A Tribute to Beloved Wiley

Wiley was made famous by the Camping With Your Dog(s) web page. I'm sorry to say that Wiley left this Earth around 1 p.m. German time on a suddenly-overcast moment of the 12th of May, 2003. Wiley was more than 16 years old.

I got Buster in July 1990, but we never lived alone, just the two of us, until early 1992, and Buster went bananas being alone while I was at work. Someone recommended I get another dog, and around that time, I went with a friend to a "salon" in San Francisco; she was in a writers' group, and they were reading their work in one of the member's homes that night. When the wooden gate to the small yard outside the house opened, there were two dogs standing there to greet us, and one -- Wiley -- seemed the most loving, earnest dog I had ever met. The salon slowly degenerated into a saloon, and I kept complimenting the hosts on Wiley. Finally, they told me that they did not really want him -- they had rescued him from a relative, who was neglecting him and who, beforehand, had rescued him from another relative, who was abusing him. They said they were probably taking him to the ASPCA soon. I told them I wanted the dog, period. It took more than a week to arrange, because they were convinced I was drunk and was already regreting my statements about Wiley.

They brought Wiley down from San Francisco to where I was living in San Jose on a very hot summer day, and we had the dogs meet on the neutral territory of a high school athletic field. The dogs got along famously right away, so we all went back to my flat and released Buster and Wiley in the back yard. Wiley's third owners left his vaccination papers and dog brush, said goodbye, and there he was -- my brown prince, and Buster's brother. He was already more than five years old. And I vowed then and there we would be his last family, and that we would give him enough beautiful experiences to drive out all the previous bad ones.

Wiley would stand in the house each evening for those first few months near the door, staring at me in disbelief -- he was never allowed in a house before. Our major breakthrough came months later, as I wrote in my journal while laying on my stomach on my bed; Wiley decided my back would make a great place to snuggle. I had been told that Wiley was "stupid and kind of bland." Nothing could have been farther from the truth. He could learn new commands in just a few minutes, and he constantly tried to figure out the world around him with intense, quiet study. He would play with Buster, then stand and watch as Buster exploded with energy and fervor, running around the yard at break-neck speed, patiently waiting for him to calm down.


Photo by Anne Lowrie

Our years together held more joyous moments than I can count. Wiley was gentle, caring, utterly starved for attention, devoted to pleasing me (and anyone else who came through the door), adoring of all people of all ages (but particularly blond women and boys between 8 and 12 years old), and would do anything I ask of him. Even when I found out that Wiley was dog aggressive, and completely vicious to 90% of all other dogs on the planet, the joys he brought to my life, as well as Buster's, were irreplaceable.
I had Wiley just a few months short of 11 years. He, Buster and I traveled together to almost 20 of the 50 U.S. states, and here to Germany. When camping, he came into his element, with bright eyes and open mouth, standing with his chest pushed out, feeling the wind and sun on his face, smelling a thousand new things in the air. He threw himself down into the snows of Wyoming and the Sierra Nevadas in California, wiggling on his back frantically -- to make doggie snow angels? I have pictures of him and Buster running on the gray beaches south of Monterey, California, near the Ventana Wilderness, on just one of our many adventures -- he could not have been happier. His favorite moments, I believe, were on the road, sitting in the back seat of my little red Chevy Blazer, staring wide-eyed and wild-eyed at cows we passed; or walking here in Germany, along the many short dirt paths around the complex where I live along the Rhine. primitive drawing of me and the dogs in our truck
Wiley's liver and kidneys began to degenerate in late 2000, before we moved to Europe. He was put on special dog food, and stabilized until the fall of 2002, when he began to seriously go down hill. He could not control his bodily functions, and his hips grew weaker and weaker. These last two months have been particularly hard on him, as we shuffled slowing around the trails together, Wiley walking at an angle, his head down most of the time. He had trouble standing to eat his meals, and would suddenly sit down with a thunk, and stare at me or straight ahead, trying to figure out what just happened. He was at least half blind, and probably just as deaf. I worked hard to give him comfort these last days, but no one could give enough. As a friend told me, his fierce, determined spirit needed a better body, because this one was letting him down.

Buster and I were here with him, in the floor of our apartment, while our wonderful vet, Dr. Hermann, administered the medications, Wiley's head in the lap of Dr. Herman's assistant, with me petting Wiley, kissing him, and telling him how much I love him. He went very, very peacefully, even quicker than I think the doctor expected. Wiley did not fight at all -- he simply laid down and went to sleep, in his own home, with his family right by his side.

I had played music all weekend -- he particularly likes music with lots of over-production, so we listened a lot to Robbie Williams's big band retro CD and a greatest hits CD of early Judy Garland songs -- and we were listening to Michele Shocked's Arkansas Traveler when the doctor and his assistant arrived. The doctor encouraged me to keep the music on while he administered the medications, so I did.

Buster did okay -- but was obviously anxious. Probably the moment that Wiley actually left us, Buster stood in the hall way nearby and barked repeatedly. I'd like to think it was his way of announcing Wiley's departure.
A very special thank you to everyone who was so sweet to Wiley over various points of his life -- no dog in the world appreciated the smallest act of kindness as much as he did. So many people out there hosted Wiley, took care of him at my home, or walked him at some point. I wish thousands of blessings on each and every one of you.

And thank you to everyone who, because of the Camping With Your Dog(s) web page, sent an email, sometimes just to say hello.

For others facing this difficult decision, this resource helped me enormously: Euthanasia... What To Expect by Dr. T. J. Dunn, Jr. Other than his discouragement of doing this at your home, the rest of his web site was amazingly helpful.

I remind you all that Wiley and Buster were each destined for animal shelters when they encountered me. Your financial support of your local animal shelter, your spaying or neutering of your pet, or your adoption of a pet from a shelter are all wonderful ways to remember Wiley, as well as to enrich your lives.

