Goodbye old friend

About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
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34 Responses to Ivory

  1. Chris Gilman says:

    Sorry to hear, Jay.

  2. Thanks Chris. Take it easy,


  3. Grace says:

    Hug your dogs tightly today. They, too, have lost a friend.

  4. Eileen says:

    Dear Jay,
    Oh, Jay, I am so sorry about your beloved Ivory. I can’t even believe this.
    Jay, you gave Ivory so much love and Ivory loved so much being with you. All the wonderful memories together truly celebrating and enjoying what is important in life.
    All my love, sympathy, and caring I send your way. I am very grateful for the joyous walk I had recently with you and Ivory. It was true happiness to share the blessing of the wonderful day with marvelous you and sweet Ivory. My heart aches for you and my soul mourns for your loss. Sending all my heart, caring, love, and sympathy.

  5. Elise Lufkin says:

    Jay, I was very sad to hear about Ivory. He certainly was a special dog, and you helped him bring happiness and comfort to so many people.

    • Hi Elise,
      Thank you so much – your beautiful words help immortalize him for me and for so many others. He will always live on in your writing.

      Hugs to your dogs too! Have a great day,


  6. Denice Ekey says:

    Oh my Jay, I am so sorry……I’ll always remember meeting him as one of the first therapy dogs in the program here in the VCU Medical Center…he did amazing work and touched so many lives…truly a special dog. He will be missed!

    • Hi Denice,
      And thank you so much for everything. Ivory knows true dog lovers when he meets them! Your work at the Center is outstanding and all the dogs and people there are so fortunate to have you. And so are your own dogs! I look forward to seeing you all again soon,


  7. anne snyder says:

    jay, my heart aches for you. I love you my friend.

  8. Andrew says:

    Hey Jay.

    I used to sing this song while washing dogs when I worked at Lakeside Animal clinic:
    Good ol’ dog
    Good ol’ dog
    Good ol’ Good ol’ Good ol’ dog

    • I was trying to think of a song to sing when I put his ashes in the river – those are the perfect lyrics! Even better, my other dogs will think I’m singing to them, so it will do double duty. Thanks buddy. Talk with you soon,


  9. Cris Leonard says:

    Jay, I’m so very sad to learn of your friends passing. I hope any grief is forgiving, sir, your fond memories of that pup and loved one are surely never ending. What a great, long, time you guys had together. Thinking of you …

    • Thanks bud. It was a long and great time and I also hope – and sense – that will make the grief forgiving. Looking forward to dinner.

      Take it easy,


  10. Patti Goodall says:

    Jay – So sorry to hear that Ivory crossed over to “doggie heaven.” I know that he had a very good life with you on this earth and you should be proud of that and hold it in your heart. I did not know Ivory personally, but what a beautiful creature he was! Sending healing Reiki energy to you and your dog family! Hang in there.

  11. Hi Patti,
    Great to hear from you. I’ve been fortunate to spend this much time with Ivory. I’ll continue with the priceless lessons he’s taught me. Thank you so much.

    I’m looking forward to our spring lunch with Christine! I’m also working with people with TBI’s again, it’s going fantastic. Talk with you soon,


    • Patti says:

      Would love to have lunch soon! I am seeing Christine Friday evening and I will ask her what dates work, etc. – it might be fun to do brunch one weekend?! Also, I saw that you might be doing a triathlon in Wilmington, NC – that’s where my parents live! If you need a place to stay, let me know. And…who knows, I just may show up to cheer you on! (that would be about the extent of my physical involvement in the event, lol!!). Hang in there, Jay – as George Harrison said, “All things must pass.” So true…

      • Hi Patti,
        Tell Christine I said hello. And brunch is fantastic – my favorite meal of the week! Let’s figure it out. Actually Christine and Bob and I had brunch in the Bottom a month or two ago. Anything is great. And yes I’m doing a triathlon in Wilmington, NC at the end of October. I’d love to see you down there. I cloister myself the night before (and after) Ironmans. I stay in some little motel because I get too obnoxious for proper conversation. I’m so obnoxious I can hardly even put up with myself. Much less subject anyone else to. But my Mom and Dad usually come down and we have dinner the night before. Then we have an amazing brunch the next day at a place called the Boca Bay restaurant on Eastwood Rd. This is my 4th consecutive year at that race. Looking forward to talking. And yes, the Ivory thing will pass. Except for the important part. To respond with a lyric from Bono, “All that you can take with you is all that you can’t leave behind.” Have a great day,


