A Tribute to Walter – Our CFO (Chief Furry Officer)

4PAWSAdmin Articles, Dogs

Written by Debra Manfield:


He was such a big presence in my life. This very tall, leggy, and fluffy red golden, with the most soulful eyes, was my Walter. My sweet soul dog passed away Thursday evening (April 4th, 2024), he was 12 1/2 years old. The pain of his loss is unbearable.


walter with a rose in his mouth
Everyone who met Walter liked him, some even came to love him as if he was their own. He was our CFO (chief furry officer) at Four Paws Pantry & Spa and so well suited to the job.


Walter came into my life when he was just a pup at four months old. He and his litter mates made their way to Golden Retriever Rescue here in the KC area. Walter was raised by his foster mom Jacki. She socialized him and taught him proper doggie manners, although I believe he already came equipped with those. It was through Jacki that I met Walter. She would bring him to my store and he always behaved impeccably, for you see Walter was an old soul in a puppy suit.


Walter stayed with Jacki when the rescue group disbanded and she gave him the best home for two and a half years. But Jacki wanted something more for this special soul. She wanted him to share all that he was with as many people as possible. That is when she thought of me and the opportunity that working in a store like mine would bring to him. I jumped at the chance for I had always secretly loved Walter, but I think Jacki knew that. I officially adopted Walter on April 1st.


I brought Walter to the store every day and would tether him to me as we made our way around the store greeting customers and their dogs. It did not take long for Walter to catch on as if he was born to do this. He even taught himself to come to the front of the store, from wherever he was, if paged over the intercom. Everyone loved that! Customers would come in just to page him and give him a hug.


Oftentimes Jacki would come to see Walter for hugs and we would talk about how special he was. We would always end the visits with us both saying, “best dog ever” in unison! For over ten wonderful years Walter was at the store and on the job loving every moment.


Recently he began having mobility issues and had difficulty getting into the SUV. He had been undergoing PEMF treatments and cold laser therapy but the pitch of the ramp was too steep for him. So, I did what any Walter loving human would do and bought him a minivan. Yes indeed, Walter had his own transport and he was able to resume his visits to the store.


Unfortunately, Walter also developed some problems breathing. He needed surgery to remove an obstruction to his airway. His soft pallet had elongated and it was preventing him from getting air into his lungs. He had surgery on Monday with the hope that his breathing would greatly improve. But he suffered a complication from the surgery. I realized too late that there was a buildup of fluid in his mouth and that he might have developed pneumonia.


Walter passed away while I was driving him to urgent care. That is not how I wanted Walter to leave this life. I wanted him to have a gentle and easy passing while I held him in my arms. I so wish that was the last gift of love I could have given to him.


I want to thank all my friends, staff, customers, and his wonderful care team for generously giving themselves over to Walter and embracing him. Because of all of you, his life was filled with purpose, joy, and love.


His urn is to be inscribed: Walter, Best Dog Ever, because he was.