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Honoring the memory of beloved pets.
     
  EULOGY FOR BELOVED YANKEE
OCTOBER 31, 1992 – JULY 19, 2004

Everyone thinks that their pet is the cutest, the most remarkable – and so Yankee was. I couldn’t let her pass from this world without acknowledgement of her live and how she lived it.
I rescued Yankee on January 26, 1993 from the North Shore Animal League. This place was jammed with hundreds of dogs in cages. It was enough to break your heart. All of them cute. All of them barking and wagging their tails…” take me home and love me” – “take me home and let me love you!!!” All of them except for Yankee. She was laying quietly in her cage resigned, it seemed, to a life of no one wanting her. “I’ll take her,” I said. Because Yankee was a rescue puppy they approximated her age to be about 3 months, so I picked October 31, 1992 as her birthday. Every year on Halloween we would celebrate her birthday (she had a witch’s costume she would wear) singing Happy Birthday with a candle in a cupcake.
It became obvious shortly after I brought her home that she was sick. That was the reason why she wasn’t jumping up and down in her cage. She had pneumonia. After many vets’ visits, much medicine and round-the-clock nursing she finally got better, but it took a long time and a lot of money. Sal always said she was living on borrowed time.
When she was a puppy she was rambunctious and loved to chew my shoes. She trained easily, not having too many “accidents” in the house. We used to say she was dumber that a box of rocks, but that wasn’t true. She learned how to sit, lay down, crawl, and give you bother her paws. She responded to one-word commands I taught her. Steve would ask her “do you love me?” and she would bark once in answer.
If she was doing something wrong, I would make this sound with my mouth and her ears would get all flat and she would stop what she was doing. She knew she was being bad.
For her Christmas gift I brought her Butchie (the crazy tubby cat). She loved Butchie and carried him around in her mouth until he was too big he would drag on the floor. For the most part they were good friends, but they did have some knock-down drag-out fights. Sometimes she would sit on Butchie rendering him unable to move. If I told her to kiss him she would lick him to death.
As a mature dog Yankee weighed 70lbs – she was like another person in the house. She took up a lot of space and she always wanted to be in the middle of things. We were always walking around her or stepping over her. We learned no to take a step backward when we were at the kitchen sink because she always sat right behind your feet.
Yankee, also known as Sweet Girl, Tootsie Roll, Roly Poly, Girly Girly, Princess Yankee, Bubba, Big Yank, Yankala- but mostly just Yank.
She loved apples. When Steve took an apple out of the refrigerator she always knew and she would follow him and sit right there until the apple was cut and she received her share. She loved all fruits and vegetables in general. Last year we grew cabbage in our vegetable garden. Yankee got to them before we did and ate every single piece of every cabbage there. We put a fence up this year so that we could enjoy them (and, of course, share them with Yankee.)
She was strong as an ox, and sometimes stubborn as a mule. Yankee smiled- a lot. I’m not kidding, she used to get this dumb grin on her face. She was a lady and always sat with her front paws crossed. She was a rightie, always crossing the right paw over the left.
She loved to play with balls. Sometimes she would hold one ball in her mouth while she batted another one around with her paws. She always remembered which piece of furniture her ball would disappear under and when asked, “Where’s your ballie?” she would go right for it.
She loved to chew on rawhide bones, holding them up between her paws like they were hands. She loved having her belly rubbed. She was an equal opportunity lover; if Steve and I were watching TV in two separate rooms she would sit between the two rooms.
Whenever anyone would hug me she would get right in between us. I don’t know if she was trying to protect me or if she just wanted to be a part of the love. I could swear that sometimes she would try to talk, making a sound between a bark and a whine. I wish I knew what she was trying to tell me. I used to call her a “hairy beast.” Her hair was everywhere. It never bothered me. When there was no shade in the backyard, she would sit under the hammock. Pretty smart for a dumb dog.
She was very sensitive to your feelings, knowing when you were sad or sick. She would come over to you and put her head on your lap and look up at you with her soulful eyes. There was a brief time in my life when she was my only reason to get out of bed. She was the reason for my existence. I loved to kiss her in the spot right between her eyes. I would kiss her and then say, “Give me kisses” and she would lick me back.
She hated to get her feet wet, and walked around puddles instead of through them. She didn’t get along with other dogs. I don’t know why. She was very aggressive to them, not afraid to fight.
She wasn’t afraid of too many things, but she hated thunder and firecrackers. If it was thundering while we were outside, she would look up at the sky and bark. It was funny to watch her. On the rare occasion that she was scared, she would come and stand very close to me behind my legs. I guess we protected each other. She loved visiting Nonna and Poppa when vacation time rolled around. I used to tell her she was going to the resort.
She always slept on the floor on my side of the bed. In the middle of the night when I got up I would always have to be careful not to step on her. I am still stepping around her every night.
When Jessie came to live with us, I didn’t mind sharing Yankee with her. Yankee knew she needed a friend and followed her everywhere. In the two years that Jessie was here, Yankee would smell like cologne, have styling gel on her hair, and have all sorts of things tied to her. She pretty much let Jessie do whatever she wanted to her. They were inseparable. Jessie loved her. When Jessie moved out, she never visited without bringing something for Yankee, and when she left Yankee would stare at the door and mope around. Jessie was her pal.
She trusted and loved unconditionally. No matter what. She would let anyone into the house, but you couldn’t leave. She would bark at you when you were leaving, her tail wagging the whole time. She seemed to be saying, “Stay and play with me, please?”
It was Jessie who first noticed the tumor on her leg in 2002. It was a cancerous tumor. It wasn’t the kind that spreads, but it was removed and came back in the same spot. But that was the least of Yankee’s problems. Another tumor developed behind her left eyes. We saw a specialist in Red bank and she delivered the bad news; that even with surgery and chemotherapy the prognosis wasn’t good. This cancer spread into her lungs.
The last months of Yankee’s life were hard for her. She couldn’t breathe, she had mucous that dripped from her nose. She sounded like she was drowning all the time. She had a bad infection. She took a lot of medicine. The last two weeks of her life, she stopped eating- we couldn’t even get her to eat apples.
I spent the last two days of her life laying on the floor with my arms around her. I wanted her to feel comforted. I wanted her to feel how much I loved her. But it was selfish too. I knew she was getting sicker and I wanted to feel her warmth next to me.
Cancer hurts. I knew she was suffering, but she suffered in silence- never complaining of crying. We had an agreement that she would let me know when it was time. I couldn’t let her suffer. I didn’t want to let her go, but she could barely pick her head up off the floor. I made the hardest decision I have ever had to make. That morning I cleaned her up good, washing her face, her paws, and brushing her hair. I wanted her to leave this world clean and beautiful. When we got to the vets office she didn’t want to go in. She was pulling me in the other direction. Maybe she was scared. I couldn’t blame her. They put her on a pink blanket. She looked so beautiful. She was sitting up and the veterinary assistant was holding her while the doctor shaved a piece of her leg so he could give her the injection. I was praying Hail Mary’s the whole time. I was holding her face and kissing her. He gave her the shot and I knew she got scared because her eyes got so wide. Two seconds later she was gone. She died staring right into my eyes. I will never forget that. She took a piece of my heart with her when she left. They left me alone with her and I cried over her familiar furry body for 15 minutes. I didn’t want to leave her but I had to.
Yankee was cremated and we plan to sprinkle some of her ashes in an apple orchard. We think she would love that. She was the perfect pet, a good girl, the best companion, and a friend. She operated purely on love and trust- giving and receiving. She was a happy dog and a kind and gentle spirit. She always made us smile and laugh. Our house is quiet now, without the jingle of her chain and the click of her nails on the floor. No one greets me at the door when I come home- it feels strange. She is missed. I hope that she is at peace now and I hope she knows how much she is loved. I pray that when my time comes our souls will be reunited.

