Good Dog Lily

By Terry Golson

At some point during the fifteen years that Lily lived with me, I started calling her Good Dog Lily. I did that, not because she was, in the typical sense, a good dog. She was alarmist, hyper-aware, reactive to movement, a barker, an early-riser, an observer, not a cuddler. In the early days, she scared my sons, and we had protocols to keep them safe. Many would have called her a bad dog.

But, from her perspective she was a very good dog, indeed. She let me know everything of importance in our world. Hawks in the sky, UPS trucks coming around the corner, a coyote across the street, a heron in the pond – she was never off duty.


I gave her a vocabulary to voice her concerns, and a place (under my desk, and also the purple chair) to be “at ease” – which she did because she was told to, not because she had any desire to relax.


I got her a sidekick – Scooter – to distract her from her duties, so she had playtime zoomies and a dog friend of little brain that she was able to tell what was what.


But, obviously, he wasn’t going to share her duties. It was all still up to Good Dog Lily.


I understood that the house and the backyard were her place and she had no desire to be elsewhere. She was a dog with a purpose and had work to do here. It didn’t matter the weather.


I was part of her work. She preferred to watch me, from a distance, so that she could be alert to any issues, that me, the dull human, didn’t notice. As time went on, she loved belly rubs from the boys, but never from me. I was the important one, and she kept a vigilant eye out.


I taught her silly pet tricks. She was athletic and they did a little, very little, as an outlet for that energy. But they were fun, and engaged her brain. She was exceptionally smart.


She tore her cruciate ligament, but the vet and I agreed that this dog could not handle the surgery and a long, confined rehab. No matter. Lily did her own physical therapy, and continued for three years, to be a Good Dog.

I’ve been watching her weaken, and worried that Lily would carry on until she suffered. This was a dog who refused to compromise.


But on Sunday, I put Lily’s breakfast down for her, and for the first time in fifteen years she didn’t eat. She looked at me, and then walked away.

It was time, and I was grateful to Lily that as always, she took charge and did it in her own, Good Dog way.

She was euthanized that morning, peacefully, at home.

Good Dog, Lily.

40 thoughts on “Good Dog Lily

  • Rosemary Corning

    So beautifully said, what a loyal animal – she was so good at being a companion the way she understood it -we learn so much from them if we pay attention, and you did! Very sorry for your loss but grateful for all the years and how much you shared of Good Dog Lily with us – Thank you

  • Cynthia Metivier

    A beautiful tribute to a wonderful dog. So happy that you both got to be together for many happy years.
    Thank you for sharing your lives with us.

  • Laura A

    Through the years that I’ve followed your posts, I have come to feel as if I know your animals personally. As I saw the title of your post, I knew immediately what it was about and had to take a moment before I continued. Our dogs are with us so briefly, but come to be a part of our family in the truest sense of the word. All we can hope for is to give them the best life possible, and you certainly did that. Condolences to you and your family.

  • Cindi Bajkowski

    So, so sorry for your loss. Thank you for the honest, loving portrayal of her life.
    I met her at a couple chicken workshops at your home, she was a beauty, and no, not so much a cuddler. Cuddling and smoozing are Scooter’s job I believe. I remember she had a not so secret admirer, Marky, correct?
    I hope you find solace knowing you gave her a great life, most importantly, you let Lily be Lily!
    Again, my condolences

  • KathyG

    Oh gosh, I am in tears here, reading this lovely tribute. I have enjoyed reading about Lily and your other critters for years now. I got hooked on your blog back in the hen-cam days, and so appreciate your wise observations and great heart with all of y/our feathered and furry companions through the years. Lily has been so lucky to have lived with someone who was able to ‘see’ her great heart and spirit. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

  • Lizzie in Cornwall

    What a dog! In fact, a dog in a million! (But aren’t they all? )
    It’s the missing of them that hurts.
    Thank you for sharing her with us.xx

  • Louise

    Condolences to you and your family. I got to know her a little through your postings on Hencam. She will be missed by your worldwide following as we all shared your comments and information on life on a small holding although I expect the local wildlife will not agree!!! She will keep heaven on its toes!

  • Rebecca Stedman

    Oh Terry so sad to here this news, but knew as well when seeing the post what had happened. Miss Lily such a sweet soul. So many years ago I tuned in to see the chickens but fell in love with Lily and Scooter. I loved watching them and hearing about their antics. I have saved many pictures and look at them often. I know Lily will be missed by all, especially you all and Scooter. Now Miss Lily is running with the big dogs, way above the clouds….you go girl

  • Karen Pryor

    Lily was a serious dog with, as you say, a lot of big jobs to do. Keeping herons from eating the goldfish, for example.
    Lily seemed to like company, in that she made a big greeting at the door when I arrived. She learned not to jump on me, so that was good, and she smelled my hand and accepted a token pet at the door; not for pleasure, she didn’t seem to like being stroked etc. but a greeting includes a pat, that’s acceptable.
    She was a lucky dog. Neglected or mistreated she might never have found a fitting household. And the sidekick you brought into the household was exactly the calming companion she liked and deserved.

