No Bad Days

 

Disney in Malibu

What can you say when you have lost your best friend of 16+ years.  Disney ,our ball of energy Bichon who traveled throughout the country with us, died on Valentine’s Day 2010.  He was active and happy until the day he was not able to survive a heart complication and fluid in the lungs.  We were with him as he went peacefully and without pain.

I believe that when you mourn the loss of a dear friend, it is only proper to honor their life, reflect on their lessons as a messenger in the world and then change your life in such a way that celebrates how they touched you.

I have two best friends on earth and I just lost one of them.  With less than 24 hours after his passing, I sat down to write his story.

Disney’s story is one that is long on life and adventure.  It might be said that his life was more traveled and adventuresome than most people.  I will attempt to share some of my friend’s life with you as we celebrate Disney’s life.

Wendy and I are deeply appreciative to hear from those of you that knew Disney.  How very wonderful it is that you would take the time to write about your experiences with Diz.  It is fitting that with his passing on St. Valentine’s Day that we view these as love notes to Diz.   Wendy and I are profoundly touched by your love, friendship and condolences.  We respectfully share these notes below.  I am sure they will continue to bring tears of joy to us, always.

How Disney and I met.

It was a little over 17 years ago that I lost my very best friend Freeway at the age of 17+.  One day I was driving past a shopping mall near where I lived in Southern California.  For some reason that only higher powers know, I stopped in to just walk around.  This is something that I had never done before or since.  I walked past a pet store in the mall and reflected on my loss of Freeway.   I walked in an in a corner glass display was this little ball of energy rolling on his back and playing.  All white with two black eyes and a black nose, he continued to entertain himself not noticing me watching him.  The sign said “Bichon Frise” with a big red SOLD sticker slapped over it.  As I looked back at him, he noticed me and at the same time I noticed a piece of paper in his left eye that was causing it to swell and water.  I called over the store person and she pulled him out of the cage and I offered to hold him while she cleared his eye.

Disney at 3 months old

She thought that it was very strange that this business suited, obviously corporate man would want to help.  She thought it even stranger as I began to cry as he licked my face from one side to the other.  I explained that I had just lost my Bichon Terrier mix and that it was hard to hold this pup without welling up tears of joy with many memories.  She began to tear herself and told me that a woman from La Jolla had bought him.  She added that too many people were buying Bichon’s for status and too many were brought back because they are such energetic dogs and need companionship.  She said that the woman was scheduled to pick him up the next day.  Quickly, she added cynically that he will probably be back in a week if I wanted him.  Half serious and half sad, I handed her my card and circled my cell phone number.

The next day I was sitting in a board meeting listening to one of my New York investment banker’s pontificate over how I should be running my business.  As my eyes glazed over, my cell phone rang and I said I had to take the call even though I had no idea who it was that was calling.  Stepping out of the meeting, I took the call and the person on the line said this is Amy.  You know, the gal at the pet store.  She said, “The woman did not show up and is past the hold deadline and offered me the Bichon puppy, if I got there as soon as I could.”  I ran to exit the building and rushed to the pet store.  When I walked in, there he was in the window with a red bow around his neck.  I handed her my credit card and I was out of there with my new pup.  Ironically, to this day I have no idea how much I paid.  I did not care.

I whisked Disney home and called my ex-wife at work to tell her about the new acquisition.  I recall her shock and felt that she was not ready for the new addition.

Bob with Diz on San Diego Bay

I was scheduled to fly to the east coast the next morning and so I had very little time to get acquainted with this new pup.  No name and as cute as one could imagine, he walked me to the door as he would many many times to come.

I arrived in Dallas and called home.  My ex-wife said that the dog was missing!  She said she had looked everywhere and even the neighbors in neighboring ranches were on the lookout for him.  All of four pounds, I thought the worst because of all the coyotes around my home.  I was distraught thinking I had lost two dogs in such a short time.  Before boarding the plane I called home again to see if he had been found.  He was not and I boarded the plane to New York.

When I got to New York and turned on my cell, there was a voice mail.  He was safe!    My ex said that she was so tired and went to lay down to rest.  She had been searching in earnest for a number of hours and as she laid down, this little ball of fur came out from under the pillows to greet her.  He was not hiding, but always sought warn, soft darkness throughout his life.  All was good and he was safe.

