for the love of dogs: loss

Boo Boo Schnitzel 2012-2022

A few short days ago, I introduced you to my dog (see this post.)

Today we said good-bye to him at VRC in Malvern. The grief has been hiding at the edges since we took him in last week. Now it’s here. The tears are running so fast, I can’t see some moments. But writing has always been my catharsis, so I have to write it out. I need to tell a little of his story. A beautiful rescue dog who will forever, remain in my heart.

He is one of the happiest dogs we have ever had. Always wanted to play, always wanted to bring you a toy. Or greet you with a leaf he picked up off of the ground. A fearless chaser of squirrels, chipmunks, deer.

He came to us at six months old when he was dumped with his sibling on the streets of Philadelphia. I can’t find his first photo when I first met him. I have it somewhere.

Boo Boo came to us unexpectedly. We weren’t looking for him. I had (back then) recently said good-bye to his predecessors, Iggy and Mr. Peanut. Iggy we had lost at 8 to canine lymphoma. As I was finishing my radiation for breast cancer, Iggy was starting chemotherapy.

Anyway, one day a few months after losing first one then the other, I got a phone call at the office from Bill Smith, then at Main Line Animal Rescue. There was a puppy. He and his sister had been dumped on the streets of Philadelphia. A PSPCA volunteer was taking his sister. “Did I want him?” my friend Betsy asked (she was also on the call.) She knew it was soon, and we had just said good bye to Iggy and Mr. Peanut a couple of months before. Then they texted me a photo. It was all over. He came home. He was, as they say, a foster fail. He never left.

Keeping watch for squirrels and foxes and deer and chipmunks.

Ten years have gone by in a flash. I wish I could find the amazing words like John Grogan or James Herriot, but right now I feel, well, gutted. I can see him on the very first day we bought him home and so many moments in between.

He was almost Clarence, but then he was just a Boo Boo.

The kaleidoscope of memories includes him marching back and forth on top of the old logs in the woods, daring a chipmunk to pop up, chasing a deer out of my garden beds, investigating Christmas presents under the tree, rolling in deer poop (yes really, he was Captain Deer Poop), racing through the snow to chase who knows what, barking barking barking (boy loved to bark), curled up on someone’s lap, the grand poobah of the bed, begging food, under my feet like a trip hazard in the kitchen while I cooked, giving us kisses, and chasing the hose.

Oh that dog chasing the hose and water. I could garden up until watering time, and then I had to put him in the house. Then he would sit inside and whine. He just loved chasing the water.

Boo Boo also had a group of ladies. My friends. They would come over and he would sit in their laps making eyes at them.

Puppy dreams as a puppy.

This was a dog who was just happy, so very happy. He loved and was so loved in return.

Then last Tuesday, his world fell apart. It was like he couldn’t control his limbs. We called our regular vet Dr. Hahn at Main Line Vet in Malvern. “Take him to VRC.” Was he sure? Yes he was sure. We went to VRC.

At first they thought it was Myasthenia gravis. Then that test was negative, and so was the extra large tick borne disease panel. Yesterday they did an MRI. The only thing left was something brain related. We almost lost him going under anesthesia to go through the MRI machine. His heart rate dropped dramatically. They stabilized him, he went into the MRI on a ventilator, and he did really well with the test.

Dr. Tracy our neurologist called as he was coming out of anesthesia. We finally had what it was: something kind of rare. Immune mediated meningitis – not environmental. With a lot of dogs the recovery rate can be up to 85%. They treat it with steroids and something cytosar, which is a chemotherapy drug. His brain stem was inflamed, brain swollen.

Deep breath. Here we were again with a dog with a chemotherapy drug. Boo Boo was already on steroids, but they started the infusion yesterday afternoon, and we were ALL hopeful. This time yesterday, I was making plans to bring him home.

At a little before 9:00 AM the phone rang. It was Dr. Tracy. Boo Boo was worse, could we come in. Basically, we were out of options, and we needed to come back for his final time on earth.

