An Ode to Kelly

Many of you know that we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary here at The Dog Den. Back in December, we highlighted several of our furry friends that have been with us since the very beginning. 10 YEARS! Recently, we lost one of our very own Dog Den Family 10 year Dogs, Kelly Schorrak. The following is a special note about his life.

People talk about legend dogs; their best dog. These dogs do amazing things-most obedient, amazing tricks. They have jobs – service dogs, models, search and rescue. They save lives. They do things most dogs will never even come close to.

Kelly was not one of these dogs. Kelly, for most intents and purposes, was a jerk. He barked at the mailman. He could hear the UPS truck from a mile away and wouldn’t stop barking until it was gone. He hated cats, earning the nickname, Cat Killer (although he was never successful in that, thankfully, but it wasn’t because of lack of trying). He was tolerant of other dogs, taking 4 years to finally accept Kutter as part of the family and never fully accepting Kagney, no matter how hard she tried. He wouldn’t rush to come back in the house if the sniffing was good, not matter how big of a hurry we were in. He was known to steal licks out of drinks that were left unattended. He would take treats roughly from your hand. If he were bored with you, he would walk away and go to bed.

Now don’t get me wrong, Kelly was the LOVE OF MY LIFE! But that wasn’t due to anything amazing that he did. It was about a connection that we had. He understood me, I understood him. He chose me to his person the day I met him. I had expectations for him. He knew them and he understood when he really needed to follow them. We didn’t work on “training” as much and we just worked together. I would show him something, he would repeat it and then he knew it. He understood the following words perfectly: walk, ride, bedtime (or naptime), scoot over, dinner, hungry, off, wait, bathtime. If a freshly washed bed was being made, Kelly was waiting to be the first on the it. If I put on lip balm, Kelly had to lick it off. He gave the best kisses (if you like that sort of thing). I have had several people tell me, “To know Kelly was to love him” He just had a way of stealing your heart without you even having any knowledge that it was happening.

For those of you that don’t know, Kelly had epilepsy. He starting experiencing seizures at about a year of age and because of this, his previous home gave him up. So when we found each other, I made it my goal to help him in every way I could. Over the years, we tried all the things possible to help: various medications, Chinese medicines, acupuncture, chiropractic care, diet, etc. After figuring out what helping Kelly the best, we centered our lives around him and what he needed. Five am wake up calls for potty breaks, breakfast and the morning medication. Noon lunch. Five pm dinner with more medication. No harsh chemicals. Essential oils. If Kelly had a seizure, we got him to a comfy place (preferably our bed) and I would sit with him until he was better. If I couldn’t sit with him, his recovery took twice as long. He needed mom and I needed him. Those moments weren’t stressful to either of us. We just sat together and worked through it. All very routine. And for 10 years this was our life.

Then one day Kelly didn’t want to eat. Now for those of you that live with labs, you know this isn’t normal. Kelly knew his 5a – 12n – 5p schedule better than the clock! The next day he was fine. Then it happened again. And again. So we went to the vet. And at that moment, on February 12, 2015 at shortly after noon, my life shattered. Cancer. Prognosis not good. There is nothing further that we can do. Organs bleeding, fluids leaking out. Could go at anytime….

Wait, WHAT?! How? Why? F— Cancer. In my life, cancer has touched everyone I know. I have lost amazing people, some way too early, because there was nothing “further we can do”.

At that moment, when I sat down with Kelly, he told me he was ready. It was his time. And at that moment, my heart broke into a million pieces. How would I go on without my true love? What would I do without that love in my life? But I couldn’t be selfish. Kelly was never selfish with me. I couldn’t be selfish with him. He didn’t deserve to struggle anymore. His hundreds of seizures in his life were struggle enough. We took him home and invited over all of our friends. We had a Kelly party so everyone had a chance to come and say their goodbyes. We laughed and cried. That night, I slept right next to him, paw on me, all night. The next morning, we went for a ride, Kelly’s favorite thing to do. We got ice cream and a sausage McMuffin. We cried. We came home and snuggled until it was time. Our wonderful vet came to the house. We sat on the bed with Kelly in my lap trusting me to guide him on this journey. We said our goodbyes. Kutter sat at the edge of bed and as soon as Kelly took his last breath, Kutter ran out of the room and started searching for his big brother. And he has been searching for him ever since.

What is life like without Kelly? It’s quiet. I didn’t realize how much life Kelly brought to my days. It’s lonely. Wonderful and amazing dogs surround me, including 2 of my own, all day long but none of them are Kelly. I miss coming home and having Kelly mash his head into me as we shared a moment. I still can hear him banging his tail on EVERYTHING when he was excited. Each and every day is heartbreaking. Each and every day takes me further away from life with Kelly. Kutter is sad and is trying to figure out what life is without his role model. Kagney is worried about her family, trying to make sense of the loss everyone feels. Kelly and his needs consumed my life. Kelly’s life was consumed by loving his family and me. His people were his world.

Kelly,please know that my life will never be the same! I have you to thank. You gave me so many gifts, including leading me to my life’s passion of a career with dogs. I don’t know what I am going to do without you. I don’t have anyoneto chase me to bed when I say it’s bedtime. I won’t have anyone knocking me down the stairs because it’s 5am, 12n or 5pm and it’s feeding time.I will no longer be able to smell your Smelly head or rub your velvet ears. I won’t hear your barking as I pull into the garage only to have you walk away from me when I open the door to the house. No one will try to lick my lotion off or eat my chap stick. My life is terribly empty without you and my heart is broken. But my heart is also full because of the life we had together. You gave me so much unconditional love and taught me patience and understanding. And every day I take that love with me and know that cancer can no longer hurt you. We all love and miss you every day and are working to find a life that makes sense without you. I feel your strength helping me to find that life and again thank you for the most wonderful years.

To honor Kelly and many others that have gone before, taken from their loved ones too early, we are going to walk in the Puppy Up Walk on May 3rd to raise money for cancer research. Friends and family: the research funded studies the cancer in both people and pets. Having lost several family and friends to cancer and now my Kelly, most way to young in life, I believe strongly to in this cause. I urge you to come and walk with us, team The Dog Den . If you can’t walk, I hope you can spare even $5 to the cause to help with this research.(you can join our team or donate here)Hopefully, together we can help fight cancer in both pets and people.

If you wish to physically show your support for Laura and her family, Kelly, and The Dog Den please consider purchasing one of these t-shirts in Kelly’s best color “Kelly Green”.

The cost starts around $20 however the more people that buy, the lower the cost. On May 3rd, you won’t miss The Dog Den team all standing proud in our “Kelly Green” shirts.

We miss you Smelly Whistles <3


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