Disney was born on December 28th his AKC papers said.  If you look in the book of birthdays, it says that those born on this day are like magicians.  As I flew back from New York, I thought about names.  Looking through an airline magazine, I saw an advertisement for Walt Disney World.  The headline said Experience Disney Magic.  I knew then that would be his name.  Returning home I greeted him by his new name….Disney Magic!  This Disney Magic Dog actually was quite the magician and his spell on people ultimately exemplified his long life with Wendy and me.

I was so disenchanted with my company and Wall Street investors.  With tough times in the industry, they were also disenchanted with me as well.  We parted ways and I decided to consult rather than working again inside a company.  Now I was home, just outside of San Diego,  in my home office working.  My office mate, Disney!  Every morning I would get up, make a cup of coffee and then he and I would bounce up the steps to my loft office.

My ex-wife and I were already at the end of our relationship.  I then received an opportunity to run a high tech company in Silicon Valley.  They were willing to let me fly back and forth weekly between San Jose and San Diego also offering an apartment.  It seemed to be perfect timing for the end of a relationship although I would not be able to take Disney .  So, every Monday I flew to San Jose and then back on Friday evenings.

As my first marriage further deteriorated, I would come back to San Diego and stay on my boat.  Like visitation rights, I would get up on Saturday mornings and drive 35 miles north to my house to pickup Disney and my ex would drive 35 miles south on Sunday to pick him up.

We would have grand times together.  When we arrived at the Sheraton Hotel where my marina was, I would get to the dock and once through the gate turned Disney  loose.  He would take off running at high speed take a sharp right into the float office of Gary the marina dock master.  Turning the corner, I would hear Gary bellow, “Hi you little shit!”  It was a nickname that Disney had acquired on the docks because on a whim, he would take off running down the dock and up a gangway of a neighbors’ boats foraging for food.

After leaving Gary’s office, he would turn toward the Dream Warrior passing the gangway to jump on the swim step and into the dinghy tethered to the back.  As if to say, “let’s go for a ride”, he would look at me defiantly from his perch on the bow.  I would say OK and we would unhook and cruise the harbor.  Faster and faster we would go with him on the rubber tube of the dingy with Disney’s ears flapping in the wind.  People in the hotel on the balconies would marvel at this little dog on the nose of the dingy scooting along the water.  He was really King of the Water World!

My ex kept Disney in a crate during the day because she was afraid he would mess up the house.  So when he would spend the weekends with me he had the run of the boat, the dock and just about anywhere he wanted to go.  Initially when he would arrive at the dock, he was like a wild man burning off energy as he ran up and down the steps of the boat to see what had changed.  This is sort of a funny and important ritual as you will later learn.

Sunday were also fun, but sad days as well.  Around 4pm, my ex would come to pick him up in front of the Sheraton.  I would walk Disney around the outside of the hotel to the awaiting Jeep Cherokee.  I would stand in front as she drove off.  Disney ,with his paws up on the rear door, peering out at me with sad eyes hoping that he did not have to go back.  As they turned out of the entrance, I walked back around the hotel.  Every Sunday, I cried my way back to the boat.   It is hard to end a relationship and Disney was my thread, friend and glue.  It was hard to leave him on Sunday’s, but it was good to look forward to the weekend that was coming.

Then it was time to add a new love and friend for Disney and me.

As it is portrayed in our book Defining Moments, I met Wendy at a team building program in Santa Fe.  As we grew closer, I spent more time away from San Diego and Disney.

My ex-wife and I finalized the papers and parted ways.  She got the house and I got the boat.  I had a mover come to the house to pick up my office furniture and a few things.  Disney sat in the living room and watched as all these things went through the front door.  Still living in San Jose during the week and commuting back to San Diego on the weekends, Disney had to remain.  I will never forget the look on his face as I closed the door on him.  Saying that “I will be back for you”, I defiantly left him out of the crate hoping half-heartedly that he would terrorize the house by the time my ex had returned home from work.

Wendy’s 40th Birthday

Wendy and I fell head over heels for each other and we both decided that she would quit Coca-Cola and I my job to be together.  The sales effort was on by both of us.  Wendy said move to Fort Lauderdale and I said San Diego.  With the lure of a life on a motor yacht in San Diego, I won and she quit her job, packed her things in a moving van and headed for San Diego.  I waited for her in the airport at the gate.  As the ramp door opened, out came this gorgeous woman first off the plane wearing a full length fur coat and feeling no pain.  From Fort Lauderdale through Atlanta and onto San Diego, she sipped Kahlua and Coke in her first class seat and was happily tipsy.  Wearing the coat because she could not decide what to do with it and did not want to ship it, she walked with me to the baggage carousel and onto the awaiting hotel shuttle bus.