  12. Clare says:

    Oh, Jay, I’m so sorry. I know how terribly hard this must be for you, especially losing a dog you’ve known and loved for so long. I’m sure Ivory will pass quickly into doggie heaven. It’s a sad day for your household.

    • Thank you so much Clare – it’s wonderful to hear from you. I know you understand how difficult this is. It is indeed a sad day for our household but it’s nice to know how quickly he passed into doggie heaven. Thank you for your note,



  13. Phoebe says:

    Hi Jay, sorry about Ivory. We will all miss him so much. He was a good dog! He was very sweet and I hope you’re okay.

    Love Phoebe

  14. Hi Phoebe,
    What a kind message – it is so nice to read your words. I will miss his sweet smile and wagging tail every day. Luckily I have lots of other dogs – and they’re going to take me to the river in the morning! Thank you so much,



  15. Kevin and Jenny says:

    Jay –

    Sorry that Ivory finally had to go. He was one of the great ones, and created happy memories for a lot of people.

    Kevin and Jenny

    • Hi Kevin and Jenny,
      Great to hear from you and from the rest of your family. Thanks for taking care of him when I’ve traveled and thanks for being part of his life. Have a great day,



  16. Betsy Slade says:

    What a marvelous friend you had for so many years. Ivory gave so much to all he met in the Pony Pasture and to all he helped in his Therapy work. Thursday and Sunday walks will not be the same without the chance of sharing them with Ivoy.

    • Hi Betsy,
      Anyone would be fortunate to have a friend like Ivory. For me it’s been an embarrassment of riches. Fortunately I have the rest of this pack to get me back to the river a couple mornings a week! We look forward to seeing you there soon,

      Jay (and Mackey and Max and Roux!)

  17. Lexi says:

    My friend,
    Jay it is with tears in my eyes that I write to tell you I am sorry to hear about Ivory. I think of you and Ivory often as I remember the smiles and comfort you brought to so many kids, families and ME! The two of you were a dynamic duo and brought peace to a very stressful place. Thank you for sharing Ivory with us…his gentle soul will be remembered.

    • Hi Lexi,
      Wonderful to hear from you. You think it’s with tears in YOUR eyes. Yikes. This is big time. But, it had to happen some day and I have no regret. No human and dog together could hope for a more storybook life than Ivory and I had. His gentle soul will always be remembered by me, and I will use it to make me a better person. Have a great day,


  18. Barbara Mann says:

    Have been out of town–and just now reading about your loss of Ivory. Oh my! What a loss for you and for all of us who were touched by that precious soul. I sure hope you are being extra gentle with yourself, my dear friend, as you begin this ‘new faze’ of your life.

    We will talk soon!


    • Hi Barbara,
      I’m going through my blog posts backwards – thank you for your words. Every day, a “new faze.” I took the rest of this unruly pack down to Pony Pasture this morning for a nice walk beside the river. For me there is no more powerful reminder than the steady flow of the river that each breath is a “new faze.” Talk with you soon,



  19. Susan and Steve says:

    Hi Jay,
    We’re so sorry to hear about Ivory. Our Sunday river hikes at Pony Pasture are always much improved when our paths cross and we will miss seeing Ivory with you. Many hugs to you and your pups. We’re very glad to have known Ivory just a bit.
    Our best,
    Susan, Steve, Tahoe and Frosty

    • Hi Susan and Steve,
      And thanks for the note. I was down at PP this morning with the rest of this mob but we must have missed you. I would give them hugs now but you know how our dogs are when we get home from an enthusiastic hike at the river. They sacrifice a little bit of huggability, at least until they dry off.

      We look forward to seeing all of you soon. All best,


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