RIP my sweet, sweet boy. I miss you and love so much!
Allen Park, Michigan
In her nine years of doing therapy work Misty made 1078 official visits, working right up until the week of her passing. Misty worked locally in Ocean and Monmouth Counties of NJ at nursing homes, libraries and schools. She also worked with adult day care and individual hospice patients. Misty also participated in many special events in her community to promote the healing power of therapy dogs. She guided many therapy teams on their very first visits out.
In March, 2008 Misty attained the honor of becoming a Bright & Beautiful Therapy Test Dog. She was also my partner in testing dogs for their AKC Canine Good Citizen Titles. Later that year Misty was selected to be a finalist in the national Milk-Bone Spokes Dog Contest. She was also an invited guest of Dr. Brian Voynick , appearing on his News 12 NJ Television Show “The Pet Stop”.
In February, 2009 Misty was honored with a special “Hall Of Fame Award” from Kindred Souls Canine Center for her outstanding therapy work. In September, 2010 Misty was chosen to be a Spokes Dog for Community Medical Center’s Annual Dog Walk For Cancer. Misty is also part of “The Hearts Of Therapy” Painting that proudly hangs by the Infusion Center at Community Medical Center in Toms River.
In July, 2011 Misty was awarded her AKC Therapy Dog Title, being one of the first dogs to receive this new title offered by the AKC. In June, 2012 Misty was honored with a very special “Therapy Dog REALLY Trrrific Award” from Bright & Beautiful for making her 1000th visit as a Certified Therapy Dog. In February, 2013 Misty and I were presented with a “Service Above Self” Award from the Point Pleasant Rotary Club in recognition of her service to the community.
It wasn’t all work for Misty. She enjoyed life to the fullest. In her “spare time” Misty enjoyed snuggling with her family and taking daily walks at the parks and beaches in Point Pleasant. In the warmer months she enjoyed cruising on our boat and swimming in Barnegat Bay.
Misty was truly an inspiration to others who have also adopted homeless dogs and given them a whole new life. Misty made the “magic” happen wherever she went. She brought such joy and happiness to so many people – and that happiness always came right back to us. Misty loved her work and I was so blessed to be her partner.
Carol Bardo, Point Pleasant, NJ
Murphy and Roger
Roger and Murphy joined B&BTD in June, 2013. Roger named his team: “Two Hearts Pet Therapy”. For over ten years, their two hearts reached out to thousands of needy people, in elder care facilities, special needs schools, health care facilities, hospitals and many rehab centers, homeless shelters. Roger was a purely kind and thoughtful man. His unselfish dedication to comforting others extended to all of us at B&BTD. Not a holiday would go by without a call and a card from Roger and Murphy to wish us well and bless us for our work and for facilitating the blessed work of his “4-legged Angel, Murphy.”
We mourn the loss of these two beautiful hearts.
Our hearts are broken.
Shari, Lynn, June, and Patty, 2013
June and Staff this is a sad, sad, sad day. Murphy my four legged ANGEL is now in HEAVEN.
I rescued him in February of 2003 and trained him myself. After he became a therapy dog and started visiting places. In time that’s where you seen him become a four legged ANGEL.
He visited Nursing Homes, Special Needs Children, Homeless Shelter, Battered Women’s and Children Shelter. Did Children Read To Dogs Program. Visited a school for children who were blind.
My four legged ANGEL Murphy had powers and BLESSINGS, unconditional love with all of his HEART to bring each and every time. Joy, Happiness to make them feel better. And brighten there day. And would show them he LOVED cared about them by giving them a lick on the hand or cheek. Then he would with big brown eyes, look into their eyes. And then he would know they cared and LOVED him back.
In the 10 years Murphy has been a pet therapy dog. Could you imagine not just counting all he visited, but counting staff, families, friends, and others – Could you imagine the thousands upon thousands of HEARTS? That my four legged ANGEL touched? And LOVED, blessed them with BLESSINGS from HEAVEN above when he visited them.
Wow not only was he your four legged ANGEL but wow, wow, wow how lucky, thankful, was I to be his owner. To be BLESSED with my own personal four legged ANGEL. His paw prints will always be in my HEART. Will forever miss him. And love him with all my HEART. Thank you June and Staff for everything . God Bless you all always.
Love, one of God’s four legged ANGELS Murphy. (Two Hearts Pet Therapy) and Owner Roger Fitch, So. Rockwood, Michigan.
Our beautiful Lady was a surprise Christmas gift from our daughter, Kristine. Two days before Christmas, 1997, Kristine came into our house calling, “Mom, I have a surprise!” It was a 6 month old, very fluffy apricot, miniature poodle. Our dog, Princess died that September and Kristine did not want her Daddy to have Christmas without a loving dog. Kristine sat under the Christmas tree with Lady in her arms, waiting for Dad to come home from work. That evening our son, Larry and Kristine gave her the perfect name, Lady.
Lady was so well behaved even as a puppy. We were always asked “how we trained her.” I would reply THAT all we did was give her lots of love. Our friends called Lady a stuffed animal that came to life. As a puppy, Lady would wait for everyone to say hello to her. She would cry if someone walking by did not stop to say hello. I knew she would make a great therapy dog.
I worked as a paraprofessional in Special Education at Wilson School in Sayreville, NJ. Our principal loved dogs and Lady was always invited to visit our 4th grade students. Lady even led the Halloween parade in a costume as a bumble bee, our school mascot. She loved getting dressed up. She was so patient and would sit on my students’ desks so I could take their picture with her.
When I was transferred to the Middle School, Lady again would visit our former students who were now 7th and 8th graders. She always remembered where our classroom was. A few years later, I was transferred to our High School and Lady and I even had some of our students again. They would tell me how they still had their picture of Lady and themselves on their wall in their bedroom. How proud Lady and I were when our students graduated high school.
Lady was a Bright and Beautiful Therapy dog for eight years. We were trained by Wendy and Terry Wojtaszek, who were parents of one of my former students! We visited 2 nursing homes each month. The patients loved when Lady would wear one of her beautiful dresses. We also visited Raritan Bay Hospital. While my own Mom was in assisted living, I made a birthday cake for Lady with the patients, for weeks they would talk about Lady’s party and her birthday dress.
One of Lady’s favorite visits was an after school reading program. She loved to hear the students read. Lady even had her picture in the newspaper with one of the students, as Lady was getting ready to give her a kiss! Lady went to heaven on July 31, 2012, one week after her 15th birthday. Lady and I want to thank Bright and Beautiful for such great memories, as well as our dear friend, Marie Colasanti and her therapy dogs, Jake and Angel.
On a bright, sunny day I look to the sky and think of my beautiful little girl (as I often called Lady) sitting on a fluffy, white cloud.
Owned and handled by Kristine Schultz
Patrick, my 2nd Irish Setter and therapy dog have gone to join our other Irish therapy dogs Rocky and Andy. He was a small boy, the best little boy anyone could ever ask for. We adopted him in 1999 and thought he was about 6 months old. He lived to age 13, which we are happy for that. Also, he passed away in my arms, which I feel a deep connection to him for that. We do rescue and now have a Spinone therapy dog, but those patients just loved the beauty of the Irish. He visited Eastern Star Home in Finderne, NJ for 6 1/2 years from 2001 to 2008 and spread joy to all. He marched in St. Patrick’s Day parades and was the joy of my life. He will truly be missed by many.
Loved by Deanna and Phil Cuchiaro
Marcella Russo, Randolph, NJ
Roxy was a couch a potato with lots of love for everyone, even strangers. Although quite intimidating by her looks, she was a mush with a heart of gold. Her best trick was to sleep. Roxy was cute and lazy, but she perked up when her vest went on showing everyone that she was a therapy dog. As you can see in her picture, she was quite a lady. She often sat watching what was going on around her with her front paws crossed. She definitely loved us all
The first time that I met Cash he was one week old. I met Cash again when he was 6 weeks old. I was not looking to add another (4th) dog to my family, but this little guy just would not stop following me. Part of why I did not want to be chosen by this puppy was that I had my 12 year old Shepherd, Jasper and would not want him to feel displaced.
Jasper was always by my side and at night had a bed right next to me. Jasper never let anyone there until Cash came. Jasper moved over, sighed a sigh of relief, and gave Cash his bed. Almost like he was passing the torch of who would look after me. Jasper and Cash shared this duty for another year and Cash has diligently watched over me from the time of Jasper’s death at 13 to his own death also at 13 years of age.
Cash was almost always with me and when he was left at home he got into trouble. He amused himself by jumping the fence and crossing four roads to visit everyone at the nearby Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital. I found out that he literally went in the doors, got his therapy dog cookies and went all through the building without me. He came home and jumped back in the yard and I did not know about this schedule of his for quite some time.
Cash was unique; he would never eat shellfish and had a high pitched bark and he would bark like crazy whenever we got close to a favorite area of his. He loved the monthly township meetings even though he had no interest in politics.
