By Matt Nash
Olympic Peninsula News Group
SEQUIM — One corner of Sequim is in mourning following the loss of a familiar face.
Stolli, a 12 ½-year-old-dog, was a fixture on Hendrickson Road along the Olympic Discovery Trail.
She was known as Sequim’s Sweetheart, the Trail Dog and even the Dead Dog on Hendrickson, said her owners, Kevin and Teresa Cassidy.
However, her owners saw she had stopped eating and was in pain, so they asked their veterinarian to put her to sleep Aug. 31.
Since neighbors found out about Stolli’s death, an outpouring of support has come in the form of cards, notes, dog treats and flowers left where she used to sit in the yard.
Kevin said he put out a palette to honor Stolli and the community has surrounded it with their items.
Stolli had defied the odds in recent years.
The Cassidys said they got Stolli in May 2004 when both she and their son, Kaleb, were 8 weeks old.
She was an active dog, went camping with the family, played with the Cassidys’ four children and took walks with family and friends.
Teresa said Stolli was diagnosed with arthritis and the beginning of kidney failure about six years ago.
“The vet said it could be anytime. She could live six months to two years, so we decided to let her do what she wanted,” Teresa said.
For Stolli, that meant lying in the sun in front of the Cassidys’ home and business, A2Z Fencing at 1162 W. Hendrickson Road, and awaiting her friends. She didn’t budge much, either.
She enjoyed bacon, steak, dog food and most treats people would bring.
“We never said anything to people when they’d give her treats,” Kevin said.
“I never thought she would live six more years after that trip to the vet,” Teresa said. “I think it was all the love she received that kept her going.”
Stolli hadn’t eaten her regular dog food for five days, so the Cassidys felt she needed to see the veterinarian.
That Wednesday morning, Teresa said she was petting Stolli and telling her she was a good girl and everyone was going to miss her.
She saw a tear come from the dog’s eye, and Teresa said she knew it was time for Stolli to move on. Teresa took a picture of that moment to remember Stolli.
Later that morning, the Cassidys buried their family dog in their backyard.
Since then, people have remembered Stolli online, too.
They’ve shared their condolences, talked about their special bonds with their own pets and remembered how Stolli was part of their trips to the grocery store and other routines.
Laura Rundle of Sequim said Stolli was her first friend in Sequim when she moved here 10 years ago.
“She gave me comfort knowing she was there every day for my treats and pets,” Rundle said.
“She comforted me after we lost our girl Hope and helped me train the meet-and-greet with our new pup, Jollie.”
Megan Kellas, a family friend of the Cassidys, said her mom, Tracey, the animal control deputy for the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, would receive at least a call a day from concerned citizens about Stolli lying by the road motionless.
Teresa said a worker at Walmart would honk and throw out a biscuit for Stolli on her way to work, too.
“There were at least six regulars who would come by, and she knew what time they would come by,” Teresa said.
“If they missed a day, you could tell she wasn’t happy about it.”
To honor Stolli, the Cassidys plan to place a small statue and bench outside their home and plant donated flowers nearby.
They aren’t accepting donations for the memorial and encourage residents to donate to such organizations as the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society and Peninsula Friends of Animals in her name.
“It’s a cool thing she had such an impact,” Kevin said.
“She had quite a few friends, but I didn’t know it was as much as it was,” Teresa said.
“We’re so glad people loved her so much. We want to thank them for all their support.”
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.