Bijou, passed away yesterday at the ripe old age of 16 or 17. Team Bijou of ElderDog Victoria Pawd-Cowichan started walking him a year and a half ago, at the height of COVID-19. His person, Yvonne, lives in assisted living and isn’t mobile. ElderDog volunteers gave Bijou some outside time and a daily walk that he wouldn’t otherwise have had. He had been having some health issues lately, and suddenly lost control over his legs. Gail, Susan, and Andrea took Yvonne and Bijou to the vet, where Yvonne held him as he was gently put to sleep.

Most of Team Bijou were able to visit to say goodbye, and he greeted each of us with a wagging tail and a hopeful nose which almost always found a treat. Even at the vet’s, his little tail kept wagging.

Bijou taught us a lot about patience and perseverance, kindness and gentleness. He was never angry; we never heard him growl or bark, and he never seemed upset with anyone he encountered, though he did sometimes jump out of the way of rambunctious puppies. He loved to sniff at everything, so walking was sometimes slow. He knew his neighbourhood well, and everyone seemed to know him. Even with his worsening eyesight, he always knew the shortest way home. With a bit of persuasion – a treat, a gentle tug, a lift – we kept him going past that turning point and then he was good to go (to sniff) again. On that last leg home, there was no faster dog than Bijou! We would let him off the lead at his door so he could run into the apartment – always at full speed – dashing down the hall and around the corner to greet Yvonne. We prepared his breakfast to go with his medication and, if we were too slow, he’d come to watch and vocalize and encouragingly wag his tail to hurry us up. When we put down the bowl, he’d lick up every last drop of the food Yvonne lovingly made for him from scratch – a delicious blend of chicken, spinach, carrots, and rice.

Rest in peace, Bijou.