For most of his life, Cash was a search & rescue dog. He could be directed to platforms across a field and would remain on them until directed off. One time at a demonstration he ran into a horse field, scattering all the horses, as they ran, he starting barking up a tree, he paid no attention to the horses but knew his target was up the tree in that field. One time we had to carefully remove him from a loaded 9mm pistol used to kill the snow covered woman who shot herself.
Cash had a special gift of caring for all living creatures. He began to assist me in missing pet searches because the dogs were just gravitating to him. He became known as a magnet dog. Even lost cats seemed to trust him. Cash also helped me rehabilitate many troubled dogs with behavior issues. His calm confidence gave courage to these dogs, several just short of euthanasia.
Cash will be missed by me and so many others. He had many friends both two legged and four legged and I could ask Cash to babysit a puppy or a child and he always took these tasks to heart. Cash could be trusted with any creature no matter how small, he was just a gentle giant. He would come to puppy class and all the puppies would just climb all over him.
True to his nature, even in death he was so easy. In the morning we took a walk at the park. He was with me all day. He died very suddenly in the early evening with me sitting next to him. He was never sick or in any pain. He just quietly left us.
This ends a 13 year “pissing match” between Redd and Cash who grew up together and literally went and peed on the same bushes daily trying to outdo each other even as each got so old and had to struggle to get there. A respectful rivalry of two grumpy old men.
10. A TV STAR AT 6 WEEKS OLD
In 1999 the TV show DATELINE did a show on puppy mills, showing the wrong and right way to buy a puppy. For the wrong way they showed some puppy mills and for the right way they went to HAGARS kennel and showed his litter. Of course he was the star of the show ( even if you couldn’t tell which one he was) What a ham.
9. GOOD LOOKING
He was such a handsome pup and he grew into a 100 pound leading man. Everyone commented on what a good looking dog he was.
8. A LOVER
They say that Goldens love everybody and that was certainly true in his case.
Whether an old friend or a total stranger, he’d stick his nose in your groin and wag
7. A DILIGENT WORKER
From puppy kindergarten to disaster training, he always did what he was asked to do and always with his big golden smile.
6. 911 HERO
In 2001, HAGAR spent 16 weeks at Liberty State Park, at the Family Assistance Center in Jersey City. What an unforgettable experience that was. HAGAR was the favorite of the FBI, and he was invited back for the one year later remembrance ceremony where he was in the Honor Guard.
5. DISASTER DOG
Hagar passed his disaster dog training, and went on several exercises, always ready to do his bit.
4. MEDICAL HEALER
In over 10 years he brought a lot of comfort to many people in nursing homes and hospitals. In St Luke’s in 2009 a Doctor saw us in the hall and mentioned that he had a patient who was in a coma for over a week and didnt respond to anyone. He wanted to see if the dog could elicit a response. Helen took the womans hand and started to pet HAGAR. Within 2 minutes she was awake and talking. ” I don’t like dogs ” was the first thing she said. We looked for her the next week but she had been discharged. Beat that, Dr. House!
3. ALL AROUND GOOD GUY
Friend, protector, companion, heart-warmer and cuddler, what more could you ask for.They say a dog’s tail is attached to his heart, what a busy heart this was, WAG, WAG, WAG all the time.
2. TROOP GREETER
Some of our favorite pictures are of HAGAR at Ft. Dix greeting the troops returning from Iraq. Some had family to welcome them, some had none, but they all had HAGAR.
1. OUR FRIEND
The number one reason we loved him is because he was our friend, part of our family, part of our life, part of us. We are richer for having known him and being loved by him. I guess maybe things in Heaven are a little upsetting now, things being what they are down here. GOD probably needed a smile to cheer him up and said “get me a Golden, wait, better still get me HAGAR.
Helen & Dave Anger
Paul J. Volpe
ILP 99803, Cuchiaro’s Dandy Andrew, CGC/Therapy dog
Our Dandy Andy left us yesterday to be in a better place. He joined our family 9/1/01, a gentle giant. He was officially adopted by us on April 12, 2002. We traveled from CT to PA attending rescue parades and hunt tests, he always preferred the folks with the donuts. Andy lived and loved to eat. He became a therapy dog on 9/29/02 and was such a ham, everyone loved Andy. From the 4-H dog club who visited to the girl scouts. We attended Halloween parades, St. Patrick’s day parades and the annual Pooch parades. In August 2010 he was retired from pet therapy, his back legs started to give him trouble. We had a portrait done of him and he ended up in many books over the years. He gave us over 9 years of unconditional love, he swam, he was the Big Bad One, Andrew James when in trouble. He loved his toys, bread, his pear tree and joining me at work. He has been in the Irish Setter Club of Colorado calendar and was volunteer of the year at the nursing home he visited for 8 years. He had his favorite spot on the couch and would bark if anyone was in it. We miss that big boy and know he is in better place. He passed on his own of old age. He loved his visits to the chiropractor. He never did get many gray hairs, a fountain of youth, his legacy will live on. We thank you all so much for allowing him into our lives, he will be remembered always, forever in our hearts. Life is Good, Cherish Each Moment. They never live long enough.
In addition to search and rescue, Kacy was a certified Therapy K9. Starting at 13 weeks old he began weekly visits to approximately 40 patients at The Wood School in Langhorne, PA. Regardless of how Kacy served, he won the hearts of children and adults he met along the way. His presence will be dearly missed.
Some of Lady’s proudest moments were when she received her Canine Good Citizenship Certificate, passing her pet therapy class and receiving her little red bone stating that she was a member of the “Bright and Beautiful Pet Therapy Dogs”. She proudly graduated from basic and novice obedience classes. Whenever she climbed a ladder, walked a plank, etc at agility she had such a look of accomplishment on her face. She kept up with all the bigger classmates. Her true love was going to visit her friends at Wayne View and Lake View nursing and sub acute care centers. She went weekly for almost 9 years and brought smiles to faces that hadn’t smiled in quite some time. That’s really what she did best … put smiles on faces 🙂
We had a gut feeling she was having more problems as time went on but she fooled us by being as spunky as she could and always with her tail wagging when anyone came by. Her love for people was so strong that she kept her tail moving and would run to anyone to say “hello”.
Last night (and thank God Laura was here) she started staggering sideways and fell over. Laura rushed us to the vet . As I held her I could feel fluid running in her chest area. I knew at that moment I would be saying good bye to the sweetest fur baby there ever was.
At the vet’s, Jim looked at her and immediately took her and put her on oxygen and lasix, Dr Cattiny told us we needed to take her to Fairfield Vet Emergency. Doc said I could go home and get ready. He wanted a half hour to try to stabilize her for the ride.. Laura took me back 20 minutes. ( I believe Doc knew lady had a short time and wanted to me time to prepare myself)
Dr.Cattiny was letting me know Lady was in grave danger. He didn’t think she would make it to Fairfield. I told Doc that I rather she die with folks she knew and loved at PLAH. Then Jim, our vet tech, rushed in with Lady wrapped in a towel and told me to hold her as she was going on her own. Lady made her own decision. I didn’t have to. She died in the arms that loved her and the last words she heard was that it was ok and how much she was loved by so many. An embolism and blood clot that came on so sudden took a precious life from us.
How strange is Divine Intervention? Lady waited till we came back from vacation, we took a puppy home (and this little one will help us through this tough time), Laura just came over and took control. She took care of me and the situation. Having my niece Laura with me was a true blessing and most consoling. The staff on duty that night were the ones we knew the best. My neighbor Soya was with the puppy and stayed with me and Laura and that certainly was a very big help and most supportive. Most important, to me, was that Dr. Cattiny was there. He was a tremendous help through such a heartbreaking time. I needed to draw from his strength and compassion.
Lady didn’t suffer, it was fast, and she left an estate of toys, etc to her baby sister. To us she left memories that could only make us smile . Her costumes, dresses, silliness and aloofness.
Her paws will always be wrapped around our hearts but we must go forward now make a happy life for our new puppy “Honey”
Thank you all for loving Our Love.
Agnes Romelin, Riverdale, NJ
She brought joy to everyone she met! She loved swimming, eating, walks in the woods. But mostly she loved people. Over the years, she brought lots of smiles to the staff and patients at Raritan Bay Medical Center as well as the residents and staff of Greenbrook Regional Center. Molly was always making people smile. Everywhere we went with her; people would stop, pet her and reminisce about dogs they too loved. The neighborhood children just adored her. We will think of her fondly and remember the joy she brought to the lives she touched.
We miss you every day!
It was a crisp Spring day when I came out of the little church in Absecon that Sean used to attend. We had just lost Rachael, the 2nd of our beautiful Rottweilers. Little did I know, as I was driving down the street, lost in my own thoughts, that my life was about to change forever.
On my way home I happened to see this hand-carved Rottweiler sign. It was safe to say, with a sign that beautiful, this was not some backyard breeder. Later on that night, when your Dad and I were on our way to the casino, we drove by the house where the sign was, just to see if we could see a name. Yes, there it was – “Ray Hurley”. Needless to say, I could hardly concentrate on the Blackjack table, all I could think about was the Rottweiler sign and Ray Hurley.
