3/18/08 - 4/4/18
Lizzie Dean sadly passed away without pain surrounded by her devoted parents and doctor. Lizzie possessed a tender sweet spirit and she touched the lives of many people she met personally or who viewed her stately and often humorous photos online. In her ten years, Lizzie gave us fun, laughter and most of all her love, and our lives are blessed because she was an integral part of our world. As we take comfort in knowing that Lizzie is amongst angels, her presence will forever be felt in the memories that we all have of her. God Bless you Lizzie. We love you with all of our heart!
Oscar and Heidi Dean
Thank you to Dr. Lynn Fortin for 10 years of
caring for Lizzie and being there for us!
Yes, it is true and it is with great sadness that I confirm that our beloved cocker spaniel has passed away. My wife and I noticed lately that Lizzie seemed to continually tilt her head and she was very unbalanced when she walked. It was confirmed by the vet that she had vestibular disease. There is fluid deep within the ears that sloshes around when you move and the brain uses this to keep you balanced during any sort of activity. When there is a disruption between this fluid and the brain, a dog may experience a sea-sickness type feeling, have difficulty going up or down stairs and in severe cases there may be extreme vomiting. Lizzie had none of the vomiting but we always carried her up and down the stairs to prevent her from getting injured from a fall. If she would get wet after being in the rain and she shook her body to dry off, she would fall over on her side because she was so dizzy from the shaking. Vestibular disease has no cure and it is possible that it can disappear after a couple of weeks but it can also return as well.
Our vet had more to tell us. While most dogs can live a moderately normal life with vestibular disease, she told us that there was cancer in Lizzie's brain. She assured us that she was not in pain right now but that the cancer would continue to develop and become more aggressive over time. All sorts of complications could arise such as dementia, blindness, excruciating pain and more. My wife and I had a tough choice to make and it all revolved around logic and emotion. The "logic" side says that putting her to sleep peacefully given the circumstances is the best and most humane thing to do. The "emotion" side doesn't ever want Lizzie to leave our side and for her to continue to be our baby forever. But alas we knew that "logic" had to win out in this case so Lizzie's final vet appointment was set for 2:00pm on 4/4/18. My wife and I were with Lizzie during her last moments as she slowly drifted to sleep. She knew we were there and we took comfort as we watched her acknowledge our voices softly calling her name and giving her kisses. A few moments later, Lizzie was free....and at peace.
Lizzie was well known locally and globally. Many of her photos are displayed at her vet's office, her groomer and also local TV stations. My blog post "Tips for Better Pet Photos" features images of Lizzie and has been viewed over 10,000 times! Thousands of visitors from all over the world have viewed Lizzie's photo gallery and have left some very nice comments over the years and I appreciate them very much. It warms my heart to know that she touched so many people from all over with her gentle spirit. As we take time to let Lizzie's passing truly sink in, I'd like to pull back the curtain a bit and share with you some photos of her, most of which have never been posted online or seen by anyone. These photos are not the glammed-up picture perfect portraits that are displayed in Lizzie's gallery. Instead, the photos below are everyday casual photos...Lizzie being Lizzie around the house, in the yard or at the park. She made my job of photographing her very easy because it was difficult to take a bad photo of her. Thank you all for the kind words of support and following along Lizzie's journey through her photos for the 10 years she was with us. Sincerely, Oscar Dean
Scroll Down to See the Photos!
"I'm your new puppy!"
My wife and I adopted Lizzie from a breeder in Pennsylvania. It was a 6 hour drive one way but needless to say it was totally worth it! Lizzie's long ride home proved to be a blessing because she became so accustomed to riding in a car that she loved to go for car rides and she never got sick! The above photo was taken at a rest area in New York State on the way home from picking her up at the breeder.
Another photo from the rest area in New York. That's me proudly holding my new furry bundle of joy!
"First moments in her new home"
Introducing Lizzie to her new home brought feelings of anticipation, nervousness and happiness. We weren't sure how she would react but in the end it turned out to be a funny experience that had us laughing as she proceeded to explore the house. Lizzie was a bit unsteady on the hardwood floor and she got very excited when she saw another cocker spaniel in the mirror because she thought maybe it was one of her siblings. After a few paw punches to the mirror, it didn't take her long to realize that those reflected objects are not part of the real world. Here Lizzie takes a break after her very long and busy day.
Lizzie was exhausted and her rest time turned into deep sleep time.
"Hey, what's for dinner?"
The picture above is one of my earliest "conceptual" photos of Lizzie. I thought it would be funny to have her doing something that is typically a "human only" task so I attempted the crazy idea of having Lizzie peering into the refrigerator looking for food. My camera was literally inside of the fridge facing out while I tried to get Lizzie to look in at the camera...this was the challenging part since I couldn't be behind the camera to direct her. Persistence paid off and I was able to capture the pose that I wanted.
"First day at the park"
There is a park located a short walk from where we lived at the time this photo was taken. My wife and I took Lizzie there and let her experience all there was to see, sniff and hear. There was a children's playscape with a Jungle Jim, swings, sea-saw and other stuff so we "very carefully" posed Lizzie on some of them. The above photo shows Lizzie at the top of a slide.
"Watching from the Sidelines"
Lizzie sits in the grass watching kids playing at the park
"I am still your precious little girl, right Daddy?"