When we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted by one of the bellman.  Edwin pulled bag after bag from the bus and stacked the bell cart overflowing with Wendy’s suitcases and bags.  I remember him looking at her and politely smiling saying, “Staying a while?”

We walked through the hotel and down the ramp to the dock.  Wendy now drunk on the experience and the San Diego sunshine turned to see the boat and let out a huge shriek startling Mike who happened to be a sleeping boat worker aboard the 1935 Sparkman Stephens yawl that was our dock neighbor.  Without telling her, I had changed the name of the boat to “Dream Warrior” named for an album of a favorite new age musician and the logo from the album that was named Kyla.  Mike asked Wendy if she was OK and welcomed her to the dock.  I had been telling everyone about her and also told Disney of my new love.

Wendy and Diz in San Diego

It was about a week and I told Wendy that Disney came to visit on the weekends.  She was good with that until his first visit.  Disney has always been the center of the party and an official greeter whether you wanted him to be or not.  So, when I picked him up and headed to San Diego, I told him he would be meeting Wendy.  As if he knew what I was talking about.  Sitting as usual in the front seat with paws on the window looking out, we arrived at the Sheraton and did our usual walk around the hotel.  Just as I always had done, I got to the gate and unhooked his leash.  This time instead of running to Gary’s office, he ran to the second gate and waited for me to unlock it.  Then with a total change of pattern, he bolted straight up the gangway and through the open side door of the Dream Warrior.  Waiting inside Wendy was greeted as if she was an old friend.  Disney, now about a year old was very athletic and very very fast.  After a few minutes to say hello and quickly check to see if Wendy had any food, he went into his usual routine of running throughout the boat and over anything that could be jumped on.  Wendy was startled to say the least.

Wendy and Disney in our dingy

I explained to Wendy that after a little while he would settle down and I explained the week-day crate prison that he had to stay in.  Disney rules on the weekend, but this time, he settled down and we spent some time together on the sun bridge.  Then I said the magic words.  Dingk dingk!  Disney was off out of the door, down the dock finger and jumped head on into the dinghy.  Upside down on his back he rolled back and forth with Pure Joy!   Wendy was amused until I told her that he rides on the nose of the boat at speed and has never fallen in the water.  As if he had a gyroscope in his legs, he would stay upright even in cross wakes created by other boats.  Wendy would hear nothing of this and for the first time Disney would ride the nose tethered with a leash.

I joined a small high tech company to work locally while we tried to figure out what we would do.  Disney would join us for the weekends with the usual drill and Wendy cried the same tears as I did when he would leave on Sundays.

By now, my ex knew about Wendy and Disney and Wendy were best friends.  We made up that we believed that Disney was going back to the house and terrorizing my ex.  We thought this because she would arrive later and later on Sundays to pick him up.  Also the body language between the two was not good.  Dragging him with the leash, he equally fought back.

One long holiday weekend, we had Disney for four days.  It was Sunday afternoon and she called to say that she did not want Disney back.  I actually believe that he did terrorize her because we felt that she was saying, you keep this little demon.   Maybe, we thought, it was her way of getting back.  Wendy and I hugged Disney and cried.  He seemed to know when we told him he never had to leave again.

Life on the boat was an adventure and living on beautiful Harbor Island suited Wendy and Disney.  Every morning Wendy and I would walk the two mile course around the Island as the sun rose and Disney sacked in.  When I would leave for work, it was Disney’s turn to have a “harbor walk.”  Wendy would announce it asking if he wanted to go for a harbor walk.  He was already running to the door before the word go came out.  Wendy later abbreviated the question to just “Do You?” which became a phrase we used for the rest of his life.

Wendy and Disney at the Sheraton – Home

Wendy and Disney became fast friends often walking to the formal front entrance of the hotel and having Disney entertain the bellman and guests.  Hotel guests asking, “WHO  is this dog?, the bellman would say he is the hotel mascot.  Coming back from harbor walks or seeing me off on a flight, Disney and Wendy were fixtures at the Harbor Island Sheraton.