Early the next morning I tried to call Ray, but his number was unlisted. I guess, in Ray`s mind, if you were really interested in one of his puppies, you could take the time to come to the house.
After getting in touch with Ray and JoAnn, and meeting with their approval, your Dad and I sat back and waited for puppies to arrive. What we didn’t know was that you had already been born. You were actually at Little Flower Kennels in Massachusetts. So, it came as quite a surprise when Ray called one day that June and wished me a Happy Mother`s Day. It was actually Father`s day, but I didn`t care what day it was, I was just so excited to find out that you, and your brothers and sisters, were at Ray and JoAnn`s.
The first time I saw you, it was love at first sight. Ray had wrapped a little lavender ribbon around your neck and said he picked you out just for me because you had a mind of your own. I wasn`t sure what he meant by that, but, in the days that followed, I was about to find out.
Finally, the day came when we were going to pick you up. Ray told me that he had changed his mind and that I didn`t have to take you, I could take any puppy I wanted. I said, “No” – he picked you out for me, you were the one I was going to take. Then Ray informed me that if I hadn’t chosen you, he was going to keep you. At that moment, I knew there was something special about you. You were obviously Ray`s favorite little girl.
We decided to name you Scarlet, after Scarlet O`hara in “Gone With The Wind”. Your registered name was Whispering Flowers Alexis, a combination of Whispering Oaks Kennels and Little Flower Kennels. I chose Alexis because it was a classy name for a classy little girl.
The day we brought you home we decided to put you in the backyard and let your new big brother, Wiley our Bull Terrier, discover you. When you saw Wiley come out of the door, you puffed out your chest and pulled yourself up to look like a big dog. The closer Wiley got to you, the more intimidating he must have looked because you ran screaming back underneath the picnic table.
Wiley wasn`t quite as smitten with you as we were. He went to his crate and stayed there for 4 days, coming out only long enough to tend to necessities. Slowly, as the days progressed, you worked your charm on Wiley and he became your ever-present guardian. He was very firm, but gentle, with you. You so wanted to be the boss, but Wiley was adamant about you knowing your place in the pack.
I really wanted you to be an excellent representative of the Rottweiler breed. I wanted you to be the best that you could be, so, you and I set out to conquer the world – or so I thought. I soon learned what Ray meant when he said you had a mind of your own. I really wasn`t sure who was training who. I needed help – enter the picture, Barbara Carr.
We started out with private obedience classes here at the house. Barb would bring Bernie, her Ridgeback, one week, and Amanda, her St. Bernard, the next. You were a handful. I looked at Bernie and Amanda and thought, “There is no way you`re ever going to be that well behaved.” Time has a way of making things right. It wasn`t long before you were doing your sits, downs, and stays, just like Amanda and Bernie. In fact, years later, Barb always asked me to bring you to her obedience classes so that her beginner students could see that there was “LIFE” after Novice Obedience. For, after all, you were once my “wild child.”
Bernie, the Ridgeback, became your special friend. When you were much older and too dignified to put up with puppy shenanigans, you would revert right back to being a puppy yourself whenever Bernie was around. You would clean Bernie`s ears and roll around on your back in front of her. Bernie just looked at you with that disdainful look on her face, as if to say, “What a screwball.”
It wasn`t long before we decided to expand our horizons. Barb suggested I take you to John and Norma Simpson`s to see how you would do in agility. There again, the things the other dogs did amazed me. I couldn`t imagine you ever being able to go over a jump, go on a teeter, or go across a dog walk – after all, you were having trouble putting one foot in front of the other.
One day Norma suggested that we try to get you to go through the dog tunnel. Norma said she would hold you at one end of the tunnel while I got at the other end and called you through. As I kneeled down to catch you, I wasn`t prepared for you to come roaring through the tunnel like a freight train, hitting me in the chest and knocking me over backwards-you just kept right on going. Norma and I looked at one another and we knew in an instant that an “AGILITY STAR” was born.
We started agility training classes where you were known for running through the chute so fast you would rip the chute off the barrel. You would sail up into the air and twist and turn until you had yourself tangled up so badly we would have to untangle you. Most dogs would have been so traumatized by this they probably wouldn`t go near a chute again, but not you. You just looked around, as if to say, “Hey, this is fun. Can we do it again?” It finally got to the point where Lyn had to put 3 bungee cords around the barrel so you couldn`t rip the chute off anymore.
Ripping off the chute wasn’t the only thing you were known for on the agility course. It wasn’t uncommon for you to start a run, leave the course to get one of your toys, pop right back in where you left off, and finish the run as if nothing happened. You were extremely toy oriented.
On your very first agility trial, you received a 4th place ribbon, I was so proud. In spite of me, you managed to place. We were quite a sight. I never knew how much of an amateur I really looked like when we first started competing. It took me 10 years of training to learn what most people learn in one year, but you didn`t care, all you knew was that we were having fun – and have fun you did. Despite me, you managed to do quite well. In 2002 you were named one of the top 10 Rottweilers in the country in open jumpers. Once again, I was so proud.
You were 5 years old when I decided to take this one step further and try another venue. I heard that Bright and Beautiful was testing for therapy dogs at Allen Kennels in Moorestown. So off we went one Saturday morning. I had no doubt you were going to ace this test, and ace it you did! Again, I was so proud.
As soon as I received your license, I got in touch with Beth Mills. Her dogs, Missy and Rama, were also therapy dogs. We went to Terrance`s Assisted Living, Olivet School Special Education, and Petway School in Vineland. You were a hit everywhere we went. You certainly lived life to the fullest. You enjoyed being a therapy dog just as much as you did racing around the agility field.
I remember how we laughed at Terrance’s, because if the ladies weren`t awake when we got there, they were certainly awake by the time we left. You wanted them to throw your toy, so consequently, one by one, you shoved your toy at them. Some of the ladies did think it had just a little too much “dog-lick” on it, but how could they refuse you? You were just too persistent. I remember how Teri`s husband, John, came to Terrance`s to see you on his days off and how Jill would come over from the other side – just to see you!
I remember how apprehensive Roselle Nicherson was when Beth Mills told her she had someone with a Rottweiler who could take Missy`s place in the Special Ed class when Missy and her family moved to Olean, NY. Beth assured her you were fine and it wasn`t long before you won Roselle`s heart and “WOWed” her kids with your expertise in the dog tunnel.
I remember taking you to Petway school and how Debbie, Leslie and Lori, and all the kids, loved seeing you do your “puppy push-ups” and getting you dressed up in your little outfits that no self-respecting Rottweiler should have to endure. You suffered through it all with quiet dignity.
You were 6 years old when we lost Wiley. We were all devastated, but mostly you. After all, Wiley had raised you from a puppy. But the future had a wonderful surprise in store for us. Mary Remer, Wiley’s breeder, placed his nephew, Ray Charles, with us. Now you had a job to do, everyone called you “The Warden”. When our whole family of dogs came to visit, you kept law and order. That was your job and you took it very seriously.
Then the inevitable happened, time has a way of sneaking up on us. You were 8 years old when I noticed a little sprinkling of grey on your muzzle. I thought to myself, “This can`t be!” You didn`t act old, you were still racing around at breakneck speed and acting like a puppy. Things that most Rotti`s at that age can`t do. I will have to admit, if I could just cover up that grey, I could forget you were getting older. But what the heck, I was getting older too, but I could cover the grey. It was still different. I didn`t mind getting old, I just didn`t want you to get old.
During the next few years, we continued to train at various places: Noah`s Ark with John and Norma Simpson, Allen Kennel`s with Lyn Gottshald, Wonder dogs with Sally Gitchner and we were still making appearances at Barbara Carr`s Novice Obedience Classes.
When you turned nine I decided to enter you in “preferred”, which would allow you to jump 16” instead of 20”. I also decided, since you were so notorious for breaking the start line, that I would go ahead and just let you break it. After all, how much longer could you run in agility – silly me! By the time you turned 10 I told Sally we were going to have to retrain you for the start line. There seemed to be no signs of you slowing down. I just couldn`t keep up with you. You had worked your way back up to the EX level in preferred and it was a whole new ball game. It took about 30 runs, and a considerable amount of time, before I could convince you that my way was better than yours.
Then you turned 11. We still had to try and make sure, if a Border Collie or Aussie was running ahead of you, that you couldn`t see them, because then you were really “off the wall”. You looked as if you were thinking, “I CAN DO THAT! I CAN DO THAT BETTER THAN THEY CAN!” You would just get so excited. It was about this time I had entered you at Aston. We were about to go up to the start line and I had forgotten to turn you so you couldn`t see the Aussie running ahead of us. I no sooner got your leash off of you than you shot over the starting jump and through the chute – without me, of course(someone remarked it looked like something out of a cartoon). You were going to show that Aussie you were just as good as he was. I remember some woman coming up to me and telling me not to worry you would grow up some day. I laughed and said, “I don’t think so”. She was surprised to find out how old you were. She thought you were about five years old.