We got to VRC and the parking lot was jammed. So many people, so many dogs. They took us back to ICU. We could see his time had come. VRC tried so hard. It was just simply too late when we finally figured it out. In the ICU with Boo Boo was that Bernese Mountain dog that got stuck in the mud on the banks of the Schuylkill River for 13 days until some kayakers saw her. She seems to be holding her own.

We weren’t so lucky. Boo Boo wasn’t so lucky. I am glad for that dog’s humans, but I selfishly wish my boy was in his bed under my desk as I write. Just like he has been for the past decade.

We went to the good bye room and waited for them to disconnect him from his IVs. My friend’s daughter is a nurse at VRC and she bought him to us, which was another blessing in the midst of this raw sadness and grief I am feeling. She is also a magnificent human being like Dr. Tracy, and has that soul of true kindness just like her mama.

We all held him, and in true Boo Boo fashion, he tried to rally because his humans were with him. He wagged his tail some, and gave us all a lot of kisses. That almost broke me then and there, because he had not been able to do that really for a week.

Boo Boo loved the snow.

I told him I loved him and always would. They came back with the drugs. I held him as he passed. He quietly slipped away and I felt his last beat of his little and huge dog heart. Dr. Tracy was with us the entire time. I am forever grateful for his care and for genuinely caring about our dog.

We are not bringing his ashes home. He is in every corner of our home and forever in our hearts. He is being donated to Penn Vet for science. Maybe then someday, other families will have answers more quickly and not go through what we are going through. Veterinary medicine, like human medicine is constantly evolving. I daresay, even a decade ago, we would not have even had this last week with him.

Now all we will have left after the sadness and grief recedes, are memories. Memories of a dog whom I loved fiercely (even when he decided to pee on the edge of a cabinet, or door, or something he wasn’t supposed to), and who loved all of us just as fiercely in return. It will be a long time before I stop thinking I see him running through the back yard into the woods, or running OVER a squirrel to chase the one beyond that particular squirrel. At night I will continue to hear the bark bark bark of his nightly routine and woods patrol for a long time.

Dogs give us that unconditional love. In return, we have to do what’s right when it’s time. And that is the hardest part, setting them free of what is ailing them. We want to keep them close, but then we have to say good bye, because it’s the terribly hard and right thing to do.

Well that is the abbreviated story of 10 years of a glorious dog life. How lucky we were to have him.

Chase those heavenly squirrels now my darling Boo. Run free forever. The bad stuff is over.

Me? I wish I could be brave and have the proverbial stiff upper lip. But I just can’t. My heart aches. These magnificent creatures are in our lives for such short periods of time. There is never enough time. Then they live forever in our hearts and memories.

Run free my darling dog. The bad things are over.

for the love of dogs.

Dogs. The canine hearts of our lives. They make us crazy, then they make us laugh. They give us the unconditional love that no human being, especially in today’s world is even capable of.

I have one that is suddenly very ill and I don’t even know how to process it in my head. I want to be positive and know that he’s going to come home and I’ll be able to love him for a few more years, but I am equally parts terrified he just won’t.

He is one of the happiest dogs we have ever had. Always wants to play, always wants to bring you a toy. Or greet you with a leaf he picked up off of the ground. A fearless chaser of squirrels, chipmunks, deer.

He came to us at six months old when he was dumped with his sibling on the streets of Philadelphia. He is now 10. And right now he’s at VRC in Malvern as they try to fix what’s wrong.

And save his life.

Literally a couple of days ago it’s like he lost all control of like his motor functions. In other words imagine trying to tell your arms and legs and head and tongue and throat to move only they’re not. He has been initially diagnosed with a rare disease called myasthenia gravis…they think.

Myasthenia gravis is nasty disease…in humans and dogs. Myasthenia gravis is a disease in which there is a malfunction in the transmission of signals between the nerves and muscles. Dogs with myasthenia gravis exhibit extreme weakness and excessive fatigue. Sometimes dogs are born with it, but mostly they acquire it.

My dog appears to have the acquired version. He’s gone from being a dog who literally bounces, to one yesterday who was like a limp rag doll when he went back to VRC for the second time within 24 hours.

When they initially took him in they thought they’d be able to send him home with steroids pending the outcome of the rest of the tests. And of course this is a disorder that literally maybe has like one lab in the entire United States to analyze it.