Wendy and Disney became very close after Wendy’s Cancer surgery.  She was strictly instructed not move for fear that it would open the very tight incision closure.  Wendy’s surgery was border line needing a skin graft and any movement would put her in danger of another surgery.  Disney stayed by her side without moving.  I was on a very important European trip and when a friendly neighbor would come down the dock and call Disney to go for a walk, he would do his business immediately and drag the neighbor back to be back with Wendy.

Time passed very quickly on the dock and I had left my CEO position to start Orion with Wendy.  When we traveled, Diz would have to stay at the “puppy hotel.”  Wendy was distraught having to put him in a kennel albeit close to being at the Ritz.  She was so upset until one of the people told her that he just loved it and actually worked the front desk while he was in there.  Wendy had thought it was incarceration only to find out that he was leading the life of Riley.  That is when he received one of his many nicknames.  “Love the one you’re with dog,” became our way of dealing with his times at the kennel.

Orion became very successful overnight and we were consulting with some of the biggest names in technology and entertainment.  All of the work was done from the Dream Warrior and Disney rested in his bed next to Wendy as she talked to clients and we developed programs.

Wendy’s Parents on Dream Warrior

Wendy’s parents came to visit us in San Diego.  It was an instant love affair between Disney and Wendy’s Dad.  After we were married in Taos, Gordon declared that Disney was now officially his “Grand Dog son.”  When Gordon came to visit us on some of his many west coast business trips, he would arrive and get down on the floor with Disney and roll around and play with him before greeting us.  Disney just loved to lick his face and play.  So, the official greeter of the Sheraton Hotel and dock had met his match.

Disney and His Best Prairie Dog

So, we decided to move off of Dream Warrior and onto dry land into a house on the top of point Loma.  With a view of the ocean from La Jolla to Mexico, it was an idyllic life for us and for Disney.  On Dream Warrior, Disney would stay up on the sun bridge and stick his head out of the dock line cleat portal.  All you could see was his nose and eyes.  Later we found out that everyone, and I mean everyone, would walk down the dock finger pier to give him a pat before heading to their boat.  Doctors, wealthy business owners, entertainers and workers on the dock would all stop to say hello to Disney Magic.  We found this out because one day we were on the boat and Disney had his head through the portal and someone walked up and started talking to him not knowing we were sitting next to him.

When we moved to dry land, it did not deter Disney.  Now his walks were up and down the streets.  He had a big port hole style window on the side of the house that he would crane his neck to watch for us returning from a walk or errands.  When we were home, he sat out behind the gate to the garage with only his nose and eyes visible to see what was going on.  Rather than barking at the mailman, he lobbied for attention.  Life was good and he had long walks with kids and people to meet and greet.

One time we thought that it would be the right thing to do to take him to San Diego’s famous Dog Beach.  We arrived and totally in character, he ran to all the people instead of playing with the dogs when we unleashed him.

The Disney Smile

Diz or as we also call him Doobah (way too long a story) was a west coast dog with a west coast strut.  When he went wherever, he exuded so much happiness that people would stop us and ask why he was obviously so happy.  We would just say that is who he is.   People would comment “Look he is smiling!”   I would share the story of how I got him and also the store revealing that he had an under bite.  I did not care, but when I thought about it and looked, he did not have an under bite, his lips actually curled up and he smiled.

So, recession started to hit California in 1998 and we simultaneously began working with big pharma in New York.  I hated the decision, but we packed up and moved to the east coast in Annapolis to be closer, but not too close, to our New York customers.  When we arrived on the East Coast, Disney was still Disney, and the trip across country was a hoot and very memorable because of him.

Disney Moving Day

When the mover arrived at the door, Diz greeted them.  He acted a little funny and wondered what was going on.  Then I realized that he probably remembered the move from my old house, so I assured him that he was going.  Back at the Sheraton, Wendy had taught Disney to sit-stand on his haunches in what we called the “Prairie Dog” move.  Any time he felt he needed to be cute, up in the stance he went.  So, I put him in one of the moving boxes and snapped a shot of him in a full “prairie.”

We had shipped just about everything via the movers and put my BMW on a truck east bound.  All that remained was us packing our last bits into our new van and we headed east via the southern route because it was starting to be winter in the east.  From the moment we left, Disney stood watching out of the rear window.  He would not rest.  It started to worry us that his behavior was so focused that we worried that he was afraid.  Not the Diz!  We figured out by the third day that he just wanted to see what was going on.  We laughed and later realized that this was the beginning of Disney’s lifelong goal to pee in every State in the Union.

