Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

February 3, 2011

Yes, We Have A Dog And Her Name Is Lily

In a post a few days back I mentioned something about letting the dog out or feeding the dog.

More than one person in the comments said, “You guys have a dog?”

Why yes, we do.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, say hello to Lily. She’s nine (just a bit older than Simon) and she’s been with us since she was 6 weeks old.

Here she is with our second black lab, Wyatt, and Simon in 2003:

And here she is in 2004:

Lily is the reason we will always have female dogs from now on. She’s kind and gentle and loyal and just gets a tad-bit excited when someone comes to visit.

My Dad had a black lab growing up: Mac The Knife.

I grew up with a black Lab – Mac The Knife Jr.

Labs have always been a part of my life.

Lily is the third black lab to live with Chris and me.

A couple years after Chris and I were married we brought our first black Lab pup home: Eddie. Eddie was killed in an accident before he was two. It was a terribly sad, heartbreaking experience.

After Eddie, we knew we wanted another dog. We found Wyatt online and drove to Northern California to pick him up. Wyatt had more of a “person” personality than any of other dogs. Seriously. He was four or five when picked him up and he lived to be about nine. He got to live out the last few years of his life at the beach with my parents.

Lily came to live with us right around the time that Wyatt did – so for a number of years we had two dogs. Which was interesting in our small living quarters with a new baby.

Lily is awesome. She’s really all you could want in a dog.

Once a year Lily goes bird hunting with my Dad in eastern Oregon.

This year, before heading to the other side of the state, Lily went to Grandma and Grandpa camp for some conditioning work. She’s getting up there in years and needs a bit of physical training to get her in shape for the rigors of hunting. When she goes to Grandpa and Grandma camp she goes crabbing in the boat with my Dad. He throws tennis balls for her over and over again. They go out exploring in the sand dunes.

Needless to say, when she sees my parents pull up to our house she gets really excited and I think she probably wants to go home with them.

When they get over to the east side of the state it’s all business.

Some years there are other dogs along for the adventure.

She totally loves it and she’s great at retrieving the birds.

After a long day of hunting out in the crazy weather she usually gets a nice warm bath and then gets to sleep with my Dad on the bed.

Around here, Lily is my daily companion. Most of the time you can find her here with my in my office or she follows me around the house as I do this and that.

Neither of the kids have an extra-special bond with her. It’s more of a co-existence. Simon’s gone through periods where he wanted to cuddle with her (and she’s happy with that for sure) but it hasn’t been an ongoing thing.

As I was looking for photos with Lily in them I had to laugh because we have lots of photos where part of Lily is in the photo. Photos like this:

And this one where she’s in one of her favorite spots under the table (in our old house):

Most of the time she’s hanging out waiting for a snack:

Here she is on the move (that’s Wyatt in the foreground) back in 2004 or 2005:

She’s definitely a people dog. She wants to hang out and she wants to stay close to home (both Eddie and Wyatt were always interested in wandering). She barks really loud to let me know when someone is out the door and then wiggles and wiggles and licks the person who ends up on the other side of the door.

She’s an awesome dog. Love you Lily-girl.


  • 1.
    melanie said…

    loved learning more about miss lily. i’ve never had a dog but look forward to it when we have a bigger home post-residency + fellowship. that day will come soon, right? ;)

  • 2.
    Julia said…

    :) Our Lily, a Bernese Mountain Dog, passed away last year at the ripe old age of 10. Your Lily sounds very much like her. Thanks for sharing… I feel all bittersweet thinking about how much I loved that wonderful dog.