Me and My Dogs
in 2000 in Austin, Texas.


I would like to think he went to dog heaven, but I believe he lived there already from the time he adopted you.
-- Slim in Atlanta

My deepest sympathy for your loss. Walking Wiley and Buster is a fond memory of my visit. I also wanted to say that your note on support, adoption and spaying or neutering is a wonderful way to honor his memory.
-- Rebecca in Washington, D.C.

I love that dog. He always had a way of looking at me that melted my heart. And of course, he could get me to give him some of whatever I was eating though you didn't always know that. He liked to eat, just not that yucky dog food that was "good for him." I remember taking him for walks in October and it was so hard to watch him try and do what he does best, go after any moving thing he saw. We'd walk thru those woods and he still liked to be the tough guy to other dogs. I'm sure you've already given him many kisses and hugs this week but know that I sent him some in his doggie dreams. He had a pretty exciting life for a dog whose life didn't start out so nice. And he got to spend part of it living on the Rhine.
-- Erica in Austin, Texas

I'm proud of you for being strong enough to make the decision, it's the hardest one you can ever make. He knows you love him and are doing all the right things for him. You've been a wonderful Dog Mommy, taking your babies halfway around the world when a lot of people would have just abandoned them or shipped them off without another thought. We held Mocha and kissed her and told her what a good dog she was right till the very end. You will be in my prayers...I'll tell Mocha to be waiting.
-- Jennifer in Louisville

What a graceful exit. I, of course, would like to think that Jason now has a pet!
-- Michael, Jason's Dad, in San Francisco

I am truly -- deeply -- sorry to hear about Wiley. I know you would only ever do what's best for him. I'm sure that doesn't make the decision to put him down any easier or less painful. But I hope you'll take comfort in the fact that we blonde girls will always remember the Snob Dog fondly, and that Jason will surely manhandle him in the next dimension...
-- Rebecca, wife of Jason's Dad, in San Francisco

Losing my dog Lucy was just so awful for me. My thoughts are with you. I'm so glad he was peaceful. He had such a great life and such a great owner. We're going to see Michelle Shocked tommorow night. We'll do a wee jig for a dog who had such good taste in music.
-- Patty in Sacramento

Last night, when I said my prayers, I asked that Wiley go easy and that you would find some comfort in knowing how well you have taken care of him. No animal could have had a finer home.
-- My Mom, in Kentucky

I remember Wiley very fondly, as I'm sure do all blondes who got to know him.
-- Mary in Austin, Texas

Last night I sat out on the back porch and thought of the times Wiley and Buster explored the yard while you and I talked and laughed and probably drank Shiner Bock at the kitchen table. I remembered that "the boys" never really stayed away for long - soon they would come back in looking for you and staying close. Lucky you to share your life with Wiley - such a sweet brave creature. And lucky Wiley to have made a home with you and Buster for those years. You did good, Jayne.
-- Sharron in Austin, Texas

He is such a great dog...so sweet...and so able to coax attention out of everyone he meets. I know this is going to be difficult for you and Buster both and if you keep it together for anything, keep it together for him. He's going to need you so much in the coming days. And know that I am with you in spirit... I love you and your sweet boys.
-- KW in Kentucky

I can't tell you how many times I've thought of Wiley and hoped he was having a good life out there somewhere. It sounds to me like he did--who KNOWS how old he was! I'm so happy that he found a good home where he could be loved. Such a good dog he was, I remember how friendly he was with everybody.
-- Brian, one of Wiley's temporary first owners

Hi Jayne & Buster. My heart is with you both. I really enjoyed taking them for walks in the park. I still haven't gotten over my Dusty, I guess I never will. I planted a real pretty pink rose over Dusty. I call it my Dusty Rose.
-- Donna in Kentucky

Wiley will always be with you, as he will always be in your heart. I am sure he has enjoyed his life with you and Buster's company - and when he is now in the German dog-heaven he'll be glad to have lived that way, and he'll check to see what you are doing from time to time and be really happy to find out that you are still thinking of him and you are really happy, too.
-- Andrea in Germany

What a tremendous loss to you and Buster -- and to everyone who knew Wiley! I remember him well from the brief times I got to spend with him in SJ, Oakland, and Austin. He was such a special dog. He added so much to your life and stuck by through the good times and the not-so-good-times. How wonderful that he even shared with you what is perhaps one of the biggest adventures of your life -- in Europe with the UN. (What a globetrotter he was!) Your email was a wonderful tribute to him, especially your closing comments about giving back to animals in need. I will certainly do this when I am ready for a pet in my life, and will make a gift to the Santa Clara Country Humane Society in Wiley's name. My thoughts are with you and Buster!
-- Beth in San Jose, California

I know your grieving over Wiley and I can imagine its very difficult and I am sure nothing I can say can make it better but just know a good friend is always in your heart no matter where you go..........
-- Sean in Jordan

Jayne, I'm so sorry to hear about Wiley. I only met him a couple of times, but it was enough to know that he was a very fine dog.
-- Frazier in New York City

We are thinking of you and Buster in this difficult moment. We know you loved him very much and no words are strong enough to take away your pain and sorrow. I know how difficult it is to loose a friend and a dog can be the very best friend you can ever find and I do not think that anybody can understand the emptiness you feel of loosing a friend like that. We feel with you and hope that Buster and you are keeping eachother company.
-- Madelene and Georg in Jordan

If you would like to see a short video that features Wiley, please visit my My Space profile and click on "videos" under my avatar.

Here are Many photos of Buster and Wiley

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This information posted by J. Cravens. The personal opinions expressed on this page are solely the opinion of Ms. Cravens, unless otherwise noted.

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