Terrifyingly he had a few good minutes yesterday and then the rest of the day was a roller coaster for me….and him. He ate 3 tablespoons of canned food. He didn’t take in any water. He was having difficulty swallowing too. And then when I took his temperature twice he had a very weird temperature reading, so back he went to VRC.

More about the disease:

Some dogs diagnosed with myasthenia gravis require treatment in the hospital until their medication dose is stabilized. These dogs are treated with a class of medication that inhibits a nervous system enzyme called acetylcholinesterase. Anti-acetylcholinesterase medications will be required for the rest of the dog’s life. Because of their compromised ability to swallow, some dogs will actually inhale food, liquid, or vomit, resulting in aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration pneumonia is extremely serious and often requires aggressive intensive care including oxygen therapy, antibiotics, IV fluid therapy, and supportive care. If the dog is unable to eat or drink without regurgitation, a feeding tube may be needed until the dog’s medication doses are stabilized.

Ancillary treatment of myasthenia gravis is as important as determining appropriate medication doses. In cases where there is a thymoma, it must be removed surgically. Food and water dishes should be elevated, and these dogs often do best with smaller, more frequent meals of a high-quality, high-calorie food. There is no single “best” nutritional formulation for dogs with myasthenia gravis. It is important to assess what works best for the individual dog.

Most dogs with myasthenia gravis will limit their own activity based on the severity of their muscle weakness…..improved muscle strength is an obvious barometer of response to therapy. In addition, chest radiographs (X-rays) are evaluated every 4-6 weeks for resolution of megaesophagus. Finally, acetylcholine receptor antibody levels are evaluated every 8-12 weeks, and should decrease into the normal range with remission.

~ from VCA animal hospitals website.

I am going to be honest I don’t know where to go in my head with this. I cry when no one’s around. To watch a dog that is so joyful suddenly be like a limp washcloth is just horrible.

This begs the age old question of how long do we keep trying and if it doesn’t work when do we say goodbye?

I lost a dog to cancer who was going through chemotherapy when I was going through radiation treatment. I made a decision back then I would never do that again. At the end of the day I feel like I should have let him go, versus what I put him through. So in a way I’m faced with that decision again.

I’m not making any decisions today, but I have to keep in mind as we try to go through this what is in the best interest of my dog. If he wants to try, I will try. I figure that’s the best approach I can have. I have a friend who had a cat with this who lived a few more years after diagnosis with a great quality of life. I’m hoping for that. But right now I’m just scared.

I have not heard anything since my husband took him back to VRC last night. I am sending up prayers to St. Francis like a house on fire to send my boy home with some quality of life.

This will probably be a very odd post for a lot of my readers to read, but it goes back to why I write a lot of the time anyway. I write for me. It’s part of my process. And I’m sure the people who love to hate me although they’ve never met me or had a conversation with me will be cheering that something horrible has happened in my life. I can’t control that. That’s on them for being miserable human beings.

But for those of you who are animal lovers, if you have a minute send up a prayer to St. Francis for my boy.

Thanks for stopping by.

good-bye beautiful girl


This morning our Gracie left us. She wasn’t feeling well, so we took her to the vet. While at the vet, her heart just stopped. And just like that, she was gone.

Gracie was one of my step dogs. Part of my blended family. I loved her like she was my own, always.

She was a magnificent Blue Belton English Setter. She was a rescue. She came to us through an English Setter rescue. Her start in life was not easy. She had a cruel first master who dumped her in the mountains a few states away where she gave birth to a litter of puppies. She found some humans she led back to where they all were and she and the puppies were all saved.

She came to my sweet man and stepson as a scared young dog. With love and time she was an awesome girl.  The had most of her life with her, but I shared a good part of her life with them. I was really lucky to have known her,

I knew, we knew ,hat our time was borrowed with her. As she aged she started to lose her eye sight and her hearing. She was almost completely blind. And with the hearing being basically gone we learned to communicate with her by thumping the floor or wall – she felt the vibrations I suppose.

In spite of her failing health she still wagged her tail and lived life with her furry siblings.