So, we arrived in Annapolis literally minutes before the movers.  Letting Diz go in the house he scoped out where he could see out of the front door by being up on the steps.  Later he figured out where he could stick out those three lumps of coal, his eyes and nose to see out from underneath the backyard fence.

Once, he chased a squirrel off of the deck plummeting off of the deck a whopping 10 feet.  Shaken and startled, he sat for a while and then looked up at his startled parents as if to say, “OK I will not do that again.”  Once we knew that he was alright, we looked at each other and laughed about the earlier time he chased a great blue heron off of the dock skidding in vain to a dunk in the water.  Like this time, he swam to the rocks and gave Wendy a look like, I am not doing that again!

Deep Forest In The Winter Snow

We moved from our house in Annapolis to Davidsonville and our Frank Lloyd Wright style home that Wendy’s dad named… “Deep Forest” was Disney’s new land based home.  A small clearing in 100 foot tall trees became Disney’s new playground.  The front door even had a side window that we placed a cushion for him to sit and watch out.  Now being down a long private drive, he waited for us to return or for the occasional delivery person.  He also had an office chair in my loft office that overlooked our fish pond and the woods.  He had all sorts of things to look at and the daily adventures were great.  He would look up at me with that smile of his.  It was an especially good place because Wendy’s Mom and Dad lived nearby.  When Wendy and I traveled overnight, Wendy’s Dad always jumped at the opportunity to spend time with Grand Dog Son, Diz and would proudly announce that he was happy to spring Disney so that he would not be taken to “puppy prison”!  Disney would dance with joy and relish every single moment of these visits.  Happily being close to his “Grandparents” Disney was affectionately dubbed “TCBB” (like TCBY) only it stood for “The Country’s Best Beggar”.  It was a moniker that Disney joyfully lived up to every day of his life.

Now at Deep Forest, we had many of our European friends visiting and staying with us.  On 9.11.2001 our dear friend Teunis was visiting from the Netherlands.  Teunis had arrived the night before and on my way to pick him up at the Annapolis B&B he was staying in, I heard on the radio about the first plane striking the World Trade Centers.  We immediately got Teunis out of his B&B and had him stay at Deep Forest.  Disney knew something was wrong, but somehow thought it had something to do with Teunis.  So as we sat watching the horror, Disney snuggled in next to him.  That is just the way he was.  Disney’s empathy was amazing and everyone knew it.

This happened with Teunis and just about all the other visitors to Deep Forest.  Disney was always the life of the party, and as he got older would retreat to his bed earlier.  We would look for Disney and he would already be in his bed next to the fireplace in our bedroom.  What was funny was that when we came to bed and would forget to close the bedroom door, we would hear him, too late, as he ran down the hall, down the stairs to the guest bedroom and jump into bed with the guest.  This happened more than once.  When Wendy’s Dad would come to stay to house and Disney sit, he further spoiled him by letting him stay in bed with him.  This was one spoiled dog!

Everyone that visited Deep Forest would bring gifts…for Disney!  One spoiled little dog that never was rotten a day in his life.

Down and Out South of Richmond..VA

We asked Wendy’s Dad, Gordon if we could borrow his RV to finish editing our book that we started in San Diego.  Defining Moments was 400+ pages and way too hard a read.  So, we thought, let’s pack up and go somewhere to edit the book unbothered by daily distractions.  We convinced Gordon that we could deal with any problems and set off on a cold January day in his RV.  Disney was on board and sat in the right seat with Wendy.  We headed south to somewhere near the Florida border to get warm and finish the book.

Just south of Richmond Virginia, were heard a loud BANG (!) and we pulled the RV off of the Interstate.  We had no clue what was wrong and the RV would not start.  So, we called the AAA.  Disney was fine with the entire adventure until he was hoisted up into the cab of the huge tow truck that came to get us.  Shaking like a leaf, we went back to a local repair shop, replaced the muffler and continued to head south.  Disney had determined that the entire adventure was not scary but fun and it became the thirst for a long time adventure on the road discovering a world of interesting people and places, happily including many new bushes to pee on.

Our first night on Endeavor

The Orion business and our love of that trip prompted us to buy our own motor coach.  We bought a new coach in Indiana at its factory and Wendy, Disney, Gordon and I packed into the van to drive from Maryland to Indiana to pick it up.  What could be better!?  Grandpa in the back seat captive on an 8 hour car ride.  Next morning, we introduced Disney to the new coach and he proceeded to roll and get his scent on every chair, sofa and carpet.  He just knew it was the beginning of a spectacular new adventure.  The first night camping was a world of fun for him because it was a campground with new places to explore, best of all his Grandpa was there as well as us.

