Our first walk without you felt so aimless, and our hands empty without your leash in them. We still went around our loop with throats tight and misty eyes. We loved you for almost fourteen years. The sound of your clip-clapping claws on the hard-wood floor walking over to your water bowl is eerily missing from our home. 


As a puppy, we brought you home to March in the Rocky Mountains. There was still so much of winter to live. You sank in the snow when we took you out to go potty. Your first big adventure was spring fishing with Seth to the inlet of Stagecoach Reservoir. He set you down near the river bank, and you enthusiastically leapt into the icy waters. No puppy waders on you! Thankfully you courageously swam back to Seth when he called. He decided a safer spot for you would be tucked into the top of his waders with your head poking out the top, just like an infant in a Baby Bjorn.


Speaking of babies, you were there when each of ours were born. You were proud to be their second mama and protector. On the car ride home from the hospital with James, you immediately rested your head on top of our tiny six pound newborn, letting him know you’d always be there for him. You were never far from him as you’d lay next to him while he napped in his bouncy chair.


We trained you with love. By that I mean, you got us into a lot of trouble. Our first home being a multi-level condominium set into the side of a mountain (an architectural gem from the 70’s), meant you could actually climb onto the roof of the level below ours. You liked to get up there and survey your kingdom of course. Our neighbors felt a bit differently however, and soon started complaining about the sound of reindeer hooves on their roof, only it wasn’t Christmas. 


We lost you for a week when you were eight. We prayed and searched for you that entire time. Seth spent the week putting up flyers, driving around, and visiting the humane society. Right at the moment we were sitting at the top of our stairs in tears at the possibility of never seeing you again, Seth’s phone rang. It was a woman from the humane society who took the time to dig a little deeper into our case, and another that had come in about a “found” dog. The breeds given in the reports didn’t match, but after asking a few more questions, she thought the two reports could in fact be describing the same dog. She was right! We were able to pick you up from the home of a kind lady who found you in the rain in the middle of the road without a collar on. She was reluctant to give you back as she found you so adorable.


We know how blessed we were to have you an extra five years after that incident, and we never forgot to put your collar on after a bath again! We watched you age gracefully. You gave it everything you had despite arthritis and multiple tumors. You loved us so much, we know you hung on for as long as you possibly could. You gave us one last summer of trips to the lake zipping around on the boat with your ears flapping in the wind. We got to take you on a couple more walks down the trail to see if we could find that elusive bear you were always barking at. You let the kids give you as many hugs, kisses, snuggles, and whatever else it was they did to you that might lead to you giving them a little nip if they got too rough.


In the end, you let us know you were ready to go. Even a freshly grilled steak couldn’t tempt you much. We got to kiss your soft head and hug you goodbye on the soft, lush summer grass you loved to lay on in our side yard. We got to tell you how much we loved you and how thankful we were to have you for so long. You brought so much joy to our lives, and you will always be in our hearts, Oli.


When we each get to heaven, we look forward to you being a part of our welcoming committee… 


“And as I knelt beside the brook

To drink eternal life, I took

A glance across the golden grass,

And saw my dog, old Blackie, fast

As she could come. She leaped the stream-

Almost- and what a happy gleam

Was in her eye. I knelt to drink, 

And knew that I was on the brink

Of endless joy. And everywhere

I turned I saw a wonder there.”

~John Piper, Future Grace



  1. Luann Mathey on September 17, 2021 at 12:01 PM

    I can’t see through the tears. That was beautiful Lizzie! I miss her so much too when I realize she is no longer with us. She was our granddoggie and so dear to our hearts. I can picture her sitting outside in the grass looking like “The Sentinel” as she watched over the pasture in back. I always wondered how she could stand guard for so long! She was such a special girl and gave you all so much joy. Seth was always a dog person but I never saw him as attached to any dog as he was to Oli. I know it leaves a sadness in your hearts that will only become less painful with time, but the many pictures and memories will always keep her alive as you remember all of the adventures and years she blessed you with. This tribute is certainly a family keepsake that truly commemorates Oli’s meaningful part in this long chapter of your time together. That was beautiful poem. I’m so glad “All Dogs go to Heaven”!

    • Elizabeth Mathey on September 19, 2021 at 8:38 PM

      Thank you so much, Luann. We know how very special she was to you as well. Seth’s love for dogs certainly came from both of his parents! Yes, she sure could stand guard for quite some time- ha! Thank you for walking through this loss with us. xoxo

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About Me

I am a child of God, a wife to Seth, and a mother to James, Luke, and Eva. The Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthians, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). I became a “new creation” at the age of 23 when I surrendered my life to Jesus and was delivered from a decade of depression. Read more...