Goodbye Yankee- my sweet girl.

 

Our “Annie Years”
July 9, 1993- March 13, 2007

Dressed in a blonde fur coat, our Annie was gentle, sweet and always smiling. There was never a person that met her that didn’t love her. She was beautiful, inside and out, and she captured your heart with her ever-wagging tail.

Her joy in life was to be around people. She had that “Pet Me”, “Hug Me”, “Love Me” look in her eyes. Even strangers would walk right up to her and kiss her. Annie’s sweetness showed right through her shining black eyes and adorable face.

She graced our home and our lives for nearly fourteen years, the years we now call “The Annie Year”. Then one sad morning she left us behind to become the angel in heaven that she always was on earth.

Our Annie was a blessing, a gift from God, and we will always cherish her memory. We are comforted by the knowledge that all our Annie ever knew was love.

Thank you for loving our Annie and for sharing in our sorrow.

 


Dudley

Before I proceed, I will let you know that I lost my little prince to aggressive rapid onset lymphoma on September 11, 2007. Crushing, heartbreaking and way too soon.

My poor little bulldog, 2 years old….I’ll start at the beginning. It was May 15th, 2005, I had just lost my first bulldog at the age of 11 and my heart was broken, but since Dustin lived a little beyond the life expectancy of a bulldog, it was not unexpected. So, on May 15th, a little silly looking “bulldog” walked into my life carrying a stuffed hedgehog that he cuddled with until the end. His first two owners in his life of three months could not keep him. I couldn’t imagine why someone would want to get rid of a cute little bulldog like him.