It was hard watching her decline. She was such a magnificent dog.

This never gets easier. I loved her like I loved all others before her. Each pet I have had the privilege to love and know has been special and unique. Gracie is no exception. She was one of the dogs who saw me through breast cancer. She was an amazing girl.

My heart is heavy yet I know I was lucky to have a few years with her.

To all my readers, in honor of my Gracie please support your favorite rescue during the holiday season. There are so many homeless pets and they deserve love and shelter…and a home. These rescues are busting at the seams, they need adoptions, and donations to support their populations. Do that for Gracie, please.

Rest in Peace sweet Gracie….I bet you are chasing geese again. We loved you beautiful girl.


If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this — the last battle — can’t be won.

You will be sad I understand,
But don’t let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.

We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn’t want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.
Take me to where to my needs they’ll tend.

Only, stay with me till the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.

Don’t grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We’ve been so close — we two — these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.




human shaming in phoenixville

This is August. So cars heat up fast, don’t they? Especially in parking lots open to the sun, right?  And as you see that is a dog in a hot SUV earlier today. It was taken by a friend at the Redner’s parking lot in Phoenixville.  These people who own this Ford SUV should be ashamed of themselves!!!

 I wish the people who sent me the photos had taken photos with the license plate showing! This photo and the one below came with the following message:

We went shopping at Phoenixville Redner’s today. I waited in the car while the wife got a few things.

Some jerk left a poodle in a parked car. Driver window was open a couple inches, but the dog was frantic at first, then just laying on the seat panting like hell. 

A local cop came through, and I got his attention. He looked, and said “the window is open a little, and it’s a white car, it won’t get hot, besides this is private property, I have no jurisdiction”. The windows were heavily tinted, and too hot to put your hand on. 

I was about to break the glass when a young couple (about 6 people gathered by now) said they would go inside and have the manager put the vehicle, license plate, and business name on the P.A. system that their window was about to be broken. A volunteer firefighter had a rescue tool, and said he would give them 5 minutes. A girl with a water bottle squirted water through the cracked window on the dog, and it got up, and got a little. 

 Don’t know the final outcome. Even through the heavily tinted glass you can see the dog with it’s mouth wide open. 

So Redner’s in Phoenixville is in which township?  I would like to commend their officer who stopped for showing such caring and concern, wouldn’t you? Do you sense my sarcasm ? If  the officer was loath to break a window why couldn’t said officer have gone into the store to check for the irresponsible owner? Wow.

Kudos goes to the volunteer firefighter and others who sprang into action to try to help the dog.

Dogs give us unconditional love and devotion so it is really upsetting when you see stupid human tricks in action. 

There is a law being proposed in PA regarding keeping pets out of hot cars. Contact your legislators in PA ASAP about getting it passed!

New bill focused on keeping pets out of hot cars

Carolyn Blackburne 08/05/2015 06:54 PM08/05/2015 07:29 PM

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — A new bill proposed in the Pennsylvania legislature is focused on keeping animals out of hot cars. 

Farm manager at Greener Pasture’s Animal Shelter, Ryan Jacobs, said leaving a pet inside a car on a hot day can be a matter of life and death. Cats and dogs that are left in cars can die within five to ten minutes on days above 110 degrees.

“We already have laws like this for children, so I think it is important you take your dog out of the car when you go somewhere,” Jacobs said.

If an animal is left unattended in a car for more than five minutes, it can go into heat stroke.


UPDATE: the power of the Internet. Another person sent me a partial plate (missing one letter or digit) and told me that this shopping center is on the edge of Phoenixville Borough and apparently it was an unmarked police car and three police departments can be found on patrol around here (Phoenixville Borough, East Pikeland, and Schulkill Twp). And the static decal in the window is for a company called Unlimited Restoration which has an office in Pottstown.


argus & fiona’s laws? can we do that?