Over the years we traveled nearly 100,000 miles for business and pleasure.  Disney had succeeded in peeing in 46 states with some numerous times.  He knew just about every rest area on every Interstate.

Disney’s favorite place in the world is the friendliest  place on earth.  Disney World!  Seriously I swear!  We would pull into Fort Wilderness campground and he would shriek with joy.  He knew where he was and it was a place we frequented for business and pleasure.  We would arrive at the campsite and he was so excited to be there that he demanded to be walked immediately.  So, when I was hooking up, Wendy walked him around the loops until he almost would drop.  This happened many times, so I truly know that he knew where he was.

My God, I am already at 5000 words and don’t feel like I have even scratched the surface of this little dogs life and adventures.

Disney Stylin in his Doggles

When we built our Cobra with our Crazy Canadian racing friends in Scottsdale, it was 6 weeks of 12 hour days.  Disney supervised every nut, bolt and rivet installation.  He especially enjoyed the evening ritual of car guys watching Mike Meyer movies while eating pizza.  Then back into the garage for late night assembly.  There was only one thing better.  That was riding in Ozzy the Cobra.  Disney with Doggles in place to protect his eyes, he just loved the open air runs no matter where we were.

One early fall day, we were expecting a full Atlantic Hurricane to hit our Deep Forest.  We tracked it up the coast and about four days before it arrived, a tiny kitten found her way into our hearts.   Isabel, named for Hurricane Isabel was trapped a day before the storm and rode out the first night in our guest bathroom sink warmed by a towel.  This tabby kitty with muddy dirt encrusted throughout her fur had cleaned herself overnight as to make herself presentable.  We actually believe that she picked us and let herself be trapped.  We had noticed her a couple of weeks before as she watched us and especially watched Disney every morning when we would get into our hot tub.  I would spot her out of the corner of my eye when I would grill the salmon that was available fresh.  Then one day I went out to one of our storage sheds and I was eye to eye with this little kitty.  She had figured out how to crawl under the shed and perch herself high on a shelf.  Disney would smell her in the woods as well.  His nose would go straight up and he would look at us as if to say….CAT!

Isabel graduated to the guest bedroom and Disney stood guard at the door.  He would not move.  When I would show, he would look at me as if to say…. “Don’t you know that there is a CAT in there?”

Wendy was nervous to introduce Disney and Isabel kitty.  Mainly because I said  “IF that cat even looks at Disney the wrong way, she is out of here”!  So the day came and they met.  Disney took one big snap at Isabel and I grabbed him, looked him in the eyes and said “NO!  This is your sister”.  He listened, and not once did he snap at Isabel again.  At first the relationship was distant.  You could tell that Isabel was on best feline behavior and she even took on dog like characteristics.  Disney acted a bit put off that there was a new CAT.

Disney and Isabel On Our Coach Together

Then history changed with the fateful day.  ROAD TRIP!  Yes, Disney it was true, Isabel was going with us.  After a few hundred miles they sort of became friends.  It was not until Disney was at Walt Disney World’s Fort Wilderness that they bonded and became loving brother and sister.  Right now it is very hard because it is clear that Isabel kitty misses the Diz very much.  They were Big Travel Buds!

When we decided to try to sell Deep Forest and stay on the road full time, we never worried about whether Diz would tolerate the lifestyle or not.  He is and was Mr. Adventure!  When we built our new coach, he was part of the design team as was Isabel.  The truth is that he longed for the adventure and new places.  Every campground, truck stop or rest area was his playground.  He always enjoyed his walks in new surroundings and as he began to lose his hearing Disney’s friends from around the world would send us suggestions.  When he started to get cataracts, our friend Trisca told us of eye drops developed by the Russians that were supposed to eliminate them.  They did and he continued to see.  Our friend Beverly and Harold who own Grizzly Pet Products sent Disney a lifetime supply of a fantastic oat joint supplement that saved him from a second knee surgery.  Everyone treated Disney as if he was human.  People talked to him and he looked them in the eye as he listened.  We know he had a huge vocabulary which often found us spelling  R E S T- A R E A, but he knew what that meant and would jump with delight that he was going to do his business in another new place.