  • 3.
    Jill said…

    I loved reading this post, Ali :) I grew up with dogs. First, a male black lab. My dad has been a big bird hunter his whole life, so Corky was a hunting dog. He was a BIG wanderer (most male labs are – that’s why Humane Societies are filled with lab mixes :( ) and he wasn’t car smart so he was killed when I was around 8. Then we went a few years w/o a dog – then got a Brittany Spaniel and now my parents have an English Setter. They are SO much a part of my family – and my story from a baby on to an adult. I don’t have my own dog and I’ll miss Chance when he’s gone. They’ve all been a source of true joy – for all of us in different ways :)

  • 4.
    Michelle D. said…

    I’ve loved seeing Lily off and on over the years, and I love this fully captured story. :) I have to ask…how long did it take you to find all these photos? Are you photos tagged “Lily” in Aperture? After our first dog German-Shep mix named Beau died at age 12, I started hunting and tagging him in pics. But I am, of course, not current on tagging at all (use Lightroom). Great story–can’t wait to see the page. ;)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Michelle – it didn’t take too long. I scanned 2010 for some photos and then I have binders with DVD’s of burned images. For each DVD I have a contact sheet(s) printed so I can see what images are on the disk. I have binders like that for 2004 and 2005. I really need to do that again – print out and burn for 2006 and beyond. It’s a really easy way to see what I have.

      I have not taken advantage of the tagging features in Aperture. Keep thinking I will start and keep getting distracted with other things :) .

  • 5.
    Michele H. said…

    I was hoping you would do a post about your dog.

    I had a black lab – King – when I was growing up. Reminds me so much of Lily. I always thought we’d end up adopting a lab but my oldest is so afraid of bigger dogs. So we went with a little one instead. It’ll be almost a year when we adopted and I have to say I can’t imagine life without him:)

  • 6.
    Marianne said…

    Thanks for your Lily story. It’s so heartwarming to see her intertwined in your family stories!

  • 7.
    RobynS said…

    This is a great post. Just the other day I was wondering if you still had Lily because she ad not been in a blog post in a long time. We are dog people too. I got my first black lab in 1985. My husband had a beagle. Completely different character. We then had a White Shephard that bridged the gap while our first two aged and passed. The Shephard helped raise a Chocolate Lab that belongs to my son. (She is seven now) And a Chihauhau that belongs to my daughter. Our old white dog has passed. It is hard when they leave but hey are such a wonderful part of the family. Great for raising children. Our lab talks when ever we have pizza. It is her and my son’s favorite food I think. And yes they sleep i the bed with the kids and yes I do a lot of laundry because of it. ;)

  • 8.
    Jennifer said…

    Loved hearing about Lily, I have noticed her in many of your photos. I have always had dogs, couldn’t even think about being without them. We have a gold lab, though he is more white, who just earlier this week celebrated his 13th birthday, he like Lily is always just a few feet away from me at any given time. Sebastian has arthritis and has hassles getting about some days, but in his nature he still thinks he is a puppy. Our children have all grown now and left home, but when other family comes he loves being with kids, that is the only time he leaves me is to sleep in their room or in the hallway so he can ‘stand guard’ over everyone. He is big even for a lab, but a gentle giant, just looks at me when the cat smooches him, with that ‘things I put up with’ look, all my nieces and nephews used to climb all over him as babies. Our daughter brings her dogs over every day when she is at work for them to stay with ‘Nan’, so with thoses two, our two, the lab and a fox terrier (Sebastian thinks Fletcher is his) I often feel like the pied piper with the four following me everywhere.

  • 9.

    I have over 70+ scrapbook albums and never scrapbooked a page about the dogs in my life, I know “gasp”. I love our current dog, a Portuguese Water Dog, (breed was selected by my husband, who has never had a dog) like Lily she’s at my feet all day as I work, she’s overly affectionate and has quite a personality, she goes on all of our trips with us, I’ve got much to scrapbook about. You’ve given me some ideas, instead of blogging about her, I’ll have to reserve a few pages in the family album about her…Sierra Leone.

  • 10.
    michelle said…

    We have Max and Smalls. Two yellow Labs. Max is a bit neurotic. He was on doggie Xanax. His big brother Fenway died and he now has a little brother, Smalls. Smalls is all puppy, all mischief, all destruction, but we love him to pieces. Labs rock. I know Max looks at me like, “are you serious?” when Smalls starts running around, but when we are gone, he has a friend. Max will lay in my arms and cuddle….he let’s Smalls know that’s his spot. Dogs are seriously a huge part of our family and our house would not be the same without them.