DSC_0105I woke up thinking of the laws that need to change, and in my mind a bunch of things need to happen:

  1. Punishment AND fines for animal cruelty need to be tougher all the way around.  It needs to mean more than an inconvenience
  2. Pennsylvania as in the Commonwealth needs to recognize companion animals like dogs as more than property- people discussed that a few years ago when trying for stiffer puppy mill laws but I do not recall anything than some stuff getting watered down. I bet Tom Hickey from the state is watching this blog, and I would like him to connect with me.
  3. Also farm statutes must be updated so there is less “fuzzy” area. My thought is two-fold: protect the dog owners better, but still give farmers recourse. I have not fleshed that thought out anymore than that but in PA we need to remember the importance of farms as they do drive enough of state economy still.
  4. I believe that municipalities like West Vincent that used to be extremely rural need to be made to look at their zoning more closely.  After all, when you get down to it development doesn’t happen without them does it? So it is incumbent upon them to work harder for better relationships between old and new.  Also what defines a farmer versus a hobbyist with tax breaks?
  5. Gun and gaming laws. I do not want this tragedy to be overshadowed and used by a national political debate. My frame of reference is simple: school people on existing laws because one of the things so irresponsible about what happened is the fact a shotgun was discharged like that in what I am told is R2 residential as opposed to land area zoned agricultural and am I wrong in that?

argus and fionaState Senator Andy Dinniman who represents a lot of us and is a huge animal advocate is working on some law having to do with dog owners being able to sue for damages.  He says and I quote ” I am drafting a law that would allow pet owners to civilly sue those who harm or kill their pets.”  I do not know the specifics other than that but would ask that if some of his staff is watching this blog if they could  post specifics as they occur.

I urge you to contact your lawmakers on a state and federal level and ask for change that will protect our dogs better. They are a part of our families not like an ear of corn.

In Chester County to connect with Andy Dinniman:

One North Church Street
West Chester, PA 19380
Phone: 610.692.2112
Fax: 610.436.1721
Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m

In Chester County to bump it up to a Federal level to Congress:

Chester County
Jim Gerlach
 111 East Uwchlan Avenue
 Exton, PA 19341
610.594.1415 tel
610.594.1419 fax

Pat Meehan
 940 West Sproul Road
Springfield, PA 19064
Phone: (610) 690-7323
Fax: (610) 690-7329

Together if we focus together and ask for Justice for Argus & Fiona, maybe we can propel that forward to someday mean Argus & Fiona’s Laws.

I will also comment briefly that in spite of media spin the Facebook page Justice for Argus & Fiona , it was set up with a peaceable goal of true justice.  As in through the legal system, including changing laws to better protect dogs.

After all, one of the people who helped set up the Facebook page was Mary Bock, who is a truly lovely and gentle woman who has shown such grace and peace in the face of unbelievable family tragedy.   Make no misunderstanding with regard to that page as it is not for deviant purposes and  implication is resented. People are banned and comments are removed. Posting and commenting is a privilege, not a right.

However, the unfortunate reality is that in this world two of the most heated topics in the world are issues having to do with children and pets, and this issue involves BOTH.

Below are some media snippets from yesterday afternoon as the region learned the dogs would start to have justice, and did not die in vain.  I will comment that I am struggling with the statement Mr. Pilotti is purported to have released about remorse and prayers for the family.  Part of me hopes it is true, yet part of me wonders why he simply did not do that before the media and public got news of what happened?  Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t he have almost a week in between the actual date of tragedy and media whirlwind to pray and show remorse?

In any event, those of us supporting the Bock family do not support violence.  Nor do we support nut jobs that stand outside anyone’s home screaming anything. No matter WHAT has transpired, we as a society cannot swirl downwards into utter lawlessness.  More bad acts will not solve any issue.

So I ask all of you to use your energy to speak out for dogs.  Get laws changed.  And oh yes, no matter what West Vincent says if you live there you have a right to be heard at the Supervisors meeting.  They may decline comment, but you have the right to public privilege of the floor or public comment.  They do not have to respond, but as elected and appointed officials part of their job is to listen. Just be polite.

