616Money1stfotodec2017The beautiful Monet -- I thought we'd have her forever -- a sweet, living reminder at that "feral kittens" aren't always so feral and they don't always hiss at humans.
We never heard her hiss at us. During her treatment, though, on days when she was doing well, she'd hiss at the vet who was about to take her temp. Who wouldn't? Right?
 But then sweet Monet would purr, accept some loving petting and cuddling from the vet and get on with her day of trying to recuperate. [On the right, that’s my first photo of Monet in December 2017. She came to visit me as I 616Monetstretch2018was working in the front yard flowerbox. She was among the kittens born in the feral colony we tended to for nearly 20 years — we finally got every tabby fixed. You know how they can keep showing up. [Her stripes, vivid in that March 2018 photo on the left,  faded as she left kittenhood and were replaced by muted black and gray strips with yellow accents, like the flowers insinuated by Monet's brush in a scene of water lillies. Almost matched her eyes. It was just after that when Monet decided to come into the house -- I opened the front door and she walked in. No fear, no alarm. The dogs said, "Oh, ANOTHER cat?" The cats said, "Here's the food, let's take a nap."]

Bless those folks at Bridge Street Clinic for taking care of our girl as she faced what became a really challenging situation. And, you know, they nursed us along, too. Very comforting as we all endured this mystery illness.
I'd have written this tribute a lot sooner but it was the surprise ending that knocked me over. Never happened before like this. Fate is mean. Our cats always make it well into their teens and one 616Monettmarch23018-- Cyril, a tuxedo fellow Martha got before we married, was a documentable 26, having begun life in Lampasas in the 20th Century.

My rescuespouse Martha and I were with Monet at the end, both petting her gently as the relief from pain arrived via a silver needle. This time "euthanasia" lived up to its name, saving our girl from needless suffering. Monet had been at the vet's for several days this time -- her second extended visit.
She was only a little over 4 years old. We've never lost a cat that young. [Our cats always make it well into their teens and one -- Cyril, a tuxedo fellow Martha got before we married, was a documentable 26, having begun life in Lampasas in the 20th Century.]
Monet's challenge began this way: There was evidence that she'd been -- when no humans were around -- eating thread from Martha's sewing room. We took her to the vet. Tests were run, behavior monitored, medicines applied. She seemed to rebound with acceptable "movements" and a return of appetite. Her "labs" were good. 616Monetbc2017And, after several  days we brought her home where she gave us firm signs of the "ol' Monet" returning.
But suddenly she was not herself. Not interested in being with anyone. We immediately took her to the vet. This time, she underwent abdominal surgery to clear out the intestines and look for unexpected damages (none found) -- she'd continued eating things she shouldn't eat.
Post-surgery, there was evidence that she was perking up. 
She always had an uplifting personality. As you can see from her photos, she might have some Tabby tendencies. But her eyes, in the right light, are golden. And her coat is an accumulation of artistic brushwork -- as if the namesake artist had said from Above, "Hey, St. Pete 'n' Y'all,.." [I like to think Monet could have been a Texan] ... "Let me take the brush to the coat on this one -- people will admire her beauty." And we did admire it.

She shared Martha's office with another former feral, Esme, who has been in the family for maybe 10 years. They got along -- today, you'll catch Esme looking toward Monet's old sleeping spots as if she's trying to find her friend.
616Monettthepenisusal20191I know how she feels. I still see the shadow of my Cocker Spaniel Inky in dark rooms and I'll check before I sit in an easy chair to make sure the big spirit of my Great Dane/Lab mix Hammy hasn't claimed it first. But Monet, well, missing her is different. [That's her on the right, greeting the household insomniac at about 3 a.m. with a reminder that cat treats are served at all hours!]
She was steady. She had a special joy at being picked up and cuddled. She didn't complain when I turned her over and rubbed her tummy. She simply looked up with those fantastic eyes and knew she was going to get extra treats and a hug.

If a human was in the kitchen, Monet's place was on the "peninsula" dividing the cooking area from the breakfast nook.