I forgot to mention that somewhere around your 9th and 10th year, you were named 2 more times in the top 10 Rotti`s in agility – this time in Open Standard Preferred and EX-jumpers Preferred.
When you turned 11 ½ tragedy struck again, we lost our wonderful Ray Charles from Lymphoma. Your dad and I were heartbroken, you were inconsolable. For two weeks you laid underneath the table in the living room and wouldn`t come near me.It was I, that bore the brunt of your unhappiness, for after all, I was the one that had taken Ray from the house that morning – I just failed to return with him. Six months later, thanks to Mary, we adopted JJ from Glenna Wright in Arkansas. He was our 3rd Bull Terrier and, again, you had a job to do.
You were about 12 ½ DreamPark was open. It was only 45 minutes away. I decided to have Sally run you in Standard hoping she could get your Excellent A-preferred Title. I wasn`t fast enough for standard. I had gotten your Ex. A-preferred jumpers title , but that was easy. If only I had known we had so little time left.
It was around the 5th of July 2009, Sally had run you twice in Standard. I remember Mary remarking, “Scarlet`s going to run until she`s 14”. We were on our 2nd jumper`s run when you came to a dead stop at the 15th. “Jump”! I thought I had given you the wrong direction. I didn`t know there was something deadly growing in your toe. It wasn`t long after that you were diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Rottweilers have a terrible history of cancer, but you had lived such a long healthy life I thought you were going to escape this terrible disease, besides, you had been on the raw diet since you were two years old.
When we lost you my heart was broken, as was your dad`s. Everything just seemed so surreal. You had been such a big part of our lives. The finality of it struck me the day I opened the trunk of my car and there was your crate. I realized that never again was I going to run you in a trial. Never again was I going to watch you at the start line quivering with excitement, just waiting for me to say the word “go”. Never again was I going to roll over at night and feel your soft velvety ears against my finger tips. So many “never agains”. You were my little girl, my friend, my protector. You were my heart and soul.
On days that I feel my heart breaking all over again, I remember all the wonderful hours we spent together. I remember all the lives you touched. I remember all the wonderful people I met because of you. As Barbara Carr said, you were truly “one of the great ones”.
Sweet dreams my beautiful girl.
Your mom, dad, and little brother JJ, love and miss you.
We raised Velda until she was 13 months old, and she returned to Seeing Eye. Velda was rejected from Seeing Eye, and returned to us after several months of training. She was so happy to be back with us, and we were truly grateful to get her back! We knew she was meant to help people, so when I went to a workshop about Bright & Beautiful, I knew it was the right thing to do with Velda! She truly loved being around people! We visited a number of places, but her favorite was Milford Manor here in West Milford. She made a lot of friends there and will truly be missed! She will always be in our hearts and we thank her for being a part of our lives!
Velda passed away on March 23, 2009, but will always be with us in spirit.
Emma was a very special girl.
She did therapy work for 8 of her 9 years. She was one of our 9/11 dogs who spent weeks working at Liberty State Park (at New Jersey Family Assistance Center to help victims and families of those who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center) comforting families. She really enjoyed the reading program at the Library and visiting hospitals. She was always a wonderful Friend, my shadow. We really miss her.
From the moment I first saw the little black puppy in a litter of ten, I knew he was special. When he ran into my arms, it was love at first sight. As a puppy he was a challenge. No crate could hold him. He would tear the doors right off the hinges resulting in a characteristic crooked tooth. At the age of two he was playing with my brother-in-law in the dining room. Suddenly he backed up into a mirrored china closet severely cutting the artery and ligaments in his leg. Bleeding badly, we got him to the vet. He did recover but had a persistent limp and was unable to jump. I thought this was the end of his career in the AKC obedience ring. He still needed something to do. So knowing his love of children and people of all ages, I trained him and had him tested for therapy work. He was a natural. In his many years of therapy work he visited Caring Hospice, Special Equestrians, the Marie Katzenback School for the deaf, The Variety Club Summer Camp and quite a few other places. Thunder was a very impressive dog weighing 107 pounds yet he was one of the calmest and gentlest dogs I have ever seen. Not only did he love visiting with the students and residents but he also enjoyed all the other dogs, especially the little ones, in his therapy dog group. He even stood still like a bridge while the little dogs ran under him. Anyone who saw this trick was truly amazed.
A few years ago Thunder even made it to the “big screen”. He appeared in an edition of Court TV which required several days of shooting scenes running through fields, licking the face of one of the actors and spending lots of time in the back seat of a small car (most cars were small to Thunder!). The director was amazed at the demeanor of this wonderful dog. He did all the necessary retakes and never seemed to tire. He was awesome.
Thunder did finally compete in the Obedience ring earning an AKC CD, and a CDSP CDX-H. In his later years he competed in the AKC Obedience Veterans class with one of his senior friends, a little beagle named Falcon. He truly seemed to get satisfaction from showing the crowd that this big, intelligent, happy guy still had IT.
Thunder’s greatest achievements came when the sport of APDT Rally O came along. APDT allows modifications for dogs with disabilities so Thunder never had to jump more than 4 inches. He earned his first APDT Rally O title in three straight shows and I was so proud of him. He went on to have an extremely successful career in the APDT Rally O ring, earning the highest title in that venue, the ARCHEX (APDT Rally Champion Extraordinaire). When APDT developed the Veteran Class title, Thunder was ready and took this class with ease. Not only did he earn the Veteran title but he went on to qualify in five shows and earn the Veteran Champion Title.
Up until a few weeks before his death he was still happily taking part in APDT Rally O trials and doing his favorite job – baby sitting all the little dogs. He would patiently lay in the middle of an X-pen with several little dogs, like his friends Milo, CJ, Morgan, Nicky, and Pearly climbing all around and over him. He was especially gentle with his two handicapped pals, Mr. T (a three legged Bichon) and Merlin (a little beagle with a form of dwarfism). Both of these guys can be a bit too friendly, but Thunder never minded. In fact, heaven help the unfamiliar dog who looked strangely at one of his friends. He would certainly protect any of his pals.
On April 20th Thunder made the trip to the Rainbow Bridge. He has left a huge void in my life and the lives of all who knew him. He will be missed but has left us with a wealth of wonderful memories which I will cherish forever.
Thunder, Owned and handled by Sue Oakes, WARMINISTER, PA
We just never gave him or his 2 sisters real names, they still have color names. One male puppy from each litter were given to Leader Dogs for the Blind in Michigan.
Purp was a laid-back type puppy so he calmed down while he was young and was easy to train and he past the pet therapy test just after he turned a year old. . He went lots of places in his short little life. He did pet therapy about 4 times a week and loved every minute. He also was my service dog when my health would put me into a wheelchair from time to time. He was ” Mama’s little man”, not because he was small. He should have weighed 125 pounds as a 3 year old but never got over 78 pounds. Then last December he lost over 25 pounds in a week or two. We did many tests at the vet’s until we went to the specialist in February and we were told that he had severe IBD (inflammatory bowel disease). They thought he could get through it and with special diet and meds would live many more years.
But on March 28th we realized that he had lost another 16 pounds over the last week. We rushed him to the specialist’s office on that Sunday and started him on IV fluids. Come morning the vet called and said he now also had developed mega-esophagus and was aspirating into his lungs and had pneumonia. He wasn’t fixable. We lost him that afternoon. He now only weighed 42 pounds. This hit my husband and myself very hard. My husband was also certified with Purp to do pet therapy. Even though we still have the 3 girls, they will never fill the void that his passing has created.
Love your pets as much as you can while you have them. They can be gone in a minute.
I must say that writing this tribute to Purp has helped a little. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Jan and Joe Beregszaszy
In loving memory of our Duffy (Holweit’s Stancher) CGC, CD, RE, CDX (September 22, 1999 – December 10, 2009)
Our Duffy was a true member of the family. He went on every college visit and vacation with us and we will always remember him for his gentle heart. Duffy gave so much to everyone he met. He was an amazing therapy dog for the past nine years and was an important part of Camp Dream Street (for children with cancer) and as spokes dog for the American Cancer Society Dogswalk Against Cancer. He and his brother Mark John received the Golden Bone Award for fundraising for the past five years.
“Oh soft-coated wheaten, Ireland’s true treasure Your love for your family is way beyond measure.”
Duffy has been nominated to receive a New Jersey Veterinary Medicine Association (NJVMA) award. He has also won the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) Wheaten Ambassador Award (Myshawn’s Award), as well as numerous American Kennel Club (AKC) awards in Rally and Obedience performance events. He appeared at the 2009 AKC Meet the Breeds and was chosen for a photo shoot for a line of AKC marketing for children’s products. He was herding-certified, had begun tracking, and enjoyed kayaking, skijoring and canine freestyle dancing.
His favorite trick was to “say his prayers” which he did countless times for the children at Camp Dream Street. We will always love him.
Canines Can Do (sm)
MODERN DOG TRAINING (sm)
Member: APDT, AKC, CKC, SCWTCA, SCWTAC, Pi Lambda Theta International Honor Society and Professional Association in Education
The amazing part, I have never seen a gentler dog around children in my life. It was because of that nature that I decided I couldn’t be so selfish as not to share and made him a therapy dog. I found out about Bright & Beautiful through an open house at a local vet.