I am told that this coming Monday is a normal Supervisors meeting. Monday at 7:30 PM at their Township building 729 St. Matthews Road, Chester Springs, PA 19425

Media has reported that West Vincent has not really been chatting with anyone.  I guess “unavailable” and “declining comment” would describe it best? In any event, they provide their township contact information on their website as:

729 St. Matthews Road Chester Springs, PA 19425

Phone: (610) 458-1601 Fax: (610) 458-1603


As always, thanks for stopping by. And to that eternally curious woman who keeps asking a mutual friend about this blog to the point of obsession? Lady, if you have to ask you don’t need to know. Grow up and quit looking for chickenman conspiracies behind every bush and hillock in West Vincent.  (No I do not know who chickenman is, nor do I care.  Even chickens have First Amendment Rights…)

Face it, you live in warped Mayberry and the sooner you own that the more at ease your  mind will be. I know it is hard for some to fathom that I post recipes and discuss politics and local issues, but so be it.  Far more interesting than standing in someone’s kitchen telling birthing stories and discussing which mustard goes best with a honey baked ham, yes?




Loss is indeed a four letter word.  I have cried so much today my eyes hurt and are but swollen slits in my face.  I am feeling my grief so much right now it is palpable, raw, and in Technicolor.

My little dog slipped away today.  Iggy is gone and I am so sad as I write this that I hope this post makes sense.

Some people might think I am crazy for writing about this while it is so new and so raw, but truthfully writing has always been my catharsis and I need to get this out. This is such a hard day.

It was almost three months ago to the day that I lost Iggy’s adoptive brother to old age. When I said good-bye to Mr. Peanut on October 11th, I did not think in my wildest imaginings that Iggy would go over the rainbow bridge this morning. But he did just that.

In December we found out Iggy had dog lymphoma.  But it was so early that we decided to roll the dice and try dog chemo.  I took Iggy to Dr. Ann Jeglum at Veterinary Oncology Services and Research Center on East Nields Street in West Chester.

As a breast cancer survivor taking my dog to his own oncologist was not easy.  But I wanted him to have options because his disease was in the early stages.

Dr. Ann Jeglum and the vets and staff who work for her at VOSRC are simply amazing and I am so glad I did this for my dog.  I saw a lot over the past month Iggy has been a patient and truthfully these are the kind of folks you want looking after your pets in all situations. And they truly look after the humans in the pets’ lives too.

Anyway, at first Iggy was responding very well, but then a couple of days ago he stopped wanting to eat very much and became increasingly lethargic.  At first we thought it was just the side effects from having had four straight weeks of chemotherapy. But yesterday morning my dog looked at me so helplessly… and off we went to VOSRC.  They saw us right away and I knew from the looks on their faces it wasn’t good.

Ends up Iggy had contracted a urinary tract infection and with his chemo compromised immune system couldn’t fight the infection.  So they put him on a doggy I.V. to rehydrate him and give him antibiotics.  They also did an ultrasound.  We left him to be cared for overnight. No one knew yesterday how everything would play out, so I wanted to give him a change to turn the corner.

This morning shortly before 9:00 a.m. one of Dr. Jeglum’s vets, Dr. Lindner phoned.  Iggy’s prognosis was not good and he wasn’t improving.  So we made the difficult decision to come in to say good-bye.

Only the phone rang again.  Iggy passed before we could even get there to say good-bye.

I accept that it was his time, and like a couple of my friends said he and his brother were sent to me to get me through a difficult time in my life and knew I was ok so they could go.  But I still feel like my heart has been ripped out of my chest and someone played racquet ball with it.

Of course it doesn’t make it any easier that this week is the 5th anniversary of Iggy coming home to me from Main Line Animal Rescue.  Iggy had been a foster dog for a MLAR volunteer who came for a playdate with Mr. Peanut and never left.

Iggy and his brother gave me some very happy years with them and did indeed get me through some crazy stuff including abandonment and breast cancer. When I was going through seven weeks of radiation, he and his brother were happy little faces greeting me at the door every day when I came home.  They transitioned with me out to Chester County and my new life, and were loving being country dogs.

Iggy loved being in Chester County and being able to run in great big fields with other DSCN1857dogs.  He loved chasing the crazy fat squirrels in the back yard and conquering the “dog proof” trashcan.  He was a giant dog with a big heart in a little body.

Only today his little body just gave out.  I am devastated I wasn’t there when he passed, but I almost wonder if it didn’t happen that way because of losing Mr. Peanut such a short time ago.

