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.”

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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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[Becky Dodge wrote this to honor her beloved Hershey (2003-May 31, 2017).You don’t have to read between the lines to see how much she loved this guy. Wednesday was the tough day. So was Thursday.]

Becky’s words about her dear Hershey:

"Hershey died yesterday. 

602hersheyinthechairThat handsome, lovely, gentle man had come to live with me a few months after I bought this house. 
He was a 90+ pound Chocolate Lab who twice escaped from the shelter here in Weatherford and both times came here.
The second time I let him stay. It seems that he had decided that this was his home.
He was about 18 months old at that point and a more loving dog I’ve never known.
He accepted everyone, people, dogs, everyone he ever met.

During his 14+ years I never knew him to even growl, except once when one of the other dogs tried to take a piece of kibble he dropped while eating. Then he growled once. 
Yes, his second favorite thing in the whole world, after people, was food. He absolutely thought that it was wonderful, whenever and wherever he could get it: bananas, carrots, apples, hot dogs, cheese and anything else he could find. 

During his first months here he could also be a real terror when bored, destroying a couch, all the venetian blinds, pillows, lampshades, trying to dig through the carpet and the doors in a couple of rooms when the door swung closed.

He also was a fence jumper and went on several unauthorized walks, always coming back here when he was done. 
Through it all he was loving to everyone he met and even at the end of his life maintained that same loving attitude.

Toward the end of his life he had severe arthritis and associated muscle loss in his hips which became so severe that he could no longer stand on his own. 
The muscle loss caused him to become incontinent and he was so obviously ashamed when it happened even though he could no longer control those functions. 

During his last few days I believe that he was telling me that it was time, he didn’t want to stay when the good periods were becoming fewer all the time. He repeatedly came over to me, wanted to be loved for a little time, then would walk away and then stop, look back and repeat that process again and again. 

He seemed to be saying that it was time to go. So, yesterday, after getting all of his favorite treats, we made that last slow trip to the vet where he left peacefully on his last journey. I miss him."


















What you see in this photograph is a partnership.

And we’re using it to introduce this memorial to a dog named Sheridan.

How did he get the name?
“We just liked the name Sheridan,” one of his humans, our pal Della Wallace told us. 

That photo? We got it late last year from Della.
210sheridandaisydavidShe explained, “Sheridan decided that David needed help tiling my new shower stall, so he volunteered.”

That was on January 2. 

On January 30, Della wrote, “Very sad day!!!  Our Sheridan went to the Rainbow Bridge this afternoon.  He was very ill and there was nothing they could do to even make him comfortable. We tried for two weeks but he was getting much worse.”

Sheridan left a hole in two lives, but the fact that he lived with David and Della also filled two hearts with the kind of love you get when you take a rescued puppy from one end of life to the other.

We’ve written about Sheridan before because he was a remarkable survivor. 

Della told us, “Sheridan is the only survivor of the 7 puppies born to Daisy in 2005.  Daisy was rescued from the pound [Dallas Animal Services] by Debbie Ferrell.  Deb was there, at the pound, when someone took Daisy in, full of puppies.  210daisyphotodellaDeb was at that time with A Different Breed and asked for someone to take a pregnant Daisy.”

[LARRY ASIDE: That is our only photo of Daisy -- we featured her in a July, 2008, edition of Let Sleeping Dogs Lie.]

Della says Deb sent out word she was  looking for a foster for a pregnant dog. So Della and David made what turned out to be a wonderful decision for a momma and a surviving son.

“We volunteered and Daisy had 7 babies, 6 of which died from seizures before they were 3  weeks old. We still have Daisy as she was deemed unadoptable as she barks all the time.  (Good thing we are in the country with no close neighbors).”

210sheridanantlersAs you can see from these assorted photos, Sheridan had a “closeness” with his buddy David.

Even putting  a big paw on his forehead while Callie, another rescue, was trying to nap. David may have been trying to nap, too.

And, there’s that one “seasonal photo.” Della says, “This is Sheridan napping at Christmas a few years ago. He was a good reindeer.”

Della says she and David had a funeral on the 31st for Sheridan. 

There were tears. There are some now -- anybody who’s lost a friend like Sheridan can feel it right in the heart.

But, when you think of Sheridan, think also of the life he lived -- a long-odds survivor as a puppy who grew up to be a reindeer and a helper and a member of the family.

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A tribute: LADY

[LARRY NOTE: Our pal Dianne Cole knows what it means to love. As many of you who have lost dear members of your family know, sometimes you just aren’t able to immediately press through the barrier of mourning and write. Your heart keeps the words inside. But, in time, you need to express, to explain, why you are missing someone so dear to you. So, from March 25, here is Dianne’s tribute to Lady, a loved soul.]