We thought she was going to make it. But, suddenly, she was hiding under chairs and couches and in bathroom closets. She quit meowing for treats. She'd get her 616Monettthegang2019food, pull out some with a paw and nibble the bits off her toes. But that was it. She wouldn’t eat.
Surgery had cleared out obstructions and during post-op-recovery she seemed to head toward being the "Old Monet" but it was a brief illusion.
As it turned out, our beautiful little girl was the victim of an ugly ailment -- some kind of lymphoma. She'd been responding to pain and misery by eating things she should not eat.
[In that group shot, you see Monet at her station on the kitchen peninsula, in the upper left corner, the young boy Simon, then the big guy Texas Earl the Cheeseman (our Rottie), drinking water is Wendy and sitting  below Monet on the floor is her roommate, Esme. I'm so glad we have this image of these pals in one photo.]

On June 5, Martha and I were with her, holding her and petting her and talking to her as the "medicine" did its business. Her magnificent purr was powered by despair and, we could see, 616Monettthepenisusal2019appreciation that familiar hands were holding her. Maybe we gave her some comfort; maybe she trusted us to help her.

Yeah, you had two tearful people saying goodbye to a beautiful cat who was everything you'd expect from a feline companion -- purrs, happy greetings, comforting moments — a serene presence as you read a book or watched TV or marveled at nature’s miraculous souls. [That's Monet during an insomnia session in the 2019 Christmas season -- wide awake in caseI needed to rub the tummy of a kittycat.]

A week later, I went back to the clinic to get her ashes. The beautiful box -- one of many we have -- came in a white paper 616Monetbox1bag with handles. I put it on the car seat next to me and drove toward home. At the first red light I thought, "Better check and make sure the name is spelled right." 
I pulled the bag open and looked in to see the wooden box with the silver inscription "Monet" and I had to pull over until I 616Money1stfotodec2017could see well enough to drive. That little cat with the fabulous coat and the beautiful eyes and the gentle heart was still with me.
 We simply did not expect to lose that girl when she was so very young. And I wanted to post that beautiful kitten's photo one more time as we address the purpose of her life.
Maybe Monet's life -- from unwanted feral colony kitten to beloved housecat -- will remind people to give these little beings a place in their hearts. 
For the benefit of mankind, learning to be loving to all species is a good thing.
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Such a beautiful face, such a beautiful soul. And, Becky Dodge, the veteran animal advocate, in this tribute, tells us the wonderful story of Meli. Becky’s words, written this week:

Meli, the Honey Lady, left very suddenly a week ago today, on the morning of the 16th. The vet said it could have been Screen Shot 2019-09-24 at 9.51.54 AMeither a sudden massive stroke or perhaps a brain tumor which grew extremely fast. In either case her temperature and respiration couldn’t be controlled and she was completely unresponsive even to pain and it was best to let her go on her last journey.

She was 14, a Shepherd mix, with perhaps a little Chow in there someplace. When I met her in 2014 she was about 9 or so and her kennel name was Reba. To me that just did not fit but I kept thinking that she looked like all the gold/amber shades of honey, everything from very pale to medium. So that is where her name came from - ‘Meli’ is a Hawaiian word meaning honey. And she was like honey in temperament as well, gentle and patient with other dogs in my home who were a bit more on the anxious side. She even allowed the annoying one, an 8-month-old Min Pin who was dumped at my door to cuddle with her.
 She LOVED to run, she and a dog next door spent lots of time pacing each other up and down the fence line. She pranced she was so happy when running. It was a real treat watching them since neither ever tried to outrun the other. If one was leading he or she slowed down to keep pace with the other. They both took obvious delight in the ‘races’ until age caught up with them but even as they slowed and the run became a trot it didn’t stop until their legs couldn’t support it any longer  I think that it was after her adoption that she discovered squeaky toys and she carried a yellow one with her often around the house. …

