put to sleep. I just couldn’t do it and asked Will if he would. God bless him. He said yes. Both of us were crying when we put Spencer in the back of the car. Even Hondo, Spencer’s adopted “little brother” was depressed for two days. To top it off, just as our snow was about gone, we got another six inches. Wow! Doesn’t that cheer one up? Not so much.

The south-facing windows in our house are now home to hundreds of tomato and pepper transplants.

But now it’s melted away and our hearts are mending. So, we’re going on. Will’s busy finishing up insulating and calking in the greenhouse, which he’d kind of hurriedly slapped together last spring.

Just after our snow was pretty much gone, here comes another six inches.

I’m busily transplanting something like a billion little tomato and pepper seedlings into Styrofoam cups. I’d about run out of room in the house to put them, but Will said one side of the greenhouse is finished and I just need to sweep and clean up a bit and it’ll be ready to put flats out there. He fixed the propane line he’d accidentally kinked badly with the bulldozer, moving snow so he could get in the greenhouse, earlier, so there’s heat in the greenhouse now. As our spring is so late in coming, I feel a little behind in everything. But with the help of the greenhouse, we should get caught up pretty soon. I was able to walk in the garden for the first time yesterday and saw the rhubarb was clear of snow and little red “noses” were poking up through the ground. So, see, spring is here!

Here, Buffy The Cat, looks wishfully out onto the empty bird feeder, and the snow.

— Jackie


  1. Ive been with you a long time ,Jackie ..may you and Will be blessed as Spring does eventually come to stay…maybe another Spencer jr.will come to you..
    Sending love from Upstate ,Central NY….MA

  2. sharing in our loss of your friend an companion, Spencer. just laid our ole girl Sage Friday.
    greenhouse therapy here also..

  3. I was wondering about Spencer. I knew he was getting up there in age. Our old Lab died a year ago this week. He made it 15 years and 7 months (healthy country living). He was a good hunter/retriever, farm dog, and guard dog. Now he is ‘roaming’ the property with his predecessor, a German Shepherd who lived with us for 13 and half years. Good dogs, who had good lives and made good memories…just like Spencer. Savor the memories.

  4. We understand the pain you feel over Spencer’s passing. We lost our dog to cancer last summer and are just now feeling we can open our hearts again to another dog. May God’s peace settle gently on your hearts.

  5. I am so sorry for the loss of your Spencer. Just yesterday we had to do the same with our beloved cat Alice. It hurts so much, but it will get better. This is the hardest part of being pet parents.

  6. Hugs to you both. So sad to hear about Spencer. Spring is definitely on its way in spite of snow and cold weather. I had 23 degrees Tuesday morning. Hopefully that will be our last frost. We are way past our expected “last frost date”, but seems like at least once a week this month we have been below freezing. My rhubarb is up and iris, peonys and lilacs are returning. A neighbor has seen the hummingbirds. Warm weather is on the horizon! Prayers for a better week for you and Will.

    • Thanks so much. We had 10 degrees last night!! Whew. Normally, we’re in the fifties so it’s going to be a real late spring this year. My rhubarb is just starting to poke up a bit along with the daffodils and iris. We had tons of red winged blackbirds show up today.

  7. Sorry for your loss of a fur- kid. I truly sympathize. We lost both our dogs in a years time and one of our cats. One dog at developed cancer, the other dog was a pittie mastiff cross and made it to 12. Our cat was 15. The other fur-kids grieved so we spent extra time loving them. Though honestly we needed it too. Being a good parent to 4 legged family members can be so hard at the end. Lots of hugs to you and your s.

  8. Our family critters have such a special place in our hearts! We love them with such intensity, and they give such love unconditionally, it’s hard to let them go. Each one is so unique and different and I think God allows us to have multiple ones to always fill that special place in our heart.
    It is grand have a good southside to your house, and better yet have a greenhouse! I’ll have to put that on my to do list.

  9. It is so hard to let go of our dear furry friends but it’s only right to help them out of their pain. We’ve been through that twice in the last six months when old age finally called them away. Two cats, one 20 and one 19! One of the two remaining cats looked for one of the others (his buddy) for about a week before some good play sessions got him out of his funk.

    Time for some greenhouse therapy and it looks like you’ve already started. Plant an extra for Spencer. :)

  10. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s just heartbreaking. My elderly cat left us last month. I think I see her or am looking for her often still.

    • It is. Just yesterday I was gong to bake an apple pie and thought of Spencer, who always begged for the apple cores and peelings. I just couldn’t do it. Sorry for your loss.

  11. Sorry to hear about Spencer, he was much loved by you, a very lucky dog indeed. He is now there by the rainbow bridge waiting patiently for his “companion humans” along with all the other beloved animals.
    Now I have an onion question- 4 years ago I had bought some “homestead-multiplier” onions, got them in the fall planted them, harvested them the following fall with leaving some in the ground over winter (in Illinois) did that each year-they were a small onion, but I liked them. This winter they died-the bed has nothing coming up at all- I also have “walking onions” which have done just fine. For the multiplier’s I have some in storage in my basement still and am wondering do I plant them or eat them and not bother with more-maybe not hardy enough. Do you have experience with them? Thanks JJ

  12. Jackie and Will: So sad to learn that you had to put Spencer to sleep. I trust that he is now in a better place, free of pain and finally at peace.