So, I adopted Dudley and we began to get to know one another. What a pistol he was. He did some really funny things. The first time I set his bowl of food out, he performed a ritual that he continued every time he ate. He backed up, shook his head around and then ran over to his food. It was show time anytime anyone new was at the house and it made us chuckle every time. When he went out on the front lawn to play fetch, it wasn’t the ball that he wanted, he would rather go for a flower pot. If Dudley was around, hide your flower pots regardless if they were empty or full. If they had dirt or flowers in them, he dumped them over and proceeded to run around with the flower pot over his head and often covered in dirt. And did I mention his big ears? He had floppy ears that I grew to love. I started to get insulted when people asked me if he was a bulldog. I would say yes, and he was just a little taller than usual with big ears. Being that he had that extra height, we thought we were lucky and he would not have all the ailments normally found in the typical-looking bulldog. In fact, were it not for his AKC paperwork, if you got a good look at him, you would have to question if he was a full bulldog. Who cares anyway. He was beautiful and we loved him.

Dudley had three homes where he was welcomed and loved. He had my home, and he stayed many weekends at my daughter’s home and my boyfriend’s home at the Jersey Shore. He had a bed was at home and was comfortable in each of these places.

Unlike usual bulldogs, Dudley loved to go for a walk every day. The minute I walked through the door after work, he was ready to go. I tried to teach him to get his leash and he knew what I was talking about, but never came back with it. Instead, he would run to the leash and look back at me as if to say “Here is the leash, same place as always”. During his first walks, he picked up every little thing and if there was an empty water bottle out there, he found it. It drove me nuts but I would give anything right now to take him for a walk. When we took our walks, Dudley was a neighborhood celebrity. As part of our walking route, we would pass a grammar school where the children adored him. They would clamor around him to pet and get kisses from him. He obliged every time and went from child to child. As a matter of fact, their mascot was a bulldog and they got a kick out of that. He loved the attention and was clearly sad when we walked past the school when the children were not there. But he knew there were more kids waiting on our route. We also passed a local grocery store and deli during our walks and Dudley knew that slices of cheese were waiting for him when he passed. It got to the point where he would stop in front of the store and wait to be “served” his cheese. Sometimes they were closed and it took much prompting to get him to leave.

When we sat in front of our house, which has a fenced in front yard, my neighbors would all stop to say hello to Dudley and pet him through the fence. Again, he always obliged. Dudley also had his circle of canine companions. His “girlfriend”, Bailey the Westie, lived a few doors away and when he saw her, he would sit patiently at the corner of the front yard closest to Bailey’s home until she came to the gate. He would then either go out to her or she would come in the yard and they would gently play with one another and nestle nose to nose with one another and share kisses. Dudley and his buddy Braxton,the Beagle, would roughhouse it any time they were together, wrestling with one another and rolling around in the snow, dirt and mud (usually after he just had a bath). Dudley also had a few older canine friends, Millie, Marty, Capone, Petey and Jack, who, although a bit more reserved, would tolerate Dudley’s friendliness.

Dudley went for boat rides, wearing his custom life vest and riding out on the front, like he was the captain, dignified and stately. He loved to play ball. The little girls across the street would come over and teach him to play soccer, what a good goalie he became. At his “shore house”, he had a basketball that he would chase around and guard. Just before he got sick, he got the chance to show off his soccer skills with the teenage boys next door. They were kicking the ball around and when he ran out there and took over, one of them said they wanted Dudley on his team! He was not allowed on the couch and it was hilarious to come home and catch him “red handed”. He had an unusual way of sleeping, he crossed his back legs and then kind of put a front one over them. Again, quite silly. If he went to bed without his little hedgehog buddy, he would come right back out of the room and get it. Sometimes we knew he was forgetting it and we would wait for him to come barreling back down the stairs and get it and head back to bed. Recently, we came home and, before entering our house, we watched him through the window. We knocked on the door and he started to bark. He then ran to get his stuffed hedgehog and set it down next to him. Now the question is, was he protecting the hedgehog or was that his security?????

And so it went. Dudley was a part of the family and he gave more than he ever took. I was happy to have my goofy little bulldog and looked forward to many years with him. I taught him several tricks and he was a quick learner. He learned to sit, give his paw, go down and “hide his face” in his paws when he did something wrong. He also knew my whistle and instinctively ran to me every time I whistled to him. It was fun to watch him grow and experience his life with him. He eventually even learned to speak. It took him a while but he got it. If he knew how many cookies speaking would have gotten him, he would have learned sooner.

Then things changed.