Screen Shot 2019-09-24 at 9.52.11 AMThat picture is one of my favorites. Because of the big age difference Zoe could be a bit annoying to the older dogs in her energy level, etc. Meli was about 10 years old and Callie was 11 when Zoe came to live with us.
Zoe was only 8 months old then so you can see that a high energy little dog could occasionally become annoying when the older ones wanted to sleep.
However Meli, even though she did get annoyed some at Zoe's energy, she was also extremely patient as Zoe wanted to cuddle with someone at nap time.
I have a blurry photo which I didn't send of Zoe licking at Meli's mouth the way puppies do with older dogs. So in some ways their relationship was as if Zoe was a young puppy with her mother.

There was also this dignity about Meli that gave her a special air in her meetings with people and other dogs. Even age and increasing health problems couldn’t take that dignity away from her.
It was as if she saw it as her job to make sure strangers were comfortable before she approached to greet them. It was as if she were saying, "Hello, come in, be comfortable, I’ll formally greet you later." However she couldn’t tolerate the neighbor’s cat coming into HER yard and as long as she was able she gave chase. I miss her way of putting her head on my lap when she wanted affection and even her way of backing off after she had enough loving for one session.  I also miss how she would come into the bedroom every night to say goodnight before going back into the living room to sleep (I never could convince her that sleeping in the bedroom was a good thing). I’m going to miss that gentleness and patience and her love of being here with me and the other dogs for a very long time.

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Screen Shot 2019-08-21 at 8.31.03 PMDeborah Lynn Verner, the veteran rescuer, has been pulling animals out of tough spots for many years.
This girl Gretchen was one of her triumphs — the sweet momma dog of years ago has now gone on, having fallen victim this week to constantly painful arthritis in her hips.
On Wednesday, Deborah wrote, “Gretchen, 10 yrs and 2 weeks ago I rescued you from that property in Seagoville. That was 1 week before you had 11 beautiful puppies.

“I felt so bad for you then, because you would see me leave with 1 or 2 puppies at a time Screen Shot 2019-08-21 at 7.02.16 PMas they got sick from distemper — only for you to never see them again.” 
[LARRY ASIDE: That mugshot is of one of her surviving pups, Chester, who turned 10 on August 12. Deborah continues…]

“Now, Chester pup has to go through that — being without you, his Mom. I know Cheyenne will be looking for you too. She knew you were in pain, always giving you kisses.
Screen Shot 2019-08-21 at 7.00.50 PM“It is estimated that you are 12-13 years old, given that Chester Pup came from your second litter of pups.
“You were the sweetest girl, and I'll miss you!! I love you!! Run free without pain now. You are reunited with those 9 puppies that died.”
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Those of us who never held or hugged Callie can relate to the loss Becky Dodge of Weatherford, Texas, reveals in this loving tribute she wrote for this very special friend.


    Callie, the one who never wanted to leave has gone on her last unavoidable journey. She left on Monday. 

    This house
and yard were her safe zone, where she was sure she was safe and loved and because of that she resisted going anywhere.
520calliebeckydodge2019    She knew what it meant when I got a leash out and called her. Instead of coming to me at those times Callie went the other direction -- out the back door and I had to go get her. She told me by her actions that NO, she DID NOT want to go.     

    The world had been a VERY scary place for Callie before she started living here. She was sleeping in a garage across the road from my place on a dirty piece of foam and getting fed there, but it was not her home. The man told me that when I approached him about Callie limping. 
She had cut the pad on one of her rear legs almost 1/2 - 3/4 of the way through and it was badly infected. I spoke to the man about it, saying that Callie needed to go the the vet. He said “she’s not my dog”.
I tempted her into my back yard with some cookies and took her to my vet. She was TERRIFIED but at no time did she ever make a threatening move. It took 10 days of antibiotics and bandage changes before the foot could be sewn up.     

    That was in Spring 2005 and Callie was about a year old.  So for her the world was a very scary place.
Callie was a lover of running, chasing and jumping at the shadows of the hawks and vultures. She DID NOT want them landing in HER yard. She was protective of me and the other dogs in what she considered HER kingdom. It was her self-appointed mission. 

