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  • Hope Gibbs

In Loving Memory of Harley: A Tribute to My Writing Partner

I knew this day was coming—longer than I wanted to admit. If you’ve ever given your whole heart to a special animal, fortunate enough to be their companion, their human, you know this moment is inevitable. But when it arrives, you’re never ready to say goodbye.


With a heavy heart, I share the news of Harley Cummiskey’s passing on March 29th. For those who have followed my journey over the past few years, you know Harley wasn't just a dog; he was my steadfast companion, confidant, and writing partner extraordinaire.


Harley was no ordinary canine companion; he was a force to be reckoned with. His entrance into my life was akin to a whirlwind, upending my quiet suburban existence with his vibrant personality and an expansive wardrobe that could rival any diva. Amidst juggling the demands of raising five children, managing a home, and supporting my husband through his constant work travel, the last thing I needed was another responsibility—especially a nine-year-old Shih Tzu with a checkered past and a penchant for baring his teeth whenever things didn’t go his way.

Initially, he resented his new home and, most importantly, me. But as time went on, his heart gradually softened, and we cultivated a bond that I will cherish forever. (You can read more about our journey in a blog post I wrote a few years ago).


About a year after Harley's arrival, once he stopped snapping at me daily, I took a leap of faith and began writing for the first time in my life. Night after night, while the world and my family slept, Harley and I would sit together, on our chair, him keeping watch over me as I poured my heart onto the pages. Before I knew it, we had written a 120,000-word manuscript, which later became my novel Where the Grass Grows Blue—together.


Harley's impact extended far beyond our cozy living room. He wove our family together, bringing laughter, warmth, and countless cherished memories. From his love of fashionable attire to his insistence on being treated with the utmost sophistication, Harley was more than just a dog; he was a beloved family member.

The past three weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. The house isn’t the same without him. It’s the simple moments I miss most—the gentle weight of his head on my shoulder each morning, his snores, and his unmistakable breath filling the air. I miss his insistence on only eating from pristine white paper towels (no patterns). I miss our weekend naps on the couch, his warm body nestled against mine as we drifted off to sleep. I miss reading with him on my chest sitting on a beach chair at sunset. Plain and simple, I miss being his person.

As I bid farewell to my beloved boy, my heart brims with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the profound love, laughter, and transformation he infused into my life. Through him, I learned the beauty of resilience and the joy of nurturing a relationship that blossoms slowly, yet blossoms magnificently.


I leave you with the words I sang to him every day, the song that finally bonded us. 


“We’re going on an adventure; we’re heading on a trip... We’re going on an adventure, and we don’t know what’s in store. We’re going on an adventure, and we’re heading out the door.”

Hope Gibb's Dog Harley

1 comentario

Angela Tarrance
Angela Tarrance
21 abr

So very sorry Hope. You now have a doggie angel. ❤️ Angela

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