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Obituary:  Del Ray has Lost its Four Legged Mayor

Karen Johnson offers an obituary for her beloved Boomer

Alexandria, VA  We lost Boomer on March 23, just 4 days shy of his 15th Birthday. It’s still very hard to accept. Kirk and I believed that Boomer was so special he would defy logic and the odds and be with us forever. In January Boomer was diagnosed with the cruelest of all canine cancers, Hemangiosarcoma. He collapsed on a Saturday evening before our walk. Had we not been home, we would have lost him then. Sitting at the emergency vet that night, I prayed for just a little more time with Boomie, it just wasn’t time for him to go. We were given almost 2 months to the day. During those two months Boomer was happy and appeared healthy. That’s the cruel part of that horrible cancer, dogs are fine, until they aren’t. The good news is that he didn’t suffer, he was at home and surrounded by friends. He knew he was loved until his very last moment and left us in peace.

Our beloved Boomer was loved by all. (Courtesy Karen Johnson)

Every dog is special, but our Boomie was extraordinary. His uniquely perfect personality was evident the moment you met him. And he was most strikingly handsome – everyone wanted to pet Boomer, hug Boomer or say hi. Boomer drew you in.

How Boomer came into our lives was quite serendipitous. Not many people know this, but Boomer came from a champion line of show dogs. As a puppy he lived on a lovely country estate with an inground pool and an elaborate coop of exotic pigeons (he carried his love of swimming and kindness towards all living creatures throughout his life). He was the last of his litter to be placed. Because of his unique markings he could not compete as a show dog. A well-timed email to an Aussie friend led us to Boomer – within a week were driving across the Bay Bridge to pick him up.

Baby Boomer on adoption day (Courtesy Karen Johnson)

If you allow it, a dog will take you on all sorts of adventures and push your life in directions you never thought were possible. That’s what Boomer did for us. Through Boomer, Kirk and I have made some of our best friends. We’ve seen parts of Virginia, Maryland and the southeast that we visited only because of him – including a stop at South of the Border, because they had a dog park. Boomer loved our local dog park, so we helped raise money to upgrade his favorite place to play.

One January morning I decided Boomer needed more Aussie friends, so on a whim I started an Aussie meetup group. Today there are nearly 2,200 of Boomer’s friends across Virginia, Maryland, and DC, with numerous outings that Boomer loved. Boomer inspired me to create my side hustle, PawsGo which celebrates the wonderful bond between humans and their dogs. And because of the tremendous joy he provided us daily, I, along with 3 Australian Shepherd friends, started an Australian Shepherd rescue, Aussie Rescue of the Mid Atlantic.

Boomer was an award winner in every way. (Courtesy Karen Johnson)

Boomer was perfect in every way. He excelled at everything from agility to sheepherding. He loved to swim and he loved to hike. He adored our cats and as a puppy, he was featured along with our cat, Delta Burke, in the New York Times Puppy Blog. He welcomed foster dogs to our home, and even agreed that we could keep one, our sweet Kacey. When we brought our puppy, Poppy, home Boomer taught her that cats are friends (including our new cat Bob) and the joys of the treat trail.

Boomer and his housemates. (Courtesy Karen Johnson)

Boomer had a very loyal and active fan-base. It was not unusual to be in DC or Old Town and have someone yell – “Hi Boomer.” In December Boomer and I walked in the Scottish Walk, a parade through Old Town. He loved it, gravitating to kids for attention. Throughout the route people called out to him and would run over to say hi. He was also known as the Mayor of Del Ray, a good friend recently said, “You know what the most iconic thing in Del Ray is? Boomer.” It’s true. I still can’t walk past the Dogs of Del Ray mural where he is prominently featured with his Boomie smile and twinkling eyes.

If I’m honest, I knew Boomer would have to leave us. I just wasn’t ready. I’m still not. He has left a huge hole in our hearts.

We miss his enthusiastic greeting at the door even if we leave for 10 minutes. We miss him jumping on our bed at 4:45a.m. so he’d get some snuggled time and be with us when we woke up. We miss the shouts of “Hi Boomer” as we walk around Del Ray. We miss the days of him racing through the forest leading his friends, sailing over fallen logs – those were magical days. But most of all we miss him and his perfect presence. We will always be grateful to have had the unconditional love of such an extraordinary friend and companion.

We love you Boomie.


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