    As she got older she stopped trying to catch the shadows of birds passing over but even recently she still patrolled the fences to make sure everyone she loved was safe and protected. She was shy but friendly with visitors, always the last to approach but once that initial meeting was over friendly and inquisitive about what that person wanted and who they were.
She loved sleeping next to the bed, couch or chair and even at the end of her life was still following me from one room to another. If I was not where she expected when she woke from a nap she came looking until she found me. What she wanted most was to be where I was, the rest of the world came behind that.
She was smart and stubborn like most heelers and, although she had arthritis and kidney disease, until last week seemed to be tolerating her health conditions well, even the pancreatitis she had earlier in the year. After that she slowed down even more but until last week still doing a little trotting around.

    I think that in her stubborn way she decided last week that she was not going to do this any more. On Wednesday evening she stopped eating and it was obvious she was hurting. That got worse as the rest of the week progressed and on Monday I took her on that final trip. 

    Even with the other dogs here the house feels empty without her. I miss seeing her next to the bed, curled next to the couch, and in the cubby under the computer desk where she wanted to be when I am on the computer. I look at all her favorite places and see her there.”



[Dianne Cole Hall, longtime contributor to,  is dedicated to the animals in the life she and Mike share. She's also a longtime rescuer of animals that get dumped near Mountain View Community College and Dallas National Golf Club in Southwest Dallas. This is her tribute to the dear dog Abby. Written from the heart.]


My sweet, precious Abby crossed the Rainbow Bridge Tuesday afternoon, May 14, 2019, and I know she was welcomed into Heaven by Cisco and Lady. You see, Cisco and Lady raised Abby…not me and Mike.

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 1.02.55 PMI purchased Abby for $50 in the parking lot of a Walmart in Mesquite, TX, Thanksgiving weekend 2004. A couple were selling puppies that had been born in October and I made the mistake of looking at them…not with the intentions of buying one, but $50 later she went home with me. Needless to say, Mike wasn’t too happy as we already had two perfect dogs…Lady and Cisco…so why did we need another? Lady and Cisco were a bit skeptical of this little black ball of fur in the beginning, but they rose to the challenge and raised this sweet baby and showed her the ropes. I was told at the time I bought her that she was part Irish setter and part lab. Well, she grew up to look just like Cisco, a big black lab, only Abby was a smaller version of her big brother.

Of all the dogs I’ve had, and I’ve had many over the years, Abby was the easiest of all to raise. She just followed Lady and Cisco’s lead and everything came easy to her. She was smart, funny and loved attention, but she hated the camera and never liked dog toys…she was an “old soul” in a puppy’s body. Whenever I pointed a camera at her you’d think I was going to beat her. LOL! She was NOT photogenic by any means and she loved her personal space.

She was crate-trained and learned early on that any time she went into the crate she’d get a treat. In the mornings as I was gathering up my things for work, she would hear my car keys jingle and run and get in the crate and wait for her treat. We kept her crate in the kitchen of our little house and one night as I was cleaning up, I noticed that she was in her crate…it took me a few minutes to realize that she was waiting on her treat! She just thought if she went in there and sat down one would magically appear in my hand for her. LOL! When she got to the age that we didn’t think she needed to be kept in a crate when we were gone, she didn’t know how to eat a treat since she wasn’t in the crate. However, it didn’t take her long to learn!

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 1.03.42 PMShe NEVER liked to be outside…EVER. She would let us know when she needed out, but as soon as she finished her “business” she was ready to come back in. If we didn’t let her in right away, she’d walk around the patio table and come back to the door, and repeat the process until we let her in. She would stay out on the patio if I sat out there in the afternoons, but while the other dogs would be roaming around the yard, Abby would be standing on the patio panting and waiting to go inside. She would knock you down trying to get in if you opened the door for any reason. She never would lay down and relax on the patio like the others, but she’d stand there all day if I stayed outside with her.