  • 11.
    Liz said…

    For some reason your comments about part of her being in lots of photos brought me to tears. That’s how they are isn’t it? Especially after the birth of one or two children, they are not the focus, but always in the picture. I love Lily and all parts of her.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Yes, that’s exactly how they are. Love you Liz.

  • 12.
    sarah said…

    loved learning more about lily! when my mom married my stepdad 13 years ago he arrived to our family with his one year old black lab/chesapeake bay mix, zoey. sadly zoey’s no longer with us, but i had to smile when you said lily barks and then wiggles and wiggles. i know that wiggle – we use to say zoey wagged her tail with her whole body she wiggled so much when happy! once my parents house sells, and they are settled in a new one they’ll get another black lab puppy. i cannot wait (and i’ve already named her!) :)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I think I have a name for our next one too – just have to get Chris to agree :) .

  • 13.
    amy tangerine said…

    awww lily!
    we had a yellow lab mix named addison who we adopted at 3 yrs while i was in high school. he lived a super happy life but at 15 was diagnosed with liver cancer. he met my jack russell terrier, buster about six months before passing. and i never thought is was possible, but i believe addison was part lab part jack russell terrier!

  • 14.
    Tere said…

    nice to meet you lily.

  • 15.
    marilou said…

    I have a black dog. Didn’t realize how hard she’d be to photograph, or maybe I’d have picked a brown one. :)

  • 16.
    Christy said…

    I’m a huge lab person too. Highly recommend the book “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”

    • ….
      Kim H. said…

      That is the book we are reading for my book club this month. :)

    • ….
      Nancy said…

      That is an awesome book, even if you aren’t a dog lover. Very moving.

    • ….
      Sue said…

      Loved that book! I couldn’t put it down!

  • 17.
    Rebekah Pontow said…

    Loved meeting Lilly – we have a wonderful dog as well and it’s so special to have a companion who is part of the family!

  • 18.
    Michelle W said…

    Thank you for sharing Lily. :)

    My yellow lab-mix will be 5 this week. She was a terror as a puppy. I often marvel that we managed to survive her first 8 months. She does the wiggle thing, too. We tease her that she wags her entire body. Have mercy if you are behind her when she gets excited, that tail hurts!

    We also have an almost 2 year old Pomeranian. He wasn’t planned. LOL! He was the EASIEST puppy!

    They are a joy. Happiness truly is a warm puppy!

  • 19.
    Kristie H said…

    She’s cute! We have a 2yr old lab/sharpei mix. He’s a handful but brings a certain depth to our life that we miss when we leave him!

  • 20.
    Elaine Millar said…

    Reminds me of my black lab, Buddy. He lived to be 15 1/2, followed me around the house all day and was a people dog as well. He rarely barked but was totally fond of blondes (yellow labs) and Belle, a neighbors black lab. I sure do miss hem.

  • 21.
    Alida said…

    Such a great post, and potential layout. I just wanted to make my photo OTD of my Cocker Spaniel who follows me around. We had a pair of huskies before her. They were awesome. I love how you enrich Lily’s life with excursions. And your Dad, he just sounds amazing!

  • 22.
    Brooke said…

    I love that your parents are the perfect Grandparents, even for your dog. I’m (quite obviously) not a dog but the appeal of Grandma and Grandpa camp sounds pretty awesome.

    • ….
      Heather Smithson said…

      I was thinking the same thing!

  • 23.
    dawn said…

    Thank you for this post on Lily. I knew you had her just not the story about her. What a great dog she is to everyone. My kids have begged for years to get a puppy but I’m not much of a dog person. Last fall while out at a garden center for fall activities there were 8 puppies in a pen “FOR FREE” of course and this little guy stole my heart along with the kids. I couldn’t say no this time. So we’ve had him almost 4 months and he is a people person for sure. He loves loves having the kids home and cries/whines/barks on Monday mornings when they go back to school. He follows me around all day, at my feet of course. Everyone is very attached to him and he’s part of the family. He is also a mix of black lab and maybe german shepard we think. Thanks for sharing this story and about your grandparent camp, so funny.