How he passed his test, during a thunderstorm, in an outdoor garage, was beyond me, since thunder and lightning were his biggest fears in life. Yet, he passed with flying colors.
He was registered on Oct. 18, 2002. Ironically he died on Oct. 19, 2009. When he was first registered, we went to The Chester Welkind, Kessler Institute. We took 2-5 mile daily walks at Kittatinny Valley State Park, where over the years he became the unofficial mascot. He had a reputation that preceded him there. He was an avid fisherman, although he never caught one, I don’t think he’d know what to do if he did, it was his “therapy”. That and snow!
As a result of spending so much time at the park, we got to meet many people. That is how I got involved with Bristol Glen. A friend who I had met there has a father who is in the 24 hour care at Bristol Glen, so ended our visits in Chester, as we began weekly visits in Newton.
I met another person at the park who ran “Parent’s Night Out” for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation. We made a couple visits there. I will never forget, there was one little boy, maybe 6 or 7. He had to inspect every inch of Tucker, from inside his mouth to his toes. Tucker just sat there patiently, and then licked his face when he was done.
He was there again, when my mother was in hospice, at her bedside. She passed away in 2007. He was her four footed grandchild, as she put it. And my therapy to get through losing her.
Then we were asked to participate in the HERO’s program at Florence Burd School. I think this was his favorite place to go and have the kid’s read to him. And again, every once in a while, at the park, one of the students would recognize him and introduce him to their parents.
No matter where we lived, he became well known in the neighborhood. People always complimented his good looks and awesome disposition.
Tucker affected more lives directly and indirectly than any dog I have ever owned. And yes, I loved them all, but he truly was an exceptional person with an amazing personality.
Excuse that this will be rambling. Friends, I am writing to say to all of you how grateful and rich, you made my Story of SeiiChi over the years. Dog friends, dog training, dog shows, Bluebonnet Poodle Club, Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, the Paws for Reading Program, Fondren 5 Star, Kelly Black’s remarkable grooming, Dr. Bob White’s caring medical care, and of course, Richard Jordan for giving us Cratan’s SeiiChi’s Song. I have been asked by the Women’s Cancer Center to present a program in October here..and it will be called “Doctors with Fur”….we all know the remarkable connection between DOG and the human spirit…but we have to keep telling our story. I will be presenting that program with 1 less poodle…part of the “White Bookends” as Neil Belden used to call them…but, I will continue to tell about my Journey with SeiiChi…and so many of you played some part in that story. SeiiChi took me places and to moments that I will never forget. He rode in parades. He listened to children read. He dragged me into a dying woman’s room, and in a “Never seen before” moment, put “Paws Up!” and comforted her and her family. He made a woman with a stoke have a reason to come out of her room..forgetting herself for a moment.. to show off her friend, SeiiChi.
We witnessed a man who most thought couldn’t speak…have a conversation with SeiiChi. I watched as a military man in a lock-up unit went into a panic..it was his first day, and he was looking for the 2nd floor, and there was no 2nd floor….when he saw SeiiChi, he fell to his knees and just hugged him long. Patients forget, but they don’t forget their dogs. It’s kind of amazing that in some cases, patients forget the names of their own children, ….but, not their dogs. Dog…backwards…doesn’t spell God by accident. I continue to think that when God created dogs, he just leaned back and smiled. Houston Bright and Beautiful teams, I was always so proud of us. Keep on with your work. We make a difference in people’s lives…but, keep on remembering that we’re just along for the ride… your dog “does the work!” SeiiChi was the perfect demo dog to test and train other dogs. He always liked people more than dogs. He wasn’t always a winner in the show ring…but, we had a good time.
I finally figured it out once….I think that he never could understand why he needed me…he knew the routine..so why did he need to wait for my signals?…just get it over with and get on with the day. He was happy, funny, smart…and he’s the only dog that we ever had who watched television… quess he got his start watching golf with Jerry….but, when he’d watch the national dog shows… the judge would say….”Take them around!”….well, when each dog rounded the corner… he’d rush to the screen, and nip at their backsides. He was an Addison’s Disease dog, and endured injection after injection over the years, but always seemed to turn around to Dr. White and give him kisses over the years. He seemed to understand and know. As we always knew he would, he traveled as far and as long as he could to the end….with style and with great heart. We were so lucky. Thank you for being a part of our Journey with SeiiChi over the years.
Sharon and Jerry Smith
Jethro James Wright
We were Best Friends
You and I
Together we did everything
And went everywhere
So many lives we touched
So many wonders you taught
But our time was so short
And soon you had to leave
But your love and learning’s remain
For me to forever cherish
And for that I will never forget
For what you taught will never be forgotten
So rest my furry angel
Mommy loves you now and always
We will meet again
But in till then Know I love you and I always will
Zappa became a Certified Therapy Dog on July 1, 2007, earning this title and his Canine Good Citizen Award just 3 days before his 9th birthday. His took his new job with honor and grace as he visited Assited Living Centers, Nursing Homes, and places for Developmentally Challenged Individuals. During 2008 he made 24 visits earning the Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dog Trrrific Award. He brought smiles and joy to all he encountered. He will be missed and forever in our hearts.
King of Berkeley Place and Edgemont Park and Unofficial Mascot of Bradford School
One of the most Spoiled Dogs on Earth and one of the most well behaved
Therapy Dog to many hospitals, schools, synagogues, nursing homes and senior residences, with the perfect patience, disposition and demeanor of a therapy dog
Understood approximately 100 commands in English.
Able to accomplish mathematical equations and many tricks through bribery.
Brought much joy to us and many others. Intelligent, well behaved and often a handful.
Like most Golden Retrievers, he was not discriminating in his taste for food but especially loved bagels, turkey, sour cream and Friday night challah.
Although sometimes aloof and reserved, his ability to bark out the Friday night Shabbat blessings while wearing a Kippah, Tallit and glasses, PROVES he was a Jewish dog.
Up until the very end of his life, we looked for the hidden zipper in Sherlock’s golden coat so we could undo it and have the old crotchy man emerge from his dog costume, but we were unsuccessful in finding the zipper. Perhaps afterall, he was merely an extraordinary D-O-G
For those of you who knew Sherlock well, we thank you for indulging him (and us) with attention and love. We hope he brought you some joy too.
Susan, Michael, Benji and Eli
I am saddened to write to you with very sad news. Last week, Kirby – my black lab and a dedicated member of Bright and Beautiful for four years – passed away. He had only just turned 9 years young in June and never lost his puppy-like energy. Unfortunately, he became sick suddenly from what we learned was a hemangiosarcoma – an untreatable cancer of the blood vessels that had caused a large mass to develop in his heart. While he never grew gray or old, never slowed down or became tired, never lost the bounce in his gait, it was time to let Kirby go.
As you all know and will likely remember, Kirby was a big, slobbery, energetic therapy dog who adored working with children. We visited Point Pleasant Beach and Borough libraries as part of the Reading to the Dogs program. The children loved Kirby because he would roll on his back while they were reading to him, then he’d sneeze or drool onto the books – which they, of course, thought was hysterical. Kirby also visited New Hope – an inpatient adolescent treatment facility – where the kids loved to play fetch with him in the large open field, and where Kirby was known to find a mud puddle hidden in the tall grass and roll in it before returning the ball.
Kirby especially loved visiting the Tom’s River Juvenile Corrections Facility – where Kirby would visit with, jump on, and drool all over the incarcerated kids. Many were intimidated by his large stature, but all soon realized what a softy he was. I was so proud when Kirby gave the boys a sense of empowerment by obediently responding to their commands as they took his leash to practice dog training techniques, or when he would calmly sit to be patted and give extra kisses when he sensed there was a kid who just needed some affection. Kirby was such a goofball but he had the ability to be a confident, controlled, obedient “working” dog – and he was a excellent teacher and a mentor to hundreds of children.
When all of those children were drooled or slobbered on by Kirby, they knew love. He showed his zest for life and enthusiasm for everyone around him with an unbridled affection. He could also be very calm and soft if he sensed that that is what a child needed. That was Kirby – he wanted nothing more than to be loved and to give love in return. In that way, he was the consummate Lab.
You all played a crucial role in helping to make Kirby the therapy dog he was by inviting us to be included in your programs. Some of my fondest memories of him are of those while he was “working.” I always felt lucky to be on the other end of Kirby’s leash. I was so proud of him. And truth be told, while we were supposedly giving “therapy” to others, each and every visit was therapeutic for me as well. Most of you know that I suffer from Crohn’s disease and struggled quite a bit at times with my own health. Sometimes going on a therapy dog visit was what got me up and made me feel joy when it didn’t seem like there was much to smile about. For that, I will always be extraordinarily grateful.
Sadly, two days after he passed away, Kirby and I were scheduled for our first observation visit with a new therapy dog group up here in MA after finally getting to the top of a long waiting list since we moved here in April. I couldn’t wait to get him among kids again. That we never got the chance to volunteer as a team here makes me cherish my memories of our work in New Jersey through Bright and Beautiful all the more.
