He woke up in Heaven

“He laid down for a nap and woke up in heaven.” Dan’s words to me after one of the most difficult goodbyes we’ve ever had to say. Those words gave me some relief and will stay with me always.

Elvis slept soundly in my arms for 2 hours before we let him go. It was the longest I’d been able to hold him in months … it was the longest he’d let me hold him in months. He was so sweet and relaxed and I think he knew he would soon be forever at peace.

A more happy-go-lucky dog than Elvis didn’t exist. I always called him my bouncing baby boy because he was so full of happy energy, even at 18 years old. He had the silliest bouncy trot and would come running to me whenever I called his name. Even toward the end he had those happy moments. We did everything we could to slow and stop the brain tumor, but it progressively got worse.

I keep typing and deleting … I know this may seem a bit rambling … I just don’t know how to put into words how special Elvis was to me.

So here’s a little history…

When Elvis came to Dan and me at Harley’s House of Dreams from Roswell, NM, he was in pretty rough shape. His teeth had long since rotted away as had his lower jaw (mandible), he had lost an eye due to trauma, he was severely hypothyroid, and he was very sick with a tick-borne illness. As with all the dogs we rescue, the plan was to get Elvis healthy and then find him a forever home. But after months of medical care, it was clear that he already felt he was “home”, so he became our sanctuary dog – our “baby boy” – never to leave our family.

Elvis had the strongest spirit and such a lust for life! Everyone who met him, loved him. A favorite memory of mine is Rick Mitchell carrying Elvis around for hours, holding him like a baby, at Hops and Harley last summer. A couple weeks later, Elvis had the best 18th birthday party and I took the most special photo of my dad (who passed away last September) holding him. We’d even once sneaked Elvis into “Grandpa Rich’s” hospital room to cheer him up. Elvis had a unique presence. All our dogs honored his space, but we never understood why because Elvis wasn’t dominant, I guess he was just plain “cool”. There were so many special memories … I’d be writing a book to list them all.

Our hearts ache and the pain is unbearable, but we know our bouncing baby boy is at peace now. And his presence is still felt here in so many ways … how lucky we were to have this beautiful, funny, incredible soul in our lives.

Rudi and Dan

PS: The photos below are only a few of many, honoring our last year with this dear boy.


  1. Rudi and Dan – Feeling your loss – he was so precious. Thank you for all the beautiful photos we can all enjoy and remember him by. So happy you found him and kept him with you! From me, and my 3 furkids

  2. Loved your story and pictures crying thru my tears. You gave him a beautiful and loving life.

  3. Sweet sweet Elvis. My heart breaks for those who loved you, near, far, your mom and dad, and your siblings. 💕💔

  4. So very sorry for your loss. He runs free and no more pain. RIP, sweet boy

  5. ..
    ..I can’t find the words..
    my *tears* won’t stop..
    ..little Elvis is a *treasure*.

    ..I love all the Harley’s Hope Dogs as if they were mine..
    and I empathize..

    ..How I love what Dan said: “He laid down for a nap and woke up in heaven.”
    ..that was my rescued senior PeteyLove last September 9..
    and now I have rescued little 10 year old Sweetie girl..

    ..nothing is “fair” about it..
    except they are all so amazingly wonderful..
    ..and worth every *tear* we shed in loving them..
    in exchange for the gazillion smiles they give us in return..

    ..sleep forever softly in the *stars*..
    precious Elvis..
    ..how loved you are..

  6. I remember when you first got Elvis. I am so happy he had you for the remaining of his life. The pictures show how much he was loved and the one with your dad is soooooooooo special. I think one picture shows Teddy in the gage with him? How special you are knowing you will experience sorrow over and over again but this doesn’t deter your continued effort to give them a taste of love they never had. Thank you so much.

  7. On the 8 week anniversary of the loss of my heart and soul dog, your post deeply resonated with me. May all the tender memories of your boy provide some measure of comfort in your loss. 💔

  8. Thank you for that beautiful tribute and sharing how special Elvis was. What a wonderful way for Elvis to slip away to the 🌈 bridge. How I pray my 16 feet will slip away in such love and peace. How lucky for Elvis to have you and Dan. Your precious memories will always be there and your heart will slowly heal. Elvis may be gone but never forgotten. Prayers of comfort and healing to all who loved Elvis. 💔🐾🐾🌻

  9. Any individual who allows a living feeling being to get that way does not not have the right to be listed as a Human. Thank You for showing Elvis how to Matter and be Loved and Cherished.. Run Free up there special Boy

  10. So very sad about sweet Elvis. He was a very good age and you were so fortunate to have him with you for such a long time.

  11. I get so attached to these little guys and then it hurts so bad when they have to leave. I can only image the hurt you must feel. Thank you so much for giving him the love and care he never had before, run free sweet baby at the Bridge. Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building, but will not be forgotten.

  12. Thank you for taking care of Elvis. You and Dan are very rare people. I know the pain of letting go of a pup, no matter how long they have been with you. Thank you!

  13. I love the photo of Elvis with Hope – I remember that day so well – I’ve spent some time with Elvis on other occasions and sure will miss the little guy – he was a great success story –

  14. He was such a loved sweet little man. TY for giving him so much love. He is now playing with Harley and all of your other fur babies including my three.

  15. Such beautiful pictures & wonderful memories! Every time one of my babies passes, I say I wish that they could’ve lived forever. Then I tell myself how selfish I am for wishing that because if no one ever left, there’d be no room to welcome another into the happiness & love of our family. We all need turns at all the love & happiness that we can possibly imagine. You’ve given more love & happiness to others than most of us can. You & Dan have big, beautiful hearts & I’m so grateful for you. All your loves will welcome you someday & your family will be complete again. Hold onto that belief & hold onto each other. It eases the pain a bit. I know you’ll pay attention as little Elvis sends his signs of undying love to you. Keep talking to him…he still hears you. Always. 💜

  16. Dan and Rudi,

    We are so deeply saddened and heart broken over your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this very difficult time.

    Many blessings to you,

    Mark and Glenda

  17. I am so very sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you. God Bless you all, who were a huge part of showing Elvis that their is human kindness and love in this world. May he run free with Harley and Teddy.

  18. Your baby boy is so beautiful. I’m so very sorry he had to leave you. My heart cries for him and you

  19. I’m so sorry for the loss of your precious Elvis. It kind of seems weird to say so, but i was actually smiling with tears on reading Elvis’ story. I fekt such joy that this sweet, brave little trooper had such a wonderfully happy life with you and i’m so thankful thst you did. The world can be cruel at the best of times and Elvis met the worst kind of it, but he was rescued and that’s all that counted when he cane into your home and hearts. Bless your hearts for doing what you do to give precious lives like Elvis a great start to an anazing furever life. Sending Thoughts and Prayers thst you will find Comfort and Peace during this sad tim, and renember that your baby boy Elvis is now sleeping in God’s lap.

  20. Elvis was Loved by Many!! He was lucky to have you & Dan. You Were Lucky to have him. He will be greatly missed! Elvis was a very Sweet boy 🐾💔🌈😢

  21. WOW

  22. Rudi, I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing all the beautiful photos of your precious little boy. I think in a sweet and special way, he was everybody’s boy. Looking again at all the precious photos of all the people who loved him. What a wonderful life you gave him. Much love, Kaye

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