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 1.04.21 PMIn July of 2015, I had to help my sweet Cisco cross the Rainbow Bridge at the age of 14. Abby was his “mini me” and grieved his passing as much as I did. She had always been close to Cisco and Lady, but Cisco was the one closest to her heart. However, with Cisco’s passing she turned to Lady, but 8 months after Cisco crossed, we had to help sweet Lady cross just shy of her 15th birthday. Needless to say, Abby was lost. Before Cisco passed I had rescued Lil’ Bit from a golf course by my work. Shortly after Cisco passed we adopted Dice, a year old, black lab/Great Dane mix. Abby had accepted Lil’ Bit and she learned to tolerate Dice, but in all honesty she was never the same once Cisco and Lady left her.

Mealtime was her favorite time of day and I KNOW she could tell time. She always knew when it was breakfast time at 5:00 a.m. and dinner time at 5:45 p.m. Even on the weekends she would wake me up at 5:00 a.m. for breakfast and then would happily go back to bed once she ate and went outside…though by then I was wide awake. Mike and I would joke that she was probably saying a few choice words in her head in the afternoon if, God forbid, I was later than 5:45 p.m. getting dinner down for them.

Abby never liked riding in the car. In fact, she would have severe seizures as soon as I put the car in gear. The seizures got so bad as she grew older that I would have to pick up a sedative at the vets office the day before and give it to her an hour before we left the house…sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. We almost lost her at the vet’s office one afternoon when she had a seizure and because of that, the last few years I didn’t take her to the vet for her shots, etc. Our vet understood because Abby never left our house or backyard to be around other dogs and she very seldom would interact with anyone that came to the house for a visit.

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 1.04.58 PMShe had developed many skin tags and bumps on her body over the last few years; a tumor by her tail, chronic ear infections and a terrible order that no amount of bathing would diminish. I spent a small fortune on her getting meds for her ears, trying different foods and shampoos, but nothing ever worked. The last couple of months she had started drinking water by what seemed like gallons and she would pee in the house (something she NEVER did) if we didn’t let her out frequently. Luckily, Mike works from home so he could see that she went out often, but there were times we just could not be there so I would have to mop when I got home (lucky that we had tile floors), but the tile floors were hard for her to get her footing and stand up on. Her appetite was diminishing…sometimes she ate, sometimes she didn’t, but she wasn’t as enthusiastic about eating as she had been. However, the was always up for a “treat”. If she wasn’t sleeping she was pacing and panting, or endlessly scratching. She wanted to be close to us, but didn’t want us to pet her at all. She would sleep on the floor by my side of the bed instead of on her doggy bed.

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 1.05.26 PMOver the weekend we made the hard decision to help her cross over. I cried all day Monday and picked up the sedative to help relax her for the final trip to the vet’s office and sat on the floor with her a long time that final night loving on her and telling her what a sweet baby she had been for so many years. She knew…she was tired and ready to go see Lady and Cisco again. I know in my heart it was in her best interest…to let her go while she still had some dignity, but it was a hard decision and one I hope we don’t have to make for another few years.

Abby, your Mom and Dad, and two sisters, Lil’ Bit and Dice, miss you with all our hearts. You will forever be in my heart, and I know you, Lady and Cisco will be waiting for me when I get to heaven.
Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 1.05.57 PM



Betty Lou Combs
3/2005 – 01/28/2019

[LARRY NOTE: Our dear friend Diane Combs lost her little girl Betty Lou to the challenges of old age on Monday. This is the tribute Diane wrote. You’ll see that it took circumstances and a “village” to get Betty Lou into the right lifetime home.]

In 2007, on a Saturday, I had to have my 16-year-old Jackpot put down. The very next day, my 14-year-old Jingles died in the ER from congestive heart failure. I was so emotionally drained by Monday, I had to take a day off from work; however, being animal lovers, my bosses totally understood.