Lady, the Queen
July 1, 2001-March 4, 2016

“Three weeks ago today, March 4, 2016, Mike and I helped our sweet Lady, the Queen of the House, cross the Rainbow Bridge.  She would have been 15 years old on July 1st of this year.  

327ladyinthepillows“We adopted Lady from the Dallas SPCA in July of 2002 when she was just over a year old, the day before I was to have surgery on my right foot. I met Mike at the SPCA after work to adopt a dog…He had already selected Lady from their website unbeknownst to me, but she was a beauty and I fell immediately in love with her.  
“The SPCA had her listed as a Yellow Lab/Red Heeler mix and she had the best qualities of both breeds…loving, sweet, and very, very smart. She was beautiful…a reddish gold color with gorgeous brown eyes. 
“Mike and Lady left the SPCA while I stopped to pick up some doggy things for her and by the time I got home she had bonded with Mike and 327ladythirdpairwanted nothing to do with me…I was heartbroken…cried myself to sleep that night.  After my foot surgery the next morning I was confined to the house for 6 full weeks, on crutches with no weight on my foot and by the end of the 6 weeks, Lady and I had bonded; she became best friends with Doc, our old dachshund, and was the love of our lives. 
“Just a year after Lady came into our lives, Doc, crossed the Rainbow Bridge at the age of 18 and Lady was lost without him to mother, so we adopted our black Lab, Cisco, to be a companion for Lady.  

“Cisco came to us from a Lab rescue and Mike and I took Lady to meet him at his foster home in Ennis to see if they would get along.  They romped and played like old friends, but as soon as I brought Cisco home a couple of days later, Lady wanted NO part of him.  Again I was heartbroken and so afraid Cisco would have to be returned, but I was patient and after a couple of weeks, when Lady ‘allowed’ Cisco to get on the bed with us one night, I knew she had accepted Cisco and he was there to stay.  After that they became BFF’s…always together wrestling, sleeping, protecting their family, but Lady was ALWAYS the leader of the pack and never failed to put Cisco in his place should he get out of line.

327ladysunning“Lady was one of the most dignified dogs I had ever had.  On the very rare occasion that she had any kind of accident in the house, she would always find a throw rug to use and you could see how embarrassed she was when we found her ‘accident.‘  

“She absolutely LOVED water.  I can’t tell you how many times that I’d start running my bath and turn around to see Lady walking around in the tub enjoying the warm water…she actually jumped into the tub with me several 327ladyfirstpairtimes.  One of her greatest pleasures was being blown dry with the hair dryer.  
“Up until a few months ago, in the mornings when I’d wash my hair, she would come running from wherever she was in the house when she heard me turn on the hair dryer.  I would always take a few minutes to ‘dry’ her off…stroking and telling her how much I loved her (in all honesty I think that was the part she enjoyed the most…LOL!), and after a few minutes she was happy and would go about her merry way.  Many mornings as I got dressed, she would come into the bathroom and lay behind me as I put my makeup on.

“Lady loved being outside…anytime…cold weather, ice, rain…nothing bothered her.  She especially loved being outside when the weather was nice and sunny.  She would often lay in the grass in the sun until she became hot to the touch, walk to the shady concrete patio to cool off and then head right back to the sun to bake again.  I often told Lady that she really wasn’t a ‘lady’”…She’d watched Cisco hike his leg to pee and learned how to do it quite well when she felt the mood.  

“She loved babies of any kind.  Once we had a neighbor that had a small dog that had puppies and Lady would lay just as close to the fence as she could get and the puppies would come to her.  Abby joined our household at the age of 8 weeks old and Lady quickly became Abby’s adopted mother and Cisco her father…they were the cutest little dog family and Mike and I loved them so much. Lady was 12 and getting to be a bit crotchety when I rescued Lil’ Bit and brought her home to live with us, but Lil’ Bit was a small dog and Lady adopted her and treated her like a baby, but never failed to put Lil’ Bit in her place if Lil’ Bit got too rambunctious for Lady’s liking.  

“In the summer of 2015, Mike came home from work to find Lady immobile.  We rushed her to the vet and she was diagnosed with ‘old dog syndrome.’ … After a 327ladymiddlepairround of meds and lots of love and patience she bounced back to the Lady we loved.  Several months later she was diagnosed with doggy dementia, but handled it like the Queen she was.  Her hearing and eyesight weren’t what they had been and arthritis in her hips caused her to have difficulty getting up and down on occasion.  Though she had a great appetite she would often walk around the house like she had no idea of where she was and she would pant a lot.  Her love of the outdoors diminished and we would often have to guide her out the door where she would take care of business and immediately want back in.  

