In Memoriam: Harley & Reba

Reba & Harley at the beach (1) copy

Reba and Harley

It has been a sad year for John and Ann Grainger as they share with us the loss of both of their original Calgary Basset Rescue sponsored Basset Hounds, Reba and Harley. The Graingers, now living in Squamish, BC, first adopted Reba in mid-2010 at two years of age and then Harley in early 2011 to keep Reba company (they never really knew how old Harley was as he was picked up as a stray).

“You should never have just one Basset,” says John. These two remarkable Bassets were both cruelty cases but they quickly fell in with each other in a conspiracy to steal the Grainger’s hearts, and it worked. The two hounds became inseparable and flourished together in their new home as rescue Bassets often do, as truly a bonded-pair. Their lives were infinitely better with John and Ann than what had gone before – the two dogs responded well, both emotionally and physically with necessary vet care, good food and exercise, and lots of love to go around. They thrived in the own special ways in a life with John and Ann that was fun, healthy and fulfilling.

Their beautiful Basset boy Harley passed away unexpectedly on the morning of April 22 from hemangiosarcoma, a form of internal organ cancer. The family did not see Harley’s passing coming and he was his normal happy go-lucky, clownish self just the night before. They are utterly heartbroken to have lost their wonderful dog this way, so very suddenly. The entire family themselves all thought they would have him with them for a few more years.

Harley was a very special dog who brought the Graingers enjoyment and love every single day and he is terribly missed. He was everyone’s best friend, a total card/comedian, joyful and was always satisfied with what was going on. Harley did not have a mean bone in his body. He just kept on giving back to the family and fulfilled their every thought as to what a great Basset Hound should be. Harley formed a special, emotional relationship with Ann – he was always ‘her boy’.

Reba took to John right away which was surprising given her rough life of mistreatment before coming to the Graingers. She found in John solace in the kindness she was shown: a soft hand; a warm and dry place to live; and, the care and attention that was sorely lacking in her previous life. She reacted well as John gained her trust and love. If she was not leading Harley around the house doing that alpha-female thing, she did not stray too far from where John was. She loved long walks on the leash, ear rubs, belly scratches, camping and riding in the Grainger’s pickup truck, if only to be never far away from John. When out for walks with John she let the other neighbourhood dogs they would meet know that she was there to protect John, in no uncertain terms.

Even though Reba had only just turned 8, she seemed to be aging quickly, likely due to her malnourishment and poor treatment in the first years of her life before being rescued. She was fading fast in the last few months and sadly she never did recover from the loss of her friend. Her will to live had all but left her and their vet suspected kidney failure as well as possible cancer due to her significant, recent body mass/weight loss. She also had been suffering from painful backbone/hip arthritis (she was on a strong anti-inflammatory drug every day since February). Even on this medication she had difficulty getting around and something like getting up the driveway or stairs was very hard for her.

The Graingers had to make the tough decision to do what was best for Reba and her quality of life and had her put down in early June of this year. This was especially difficult after having lost Harley just a few weeks before.

So now the Graingers are down two Basset Hounds from their three at the start of the year, their first rescue dogs are no longer with them except in spirit. Their beautiful new Basset puppy girl Layla no longer has any companions but they will let a bit of time pass and then look for another rescue hound. Now it is up to Layla to carry Reba and Harley’s torch bright and high.

Here is a message from the Granger family: “Reba and Harley were two of the very best examples of why the Calgary Basset Rescue network should be valued and supported – thank you for bringing these two wonderful Bassets into our lives, even for the six short years they were with us. We know they will be waiting for us, side-by-side, at the Rainbow Bridge when we come along to once again be joined together, never to be parted.”

3 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Harley & Reba

  1. So sorry for your loss. Know that your fellow basset lovers are thinking of you.
    Helen P another basset lover

  2. John & Ann…we were both heartbroken when we read the post about losing both of your precious furry children so close together. I don’t think we ever met Harley, but we sure do remember Reba! She was only with us for a short time, but we knew when we met you that she was going to an amazing home filled with love. I remember seeing her at one of the waddles…when she was sniffing my leg…& just how much she had changed even from when we had her as a foster.

    It’s kind of funny in a way how you mentioned that you can’t just have one basset. We actually ended up with a second basset as well. He was what they call a “foster fail.” Winston came into our lives & never left. He was a feisty old guy & even at 11 (almost 12) & and suffering with arthritis he was still quite the character. Unfortunately we had to put him down last January as he was suffering with lung cancer, so we can definitely relate to what you are going through. Even to this day, I still think about him & cry a bit. But I know he is in a better place & that God needed him up there more then he was needed here.

    I wish I could offer more comfort then just saying I am sorry for your loss. I know that with fur-parents like you, the short life they lived was an amazing one & that for that time, they were the luckiest hounds on earth. They not only had each other, but they had you as well. And now they are in heaven…playing in lush green fields….running….woofing…chasing each other…& greeting all of the other animals who have passed over the Rainbow Bridge.

    If there is ever anything we can do, please let us know.

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