In hindsight, the changes that occurred to Dudley made sense, but at the time they did not raise any significant concerns. First, he seemed to slow down. He still was bright eyed and happy, but he was reluctant to take walks and play in the yard. When he napped, he would moan or whimper sometimes, and he would lick parts of his body, seemingly without reason. Since he looked and acted happy, did not show any distress and still had a good appetite we did not think there was any problems. We took him to the Vet, who said that, outside of some extra weight, he was in good health.

On July 24th, Dudley began to throw up and had diarrhea for several days, two vets believed he had a simple bug and prescribed antibiotics and supplements. When his symptoms persisted, his regular vet, Dr. Lisa, advised us to see a specialist, who confirmed our worst fears. Cancer. Stage-5 lymphoma and there is no Stage-6. We were told that he would die in weeks if not treated and, if treated, they could beat the cancer into remission but Dudley would only live one to two years at the most.

Dudley's oncologist, Dr. "Kaz", assured us that he would have a good quality of life if treated and chemotherapy-related side effects could be managed with medications. We decided to treat him and see how things progressed, understanding that we would not let him suffer if the treatment was too hard on him.

He received chemotherapy and, after one-week, he was nearly in remission. He was happy and eating well and the light was back in his eyes. We were elated to have our little guy back, at least for a while. The next few treatments went equally as well and the side effects were minimal. We did not delude ourselves about his prognosis but were becoming more and more optimistic that Dudley would at least live to the far end of the vet’s prognosis. Dudley actually looked forward to going for his treatments. While all the other pets nervously awaited their turn, Dudley pulled us right to the exam room. I’m sure cookies waiting for him was a part of that.

All was going well until September 8th when Dudley began to fail. Dudley began to have a dull look in his eyes and he was panting and could not get comfortable. More alarming, he would yelp out in pain if you touched his face or neck and was weak on his feet. Something bad was happening. We rushed him to Dr. Kaz’s office and a preliminary diagnosis was not good, most likely spinal or brain cancer. It was explained to us that even though the cancer in his lymphatic system was being arrested, renegade cancer cells can roost in the brain or spinal cord, resistant to the chemotherapy Dudley was receiving. On September 10th,, we were prepared to stop Dudley’s suffering but the vet suggested an alternate treatment that might work, in conjunction with a neurological consultation. We were doubtful but willing to try one last course of treatment. On September 11th,, Dudley was examined by the neurologist and it was his firm belief that the cancer was, in fact, in Dudley’s brain. Any treatment would delay the inevitable and Dudley was now reduced to having “good” hours and “bad” hours. The choice was clear but not easy. We told the vet to stop treatment and to keep Dudley comfortable. We had to stop his suffering.

So, at 4:45 pm on September 11th, we said goodbye to Dudley. I chose not to be in the room when he was euthanized and left the task to my boyfriend and son-in-law. They told me that the end was fast and the process did not cause Dudley any additional discomfort. Dr. Kaz, who Dudley grew quite fond of, was gentle and caring as she spoke to him with his head in her hands. My boyfriend, who loved Dudley as much as I did, held Dudley in his arms when the end came. I find some solace in the fact that Dudley’s last experience was gentle petting, and kind, soft and reassuring words. He deserved no less.

During the short time that I had Dudley, I was taken by his boundless energy, relentless kisses, quirky mannerisms, and everything that made him up. Flower pots, water bottles, hedgehogs and balls!

His love was unconditional and his brief stay on this earth lightened my heart, making his passing so much more poignant. I treasure the time we had together and miss my little fella’ with all my heart.


Dear Friends and Family;

Abby isn't suffering anymore.
Kathy is doing well and appreciates that her tears are
stemming from the joy Abby gave her through the last 15 years. She found the following poem a comfort. It was written by Rudyard Kipling


A DOG FOR JESUS

I wish someone had given Jesus a dog.
As loyal and loving as mine.
To sleep by His manger and gaze in His eyes and
adore Him for being divine.

As our Lord grew to manhood His faithful dog, would
have followed Him all through the day.

While He preached to the crowds and made the sick
well and knelt in the garden to pray.

It is sad to remember that Christ went away

to face death alone and apart.

With no tender dog following close behind, to
comfort its Master's Heart.

And when Jesus rose on that Easter morn, how happy
He would have been, As His dog kissed His hand and barked its delight, for The One who died for all men.

Well, the Lord has a dog now, I just sent Him mine,
The old pal so dear to me.

And I smile through my tears on this first day
alone, knowing they're in eternity.

Day after day, the whole day through,

Wherever my road inclined,

Four feet said, "Wait, I'm coming with you!"

and trotted along behind.

Rudyard Kipling