There is so much about my boy that I’m going to miss. Kirby was my baby. But, he was also my protector. His big, goofy, drooly, slobbery, affection was there for me unconditionally. I’ll miss his kind eyes and his ability to sense exactly how I was feeling and to give me the love I needed. He comforted me when I was sick or sad. He helped me enjoy and embrace life more fully than I ever could have without him. I am who I am because Kirby is a part of my heart.
Thank you all for allowing both me and Kirby to live life to the fullest by helping others. It was among our greatest joys and most cherished memories.
Sophie and Karen Dashfield
Karen and Sophie were among one of the dog/handler teams that we tested that day. Sophie was the most graceful, beautiful German Shepherd Dog that I had ever seen. She executed all of her commands for the testing with confidence and precision. When I learned that Karen was also her breeder, I was impressed. I was about to discover, with a long association and friendship with Karen, that this amazing dog was just part and parcel of Dr. Karen Dashfield’s many selfless accomplishments.
Sophie helped Karen with CPR and first aid training. She assisted Karen with Search and Rescue seminars and actively participated in the field of Search and Rescue. Karen was and is still today, the most gifted and informed veterinarian I have ever known. I depend on her guidance and knowledge to help us direct B&BTD.
When September 11, 2001 unfolded and Americans watched in horror, Karen and Sophie were among the first search and rescue teams on site. She kept us in the loop with daily reports and she helped us raise funds for our therapy dogs that were working at the World Trade Center as search and rescue dogs. Most of these handlers of SAR dogs were volunteers and appreciated the fund. Karen’s daily communication helped many of us feel connected and that we were part of the important contributions she and Sophie were making there.
After the initial devastation of the World Trade Center attack, Karen and Sophie then worked at the landfills trying to locate body parts to help family members find closure. A family center was set up at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ. The Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs were called in to offer comfort to the grieving families who came to the center to give DNA samples, apply for aid and financial support. After Karen and Sophie would finish their shift at the landfill, Sophie would morf from Search and Rescue Dog into Therapy Dog. She helped bring comfort and support to the families at the family center, especially the children.
Sophie was always on hand to help us with important projects. She was always a special friend to the children with her stable demeanor and overwhelming gentleness. It didn’t matter what noble effort Karen was involved in, Sophie was there too. Whether it was rescuing dogs after the hurricane Katrina disaster, providing shelter for sick and injured animals, helping place homeless animals for different rescue groups, you name it, Sophie was always at her side to help during these times. Whatever project Karen has been involved with, it has always been to help those in need and it has always been something The Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs have been proud to join with aid and support. I couldn’t have asked for a better ambassador than Sophie – I was always proud to have her represent us. The selfless support and commitment these two have given is astonishing and our gratitude to them both is so overwhelming that we can not put it into words. Thank you so much Karen and Sophie.
May God bless and watch over Sophie as she continues her wonderful work in Heaven as a true therapy angel.
Charlie was loved by all and will be greatly missed.
(CH Homespun Snooker x Am/Can CH Rocky Creek Just Sophie CDX, JH, CGC, Delta, TDI)
2/11/95 – 6/19/08
It is with great sadness that we lost our Jeannie today. Jeannie was always described as the perfect child. She loved life, she was sensitive, sweet, out going, a wonderful pet therapy dog, and a great hunter.
Jeannie helped start the pet therapy program at The Valley Hospital, she loved her pet therapy work especially with children. Just so many great stories of her love, devotion, and affection for all.
Jeannie also worked along side of Lucy and Coco during 911 at the Liberty State Park, New Jersey. She won friends with the Red Cross workers, families, and the children.
Jeannie has several very famous offspring:
Samantha – BPIS Am/Can CH* Silvercreek Casbar Bewitched JH WD
Dillon: BISS Am/Can/Int’l CH* Silvercreek Gun Smoke RN, RA, WD working on JH
Murray: CH Silvercreek Murray Samuel*** JH, SH, MH
Ransom: Ch Silvercreek Ransom of Red Chief
Yaffa: Am/Int’l CH* Silvercreek Yaffa Means Beautiful
Jeannie will be sadly missed, she was always right by my side, until the end she was top dog, and the pack will miss her.
Jeannie is the beloved daughter of Sophie and sister to Lucy, they are now all in heaven together once again. She missed her best friend Lucy so much, now together.
RIP my beloved best friend and swimming companion, you were a big dash in my life.
Death Leaves a Heartache No One Can Heal. Love Leaves a Memory No One Can Steal. You will always be in our memory and thoughts.
Joanne and Stan Silver
He laid on his chest and nugged him and when he got up he was insistant that he go to the truck. My dad hadn’t been feeling well so he went to the Dr. He had to go in for heart surgery. when he came home again after 2 days Adidas acted the same way. Dad went right in and again they discovered they needed to insert a stint in his heart as well.
What a wonder dog he is! We will all miss him. I just wanted you to know. I have attached a photo. Hope all is well with you. All my best Dina in Idaho —
Annie loved working as a therapy dog. She brought a ray of sunshine into any room. She had a ‘smile’ that could light up the room and a personality to match. Annie was the most gentle golden I have ever owned. My husband and I reflected on Annie’s life and realized that we couldn’t remember a single time when Annie had to be disciplined. She was the best of what a golden retriever could offer.
Annie was diagnosed with inoperable hemangiosarcoma in May, 2007. Annie had a truly remarkable team of doctors caring for her. More than anything, Annie was loved. Annie lived for almost a year past her diagnosis. She lived a quality life, teaching me so much along the way. Most of all, she taught me to live each day to it’s fullest, using whatever you had to work with that day. Annie lived that way. She didn’t realize she had a terrible disease; she only knew she had a day ahead of her that was filled with endless possibilities.
Annie, my gentle one, a part of me has been lost, losing you, but I have gained so much more having you in my life.
The Daffron Family
Gaylan’s First Mate “Annie” December 27, 2000-March 15, 2008
How I wish she still were here
She stood so proud on her three legs
Without an ounce of fear
So happy she made me
Both day and night
At the end you should have seen her
Put up her best fight
Three years were too short
Time came and went
The most precious gift
To heaven was sent
She is loved and missed
everyday that goes by
When I think of her
I try not to cry
Gypsy was pretty and so very smart
Forever she will live
Inside my broken heart
This comes from my heart and I’m sure you can tell it is still broken. I miss her so., but I know she is at peace and not suffering any longer.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together…. By William N. Britton
Good-bye, my sweet Akea.
This is a poem my friend in Oregon sent me for Akea!
ODE TO AKEA
With heavy hearts; and a tear in our eyes after all these years; we must say goodbye Please understand; we’ve done all we could if there was anything we could do; you know we would
I’m sitting right here; gently rub your ears while I talk to you softly; trying to hold back the tears The memories you gave us; we’ll never forget especially the ones; of the day we first met
One last hug; and one last kiss you have no idea; how much you’ll be missed To look into your eyes; this one last time you tell me it’s ok; you know it’s your time
Close your eyes now; and go to sleep we’ll pray to the Lord; you’re soul he’ll keep Go in peace now; our good friend we’ll stay right here with you; until the end
Have a safe journey; through the night I promise when you awake; you’ll be in God’s light So with heavy hearts; and tears in our eyes just for now my friend; we say goodbye
She will be remembered most especially, however, as an outstanding Therapy Dog, a calling in which she participated, with great compassion, gentility and total unconditional love. Her services to the community included her many visits to the Crest Haven and Court House Convalescent facilities. She also visited Loyalton and had been selected to be the first Therapy Dog to support patients at Cape Regional Medical Center. Her greatest love, though, was children. Brita made many visits to the local library to sit with children who loved to read to her. She also represented Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, Inc. at the Teachers’ Convention in Atlantic City for two years, where she demonstrated to classroom teachers, the R.O.C.K. (Reading Out loud Creates Knowledge) reading program, for children with learning difficulties. Her own special class was at the Jordan Road School in Somers Point, where she worked with second and third grade children. She started her third year in this program this fall.
At home, she was a model family member, setting the standards of behavior for those she left behind – her daughter, Emily, granddaughter, Tessa, her dear companion, Frosty, the Australian Cattle Dog (who will carry on her legacy at the hospital) and Wesley, the six-toed cat. She loved our grandchildren dearly and watched over them like a mother. She even sneaked onto the school bus three times when our granddaughter, Sofia, was settling into her seat.
Brita never missed an opportunity to brighten sad faces or join in on celebrations, with a dignity and inner beauty beyond measure. Her peaceful, kind outlook on all beings, human and animal alike, made her someone we could all try and emulate. She will always be remembered in our hearts, and we rejoice that she shared her unique and special life with us. She will be missed by many whose lives she has touched.