“Our precious Cisco crossed the bridge July 6, 2015, while Mike was in Houston.  I think Lady was lost without Cisco and in looking back I think she was often ‘looking for him’ when she paced around the house.  The end of February I felt in my heart that it was ‘time’ to let her go while she still had her dignity, but Mike wasn’t quite ready.  She had always been ‘his girl’ and I think the fact that he wasn’t here when Cisco crossed just made him hold on to Lady a little longer.  
“Three weeks ago today, Mike got home before me to find Lady unable to move.  In fact, when he left for work that morning and took her treat to her, she was lying on her bed and was in the exact same spot when he got home where she had peed on herself…something she never did.  
“I had just left work on my way home at 4:30 when Mike called to tell me he thought it was Lady’s time.  I called our vet’s office and explained the situation and made arrangements to come home and take her in.  Mike had been sick and was not able to life Lady into his truck so the vet waited until we could get there where we said ‘goodbye’ to our precious girl, Lady.  She had been so much a part of our lives for almost 15 years.  327ciscoandianneWhat a blessing she was and I take great comfort knowing that she and Cisco, her BFF for 13 years, are now together again on the other side…running and playing as they did when they were young.

“Lady and Cisco, Mom and Dad love you both so much…then, now and forever.  Tell all our other fur babies how much we loved them and we’ll see you all again one day.  RIP, my sweet girl….Lady, the Queen.  Lady is now home with us where she belongs.”


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Colonel Mustard, The Cat Who Found a Home & Hearts

317colmustandhisguyThis is a tribute to a cat who always had a place at the desk, as the photos demonstrate.
Debbie Bryan wrote this recollection of a former stray who, indeed, owned a home and hearts. Colonel Mustard died on Monday. Here’s Debbie’s story:

“Today we lost our precious Colonel Mustard after his battle with mast cell carcinoma. A huge vacant spot will be forever in our home and our hearts.

“Twelve years ago we moved into our home in Plano. I noticed an orange tabby roaming the neighborhood, and I thought, “I wish people wouldn’t let their cats outside.’ Over the next two years, this cat seemed to show up more and more in our cul-de-sac. He seemed un-kept, so I thought he was feral; he wouldn’t let anyone get close to him. The neighbor kids teased him and chased him.

“He began killing the birds at my feeder, so I bought cat food and lured him around to the front away from the feeders, talking to him. I noticed immediately that he had the brightest green eyes that locked onto my eyes as I spoke to him like he was looking into my soul. Over the next few months, I’d feed him on the porch and talk to him all the time he ate. One day, I put down his food and sat down on the steps. All of a sudden, he came toward me (for the first time ever). My thoughts were, ‘Great Debbie, now you have a feral cat headed toward you.’  He got closer, climbed into my lap, placed one paw on each of my shoulders and rubbed his face against my chin!  Well, he had my heart from that moment.

317colmustardface“After having him vetted (he already was neutered which I thought strange) we brought him in. Right away he seemed to ‘know the house,’ even to where a cat door had been put in before we bought the house. I told Craig that I bet the people we bought the house from just dumped him in the neighborhood.  The vet said that he was about 8-9 years old.

“Once this sweet boy got into the house, he NEVER would go outside again. We’d try to get him to go out back with us….He’d go to the door, look outside and make a u-turn! His residence of choice in the house was Craig’s office. Since Craig offices from the house, he was the official PI’s 317colmustardhelpingoffice cat…thus the name of Colonel Mustard.

“With good food and lots of love, he became a gorgeous 18-pound red-orange tabby with fabulous green eyes. When we would talk to him, he always locked onto our eyes and didn’t leave them until we finished talking. He was very vocal and always had something to say back to us.

“I always laughed because Craig would be at the computer and Colonel would be on his bed…until the telephone rang. He’d very quietly get down from his bed, jump in Craig’s lap (without Craig ever realizing it) and get petted as Craig talked on the phone. If he didn’t get the attention he wanted, he’d jump on the desk and knock Craig’s pens or paperclips off onto the floor until Craig reached to pet him.  Craig was definitely ‘his’ person and was his constant office companion.

“Craig often complained about his back hurting after a day at the computer…I walked in one day and saw Colonel draped behind Craig’s back from chair arm to chair arm…thus the cause for the backache!

“Colonel has been one of the best fur babies that we have ever had…he had quite a number of our friends and family who loved him and that he loved in return.  He adored our daughter-in-law Lisa, our sweet neighbor and ‘Colonel sitter’ Stephanie, and my good friend Marlys. He never failed to come when he heard their voices. Over the past year, our granddaughter, Hailey, would come into the office and he would climb in her lap while she loved on him…He was as big as she is!  They are grieving with us.

“Colonel suffered almost immediately from skin cancers which were surgically removed on 3 different occasions over the years. The vets thought that due to his exposure outside and his light skin, this was the cause. I noticed in March 2012 two hard knots on the top of his head close to his ears. They got bigger very quickly and when we had a needle biopsy done, we were told the terrible news that he had mast cell carcinoma and that 317colmustardsleepingit was not operable. We decided that we would bring our boy home and give him pain meds as long as we could keep him comfortable.