  • 24.
    Kathleen said…

    We adopted a lab 8 years ago—LOVE her….but, don’t love the hair! I know you’re not a house cleaning site, ;D but how do you solve that in your home!?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      No love for the hair here either. I think I’ve just gotten used to it and accepted it as part of life :) . For some reason it feels not as bad in this house…even though I’m sure she sheds the same amount. Having hardwoods in much of the downstairs makes it a bit easier to see to sweep + clean.

  • 25.
    Kristen said…

    Wow! Now I want a black lab!

  • 26.
    Franziska said…

    Nice post. Perhaps you should do a mini album about your dogs. It’s for sure not for your kids (as you wrote about their interest in the dogs) but for you and Chris.
    Picture 8 (you and Simon and Lily in your office) and picture 11 (Anna exploring your scrapbooking supplies) is really interesting for me. I have an almost 14 months old little one and she always wants to play with and explore my crafting supplies. Often it is a mess or too small for little ones or she “tastes” them or damages them in one or another way. How do you manage to “save” your supplies from little fingers and mouths and keep them “alive”? I always have to put the stuff away and lock the drawers and so forth or put them high so she can’t reach them. Maybe in a future post you can tell us how you live with your solution for this situation. Maybe you just tell us “I have the same problems like you” but that would be nice to read, too. ;)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Franziska – my approach with my supplies has usually been to make nothing off-limits (except anything that could hurt them of course – sharp things most specifically). I found with Simon if I let him check stuff out and “play” with whatever he was attracted to at the moment it demystified the room for him and no battles ensued. I’ve got photos of him when he was Anna’s age sitting on a chair in my office playing with small little brads – he’s a different kid obviously ;) .

      Anna likes to come in and stamp. She sits down on the floor, I give her a piece of cardstock, a little ink pad, and let her pick a couple of stamps. Within a few minutes she is on to something else :) .

    • ….
      Franziska said…

      thanks, Ali, unfortunately our little one is always interested in my drawers and materials – again and again and again :)

  • 27.
    Sarah M. said…

    We have a black lab named Molly (6) and a golden retriever (7) named Morgan. They are the best dogs–they let you know when someone is at the house while wagging their whole body! :) Like you, we have tons of photos with them partially in the photo because they are always on the move! Unless of course they are patiently waiting for a treat! My favorite pictures of them are where they are sitting or laying patiently by either side of my daughter’s high chair just hoping for bits to fall!
    Thanks for sharing the story of Lily!

  • 28.
    Krys72599 said…

    Our Lily’s name was Marley. And Marley was a he. And Marley wasn’t really ours.
    He belonged to our neighbors at the lake, 2 houses away and we spent every weekend with him for 7 or 8 years. He was an outside dog; they didn’t keep him inside – he slept under their house (with Hooch, his constant companion until Hooch died about 4 years after we got the house).
    Then Marley sort of became “ours” every weekend – he visited us every day, sat/slept on the dock with us all summer, slept on our hearth all winter (every weekend), slept on our front steps when he stunk of lake water and we didn’t want to let him in the house.
    We didn’t see him for a couple of months one winter and we sort of really hoped they’d seen the light and were keeping him in during the bad weather.
    But he had died. They found him outside somewhere; we never heard the whole story.
    And Marley has left a hole in our hearts the size of one giant Black Lab, a hole that will never be filled.
    We miss you, Marley!!!

  • 29.
    Angie Ulseth said…

    We have a Lily and a Sadie – both Golden Retrievers. They are also good “doorbells” and welcoming crew. Their best dog friend is my parents’ black lab, Rudy. Dogs definitely add some spice to life!

  • 30.
    kelly barton said…

    mmmmm….we are a lab family too. well not me – i have two airedales. ollie and delilah. they get very excited when the
    doorbell rings. my brothers have labs. shawn has yellow and casey
    has the black lab. his first was chauncey. when my oldest daughter was little we would hook up an old porcelain tub to him, plob cheri’ in it and chauncey would take her on rides through the winter corn fields. labs are good dogs.

  • 31.
    kerry said…

    I’ve always noticed Lily. Mostly because we have a female yellow lab that I could have written this post word for word about. (Well, except the hunting part, but she does want to go to grandparent camp I think!)