Ellen and Joe Lomax, January, 2008
I slammed on the breaks when I saw a puppy walk in front of my SUV and, of course, got out. As soon as I stepped out the puppy walked up and sat in front of my feet. I picked her up (and quickly I might add, since we were in the middle of the street with cars honking at us.) I pulled over and asked anyone nearby if they knew who she belonged to and when no one did I brought her to my house with the intention of calling around to try and find her home. Immediately I felt connected to her. I loved her, which was no surprise to anyone since I fell in love with most animals I met but this love, somehow, felt different. My boyfriend named her Charmin because, at the time, she looked like a dog in one of the toilet paper commercials. I called animal hospitals and police to let them know I found a dog and if someone called about her to call me. No one ever called and I was secretly (or not so secretly) thrilled. I took Charmin to the vet to make sure she was ok. She was a little sick from being outside (she was soaking wet when I found her) and was slightly stunted in growth but in general was beautiful and fine. I was instantly hooked on her. I immediately became her protector and her mommy and she was my happiness and my baby. Everyone that met or even saw her had to comment on how beautiful she was. She was so soft, shiny and sweet that most people could not believe she had been a stray.
I knew Charmin was special because whenever I was sad or would cry should would find me and sit with me but the moment I knew she was meant to help people was when I noticed that when anyone cried or was sick she would go to them. I knew that all she wanted to do was make people happy and up to her last day it was clear that all she wanted to do was please people. The day of her Therapy Dog test she was acting up. She didn’t even want to sit! I was so worried things would go wrong but the second she got out there she was an angel! She knew this was something she had to and was meant to do. She was very quiet when she was working and loved the attention. The one thing everyone in the nursing homes would say is “she’s so soft!”
Her daddy and I couldn’t have loved her more. He would take her to work with him everyday and every person there fell deeply in love with her. She had grown men “ooing” and “awwing” over her and had all the ladies complimenting how well behaved and beautiful she was. Whether it was the extra attention she was getting there or the time she was spending with her daddy she just LOVED going to work. The moment she would get home we would go for walks, snuggle (she loved to throw herself into your body and lay with you which quickly made her my favorite cuddle partner) and, as a rare treat, she would rip up toys we had bought for her (we figured toys were better than the squirrels outside that she really wanted!) When she was tired and felt it was time for bed she would walk right into her doggy house for the night.
A day or two before Christmas ‘07 I noticed purple spots on Charmin’s belly but since she was acting like herself I thought it was an allergic reaction to her grooming days earlier. I then noticed an ear infection, more spots and a cut in her mouth that wouldn’t stop spotting blood so I decided to take her to the vet right after Christmas. The vet saw the spots and almost immediately recognized them as symptoms of an Auto Immune Disease. Her body was attacking her platelets and her blood could not clot. She sent me (or should I say a sobbing version of me) to an emergency animal hospital. They told me since she was acting like herself and the only symptoms were the spots she would need treatment for a few days but should be fine. They explained the worst case scenarios and the cost and I explained she was my child and whatever it cost is what it cost. I left, still a sobbing version of myself, and went home to stress out and miss her. I got a call at 2am to let me know she was bleeding into her lungs and they would try to get her platelet count up fast enough so she could start clotting. By noon her red blood cell count had dropped to about 22 when it should be in the 40’s and she would need a transfusion that night. By 4pm she had stopped breathing, was resuscitated and breathing on oxygen. We realized her body didn’t want to fight this and we decided to go to the hospital to let her go. She was only 3 ½ years old. The only explanation for her rapid decline (she was in the hospital less than 24 hrs) that we can settle with is that she didn’t want to suffer in front of us. We believe she waited until she was at the hospital to let herself go. She was a good girl and an angel till the end. One thing every person that knew her said when they heard of her passing was “she wasn’t like a regular dog. She was so special.”
She brought more joy into my life than I ever imagined possible. With her laid back and sweet demeanor she changed many people’s minds about her breed and even convinced some to get a Cocker Spaniel of their own. She calmed my anxiety and quickly became a therapy dog for myself. She was one of the silliest, sweetest and most loving dogs I’ve ever known. I could never imagine a dog like her existed. Our connection and love for each other was more than I could ever have asked for. She wasn’t my dog. She was my child. She will always be my child, my angel and the most amazing dog I will ever know.
Lacey just missed her 12th birthday which we would have celebrated on New Years Day. I could bemoan her loss but New Years is a time for reflection and resolution and I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting since she passed just after Christmas.
Lacey became a therapy dog later in life than some but oh how she shined! She would don her vest and knew instictively that it was time to get to work. “Work” for Lacey meant visiting several Assisted living facilities in New Jersey and participating at local Morris County, NJ libraries as the guest star of the “Reading with Lacey” program (see signfront photo below).
During her reading sessions Lacey would prop herself next to her friends and sit attentively as they read each story with confidence, from start to finish. Children would put their arms around her as they read and she loved the warmth and attention they gave her – if only for an hour.
Halloween this year was very special for me as the turnout of kids at the Roxbury library was good – Lacey was surrounding by her friends and her four legged sisters, Sahara & Cagney lent their support too by dressing up appropriately in costume. It was a wonderful day full of laughs and happiness.
To fill Laceys shoes will take a lot of doing but I think my remaining girls are up to the task and no doubt will do her sister Lacey proud as they progress in their training to be therapy dogs too.
I cannot ever replace Lacey and would not want to – her special ways cannot be replicated. Instead, I’ll relive the journey she took becoming a proud graduate through Cagney & Sahara and each time I visit the libraries for reading or sit and keep company with the gentle souls who have made new homes in nursing facilities I’ll be reminded of the wonderful girl I loved and once had the pleasure to know.
Lacey passed from renal failure at home after a valiant battle with the disease. It took her health but it never took her love for life or the gentle grace she possessed. As she crosses the bridge I know that she’ll wait patiently for her family to some day join her but I bet that while she waits, somewhere in heaven a child is reading her a story…
For info about Lacey please visit her sight and sign her guestbook at:
My husband Tom and I met after each of us had been divorced. Our children were all grown, so when we married, we had an empty nest. I have had many dogs, and have loved each and every one of them. Tom has also had dogs, but never had the same feelings toward them as I had. We decided that we would like to have a dog together. After much research and discussions, we decided to get a Golden Retriever. We were referred to the most wonderful breeder, who just happened to have a litter that was 3 days old. We visited with her and her pups, and immediately fell in love. Out of 8 puppies, we bad no idea which one to choose. The breeder said “trust me, I will pick out the perfect dog for you”.
We placed our trust in her, and on April 15, 1998, we brought home a cute and cuddly golden puppy. We named him Casey. His full registered name was Goldenways Best Case Scenario. He truly lived up to his name. We lived in a townhouse at the time, and we had to take him out on a leash all of the time. I think this is how we bonded so closely. We were always together.
As Casey grew, and we went to obedience classes, we realized that he was special. He had the most loving, gentle disposition. We were blessed with 2 grandbabies, and he adored them. He would tolerate a lot from them, never once getting angry. In fact, he loved the attention.
Casey became my constant companion. I had to have spinal surgery, and he was by my side all of the time. It seemed that he knew he had to be gentle with me. After my recovery, we noticed an advertisement for therapy dog training, and knew immediately that Casey was meant for this.
We took the classes with Chris Lehmann, and Casey passed. Soon after the classes ended, my husband was offered a job as Asst. Fire Chief at the Pine Bluff Arsenal Fire Department in Arkansas. It was hard to leave our family in New Jersey, but this was a wonderful opportunity for us. So, off we went to Arkansas.
Here we were in a new state, and a new home and neighborhood, where we knew no one. I spent the first night in our new home alone because Tom had to work 24 hour shifts then, and could not be there. Casey was there with me all of the time. I never felt alone or frightened with him there. He even helped me to meet new neighbors. Everyone was drawn to him because he was so friendly.
He started to go to work with Tom and became the Fire House mascot. All of the firemen loved him, especially when he brought their socks to them. He was always the first one in the dining room when the dinner bell rang. Tom became Fire Chief in 2006, and Casey was known as the “Chief’s dog”.
Casey went to work with me also. I became a school nurse at an elementary school. The Kindergarten and First grade teachers had him come to school so the children could read to him, the kids loved it, and so did Casey. They always scored higher when they read their stories to the dog.
During Hurricane Katrina, we had a lot of evacuees in the convention center in Pine Bluff. We brought Casey there to comfort them. Everyone loved to pet him, and said they felt so much better when they were able to hug and pet him. Some of them had to leave their pets behind in New Orleans, and did not know what had happened to them. Casey even got to meet Gov. Huckabee. He shook hands with him, and was even on the local CBS evening news that night.
Early in 2007, we were contacted by Home Hospice Care in Arkansas. They had heard about Casey, and wanted him to visit Nursing Homes in the area. We were interviewed, and Casey got the job. He even had an ID card.
Unfortunately, Casey never got the chance to go to work with Home Hospice Care. He started to become listless. This was not the Casey that I knew. He was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma of the spleen, which had already spread to his liver. This disease is known to occur in Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds, and some other breed also. By the time it is diagnosed, it is usually too late, as was the case with our dog.