“In April, 2015, he made the move to our new home in Hideaway, TX,  and had taken over the house.  He had two bad battles with the disease causing him violent vomiting, but he seemed to come out of them with lots of love and prayers. Over the years, however, he had begun to severely lose weight due to the disease.

“Amazingly, with the medication and much love, he far exceeded the life expectancy he was given with this diagnosis. We gave him his meds religiously and he seemed comfortable. He never failed to be in the kitchen every morning when we got up and stayed with me if I was cooking. He became a total mooch when I made lunches…he loved the shaved turkey!  He was quite the trooper and never fought his twice-a-day pill schedule…he was such a love!

“Our sweet Colonel, you gave us 12 wonderful years. Go play now at the Bridge with all the other Bryan fur-babies and we’ll see you again. Tell them all how much we miss them.”
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MOLLY: A tribute to a dog who touched a rescuer's heart

This tribute on Prayers & Passages honors Molly and you see here her “before” and “after” pictures.
 The wonderful thing about taking a distressed animal from “before” to an obviously happy “after” is that before and after always add up to a "forever" feeling in your heart. 
It’s very clear in this 310mollybeforetribute written by longtime animal rescuer and advocate Deborah Verner (formerly Deborah Trevino.)
Molly was “helped to the Bridge” on February 23. 

Here’s what Deborah wrote: 
“On 02/18/13, Molly was rescued from the Garland Shelter, and she was in bad shape, with severe hair loss, skin infection, and low weight. She was in such bad shape at the time it was thought that she was going to be a hospice case to whatever rescue took her. 
“She was found as a stray in North Garland (Kingsbridge Road). So, it is unknown how long she was wandering the area prior to being picked up by Animal Control.  She was estimated at 12 years old by the Shelter. And, she was running out of time. When I saw her heartbreaking picture on the Garland Shelter FB page, I knew I had to help her.  I was able to get her with a courtesy rescue tag.

“Molly was 28 pounds when weighed at my Vet, showing she lost weight when at the shelter. She was 31 pounds upon intake at the shelter. She was HW negative, negative on intestinal parasites, negative on mange scrape test (but sarcoptic wasn't being ruled out completely yet). Her severe skin condition was believed to be an auto immune disorder. 

“She got a nail trim, parasite treatment, ear topical, ear wash, ear anti fungal medication, antibiotics, revolution treatment, prescription medicated shampoo, and bloodwork. The bloodwork showed low thyroid, which was thought to be the major cause of her severe hair loss, and the extreme thickening of her skin. There was no indicators showing for Cushings Disease. She was too underweight to be given shots, etc. Plus, she was to receive several small meals throughout the day. Her weight would  be monitored. If she din’t gain weight in a consistent manner, then more tests would be run. ... Malnutrition and low thyroid [were] ruled out as the cause to her condition. Her teeth were in good shape, and she didn't have any issues with arthritis. 
“Molly slept most of the time during those first couple of weeks at my house.
310mollyafterThe Vet flat out told me that if it was her, she wouldn't have picked Molly to rescue, given the shape she was in.  But, I proved her wrong.

“As she was slowing gaining weight, Molly appeared to have one mammary gland tumor, which became really visible since the weight gain. Her spine and hips no longer protruded at that point. And, you could tell she was feeling better. She was healthy enough to wrestle out in the backyard with Cheyenne and Bailey. She got along with everyone in the household, dogs and cats both.

“In May 2013, Molly finally had surgery for spay/mammary gland removal. Once they started the surgery, scar tissue was found, suggesting that she was already spayed. I had already noticed the tip of her ear had been removed, but no one put 2 and 2 together at the time.  I finally realized it after she was gone.

“Two months after being rescued, Molly's overall health was remarkable, considering how she was when rescued. Molly's skin  condition, along with her thyroid problem, was under control. By this point, she was fully vetted. She was spry thing, bossing all the big male dogs around. And, she was the sweetest girl. She was even known to give kisses at times.

“In early 2016, Molly started having problems keeping weight on, and started drooling blood from her mouth. Also, elevated bloodwork levels were also indicating the early stages of renal failure.

“On 2/23/2016, she was sedated so the Vet could get a look in her mouth to determine what the source of the bleeding was. When they went to incubate her, that’s when they saw the massive growths on the back of her tongue, which were bleeding and infected. They were swollen to the point of affecting her drinking water. It didn’t affect her eating whatsoever. 

"After I got the call, I told them that I needed to say goodbye to her, and went up there. 

“So, to end her suffering, she was put down...  I had her cremated, and her ashes are here at my house. I knew she was going downhill prior to that day, and knew it was coming soon, just didn't expect it to happen that fast. 
“RIP sweet girl. I love you and will miss you.”

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