129bettylouAfter that, I started being on the lookout for another dog. Having gone from five dogs down to three in such a short amount of time, the house felt empty.
Being an SPCA of Texas volunteer, I reported for volunteer duty on a Saturday in March. Gloria – volunteer manager – knew what had happened to Jackpot and Jingles and also knew the types of dogs I liked. My shift was at a PetSmart in a town about 30 minutes north of Dallas, but I didn’t see any of the dogs there that I had a “connection” with.
Gloria told me that on the previous day, James (SPCA President Bias) had taken a small terrier mix – approximately two years old – to one of the TV stations to be featured on the SPCA spot, and that she was scheduled to be at the PetSmart in another town (30 minutes west) on the day of my shift. Gloria released me from my shift duty so that I could go check out that terrier mix.
When I got there, I immediately saw her sitting all nice and quiet in her cage while all the other dogs were yapping away. She looked very cute, and one of the other volunteers who knew me let me take her out for a walk. 
That volunteer told me that four people had seen her on TV from the previous day and had come to meet her but for various reasons had not wanted to adopt her.
Her cage card said her name was Jinx. That name was so similar to Jingles, I felt it was a sign that Jingles had somehow guided her to me and me to her. I signed the papers and called Gloria who said, “Oh I’m so glad. It was meant to be.”
She lay on my lap all the way home except for the 2 or 3 times she sat up to lick my face. James told me later that he had stopped with her on the way back from the TV studio at a fast food drive-through. He said “I probably did something I shouldn’t have. I gave her a couple of my fries, but she was so good in the car, I thought she deserved them.”
I re-named her Betty Lou after my mother, Betty, who was at the time in the beginning to mid-stages of Alzheimer’s. 
Even though Betty Lou was estimated to be two years old, she never went through the terrible twos. From the day I got her, she was always a very sweet and good dog. She will be missed.
SO – To James…Thanks for choosing her to be on TV.
To Gloria…Thanks for letting me leave my shift to go look at that TV dog.
To those other four customers… Thanks for turning her down.
And thanks to you, Mom. I’m sure your memory problems are now gone and that you helped Betty Lou get over the bridge safely once she arrived up there.

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Our oldest dog, the girl we’ve had the longest time, died during the night — probably sometime early Tuesday morning. Annie is the only dog has raised from puppyhood.
Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 6.22.08 PMTuesday morning, we found her on her bed in her favorite position. One paw slightly pulled back and resting comfortably. [I caught her napping next to Martha's chair a few weeks ago -- you see how she liked to hold her paw!]
The irony in this sad event is this: Having nursed her along for a year or so, we’d decided it was time for her to go on, to avoid any more struggling to her feet or pain.
Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 6.02.08 PMOn Monday, based on what we were seeing, we’d made the decision. Annie had a 2 p.m. Tuesday appointment with her vet.
She hated going to the vet. Always had to wear a muzzle. The girl born under a storage shed in 2004 had rules. Only certain people could touch her and only when she was in the mood to be touched.
Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 6.04.29 PMAt some point Tuesday morning, the clever girl dodged the muzzle and is now — trust me I’m typing this with tears — running free like the young pup she was for so long. [My technospouse Martha created that colorful artwork of the middle-aged Annie.]
We got Annie as a puppy — rescued from beneath a storage shed at a neighbor’s home down the street. Was she “into everything”? We used to kid that she thought Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 6.19.43 PMher name was “ANNIE, NO!” [That's little Annie in a paw match with our late beautiful cat Benchley.]


I asked my rescuespoue Martha to write about Annie. Here is the warm and lovely story of how this dog came to be so loved. Martha wrote:

Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 6.06.12 PM“Annie was a very smart and loving dog who lived with painful hip dysplasia for much of the last decade of her 15-year life. [That's 2018 Annie on her bed -- she needed help, sometimes, to rise.]
“Where she had played and tormented her packmates as a young dog and clowned and made us laugh, as an older dog she was cranky and irascible and got into a few fights her body could ill afford. I think she longed Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 6.01.13 PMfor the animal and human camaraderie that her pain prevented, but her reputation was such that everyone gave her a wide berth, including us. She would bite the heck out of you, even if you were trying to help her. [That's 2017 Annie with Earl the Rottie -- they're being watched by Wendy who is sitting in Martha's lap while all watch TV.]

