What a strange week this has been at the Spencer home. We knew for several months that this was coming, and put it off as long as we humanely could. Last Tuesday evening, we said goodbye to our dearly beloved pet, Kelsey. She was a German Shepard mix whom we found at a pet adoption agency in Greensboro in late 2003. She came to live with us on January 5, 2004. Kelsey was so smart, so sensitive to her new “Owners” needs that she immediately adopted us, blending into the household and family as if she had always been there.



Kelsey grabbed hold of my heart from the first picture I saw on the Internet. She waited for me patiently each day as I went off to teach school. She greeted me with joyful abandon when I returned. We played together (she knew all the “tricks” and eagerly learned more), walked and camped together. She slept on the floor by my side as I worked on lesson plans or colored or crafted teddy bears.

She knew her job as my protector, resting with her back toward the door of whatever room I worked in, on alert for any threats.   She alerted incessantly to doorbells on the TV, strangers on the street, imagined sounds in the dark outside at night.   She let me cry into her soft fur on those days when Parkinson’s seemed to be winning. Kelsey was such rich company for me! She even blew out her knees and had surgery on each of them– both of her surgeries happened immediately after I had my own major surgeries! Even at the very end of her long life, as the vet pumped blessed relief into her veins, she stretched up to lick the tears from my face. But perhaps her greatest accomplishment was winning Ed’s heart! “I’m not a dog person,” he avows, “but Kelsey made me a Kelsey person!”


So, my house is a good bit emptier than it was. For more than 15 years, we were graced with the presence of this Gift we called “Kelsey.” I am humbled by her commitment to each of us, by her awareness of our needs, by her patience and understanding when we were not at our best. I can only hope to be as good a friend.

Thanks, Kelsey. Godspeed.

Godspeed, Kelsey

About vivace1017

I grew up in the hills of East Tennessee, in a well-educated, articulate, highly creative community. Venturing forth from my hometown at age 17, I attended a small college near Knoxville, and began my career as a music teacher in Taichung, Taiwan. I wound my way from there through grad school in Louisville, KY to a brief sojourn in Georgia, and landed finally, with a husband and two sons in south central Virginia. My career journey has meandered from private music studio to public school classroom, from church organ bench to grant writing and photography. Now, roles are changing again, settling into places that have always been a part of me, yet are only now realizing my best attention. This site is my internal voice as I work through who I have been, who I want to be, and the legacy I want to leave in my wake.
This entry was posted in Parkinson's Disease. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Kelsey

  1. Debby Watlington says:

    So sorry for your loss Kay and Ed. Pet find their way into our hearts and homes. PRAYERS and Blessings for you both! Love , Debby

  2. Patti Salyers says:

    Understanding your heartbreak (have lost my own babies)with much sympathy and affection.

  3. Reed & Donna says:

    I’m so sorry. We know how much you can get attached to a pet. Dogs are soooo committed and faithful to their masters. Maybe we can learn something from them. They quickly become a part of the family and your sweet Kelsey will leave a void in your heart for a good while, especially for you, Kay. It sounds like Kelsey had a knack for lifting you up and meeting your needs. May the blessing you received through Kelsey find their way to you through friend and family and everyone who love all of you. Love, Reed & Donna

  4. Valerie says:


    A belated note to say how sorry I am about Kelsey’s death. Since your email, two other friends have had to say goodbye to long-time dog members of their families. One was my other friend who has Parkinson’s; his dog, Summer, was also a German Shepherd. My 14-year-old cat, Toby, has had thyroid disease for several years and is nearing her end as well. My anticipatory grief is real, especially in the midst of the grief of friends for whom I care.

    I apologize for letting so much time pass since our visit. Although care of my mother has changed somewhat since moving her into a small assisted living facility last November, it has continued be a sad and exhausting process to watch her slowly decline. My love for her has grown and deepened in ways quite unexpected but for which I am beyond grateful. I realize there is much about her life I never asked about and now wish I knew, and yet dementia increasingly is taking away her memories.

    How are you? I can only imagine how your battle with Parkinson’s continues to frustrate you and to cause physical and emotional pain. Are you able to travel? I would like nothing more than for us to have a day or two just to talk and remember our Carson-Newman/SBTS days and to share our lives since then more deeply.

    Let me hear from you in whatever manner is easiest for you.

    Love you, Valerie

    770-466-3356 602 Aya Circle, Loganville, GA 30052

    Sent from my iPad


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s