Disney supervising the Keys first bottling operation in Key West

When we started Keys, we went where else, the Florida Keys to test market our proposed line.  Our first bottling operation was at Mile Marker 14.5 just north of Key West.  Here we tested our four products to see if people liked them.  Disney supervised the entire operation and actually helped develop one of our products that is now one of our best sellers.  As the story goes, we stopped in Port St Lucie Florida to visit Wendy’s parents at the RV Resort where they have a lot.  He was pretty scruffy, so we took him to a groomer we have used on occasion.  When Diz came back he was bright white, but started itching.  This transitioned into biting and pulling out his fur to a point where he was bleeding.  We wet him down and bathed him in our Island Rx which

Diz and His Shampoo

seemed to help a little.  Next morning we took him to a local Vet who was a holistic practitioner. Unfortunately, he still had to give Diz a cortisone shot.  He sent us packing back to the groomer to find out what they used on his skin.  Horrified at the story, they showed us a prototype shampoo that was blue and supposed to make him white.  No label, no ingredients and no idea what was inside, I took back to analyze the ingredients.  I found huge amounts of Sodium Lauyreth Sulfate (SLS).  The National Institutes of Health say that greater than 18% could kill a small animal.  This product was almost 50% SLS.  So, determined to save other animals, we developed a product called Muttineer with Disney’s picture on the label.  Today it is called MetaClean and offer animals with sensitive skin a safe shampoo.

It would be so easy to go on and on or to start to talk about his last days.  Safe to say, he went very quickly and with no pain.  This animation was shot just four days before he passed.  The day before he was stricken, we had a great picnic party in Malibu looking over the gorgeous Pacific Ocean.  Disney was a part of it greeting as usual and cuddling with Mary and David’s five-year old son Daniel, as Daniel sat in the driver’s seat pretending to drive the big RV truck.  That evening when everyone had gone, we all sat next to a campfire overlooking the sunset on the Pacific Ocean.  Disney first sat in his camp chair, captivated by the campfire.  He later cuddled with Wendy and let out a big sigh as he usually does.  As it turns out Disney had such a perfect happy day on February 13 weaving his companionship magic and absolutely doing all of the things that he loved the most.

He was a great kid that just happened to be a dog and he taught us a lot about life that I must share with you.

Disney was happy every day of his life and he expressed his happiness in the form of making you feel good about yourself.

He loved adventure and embraced change

He cared about us worrying when we were arrived late

He treated everyone as his friend and trusted them to be kind to him…and they unconditionally were!

What Disney taught me and I will seek to achieve is to be happy all the time, appreciate life, appreciate my friends, be in the moment and to not accept mediocrity.  To be curious, friendly and always open to new adventures.  To remember Disney with a smile and fond memories as I attempt to pee on every rock I can yep your read that right to help him fulfill his goal to pee in every state in the Union.  I will carry on the tradition Diz.  I will miss you and forever love you my friend!

If I could choose one phrase and image that exemplifies Disney it is this one!

No Bad Days!

This sticker will be on our car and our coach as a reminder to us all that ask us what Disney stood for in his wonderful life that was full of wonderful adventures.

Not a dog, but Disney!  The magic of his spirit will be with us always.

 

 

We Will Miss You Bud!

Here are some of the Love Notes to Disney

Dear Wendy and Bob,
I wanted to call you both when I read of Disney’s transition but I understand how painful it must be and so I’m writing to let you know that I’m sending you both so much love.  Sixteen years of unconditional love and devotion from the sweetest most beautiful dog.  I’m so grateful that I was able to meet him and see all the love that you share.
I can’t imagine the grief and loss you’re both feeling.  I do believe that Disney will be with you in spirit form.  And I’m so glad that you had sixteen years of such wonder and love.

I’m thinking of you all (because Isabel will be missing him too).

Much love,
Kathleen

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Hi Wendy, Bob & Is,

I am so sad for your loss.  Disney was much more than a pet and will be missed greatly.

Only last week I was copying some old video onto DVD and there was Disney during one of my stays with you.  Do you remember how he would come down to wake me when I stayed with you and the photo of him in the bed after I left.

I am so glad it was quick and painless and that you were there with him.

Our condolences & love

Brian & Gwyn

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Dearest Wendy and Bob,

With tears in my eyes I write back to you.

I can’t imagine you guys without funny, sweet, wise, humorous and eternally young Disney….

Disney has had such a good life and he couldn’t have wished for better home than with you two and the lovely Miss Isabel.

