Alley was a very patient soul with stacks of love to spare

Alley was a very patient soul with stacks of love to spare

Name: Alley

Lived: 29th of December 2002
Loved: 8th of September 2013
Lost: 22nd of February 2014

About: Before Alley lived with us, she was a celebrated show champion and excellent mother of two beautiful litters. We were told about a dog on an online trading website that needed a new home pretty urgently and as soon as we saw her, it was love.

Alley was older and a little run down. She was a bit skinny with a overgrown face of fur. She has been living with bigger dogs, but due to a change in the household, she wasn't coping well. We already had Pew the Chinese Crested and begged the poster to consider us as her forever home. Luck was on our side and we were picked.

A vet check was quickly organised. Bad teeth, rickety arthritic old legs, some cataracts and a pretty significant heart murmur. It didn't matter, if anything, we only loved her more. We slowly introduced her to the clan of pets we had at home and she gracefully accepted them. She then went to her crate and slept for the rest of the afternoon.

'Alley' portrait as drawn by  Erin Chance , 2014. Medium: Sharpie Marker

'Alley' portrait as drawn by Erin Chance, 2014. Medium: Sharpie Marker


In the beginning we had to feed her by hand - small meals and often. She began to put on weight and after two weeks (including a groom) you'd never have picked her as the same dog. Her temperament was beautiful and matriarchal - she kept everyone in line. After she was feeling better, we booked her in for a much needed dental - we were pacing the halls while she had the procedure. On picking her up I cried big salty tears and couldn't get her home quick enough.

Alley was the start of No Hairs Ark. It was our intention to fix her up and choose a forever family; however after The Dental Incident and taking into account her age, her heart condition and the fact Laura loved her beyond any reasonable means of measure, we knew that that could never happen and we decided Alley would stay with us. So began No Hairs Ark.

Alley was never far from our side (or our bed) and she was the perfect little four pawed greeting brigade. When you were sick, she'd stay near. In the mornings, we'd wake up to little tippy-tappy nails on floorboards - which was her coming over and asking to be let into the people bed for morning snuggles. We'd happily let her up. Alley would take on each new No Hairs Ark charge and teach them the ropes, such as 'outside was for peeing and sun-baking' and 'indoors was for eating and sleeping' - as well as 'don't you dare step on my head again or I'll make sure you're sorry!'

Alley now has a space next to Simba on our remembering shelf

Alley now has a space next to Simba on our remembering shelf

We lost Alley on a warm February afternoon, we suspect to her failing heart. It was truly devastating and we've never felt such unexpected grief as we did then - and she'd only been with us for 6 months, when we were imagining giving her several more Golden Years. At home, we honoured her life with a remembrance shelf, consisting of her ashes, a candle that we light when we think of her (which has since been replaced several times) and a lock of her hair, alongside her photo.

Alley was a one in a million dog - one that will never be replaced and one that lives on in our hearts and the soul of No Hairs Ark.

"If you cry when a dog dies, it isn't sad - it means that dog lived a life full of meaning and love. When you don't cry, that is sad, because the dog didn't take a piece of your heart with it."