We left Lizzie unattended for a little while and this is the sight that we came back to! I wasn't mad, in fact, I thought it was hysterically funny especially to see the embarrassed look on her face! Let me make something very clear. This incident was the ONLY time she ever did anything destructive....well, except for the "fruit cup" episode! As the years went by, Lizzie never ever chewed on the furniture, shredded clothing or dug holes in the ground. The only thing she would ever do is nibble on her stuffed toys or play with her fetch ball but nothing like THIS ever happened again.
"Queen of the Hill!"
At the park, Lizzie has fun posing on top of the cannon monument
"Eagerly awaiting her next adventure!"
The above photo was taken at Walnut Hill Park and Lizzie is perched atop a very large and very tall rock. Lizzie was fearless and was always willing to participate in whatever creative photo idea I dreamed up. I picked her up and put her in position and reassured her by talking softly to her so she would feel safe. Almost immediately she was totally comfortable and she began doing one of the things she does best....hamming it up for the camera! I just love her playful and inquisitive expression in this photo.
"Are we there yet?"
A short trip or a long one, Lizzie loved to ride in the car!
"Hey, where ARE we?"
Lizzie always had to know what was going on.
"Vicious watch dog?....Yeah right!"
Lizzie liked to sit on the front porch to see what was happening in the neighborhood too!
"No one will EVER know!"
Sneaky Lizzie thinks she can steal some food without us knowing. Little did she know that this was all a set up that I made with the hope of getting a funny photo. After putting out the crate of dog food, I set up my camera in the room and then I left and hid where she wouldn't see me. When she entered and climbed over the crate wall to eat, I used a wireless remote shutter release to take the picture.
Lizzie watches me from inside our house as I walk to my car. She looks very sad and lonely. I was not leaving her, I was actually getting something I had left in the car and after retrieving it, I went back inside of the house. I entered this photo into an online contest where the theme was "Lonely" and Lizzie's photo won!
"The cat did it!"
I completely staged this photo, Lizzie never went near the laundry!
But her facial expression and the look in her eyes makes me wonder...
On a hot summer day, Lizzie lays on our cool leather couch and falls asleep.
One day I was working at the desk in our home office and I heard this strange crunching sound. I had no idea what it was or what was making that sound. I called Lizzie's name and the sound stopped. I called her again more sternly and when she came around the corner, this is what I saw! Looks like she forgot to leave the "incriminating evidence" back in the other room!
"Best Friends Forever"
Lizzie hanging out with one of her best friends: "Lillian the Leopard."
"Sunning by the Fireplace"
Lizzie catches some rays on a winter's morning
"Lizzie in South Carolina 1 of 3"
My parents retired and moved down to South Carolina to live. My wife, Lizzie and I visited them for the Christmas holidays. They had seen photos of Lizzie but they had never seen her in person until this visit in 2008. Here she is checking out the area from the front porch.
"Lizzie in South Carolina 2 of 3"
Lizzie looks on while our extended family was eating Christmas dinner.
"Lizzie in South Carolina 3 of 3"
Lizzie and I pose in front of the Christmas tree.
"Happy 1st Birthday!"
Yeah, I know. I admit it. I've been known to "spoil" Lizzie!
"Playful Pooch #1"
I submitted a photo of Lizzie into a contest and won this toy.
The toy makes a "Mooo" sound whenever she bites down on it.
"Playful Pooch #2"
This photo was taken a few years ago after a really bad snowstorm had passed through. Lizzie is always eager to go outside for a walk and this day was no exception. It was very windy but we had lots of fun nonetheless. I like this photo for a number of reasons. It is very minimalistic, meaning that the picture is not cluttered with lots of subjects. There is only one subject...Lizzie against a clean backdrop of snow. I also love the contrast of the pure white snow and the color of her fur. And lastly the vibrant red collar adds a nice pop of color to the image.
"Waiting to play fetch"
One of Lizzie's most treasured toys was this orange ball.
Photo taken moments before she jumped and caught her orange ball in mid air.
As Lizzie watched my wife work in the flower garden, I captured her in this introspective pose.
"Ready for Action!"
And not surprisingly, she is keeping close guard of her orange ball!
While sitting out on the deck one hot summer afternoon, I captured this shot of Lizzie's paw.
"Not a Happy Camper!"
Lizzie has been dressed up in many different outfits and costumes over the years. With that being said, I never wanted her to wear anything that would look silly or embarrassing. For some reason (that I can't remember), we took Lizzie to be groomed to a new place that we had never tried before. When we picked her up, we were very unhappy with her cut and they put these awful feathers in her ears! I was embarrassed for her and from the look of Lizzie's expression, she didn't like them either!!! We never returned to that groomer ever again!
I posed Lizzie together with her new toy but she never liked it and never played with it. Very strange!
"Life is Good!"
Happy and content to be playing fetch in the yard with her orange ball!
"This is A-Maze-ing!"
After a blizzard I dug out a walkway from our house. Lizzie came outside to see if I did a good job or not.
It was funny because you could not see her since the snow was 3ft high!
"Lizzie roasting by an open fire"
A peaceful Christmas at home warming herself by the fireplace.
"Waiting for the REAL Santa Claus!"
Lizzie planned to stay up late on Christmas Eve to get gifts from Santa Claus.
"Lizzie with Ally the Alligator"
This is the last toy we ever bought for Lizzie.
Sitting out on the deck, Lizzie faced away from me and I photographed her "rear end."