Skippy came to us in June 2004 along with Shadow. Skippy was a very happy dog who loved his routine especially around the dispensing of treats. If someone got brushed, break out the treats; you’re leaving the house, break out the treats; you came home, break out the treats. He was a dog who loved everyday and everyday had its routine that he would depend on. He was very content after walks, feeding time and any time he got to spend with us. He would often show his delight by rubbing his body against the couch or the bed and he would like to roll around on the floor. We thought of Skippy as our ambassador in that he was so calm and easy going that he tolerated strangers coming up to him on walks and petting him. We never worried about how he would react to them.
Skippy started slowing down this year and started to show his age (14.5). He began losing weight and we could never get him to put it back on. He also became fussy about his food and even his treats. One day he had a seizure and after consulting with our vet, we released him to the Bridge. We could never come close to returning the love that he gave to us though we tried.
He has been missed everyday since and will missed be for a long time to come. We are grateful to HSS for saving Skippy for us to love.
We think it was God’s hands directing us towards choosing Noah as the dog we wanted to rescue. Noah proved us right. He was the best dog we have ever had. There was just something about him that made him special. You could see it in his eyes. He was sweet, loving, gentle and VERY affectionate. He would come rest his head on your knee until you let him jump in your lap. He would then lay his head on your shoulder and go to sleep. He was always so happy to see us come home.
He didn’t just wag his tail, he wagged his entire rear end and jumped up and down on his front paws. It was so cute. He also loved to play fetch. You could throw a ball or bone or toy hundreds of time and he wouldn’t get tired of it. Even though we had Noah for only 13 months, we enjoyed every moment of it and we miss him deeply. We take comfort in knowing he his with the Lord and no longer in pain.
Misty first came through HSS in 2001. Oftentimes sweet and loving, but alsom poorly socialized and fearful, Misty’s issues required an all-adult home without other dogs. She was adopted by a family who believed in her and she became the constant companion of their wheelchair-bound son, sleeping in his room and staying by his side during the day. Sadly, the young man passed away only months later, and Misty and the young man’s mom and dad found comfort in each other. Only a year later, dad also died, and it was just Misty and her mom. In 2008, when mom needed to take care of her own mother, battling cancer in another city, Misty was returned to the program, now 13 years old.
It seemed so unfair for this 13 year old girl to be losing yet a second home, knowing how much love she had known and was now losing. Not only that, she still needed to be an only dog in an all-adult household, and, at 13 years old, probably for the long term. Because none of our foster homes fit that bill, one of our foster moms recruited her sister for the assignment, and it was perfect. She had a quiet home, with no other dogs. Because of Marianne, Misty ended up in a place where she was once again loved and cared for as she should have been, and she was a feisty and spunky ol’ gal until the end. She knew she was loved; when she would come back from the occasional clinic visit, she would start barking happily when she entered the neighborhood she knew was home.
Misty passed in her sleep at 16 years old. While we have no doubt Misty is reunited with her beloved boy whom she took care of, and his dad, at the Bridge, we are equally certain that she waits to see Marianne, too, who was her safety net and who gave her such unequivocal love and care in the sunset years of her life.
Josie had much hardship in her life before being rescued by HSS. She came with a group of 5 other dogs, all in deplorable shape, rescued after the death of their owner. She endured through heartworm treatment, surgeries and dental care for her teeth, which were so bad they had fur on them. She retained her spirit and dignity through it all. She came to us as a foster in November, 2009. As we grew to learn more about her, we learned to love her and her little quirks. She didn’t like to walk in the grass and would walk around the edge of the yard where the grass was shortest or do the circle around the pool skirt. She didn’t like to be bothered by the other dogs and didn’t interact with them much.
She would tolerate Jake, the cat, sleeping next to her. She loved her daily naps, especially in the afternoon. Occasionally she would line up with the others for an ear scratch and tummy rub. She was more affectionate as she got older. Her favorite time of the day, by far, was mealtime. She had the cutest way of bouncing up and down on her back legs and doing spins when she knew her dinner was coming. If you didn’t get it ready fast enough to suit her, she would give a few “hurry up” barks. She could hear the treat box opening from another room.
As time went by and no one became interested in adopting Josie, we decided to make her foster home her “forever” home and formally adopted her for Christmas last December. I believe she knew she was already home. In her last few months her enlarged heart and tumors in her lungs made it difficult for her to breathe. We tried different meds to no avail. We loved her too much to see her in pain and made the last, hardest, most loving decision we could for her…. to help her cross to the Bridge and be free to breathe at last. We love her and miss her greatly.
Many thanks to those who fostered and loved Josie before she came to us. And, of course, thanks to Carol and Mike who saved Josie and the others and brought them to HSS.
Champ joined the HSS family in August of 2006 at 8 years old, a victim of divorce. Like so many others, his foster mom could not resist this sweet boy and gave him his forever home. In recent years, he bravely battled numerous physical challenges, from Cushings to cancer, supported by his mom, who loved him unconditionally. It often seemed it was only by strength of will and love that he kept pushing through, reluctant to leave his mama alone. But he grew weary of the fight, and weak, and mom told him it was okay to stop fighting. He is now running free on the Bridge waiting for the reunion with his mom.
Little Bertie pretty much told you how things were going to go. When he first came in the program as a found stray back in late 2008, he was 8+ years old with chronic airway disease, perhaps from allergies, or living with a smoker. He lived with a chronic cough, which sometimes was worse than others. We were able to medicate, but never able to get him really better. No matter, Bert was in charge of his existence.
Bertie’s family members were his devoted servants, first as foster parents, then adopting him when he finally agreed to allow them to do so last Christmas.