    Mine is right here where we are every morning. At my feet, under the computer desk, space heater pointed at her, and checking the news and blogs.

  • 32.
    Andi Sexton said…

    Awesome post!!!! The photos of Lilly ‘somewhere in the photo’ are what life is all about…love it…

    The photos of Eastern Oregon crack me up.. that’s where I’m at! On a ranch, near North Powder/Haines… off the Anthony Lakes Highway… headin’ to Pendleton today!

    And yes, since I am on a ranch, we have LOTS of dogs..but no house dogs.. ours are ‘the hired help’. But my daughter does a good job of making them kid sitters too! The closest we have to a house dog is Ernest, he is also older than our kids – kids are 12 & 13. He will be 16 this year and he has a special spot in my heart… my ‘first’ baby:)

  • 33.
    Debbie said…

    awwww she’s a sweety. i have a BL too. his name is Murphy. couldn’t have asked for a better dog. he’s my shadow. nearing 12, he’s starting to show some age though. a few vet. visits ago, they detected a heart murmur. poor guy is starting to show signs from it. very hard ‘knowing’. =( with one, he can make all my worries disappear. =)

  • 34.
    the crafty cpa said…

    love love love this post. We have two golden retrievers (one a puppy we rescued at Christmas time). They are the joy of my life, my little golden princes.

  • 35.
    Lynn W said…

    We have a dog named Lily too! She’s a mix though – german shepherd, maybe a little lab, not really sure what she all she is. Started out as our son’s dog but she was left behind with us when he took a job in Seattle. We love her and she’s a great companion!

  • 36.
    Sarah said…

    It’s nice to meet you, Lily.

    When my twin brother was deployed to Afghanistan a few years ago, my parents become guardians of his yellow lab – Beamer. Once my brother was back home safely, my dad refused to give the dog back – which was OK since my brother didn’t have the easiest lifestyle for a dog. Beamer is THE SWEETEST dog I’ve EVER KNOWN!

    Labs are GREAT!!!

  • 37.
    Alexandra said…

    So happy that you wrote about Lily – I was wondering how she was doing. We are a two-dog family and in a smallish house with two kids it does get a little cramped and furry!! I do lots of vacuuming!! Our latest doggy addition is Hudson. He is a Labradoodle – he’s two – he’s more lab than poodle – he’s black and so, so incredibly sweet – we call him a ‘little man in a furry suit’.
    I can totally see why you love labs :)

  • 38.
    christine said…

    As a pet portrait artist, this post touched my heart. I love when people celebrate their pets. May Lily live a long, happy life!

  • 39.
    Amy said…

    I always call my parents house Camp for my dog too! I have a newfoundland and my parents live on a lake, so she loves going there! I wonder sometimes if she would prefer to live with them, but then she comes home and seems awfully happy to lay down in her favorite spots. Cool hunting pictures too, it’s great that your dog is able to do what it was bred for on occasion!

  • 40.
    Kim said…

    Yeah. I have been wondering why you haven’t done a page about lily. You talk about her every once in awhile and I see her in pictures, but I have never seen a layout about her. Funny, because I was going to send you a tweet this weeking asking this question.

  • 41.
    Kathy Passmore said…


    Thanks for sharing Lily’s story with us. I have such a soft spot for labs myself, and just lost Zachary, my black lab on September 28, 2010. He was not quite 11, and just a great dog. I know I will adopt another one from a Labrador Rescue organization for sure at some point. My first lab was a mix of Rotweiler and lab, and her name was Daisy. She was the smartest dog ever, and could escape from any enclosure, even at the kennel. I hope to hear more stories about Lily in the future.

  • 42.
    Cathy said…

    I love the story of Lily and your dogs…I see a mini album coming on. We got to see some glimpses of your new office – are you going to share your new space with us?

  • 43.
    janie said…

    This makes me miss my yellow lab “Max”…I would love to get another one… maybe in the next year or two. Thanks for sharing!!

