In Memoriam: Oakley, the Original Adirondog

Oakley and Betsy. Photograph by Tom Warrington

Oakley Folwell (June 15, 2002–May 17, 2015)

A great dog—the best dog—died at his home in Blue Mountain Lake on Sunday, May 17.

A graduate of Upstate Guide Dogs, in Bloomfield, New York, he steadfastly guided me with confidence, agility and pride. He saved my life more than once and never wavered when he was on the job, whether on city sidewalks, snowy parking lots or country roads. He helped make my blindness an inconvenience, not an affliction.

Oakley loved to travel and counted New York, Montreal, Dana Point and Saratoga Springs among his favorite places. At any airport he delighted in taking me up and down escalators, wagging his tail the whole time. He could light up a metro car in Montreal with his happy, welcoming stance on the platform, head swiveling as all those strangers passed. In Honolulu he graciously accepted the attention of Japanese tourists. He made everywhere we went more fun, more human and safe.

His handsome face appeared in the pages of Adirondack Life on numerous occasions as the original Adirondog. He tolerated modeling but preferred his real career.

This yellow Lab also loved what all Labs do—water, snow, the sound of a door opening and, of course, food. He had plenty of free time for swimming, hiking, paddling and hanging out, snuggling in closer at the end of a long day.

Oakley leaves behind his immediate family of Tom, Betsy, Tinkerbelle, Kesey and Hartlyn and a circle of friends as big as his heart.


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