In between the tears I keep waiting to hear the clickety clack of little feet on hardwood floors.

It was a privilege to have this dog in my life and I wish he had lived to a ripe old age instead of just 9.  Yes my heart is incredibly heavy.

I will leave you with this: Iggy is yet another reason why good animal rescue is so important.  He had been abused early in life (among other things) and he and I were both so lucky he came to Main Line Animal Rescue. He gave so much unconditional love to me as well as companionship. And if it wasn’t for Main Line Animal rescue we never would have met.

Good-bye my sweet boy.  I know you are with your brother now. Try not to bark at too many squirrels over the rainbow bridge. I love you little man and  I will miss you.

life’s little realities can be so unpleasant.

DSC_0239When I blog, I blog for me.  I find things that interest me to write about and I do just that.  Both here and on my breast cancer blog.

They say God never gives you more than you can handle, and I am almost to the point where the Lord and I need a sit down so we can discuss the definition of that.

I am being faced with the grim reality that I might very well be losing another dog.

It has been barely two months since I said good-bye to my beloved Mr. Peanut, and well I have had some rather difficult news about his brother Iggy.

Iggy has lymphoma.

Iggy is not so old, only middle-aged in fact.  So tomorrow we go to a dog oncologist.  Dr. Ann Jeglum in West Chester.  One of my vets recommends her highly.  I have however, seen mixed reviews so I am anxious.

Iggy and his brother saw me through breast cancer and the break up of my former relationship. Well technically I guess you could call it abandonment – the ex factor had a late midlife crisis as the first blizzard of February 2010 was beginning and took off in the snow never to be heard from again.  He left his dog with me.  She was quite elderly and failing. (We lost her Labor Day 2010)  To this day that is still what sticks with me about that whole time: he left his dog.

Anyway Iggy and his brother saw me through all that.  So I owe it to him to try to not go to pieces.

But this is incredibly hard.   The prognosis is not so hot for dogs that have this.

So all of you out there that send me stuff, it is 15 days until Christmas and I can’t help you.   My interest is in hopefully being able to save my dog. Or being able to let him go if I can’t.

Right now I would be happy if I could stop crying.   So when some of you write to me and talk about things that are unfair, well sorry, I think this is grossly unfair.  So pardon me while I am a little selfish right now.

If you want a good rescue to donate to this holiday season there are two I recommend: Chester County SPCA and Main Line Animal Rescue.   And if you see an animal being mistreated, or one that has been abandoned, call the proper authorities and keep calling until something is done.  I don’t care if it is a hamster or a horse….abuses is abuse, neglect is neglect.

Please say a prayer to St. Francis for my Iggy.







Today is a sad day for me.  Today I had to say good-bye to one of my critters.  A little red-brown dachshund named Mr. Peanut.

Mr. Peanut entered my life with the oversized name of Eugene.  He was one of Bill Smith’s boys from Main Line Animal Rescue a few years ago.

When I rescued him his story was a sad one – he had been in a fire and abandoned by his humans.  As the story goes a kind fireman bought him to MLAR.  A miniature dachshund, he was even smaller when I rescued him.  And he had never had basic veterinary attention.  He was in fact, seven pounds and a few ounces and for his size, he should have been heavier.

He quickly wormed his way into my heart and the hearts of others in my life both friends and family.  He was a smart little guy and very vocal for lack of a better description.  He used to make this happy sound we called  “mrrrrrrrr”  .  My friend Barb always thought he would be a great children’s book.  Unfortunately, Mr. Peanut and I never got around to writing it.

As Mr. Peanut aged he lost both his hearing and his eyesight.  Yet for a good long while he adapted.  But in the middle of the summer he had a seizure and was never the same since.  The past few weeks he started to slide more and more down hill, barely able to walk, and when he did walk it was mostly in circles.  And although he was eating, he was losing weight by the day.

Today he told us it was time to go.  If you listen to your pets, they do tell you.  It is heart breaking when you accept what they cannot say in words.

I don’t think losing a dog ever gets easier, and I have cried buckets today, and will probably do so for a while.  But I always promise my pets I will never keep them around just for me, and I have never broken that promise.  Today however, was really hard.

