In Death proves pets are more than animals — they are family

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: COLE RANDALL - Daisy, the Randall family's dog, died last week and will be missed.They said we would know when it was time. And they — my mom, my friend Suzanne Slauson and our veterinarian, Mary Sullivan — were right.

We knew last Wednesday that it was time for us to allow Daisy, our family pet and companion, to die.

Our sons, Dave and Cole, and I talked my husband, Mark, into adding a dog to our family on Father’s Day 2000. I had grown up with a great family dog, a beagle named Captain Jack, and hoped we could have the same wonderful experience in our family.

The boys and I researched what we needed to do to adopt, or “rescue,” a beagle.

We fenced off a section of our yard so it would be safe and passed an inspection made by a local beagle rescue volunteer.

We scoured the websites for available dogs and more than once had our hearts broken when we were told that the cute beagle we were interested in had already been given a home or might snap at children.

And then, one day, Daisy was on the list. She was just 2 years old, good with children and eager to go to a nice home. I called and we made a date to drive to Tacoma the following Sunday to meet Daisy.

The boys took turns walking her around a park while we talked to the beagle rescue volunteer who had been taking care of Daisy. She told us that Daisy had been with a family who had just added a new baby to their family and lacked the time to be good pet owners.

Daisy stole our hearts and we drove home as one happy family.

Should we rename her or keep calling her Daisy? All the way home we debated that issue. She already responded to Daisy; would it confuse her if we called her by another name? Finally we agreed to follow my dad’s naming tradition. He named his blue tick hound after his mother, Etta Sue. Mark suggested we give Daisy a middle name, his mother’s middle name, which was Wilma. So our Daisy became Daisy Wilma.

We took her to our vet clinic for a checkup, shots and ID chip and were told some tips on how to train her and what to expect from a “teenage” dog.

There was one small disappointment for the boys: She didn’t know how to fetch. But she would snuggle, loved to go for walks and was willing to sit and let you pet her for hours.

Daisy loved to run, and she was fast — she could zip out the door quicker than you could say, “Daisy Wilma.” She learned to open the sliding screen door and help herself to a nice run. She made many friends in the neighborhood. A couple of folks welcomed her into their homes for a snack before they would call and let us know she was there or deliver her back to our house.

She appreciated good cooking and often sat at my feet while I prepared dinner. I’ve reported in this column more than once of her skill in opening the fridge door and helping herself to whatever was in reach.

I cannot begin to count the hundreds of miles the two of us logged over the years. As a youngster, when she got tired she would plop down and I’d either carry her or wait until she was ready to go again. For years we enjoyed walking around the lake on a regular basis and rising early for a brisk walk in the neighborhood. But lately her stamina had slackened.

Mary discovered the tumor on Daisy’s throat in January.

Last Wednesday our early morning sleep was disrupted by Daisy’s panting and pacing, which usually indicates she needs to go out. I hustled out of bed, but it was too late.

Going through our regular routine later that morning I put food in her dish and turned to make coffee when I heard Daisy retching. I hurried to get her outdoors, but it was too late.

I knew then that it was time, and by mid-morning Mark agreed.

The rest of the day Mark and Cole spent time saying good-bye to Daisy. Mark emailed our older son, Dave, then gave Daisy a bath and took her for a last walk.

We drove to Mary’s office where we said goodbye to our dear and faithful friend.

“Remember the funny things, like how she used to open the fridge!! Ha! She was a pistol!” Suzanne texted.

That she was, that she was.

For today’s recipe, I could share a recipe for the pot of Super Bowl chili she helped herself to, or one for chicken breasts in memory of the family pack she ate straight from the grocery bag as I unloaded groceries, or the marinating pork chops set too low on a refrigerator shelf. But, frankly, I need a little comfort food, so here’s a recipe for Chicken Soup a la Daisy.

Rest in peace, dear doggie!

Chicken Soup a la Daisy

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 small onion, chopped

3 large cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon dried basil

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth

2 medium zucchini, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 9-ounce package fresh cheese ravioli

1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken

Grated parmesan cheese

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, basil, fennel seeds and crushed red pepper and sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth. Cover pot and simmer 10 minutes. Add zucchini and carrot. Cover and simmer until carrot is almost tender, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil. Add ravioli and boil until tender, about five minutes. Add chicken and cook just until heated through, about one minute. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Serve, passing cheese separately.

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281, ext. 101, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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