Let’s Play Sheriff and Tully. I’ll Be Sheriff.

Tully & SheriffAs many of you know, we lost our beloved dog Tully this summer. We didn’t plan on getting another dog, but Sheriff started showing signs of separation anxiety (he and Tully were litter mates), and we finally relented.

So in September we got a puppy from our friends. The puppy was their favorite of the litter. Our friends gave him the name Primo in honor of his first born status.

Primo & Sheriff 2

As you can see from the photos above, there is a slight resemblance between Primo and Tully. Yet while friends commented on the similarities, I didn’t see it.

Or more accurately, I didn’t want to acknowledge it. We didn’t pick Primo because of the resemblance. And no dog was ever going to replace Tully.

After last weekend, I’m ready to admit it. Jeez, Primo reminds me of Tully!

We took him out to the beach for the first time last weekend. He quickly fell into the same pattern as Tully did. Sheriff fetches the ball and Primo attacks Sheriff. Tully used to get into a crouch, wait for Sheriff to get close enough and then pounce.

It made me wonder if Sheriff’s personality was so strong that any new dog would by necessity end up playing the role Tully had played.

Dana’s Uncle Jim had a funny take on it. He imagined a conversation between the two dogs that might go something like this:

Sheriff: Hey Primo, I’ve got an idea. Let’s play “Sheriff and Tully.” I’ll be Sheriff.

Primo: Oh man, I wanted to be Sheriff this time.

Sheriff: Sorry. You can be Sheriff tomorrow.

Primo (under his breathe): Man, you always say that.

It was a blast. It was great to see Sheriff enjoying himself and to know that his new buddy was helping all of us both move on and remember Tully at the same time.

More adorable puppy photos on Flickr.

Lost a Good Friend

TullyThe last few days have been very rough. Tully, one of our dogs, suddenly became sick on Monday while I was out of town.

On Tuesday, Dana took her to the vet. She continued to get worse. Today, we made the difficult decision to euthanize her.

Like most people, I’m very attached to our dogs. The dogs were the first pets we got as a couple, and the first pets I got as an adult. (Dana had our cat Chopper before we met.)

Dana and I had been talking about getting a dog for quite sometime. But the decision came at the end of the first Daily Show after September 11, 2001. That Daily Show was very moving and cathartic. It ended with the following Moment of Zen:

Dana and I had been in a rut when we saw the show. My grandmother had died shortly before 9/11. Instead of newlywed bliss, we were depressed. Once John Stewart pulled the puppy from under the desk, we looked at each and knew we had to get a dog. It seemed like the perfect way to bring joy back into our lives.

Tully as MunchThe big obstacle was Dana’s allergy to dogs. After that Daily Show, she decided to get allergy tests and see what could be done.

Her allergy tests showed that see was allergic to 23 of the 24 allergens they tested. The one she wasn’t allergic to: dogs.

By the time I got home that night, Dana had seen a person with a puppy, found out where the puppies were being sold, and put a deposit on Tully. When we went to pick up Tully, Sheriff fell asleep on my foot and before we knew it, we came home with two dogs.

We felt it was providence when we found out that they had been born on September 10th.


Both Sheriff and Tully have been a big part of our lives. Before we had Katie, they were our kids in every sense. When we fell in love with the Oregon Coast, it was because we learned how much fun it was to watch our dogs play in the sand. We loved it so much that we eventually bought a house on the coast and made it a pet friendly vacation rental.

Our friends and family loved our dogs, but Tully was considered the real treat. She was the sweetest dog and the hardest for people to get close to at first. Many guests spent evenings trying to coax her into letting them pet her. She was extremely gentle with Katie, and the dogs have made such an impression on Katie that she tries to bark and howl like them.

I remember most the way that Tully would greet me when I came home from work. She’d excitedly follow me into the office, execute a big stretch and then hop around until I petted her and rubbed her belly.

Tully, Sheriff and I spent hours play fighting. She’d come over to me. I’d whisper “get ’em” in her ear, and the game was on. We always tag-teamed on Sheriff, but he never minded the challenge.

Tully was still a fairly young dog. She would have been 7 years old in September. She seemed completely healthy the last time I saw her. It’s quite a shock.

She developed a sudden autoimmune problem. Her immune system was attacking her red blood cells. We did every treatment that we could and none of it was working. We took a few moments today to say goodbye before making one of the toughest decisions we’ve had to make.

I really miss her. I’m so grateful that she was a part of our lives. She was a good friend.

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