We will burn a candle for our little furry friend, and one for you two, too.

Love and hugs from all of us,

Blanche

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Dear Wendy and Bob,

I am so very, very sorry to hear this.  I know how very hard it is for you both right now.

Disney’s huge spirit is right there with you and will be always.

There are 16 years of memories to hold onto and knowing that Disney

had the most joyous life with love and adventure every day….and that

is also what makes this time it so very difficult. My heart is so glad that we had a chance to be with Disney on Saturday and will remember how he so lovingly snuggled with Daniel.

I send our love to you and share in your heavy hearts.

If you feel like talking sometime, I am here for you.

With love and our deepest sympathy,

Mary, David and Daniel

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Wendy and Bob,

We are so very sorry. We know what a special little fellow he was and we will miss him so much.

It is so hard to say goodbye but we are glad you were with him. He was a wonderful soul and part of him will be with us forever.

In love and sorrow,
Tina, Dennis and Miller

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Dear Wendy:

Disney brought so much joy and happiness to your lives and as you said he taught you many life lessons.  I am very sorry for your loss and extend my deepest sympathy.

Sincerely,

Mary Jo

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Hi Wendy,

I received your email this morning. I needed to sit with it awhile before responding. Thank you so much for letting me know about your beloved Disney’s passing.

When news like this comes our way, we often reflect on what the loved one meant in our own lives. . . and this is what I thought of this morning.

”Disney-dog” as Dan and I referred to him, reminds me of first being married to Dan, the trips he took to San Diego, the work that eventually lead to me working with you and Bob. After Dan’s visits with you, he would come home and tell me about Disney-dog.  Thinking of Disney reminds me so much of the San Diego days – that were somehow brighter twelve years ago. I think of Disney laying in my lap the first time I visited with you and Bob at your home in San Diego. His “perma-grin”way of interacting in the world. I think of Disney laying in your lap at our home, Dan teasing you mercilessly that he was a “momma’s boy”. A dog should be so lucky.

I don’t see a Bichon without thinking of Disney. It will always be that way – he was one of a kind, and as odd as it may sound, I will miss knowing he’s no longer with you.

It is a relief to know that Disney passed without pain – if he had to go (I guess we all do) he earned that peaceful passing….I wish I were in San Jose right now to hug you both.

My heart aches for you and Bob and the loss you must be feeling. I will keep you in my heart and am sending thoughts of peace and comfort your way.

I do believe that we will see our loved ones who have gone before us again. Is it heaven? I don’t know, but I believe Disney will be waiting patiently for you, surrounded in all the glory he brought to you while here on Earth, to walk with you again.

Much love and warmth,
Traci

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Dear Bob & Wendy,

I am so very sorry to hear this news. Disney was one of the loveliest dogs I have ever met. He will be missed dearly by anyone whose life he touched I’m sure. We will always remember what a happy, friendly little dog he was. And completely over the top cute too. He certainly was special.

Please accept our sincerest condolences.

Trisca & Thor

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Ohhhh no!  I’m so sorry and sad to hear this. I can only imagine what grief you must feel.

My thoughts are with you both – I know that he was the best pet you could’ve asked for.

Stacy

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Bob, Wendy and Isabel…..
We are so sorry to learn of Disney leaving you on St. Valentine’s Day, of all days, yet somehow it would seem that He left us all with a day to remember him by, for all of the joyous time and days he made our lives so full of joy and pleasures, each and every day.  What greater gift could He pass on….to each of us….live each day as an adventure we can share with each other….with a
large portion of love for the companionship we share.

It is true….Disney lives on with all of us.
Love, Dad, Mom and Cookie Lee

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Oh Wendy!  We are so sorry!!!  Know that you and Bob and Isabel are in our thoughts and prayers as you grieve your loss.  He was one lucky boy- dearly loved and received the only the best.

sending hugs, Angie

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The girls and I are so sad for your loss of dearly loved Disney.  We think he was the luckiest dog in the world to have such a loving family and a wonderful life.  We are praying for you all as you grieve his absence.

Angie

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Wendy and Bob, please know you are in my thoughts.  I am so sorry about Disney’s passing, I know he was a big part of your family and I will always keep his message in my heart.

Take care of yourselves as you heal from this.  Swami Kripalu says that our heart must continually be broken open so we can create more space for love.  Take in the love that Disney gave you and as you do share it with others and know that there will be more to come.

Jai,

jacci

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