“For a decade, we never could touch her body except a little bit on the top of her head (when she would come over and briefly display the white flag). She was a trooper, she was brave and smart, she had a sense of humor, Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 6.07.10 PMshe loved a soft bed and a saltine cracker. [That's Puppy Annie exploring under the watchful eye of Nicki, a spirited little mix and the first dog Martha and I adopted about 26 years ago when Martha found her at an adoption event on a parking lot. We had NIcki 12 or 13 years. She was not that hefty -- she tended to fluff dramatically after a bath!]

“Annie had to have special food and lots of medications and she fought like hell to avoid treatment for a persistent ear infection, getting in some nips despite the necessary muzzle.
Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 6.00.21 PM
“For years, at least once a night, hearing the tap of her toenails on the floor required one of us waking and rushing her outside. Then, a few days ago, days ago Annie stopped eating — refusing food and medication and finally even water.
“We dreaded what we might need to do because for her the vet’s office was a place of terror that could not be safely attempted without muzzle or knock-out pills — and we did not want her last moments to be filled with fear. Last night, as she lay on her favorite bed, after a tough day of trying to stand without falling, our exhausted Annie let me pet her for as long as I wanted, wherever I wanted. During the night, she slipped away, protecting her humans' hearts without so much as a bark. Good girl, Annie.”


So, you see, Dear Readers, Annie was a shared experience. 
At our house, we live with the gentle, loving Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 6.06.45 PMspectres of cats and dogs that occupy our hearts and once occupied our house. Annie is still a presence. 
[There she is helping Marha practice on the harp!]
She was probably the last surviving offspring of Calamity, the dog who is in the photo atop the opening page of Calamity, who I tried to catch for nearly two years, lived throughout our neighborhood and refused human companionship. Then, she had puppies — the only litter we knew of — under the storage shed. Her maternal instincts allowed us to get the pups and, when she came to visit them in their cate at the shed, we got her. 
My brother took Calamity and she became a family legend for her devotion to Garry and my sister-in-law Brenita. Four members of Calamity’s litter found homes. But it was our hearts that Annie Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 6.04.02 PMfound. We had not intended to keep her. But, sometimes, intensions are overcome by the nature of the dog! (I’m not the only person who has experienced this. I mean, geez, look at that laughing face on her!)

Annie was a beautiful puppy — mostly white until she matured. Her mother was predominantly silver with black hair. Annie was mostly black and gray when grown. 
When she was little — about 6 or 7 weeks old — she was stricken with some puppy illness. I stayed up with her all night. She appreciated it, I think. 
Rather than sit with us on a couch, she preferred to lay across from us and watch, as if we were about to break from a herd and it was her job to run us back into the corral.
 She’d romp with the other dogs. She’d chill with the cats. When you came home from work, she’d greet you with Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 6.07.53 PMresounding grown-up barks of happiness. Maybe she was anticipating treats. 
And every morning, when we were feeding the dogs, she and Porche Noel, another of our neighborhood’s foundlings, would have a bark-off, then dash through the house and, still barking, go to their respective feeding areas and chow down. When Annie finished, Porche would come over and re-lick Annie’s dish for her.
My theory of dogs isn’t that they “go to Heaven,” my theory is they “go back to Heaven.” They are of such good and decent souls that they can only have come from Heaven in the first place. Annie will be the dog sitting on the edge of the Field of Angels and just daring one of them to try to break from the flock. That's the little angel and one of her admirers.

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This is a memorial for a little cat in a neighborhood, in a place that was safe. Then, it wasn’t. The memorial was written by one of our animal contacts who is upset. 
It could have happened in any neighborhood in North Texas. Probably has. And that adds to the shame of the horrible act in a neighborhood in Carrollton.
Here is what our upset friend wrote:

“My Gallant Warrior

820catinhouse“I never knew your true name.  You came in the night like a shadow.  You lived outdoors for many years safely.  You were a beautiful neutered (tipped ear) gray, semi long haired, bushy tailed low rider cat.  You were the perfect cat.  You never hissed, bit or scratched.