Maybe this is not the best time to be writing this post because emotionally I feel so raw, but he was such an awesome little dog, he deserved a shout out.

So now my little friend has gone to the rainbow bridge.  I miss him already.

A final note is to remember that there are a lot of wonderful dogs like Mr. Peanut who need loving homes.  Don’t shop….adopt.  And support local rescues like Main Line Animal Rescue.

Mr. Peanut was 14.  He had a lot of fans.  Including a very special reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer who is one of my mentors.  This is what she wrote today…read with tissues:

Miniature Dachshund dies, his work on earth done Montco Memo/Bonnie Cook

Even the smallest dogs have a job to do.

A miniature dachshund named Mr. Peanut had such a job. It was seeing his owner, Carla Zambelli, a Montgomery County blogger, writer, and photographer, into safe harbor from life’s hard knocks.

There was something about that joyful, high-pitched bark and the dancing on little back legs that was consoling when he greeted you at the door, even if you didn’t know his story.

Lifted onto your lap, he would burrow into your armpit and fall asleep, a package of warm contentment.

Mr. Peanut did not have a good start in life.

Near as we can tell, Mr. Peanut was found by firemen abandoned outside a gutted housing complex in Norristown in the mid-2000s. His family simply never went back for him. The firefighters scooped him up and took him to Main Line Rescue, where Carla saw him and was smitten.

When the experts examined him, they found that he had never been given dog food, leash training, or any medical care. Most of his teeth were rotten and had to be removed. He spent the rest of his life taking antibiotics for various health problems.

Carla had some setbacks, too. Her personal life went south in 2010, and Mr. Peanut, along with standard dachshund, Iggy, were a tag team, helping her cope.

When Carla learned she had breast cancer, and mounted a fierce battle to beat it back, Mr. Peanut and Iggy were there. The tag team of rust-colored clowns never stopped being a force she could lean on.

Carla beat the cancer and created a new life in West Chester. His human was safe, his work on earth done, so Mr. Peanut began to cycle down.

Carla called us about a month ago, saying that Mr. Peanut was failing and we better come quickly if we wanted to see him one last time.

On a rainy Sunday, we went. Carla put Mr. Peanut in our arms, and he settled in quietly without the usual clamor, his graying muzzle and black nose resting on our elbow.

When Carla put him out to do his business, he could be seen circling the deck on determined little legs, the will to live still strong.

But even strong little hearts give out.

Last night, before the sun set, Carla and her life companion, a kind man named Ben, had Mr. Peanut put to sleep. The legs are still, the bark quiet

Rest in peace, brave little one.

love being part of this family

Yesterday I went to the “Smith Family Reunion” at Main Line Animal Rescue.  I love the place.  I have critters from there.   MLAR took the day to say hi and thanks to everyone who has rescued from them over the years with an open farm day reunion and picnic.  You could bring your critters if you wanted.  I actually met a pot-bellied pig named Miss Piggy!

So here’s the deal: they like many other no kill shelters, take the animals we as human beings throw away like trash.  All ages, all shapes and sizes.

Yes there are rules dealing when dealing with rescues because face it, they don’t want the pets who “go home” with new families to end up back in the system.

And even once in a while with all the precations they take, one of their dogs ends up back in the system.  I saw an example yesterday.  And it is not because the dog was a problem, it can all be chalked up to a  human trick.

This sweet female dachshund used to belong to a sweet older lady.  The lady had adopted the dachshund from Main Line Animal Rescue. The lady died and her husband plopped her dog bag in rescue.  While I am really happy that this dog came back to the rescue which placed her and knows her, I am really sad at some humans.  Pets are not so disposable.  They give us unconditional love, and don’t ask for much in return.

I toured the facilities and was once again amazed at how this rescue is a breed apart in so many positive ways.  First and foremost the site is clean. The runs are clean, the kennel is clean.  And the dogs for being in this kind of situation for the most part do not seem unhappy.

So that being said, if you are going to donate to a rescue, please consider Main Line Animal Rescue.

You can like them on Facebook too!

Over and out.