  • Connie Moreau

    I will miss her too, as will many of us. We enjoyed the voice you gave her, entertaining and full of love. Take care.

  • Gin

    My deepest condolences to you and your family, including Scooter of course. So good that Lily was adopted into an understanding home. A lot of well meaning people wouldn’t know how to handle a dog with her personality.

  • Honor

    SS to hear that Terry!! I enjoyed hearing stories about her over the years. She had a wonderful with you and your family.

  • Jan

    Very sad news, a lovely tribute to a wonderful dog. Loved reading about her over the years and her growing up through the blogs. It is a very hard decision to make but pleased she did not have to suffer. She will live on forever in doggy heaven, hope Scooter is okay. Big hugs to you all.

  • Gayle Bosko

    A beautiful story so well told! I have been there more times than I cared to be. My condolences to you and your family.

  • Kaye D

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Having lost one of our guys last year, so quickly from Cancer, I can relate. I feel your pain and wish you peace and comfort. Good Dog will be waiting you, young again, at the Rainbow Bridge.
    Gentle and heart felt hugs

  • AnnMarie Nielsen

    I am so sorry that your wonderful companion for so many years had to leave this world, what a wonderful story, take comfort you had so many quality years with her and did the kind unselfish thing. Rest In Peace Good Dog Lily

  • Kim

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your good dog Lily. I’m sure that you and your family will miss her, but hopefully with the passing of time, fond memories will make you smile.

  • Kay S

    So sad to hear of Lily’s passing. It feels like an era has ended. It always sounded like you were the perfect person for her. I enjoyed reading about her and seeing her action pictures! Thank you for recognizing her last signals and helping her at the end.

  • Louise king

    So sorry of your loss. Through your web site I felt as if I knew Good dog lily. She definitively had a wonderful friend in you. Thanks for sharing. How is Scooter doing?

  • Jean H

    Lily was a love and she could not have found herself a better home. So sorry to lose her.

  • Chickencarol

    So sorry Terry. A lovely tribute to a lovely girl. I have such a lump in my throat right now. I feel so lucky to have shared her with you through your posts over the years. I know how much you will miss her.

  • Yemina

    Hey Terry; My love and hugs go out to you and your family at this gut wrenching time. Yemina

  • Judy

    Good Dog Lily; such a wonderful creature. I saw her on the chicken cam a few weeks ago, doing an afternoon patrol, keeping everyone safe, and took cheer to see her about. (One of my favorite videos of life on LPF was the one of Lily picking up all of Scooter’s scattered toys and putting them in a basket.) Yes, Good Dog Lily.

  • Ann Shill

    Terry, you brought Lily into our hearts with your words. The archives are a tribute to her life well lived and to your respect of her purpose. She will be missed by people all over the globe and by fins, feathers, paws and feet at home. A special celebration of Lily that will hopefully fill the space she once occupied in your home. but will always be there in spirit is my wish for your family. I’m still crying because I understand the loss but smiling because I know the joys of the journey. Peace and comfort.

  • Niall Anderson

    Parting is sad, but you’ve had a wonderful dog (as has she an owner in you). Happy memories.

  • Tracy

    They tell you, if you’re listening. And you, Terry, have always been a good listener to your Very Good Dog, Lily. I’m sorry for this loss to you but grateful you found each other.

  • Stephanie

    What a beautiful eulogy, Lily was so lucky to have you as “the important one”. I’m so sorry, I remember that “good dog” Lilly so well. I have one now named Hobbes, he’s a fun and at times quite a handful,but he’s doing what he was born to do, I have to just to learn to catch up to him. Sorry for your loss of a wonderful dog!

  • Marcello

    I been following you for years from Italy Roma , I am so sorry to hear that but as always you did the best for her and give her an extremely good life big hug Marcello

  • sara russell

    Thank you for sharing Lily with us. I am so sorry for your loss!! You are such a caring and kind owner to all of your pet family!!

  • Vicki Rankin

    I couldn’t add much more than what has been said already. I never met Lily, but I feel like I knew her, through your many years of wonderful stories at Little Pond Farm. Thank you for sharing her with us for so long. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • Durbin Goodwin

    Dogs, they bring out the best in us. Our constant companion, the way they see the world and the love they offer. I will miss the sweet stories about this wonderful dog. I worked for a wonderful vet for four years who did animal rehab for companion animals. He was a like a brother to me. He stills states that ALL his dogs will be the first to meet him when his life on this earth is over.

  • Christina

    Wonderful, moving, droll tribute that finds the best in a challenging animal. (Rosebud was a good little goat. Distracted, wriggly, not headed for college, but a loving, lovable, good little goat.)

Comments are closed.