They loved him in spite of, or (I suspect) because of his idiosyncracies, which included always needing to be first – to be fed, to go out the door – and his Napoleon complex – such a little dog, to be so bossy! They managed his COPD, they managed his arthritis, and they gave him what I have no doubt was the best 2 1/2 years of his life.
He rebounded from medical crises time after time, as doctors would try new combinations of drugs and they would improve things for a time. Earlier this year, though, that changed – he would come through the crisis, but a steady decline was evident. In the last month or so, there were times when either his arthritis or breathing difficulties would make the simple act of getting up a challenge. Still, his family accepted treatment for Bert as long as those treatments truly helped.
Last week, for the first time, the treatments weren’t able to help, and they knew it was time to let go. It was a tearful gathering of people who loved Bert dearly who helped him gently cross over, as he simply laid his head down to rest on his paws one last time.
With your little legs sturdy once more, Bert, I have no doubt you’re herding the youngsters and settling wrestling matches all over the meadow. Until you’re reunited with your beloved family, who loved you so much, once more …
A tribute from Bertie’s Dad: He was such a wonderful little guy and always had that bounce back. From that big crisis at VERGI in August of last year, I remember visiting him over those days and Jenny getting ready to leave for a trip. I remember her calling me as she was leaving in tears asking me to be sure I would be with him when the time would come. I walked in that evening to visit him and Dr. M called me into a room to say he was ready to go home. I walked back, and he was in his oxygen kennel sticking his head out of a hole that you could pet through. He was barking at me saying, “Let’s go home; I am way better!” Jenny could not believe the news when I called her. From then on we would have a little crisis, and we always managed through those. The last few months he would have a crisis but the bounce backs got tougher and tougher for him. His arthritis worsened and with his breathing issues, it just seemed harder and harder for him.
His last moments were very quiet, and he passed very peacefully with those that loved him surrounding him. He was a very special little guy and the house is much quieter without the boss. We miss him dearly but know he is without pain and no longer struggling to breathe.
We are certain that Bertie was met at the Rainbow Bridge by his Sheltie love, Brittany. She showed him kindess and tolerance, accepting him just the way he was. They used to lay next to each other on the floor, and for Bert, those were the sweetest days of his life. He had allowed someone to get close to him
Thanks for being with us, Connie. It meant so much to us.
Deja came to us at 6 years old in June 2004 when her older owner broke her leg and could not keep her. She went to the House of Blue Merles, and quickly joined the pack. From the beginning, Deja was the calm in the storm of her family’s blue activity – the mistress who kept her head about her when others (ahem… Missy) would raise a ruckus about one thing or another. In recent years, she was the elder matron, and showed the signs of aging that our dogs get when we’re fortunate enough to have them get old with us, but her gentle spirit was treasured and much beloved.
Last year, she had a vestibular incident that she never quite recovered from, and then, earlier this spring, another one that required hospitalization to give her the supportive care she needed. Still, she got well enough to go home to her mom and dad, where she was comfortable and adored, and manna comes in the form of scrambled eggs, bits of chicken, and honey on toast. She passed quietly, in her sleep.
A tribute from Andy’s foster parents: Andrew (also known as Andy2) came to us to foster in June 2009. He was big for a Sheltie but didn’t seem bothered by that at all. He just wanted to be loved and cared for and that is what we gave him to the best of our ability. Andrew learned to love the walks that we would take everyday even though he was somewhat clumsy at times. He walked like a bear always swinging his feet out and then back in. He would sit down at every opportunity as if we had been on some forced march.
Andrew was also a talker, giving little barks to show his interest in dinner, going outside or treats. He also wanted you to go outside with him while he did his business; that way he was sure to get back in with wait time. If you left him outside, he would sit at the back door and just bark until he broke your will to resist him.
Andrew had a big heart. He knew he was home from the time he got here. When someone came to see him he would hide behind the couch or chair as if to say take one of those other dogs, I am already home.
Andrew was an unexpected blessing to us and we loved him.
He is at the Bridge with his first owner, reunited in love. We look forward to seeing him again when we cross over.
We first met Petey at the Sheltie Picnic and soon thereafter made him our own. He came to us with shaved fur, but he grew to look like a big teddy bear with his oversized paws and luxurious coat. He was always happy and was the most lovable and loving dog ever. He was content sitting in laps and lying right on top of his mom, putting his head on her shoulder, if he caught her lying on the floor. He made us laugh as he chased water spraying out of the water hose. He enjoyed making new dog friends in the neighborhood and liked all humans. Petey was unbelievably expressive with many nuances to his voice–whines, squeaks and other words that we never quite understood. He was a total joy and left us too soon of a sudden onset heart problem.
From the silence of your pain, I heard my name,
and on the wings of light I have come
to see the sadness in your eyes
that cry without tears.
Can you see me? I am here;
I will always be near you
to calm your shattered heart
and to make you smile at the memories.
Do you feel me? Perhaps a soft brush of fur;
You ache to believe it’s real,
But you are afraid to hope.
You brush away a strand of hair,
But it was I, whispering . . . .
I am only here for but a moment;
The silver thread gently quivers;
I will leave behind my love in a dream
When you awaken, and without really knowing why,
Your heart will know at last
That it was all right, for now
To say good-bye.
— © Lisa Carmel Singer
A tribute from her foster mom: Chrissy graced our home for the past year with her regal demeanor and quiet dignity. She was tireless in her determination to be an integral part of the pack despite her extreme arthritis and continuing liver failure. She demonstrated what appropriate dog behavior was supposed to be and would quickly but firmly correct any dog in the house who failed to live up to her standards. She did give the young ones some wiggle room on occasion and tolerated such chaos as she deemed acceptable. She picked the path and pace of our morning walks and we all followed without complaint. My hope is that we won’t get lost tomorrow and can find our way home despite her absence.