  • 44.
    Lisa W. said…

    OMG I had no idea you had Lily either. I knew we HAD allot more in commone. I also have a choc. lab named Mia. She is a darling. I just DO NOT like the hair, oh boy do labs shed. YUCK> Kind of a clean freak so its a job every every day. UGH!!! She is actually me 16 yr. olds dog…she is in LOVE. She longs to be a veternarian and begged to get her this last summer. So she is only 7 months old and FULL I mean FULL of energy. Please oh please tell me they do settle down…lol. We also have a 8 yr. old dashound. She simply tolertates Mia “sometimes.” I cannot wait to show my daughter this post…she will LOVE. Thanks for sharing and I will be looking forward to more Lilly posts:) Dogs really do make a home!!!

    • ….

      Lisa, yes, they do settle down—but not for about 3 years! My Quest was rambunctious but eventually became the calmest (except when someone came to visit) dog and now Sadie, nearing 4, is finally becoming a little calmer too. I think she is a little more hyper, though.

  • 45.
    Spedusue said…

    Lily is just too cute and I have noticed her often in your pictures. You may not think that she has a major relationship with Simon and Anna but I bet she does. It is great that she is your “buddy” As a huge dog lover, my husband and I have had 3 so far. Right now we don’t own a dog, but our kids each have 2 and I could not imagine loving them anymore if they lived at my house ( which they almost do). Enjoy Lily and thanks for sharing! By the way I have made 4 “dog” scrapbooks and they are definitely the favorites!

  • 46.
    Christy Miller said…

    Love your story about Lily! I got my uncle’s black lab when I was little because he moved. She was amazing! Then when I was about 8 we got a yellow lab, Rollie, and he lived to be 15 years old. My parents have another black lab now and my fiance and I have a golden retriever. I love labs and retrievers…best dogs ever! Enjoy your four legged friend! They really are man’s best friend!

  • 47.
    jan Davis from Canada said…

    Well hello Miss Lily :) We have a chocolate lab named Maximus (his friends call him Max) The BEST dog ever for kids!

  • 48.

    Ali, reading your post and the other comments makes me smile. My big black lab, Quest, died just a year ago, right after his 14th birthday. We had a few months earlier purchased a female, Sadie. Quest was—according to our vet and anyone who knew him—absolutely the best dog ever. I started a scrapbook about him that I need to work on. I already had many photos organized, but had to hunt through a lot of years and was disappointed to not find more. Sadie is so different I can’t believe it—very high energy. Maybe Q was but it’s so long ago and the contrast with him, an old dog, was amazing. She is such a hoot, making us laugh all the time. And she’s SO attached to my husband, who primarily picked her for hunting but has hardly taken her out. Can’t imagine life without our pets!

  • 49.
    Lori said…

    I remember seeing your very first layouts, which included Lily, in CK Magazine YEARS ago. I’ve been watching her, and your family, grow every since.

    We are lab people too. Our yellow lab is named Cooper and he is my constant companion. Rescued from a shelter before I had a full-time job, before I was married, etc., Cooper has been at my side for years. He is always behind me, beside me, under my desk, tripping my feet, etc. He and my 2 boys co-exsist too. Not that he doesn’t love the kids, he does. But, I know secretly he loves me best and would prefer to be the lone “baby” in the house. Back in those days he was still allowed to sleep in our bed and lounge on the couches. Now he only does that when he things we won’t be home for awhile (too bad he leaves massive dog-divets in the middle of the bed and gives himself away every time!).

    We love our Cooper dog and feel very grateful he’s a part of our family. So much so that he has his own scrapbook album too! :)

    Thanks for sharing and taking us down memory lane, Ali!

  • 50.
    Teal said…

    Thanks Ali! Reading your blog is one of the first things I do every morning – I just love your take on everything about life. So many of your posts have made me laugh, made me cry, made me thing! As simple as this one is, its probably one of my favorite posts of yours!

    Our “dog” story is much like yours. First the couple, then the lab, then the child. So many similarities in the pictures even! I can’t imagine life without our chocolate lab. She’s soon 14, and I know she won’t be around forever. I see that I need to document our life with her a little more.

    Thank you!

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