    • Thanks Cathie. We’re just greatful he wasn’t in pain. He just got weaker and weaker as the days passed. He ate normally and was happy, rolling on his back and smiling. Until that last morning.

  13. I am so sorry about Spencer . I know how hard that is . I had to take one of my dogs in to have the vet put her to sleep . My daughter and I were both in tears when we left the vets.I am so glad Will was willing to take him in .

  14. Dear Jackie and Will – I’m so honored I got to meet Spencer. He had a wonderful life with you two – the best life a dog could ever want: lots of room to roam on his own, and a place at your feet when it was time to rest. Sending love from Montana. xx

  15. My heart goes out to you, Jackie & Will! Spencer was one-of-a-kind and I know you all loved each other so much. Thinking of you all.

  16. So sorry for your lost. In our many years, and many pets, it’s a decision we’ve had to make several times. It never gets any easier. As for the weather, I think spring forgotten it’s supposed to come!! Blessings

    • Thanks Bev. You’re right; although we’ve had to do that chore several times, over the many years, it is always awfully hard. Spring??? I think they forgot it this year…..

  17. I’m so sorry about your puppy. My baby, a 13 year old black Lab mix I’d had since she was 9 weeks old had to be put to sleep in December of last year. She’d been going down the last year too and finally got so sick I had to take her to the emergency vet. They found lumps on some of her organs that were probably cancer and I wasn’t going to let her suffer just to keep her around. It’s still hard to do. I had her cremated by a pet service and I’m going to sprinkle her and my husband’s ashes together since she was more his dog than mine.

  18. It is always hard when you have to put a animal down. They are such companions and fill that empty space in our hearts. I am truly sorry for you loss. Bette

    • Thanks so much. Our dogs and cats become family and we are heartbroken when one has to be put to sleep. Such a hard decision!

  19. Spencer was such a wonderful dog. My heart is with you both in your sorrow.
    We are still waiting for garden season to start here in northeast Indiana. Too cold.
    I am starting to build a 2 foot tall and 2 foot wide raised garden bed inside my 25′ x 75′ fenced in garden. The raised bed will be along the fence making a total of 75′ U shaped run. Lots of room left for the tall plants on the other half of the garden and in the middle of the U shape. I am not getting any younger and know the ground is not going to get any easier for me to reach!
    Garden time WILL get here soon?

    • Thanks Margie. We haven’t had spring here, either! The ground’s still frozen and last night it was 10 degrees!! Sounds like your raised beds will be a good help for you.

  20. So sorry for your loss Jackie part of your heart goes with them for sure. Glad you have a green house that works again lol we are going to plant this year in raised beds made out of cedar

    • Thanks Tacey. We’ve got a couple dozen flats of transplanted tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse now but I worried because it was 10 degrees last night! We did have a propane heater in there, which kept things warm enough.

    • Thanks Kay. We will miss him for a long time. He was Hondo’s big brother, protection and a happy companion always.

  21. So blessed that you had so many years with Spencer…what a dog! May your broken hearts be healed by those wonderful memories.

    • That’s sure true. But now he’s gone, who will be my official tomato taster? (He’d beg for tomato chunks when I was seeding tomatoes. If one didn’t have good flavor, he’d spit it out!) Or who will tell us when a bear is near the house or David is driving in? Hondo is getting better now but doesn’t have it down pat yet.

  22. Awwh, so sorry for your loss of a family member. Spencer was such a good dog, but it was time for him to be pain free. He had such a good life with you!

  23. I’m so sad and sorry to hear about dear old Spencer. I’ve had to make that tough decision a few times and it sure is heartbreaking, no matter how sure you are that it’s time. Big hugs to you and Will.

  24. So sorry for you and Will losing Spencer. It’s a heartbreaking decision but it is the only thing a beloved pet deserves. We took our Jasper hoping the vet could help. No, he was struggling to breathe and we both bawled.

    • Thanks Sue. It is so heartbreaking. Spencer was not in pain but he was so sad he couldn’t get up, even with our help. We knew it would only get worse for him.

  25. Being a responsible pet owner is making that never easy, gut wrenching, and heart breaking decision. When I dropped off supplies for the (pet) foster mom, I too was sniffling as another loving owner was in tears as PTS for their dog.
    Spencer was truly a family member and I am not surprised Hondo was depressed. There is nothing sadder than one (or more) pet(s) looking for the recently departed. Even if the fur babies aren’t buddies, they know. Buffy’s getting to be a good sized tiger!
    Last night established cat decided she was going to leap off the stool and show the first newbie she’s not ready to cede territory (so to speak). I’m missing the latest newbie and first newbie is too. Hoping he’s not thinking they got rid of the latest newbie fast (I don’t think he can comprehend my explanation and that she will be back).
    We were in the low 80s Saturday, 70s on Sunday back into the 50s today. Haven’t check the long range forecast but looks like low 60s day, mid/high 40s at night starting Friday. Upside is we did not get a week plus of 80s in March like we did in 2012. All kinds of plants starting budding/blooming and got whacked by temps. Then we had a drought.
    We all know that whenever one of our fur babies crosses the Rainbow Bridge, there are always others wanting/waiting for a fur-ever home.

    • Yep, Spencer was truly a family member. He slept at the foot of our bed on his own mattress, went where we did, accompanied us into the woods or on hikes down the drive. He fetched in firewood without being told and even dropped it into the wood box. He always was a very happy dog, rolling on his back and laughing. We’ll miss him for a long, long time.


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