“The neighborhood should have been proud of the excellent hunting job you were doing.  The job God put cats on this earth for.

820catonsteps“On the early morning of August 9, two unGodly people chased you with a dog, cornered and brutally beat you to death.  I am so sorry I could not have saved you.  You were trying to get back to the safety of my yard.  They blocked you from doing so.  I know you fought hard to the end my gallant warrior.  

“One of my dogs and especially my little cat who adored you are depressed and look out the window for your little face to appear to them.  You were loved and respected.  Please remember us, as we will remember you.  
Requiescat in Pace, my little one.”

--- Comment by emailing ---


Terry Lynn Fisher, the longtime determined and resilient animal rescuer in Burns Flat, Okla., has been enduring a loss this 614stubbyweek: The great Stubby is gone. But he has left his pawprints on her heart.
He was 16 and had grown ill and infirm and it was time, Terry Lynn decided. 

Terry Lynn’s email address is remembering_oddball It is a tribute to a dog she lost many years ago -- a dog that was with Stubby one fateful day in Burns Flat. The incident inspired Terry Lynn's soul to embrace animal rescue as the mission of her life.
Here is Terry Lynn’s tribute to Stubby: 

614granddaughterandstubby“I wanted to thank everyone for the kind words and thoughts and prayers as I had to make the hard decision to let my Stubby pass.
“As I said before, he was born to a dog we took in, so I had him from the day he was born, March 14, 2002. He was actually with Oddball the day she was gunned down in the street...The evil person aimed for Stubby as well, but he ran home too fast.

“It hurts so bad, but I know he is no longer in pain. He runs free again, like he did as a young, healthy dog.

“I am so thankful I have people I can write about 614stubbybackhomemy feelings and heartache to that UNDERSTAND the pain. Thank you for being there for me ...

“He is back home... where he belongs.”

The first photo is of Stubby at home. The second, Terry Lynn says, “is my granddaughter, Ellie Rose, laying with him at the vet before we let him go.”

The last photo -- well, that shows, as Terry Lynn says, Stubby “being back home.”
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David and Della Wallace have saved so many, many dogs. 

When they lose one, it is a blow to the heart.

829dellasmillieWhen they lose two, it’s stunning to their souls.
 Della sent this photo of Millie in David’s lap. It’s a photo of two long-time pals taking it easy -- each comfortable with the other in a world where beings need comfort.

But last Thursday they lost Millie. And just a few days later, they lost Blue.

After Millie died, Della wrote, “We are so upset!!  Our precious Millie went to the Rainbow Bridge yesterday morning.  She was about 18 years old and we found her when she was about 3 months old wandering and lost.

"We had her for about one year when she confronted a bat that turned out to have rabies. Fortunately she didn't touch it.  From then on she was known as ‘Millie, aka Bat Girl.’

“She had just had her usual breakfast at about 10 a.m. when she just fell to the floor, dead. 

"We were with her when it happened and tried to revive her, but to no avail.  We miss her very already and the other dogs are looking for her too. “

829dellasblueA few days later, Della and I had a conversation about the deaths of these members of our families. About 20 minutes later, she texted, “You won’t believe this: Just after I spoke to you, David called to tell me that Blue had just died! Blue is a dog we took in after my friend, Lou, died last year.  I think he was about 12-years-old.”

That’s Blue in the blurry photo. David told Della that “Blue had been “acting ‘very old’ “ just before he collapsed.

David and Della have two groups of rescues, totaling 13. The groups don’t mingle. They’re very careful with the dogs, their medical care and their diets. David and Della are rescuers. They give new life to animals who may not have one at the time.

But, sometimes, dogs just get old and “go home,” as we used to say.

And, as our friend Della writes, “It’s so very sad to lose any of them.”

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