The impact a dog can have on our lives can be nothing short of profound. And when that dog shares 16 years of life with you, loosing them can be unbearable. Nothing could be more true of the life and loss of Lillian Hayden. Joining Brian Hayden in 2003 at 6 weeks old their life journey together began while he was a young sophomore at the University of MS, pursuing his degree in Risk Management. She helped to keep him focused on his goals and she went everywhere with him. His first true love. She saw him through early adulthood and the enormous changes that come with transitioning from the early 20’s into the late 30’s. Informing his early career, relationships, several moves (which were often decisions made based on her care and comfort), and his later advanced career success. The two of them taking on the world was easy, because they had each-other! Brian Hayden, is a local entrepreneur and founder of The Firm, Inc. specializing in financial management and insurance products. He founded the Oxford-based financial services business in 2008, with the vision of helping small business owners reach their financial goals. The Firm has proven to be an outstanding success and Lilly was quite literally, by his side every step of the way.
In 2013, the dynamic duo became a trio when Lillian was gifted a brother. A book end Weimaraner named Boo! They became fast friends and Lillian was happy to have someone to show the ropes. This family of three did everything together. From weekend getaways at their cabin running freely in the woods (gps tracked of course!), to family boat cruises at Pickwick Lake sunbathing on the boat, or swimming in their pool, in their eyes, anywhere they’d go was a vacation paradise because they were always with the right crew!
Boo is a working machine. He is driven. And Brian is one proud pop! Boo has earned 2 Schutzhound championships and will be seeking his 3rd this spring. Schutzhund tests dogs of all breeds for serious field work such as; search and rescue, specific odor detection and police work. They have a strong desire to work, courage, intelligence, perseverance, high degree of trainability and a strong bond to their handler. To live with and care for a dog of this caliber requires serious commitment to their mental, physical and emotional stimulation. Put simply, Boo found the right dad! Of course, Lilly kept him in line too.
Lilly passed away in August of 2019, just 1 month after her 16th birthday. During her 16 years, she truly lived her very best life. Devastating does not begin to describe their loss. Brian has said “she was the matriarch of my life”and their healing will be long. And sometimes with endings come new and unexpected beginnings, and the beginnings of mending broken hearts. Luna, aka “Moonstone Kisses from an Angel” (in memory to Lilly), joined Brian and Boo this past October. An unexpected happenstance, Brian found himself flying to Sarasota, Florida to bring home a baby girl. Luna is absolute perfection! Initially shy, but all puppy. She does not appreciate being told what to do, and usually only wants what Boo has…. She’s quickly acclimated to their home and claimed her thrown as princess of the castle. She is a cuddle buddy, where Boo prefers to snuggle himself buried in his blanket. A “Boorrito”! At just a few months old; Luna’s flown halfway across the country, loves car rides (and her seat warmer!), workdays with dad and big bro, poolside luxury, Spaw day, and she is always up for adventure! Luna has begun training and will be going for her first AKC puppy trial this month. She’s fitting right in with the active Hayden lifestyle.
2019 marked the 10 year anniversary of Homeward Bound, Inc. and Lilly was a constant presence. From daily walking visits, fetch/frisbee sessions, weekend travel visits, bi-monthly Spaw sessions, and nighttime Paw-Jama parties, Lillian and Boo had their Homeward Bound family as a supplement to their very active lifestyle during this last decade. Lillys absence has left a void in our hearts. She is memorialized at the Spaw and in our offices, and remembered daily by our team. Her photos grace the walls and rooms of our new Spaw wing and our front porch patio was renamed The Lilly Pad, and dedicated in her memory. Her spirit is with us everyday. To know and work with Brian Hayden has been our privilege. His kindness and generosity are unparalleled. Lillian surely had much to do with that. To have shared so much time with Lillian has been our honor at Homeward Bound..and we look forward to what this new decade will bring for Boo and Luna. Please help us ring in the new year with a family that is as close to our hearts as it can get…The Hayden Family!