Ree Drummond Is Mourning The Loss Of A Beloved Member Of Her Family

Our fur babies enrich our lives beyond measure, but they never stay with us long enough. Such is the case for the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, and her beloved dog Walter. Drummond posted the sad news on July 12 that the Basset Hound had died. "Goodbye, sweet wonderful Walter," she mourned on Instagram. "I'm going to bed early so I can turn off these tears and instead dream sweet memories of you, the most loving loyal pure-hearted doggie our family has ever known. Go find your brother Charlie and have some fun, ol' boy."

The tribute was met by more than 200,000 likes (if one can actually "like" a heartbreaking message), and messages of sympathy from family and friends. Country superstar Trisha Yearwood wrote, "Sending you all the love, my friend. Love walks on all paws." Son Bryce Drummond echoed, "The best to ever do it." Even the photographer who had captured Walter's antics on camera offered condolences: "He will be missed."

Ree and her husband, Ladd Drummond, are well known for their love of animals, big and small. In addition to the horses and cows they keep on their Oklahoma ranch, they (now) have six dogs and a cat. Walter was one of four Basset Hounds, a breed popular for their loyalty and laid-back nature, according to the American Kennel Club. The breed's life expectancy is 12 to 13 years, and indeed, Walter is thought to have been around that age. 

Walter met fans from all over

Ree Drummond's ranch-ful of dogs figure prominently in her Instagram posts: supervising the workers, loping across the fields, or noisily drinking at the creek. "I guess my bassets can do no wrong in my eyes (except their breath, I guess)," Drummond once wrote. Senior dog Walter's "sweet, kind, gentle" nature — not to mention his deliciously scratchable long ears — made him a favorite of visitors to The Mercantile, Drummond's signature restaurant and general store. Walter could also be frequently seen saying hi at the Lodge on Drummond Ranch. If anyone doubts that dogs can show love, they have only to see Drummond's videos of Walter offering sloppy kisses, cuddling with the Drummonds' daughter Paige, and rolling over for a belly rub. (When pooches show that vulnerable area of their bodies, that's a sure sign they trust the person they're with.) 

The doggie diplomat was only slightly less famous than his buddy Charlie, who inspired Drummond's best-selling children's book series, "Charlie the Ranch Dog." Sadly, Charlie crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 2017. A heartbroken Drummond wrote on her blog, "He lived a full life out here with the cows and the rabbits, and I'm so grateful he was ours." She admitted to feeling odd about mourning a pet when there were much greater tragedies in the world, "but anyone who's ever loved a dog understands that it's a special kind of loss."

Run free, Walter, and thank you for brightening so many lives.