Casey died on March 10, 2007. We were with him to the end, just as he was always there for us. I believe that he got me through many tough times in my life, and I don’t know what I would have done without him. He was my soulmate, and the best friend that I ever had. He was my “heart dog”, and without a doubt, the best dog that I ever had. He will be in our hearts forever, and we will always miss him.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs, and to Chris Lehmann. Our training helped us to become closer to our beloved golden, and it also gave joy to many others. We will never forget our Casey, and all of the lives he touched.
Jackie and Tom Braumuller
White Hall, AR
Dot Blair, Wakhan, Port ST. Lucie, FL The idea was to train him and sell him from the show ring, but that never happened. Wakhan entered our lives as only a husky can. Blue eyes shining, digging holes and climbing fences – a bundle of energy. What was I thinking? I was thinking dog-show championships and stardom and that thought kept me plugging away at his training. Khan, as we began to call him, was constantly coming up with new ways to get into trouble. He was clown, engineer, prankster, bouncer in my puppy classes, lover of the seashore, squirrel watcher, Petsmart superstar, and therapy dog extraordinaire. How do you combine 12 ½ years of life into a few sentences? Simply we loved him no matter what role he played. Our biggest project was Waggin’ Tales, a new reading program for the libraries and, of course, Khan was lead dog. Putting in over 98 volunteer hours into the program.
His name means “Great Spirit” in the Sioux Indian language and he truly lived up to his name. His gentleness with children and the elderly was remarkable on therapy dog visits. As we took our last walk together, we met some children who were fascinated with the snow dog. I knew this was our last walk, for the ravages of age had finally caught up with us and his body had grown weak with disease. It was so appropriate that his last engagement this side of the Rainbow Bridge should be with children. He has touched over 300 children’s lives in the last two years, posed for countless pictures, and made several TV appearances.
One of the children, unaware of the reason to the vet’s office, gave him a hug, wished him a Merry Christmas, kissed him on the nose and said have a nice trip. Khan weakly licked his face as if to say thank you. Then the child left to return to his waiting family. I walked with Khan back to vet’s office and with great sadness said my final good-bye to my dear friend, Nausheen’s Cinnamon Wakhan. You have earned your silver harness, and I will watch for your star in the skies north of the Rainbow Bridge. Godspeed Khan, you left paw prints in a lot of hearts. Our reading program will go on with other faithful dogs and handlers, but Khan leaves behind a legacy that will be difficult to fill.
I guess Gus was just about as close to perfect a dog as you can get. From the time we brought him home, he never barked. He just waited patiently in his crate for us to let him out. In fact, he was 6 months old before he barked at all. I think it scared him! He went to obedience classes and excelled in all of them. The only thing we had trouble getting him to leave was his tennis ball. That and chasing Frisbees were his two favorite things in life. Our other dogs would take away his toys although there were plenty of others to go around.
Gus was a therapy dog for 8 years. He visited 5 hospitals in NJ and PA and took part in a reading program at the library. A few months ago he actually woke up a comatose patient at St. Luke’s in Bethlehem, PA. The patient woke up and said “I don’t like dogs”. Gus was not offended.
This year he (along with 4 of our other dogs) was named “Therapy Dog of the Year” by Bear Search and Rescue – I wished he could have lived long enough to see his award. He was at 9/11 for 16 weeks and is a certified NCRC dog. I couldn’t be prouder of anyone and I miss him terribly. He never complained and we had no idea that there was anything wrong with him. But that was Gus, he came in quietly and left the same way, after all he was a Golden.
Helen and Dave Anger, August 2007
Quinn and Deb Dalkiewicz
Quinn was a sweet gentle boy who loved people and all dogs especially puppies! He could make friends with male dogs who were never able to play with another dog. He loved meeting people and would lean against them and look up at them as they were petting him and see to smile. He was a great spokes dog for Irish Setter Rescue and loved “working the crowd’. He was a wonderful big brother to his two younger setter brothers and a loyal companion to us.
He had earned his Canine Good Citizen Title, Rally Novice, Companion Dog, Companion Dog Excellent and his last title earned was Therapy Dog. He was only with us for six years but they were full and rewarding years but too short. He will always be in our hearts and thoughts and never forgotten.
I first met Spencer when Chris brought him to one of my first classes. Chris tried to heel Spencer, but…..Spencer had other plans. Chris would call Spencer in class, but…… Spencer had other plans. This might infuriate the regular dog handler, but it made Spencer so much more interesting to me. This was a dog on a mission to live his life on his terms and not to compromise. He was ADAMENT that he had something else in mind when it came to what he wanted to do. It was NOT Obedience Competition. I can recall many an obedience competition where in the middle of an off lead heeling pattern, Spencer once again, had other plans……and Chris continued heeling with no dog. Chris actually got very good at those heeling patterns and I think he took several ribbons…….but Spencer would have none of it, he had other plans.
Spencer’s other plans I refer to, were a calling by a higher power to be one of our foundation Therapy dogs in Kindred Souls Canine Center Therapy Corps. Spencer, Chris’s other dog Rosie and 2 of my dogs formed the basis for our groundbreaking work in schools for the physically challenged, oncology units and other areas formally off limits to dogs. They were the four musketeers. They set the standard. Spencer stood out for his unending patience and sheer joy in his work.
As a Therapy dog, there was none better. This WAS Spencer’s plan. He picked it, made it known, he loved it……..and to the very end continued his service.
Dogs are amazing creatures. They have an unwavering sense of duty and despite illness, they always carry on. It is in a dog’s culture not to show weakness, it is an ancient genetic predisposition to carry on your work for the good of the pack. Spencer loved his work. And as long as he could walk…..he was walking into his next Therapy visit. It is not in any dogs nature to bemoan what life hands them…….they accept it, adapt to it and go right back to living life. This was Spencer’s gift to us. He set a standard among Therapy dogs. He gave….and gave…..and gave. Asking nothing in return, he completed his mission. And I know he’s looking down smiling at a job well done.
The most important thing in this life is to make a difference. To leave the world a better place because you were here. To be able to do that is a gift to all of us. We are all better because Spencer was here.
To everyone Spencer touched, soothed or affected he will be missed. To those of us who loved him……..he takes a little of us with him, but leaves us inspired for knowing him.
Kindred Souls Canine Center
Carolyn Wilson, North Cape May, NJ
Sheltand Sheepdogs and Rottweilers were Carolyn’s favorite breeds. Through the years her love of the sport of dogs grew. She and her dogs participated and earned numerous titles in obedience, herding and agility. Even though she was a serious competitor, you would always see her cheering on and congratulating other exhibitors on a placement or leg.
Carolyn was a founding member of The Cape May County Dog Obedience Training Club, which was formed in 1977 and was the clubs Training Director until her death. She was known throughout the community because of her involvement in conducting training classes for the public, helping many owners learn to manage their dogs and resolve problems.
Carolyn Wilson was one of our first therapy dog handlers with her Rottweiler, Frolic. I was proud to have her join Bright & Beautiful with her adorable therapy dog.
Carolyn was soon committed not only to visiting nursing homes in Cape May County to cheer residents; she encouraged other dog owners to consider the joys of sharing their dogs with those no longer able to own one.
Carolyn is deeply missed by her many friends and her faithful canine companions Frolic, her Rottweiler and Flash, her Sheltie. Many have asked where her dogs are. Frolic is now living with Dee Bailey on a farm where she can swim in the pond and “frolic” on acres of land with 2 Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and a Golden Retriever.
Flash is now living with Donna Stepp and his sheltie cousin Bonnie. They not only play day and night, they have an agility field right in their backyard. Both dogs are living in a home with other Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs and will be able to continue the work they love most. Cheering up people and showing off their obedience skills.
Carolyn and I would run into each other at dog shows or matches and soon developed a friendship. We both shared an interest in Therapy Dog work and she told me about The Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs Organization. The next thing I knew, I changed organizations and not only certified my dogs, but became an Evaluator as well.
Fifteen months ago I received a wonderful gift – a beautiful yellow Labrador retriever by the name of Bailey. Bailey had been a rescue dog, and with her gentle disposition her new owner decided that she would be a good candidate for a Therapy Dog. After she came to live with us, I decided to continue on with her dog therapy sessions. Bailey visited two convalescent homes every week and the patients adored her. She was very large and also very gentle with all of her friends.
Bailey loved all children and was very happy when the grandchildren came to visit. She would let the babies climb all over her and would gently lick them. I knew nothing about Bailey’s past, but knew that she had puppies. She was most assuredly a wonderful mother. Bailey had such a sweet personality that I wrote a children’s book about her for my grandchildren, who adored her.
Bailey was my constant companion for the short time that had her. She slept at the foot of our bed and was never out of sight of me. She seemed to be so happy that she was part of our family. She went on many trips with us hunkered down on the back seat. I took her everywhere with me and she would get very excited when she would hear me getting out my keys. We called her the rodeo dog because she would do the “bucking bronco” when she was excited.
May my sweet, lovable dog rest in peace.
Rocky’s career began right away and he has visited many homes in the central NJ area. He has been to Carrier Clinic, Somerset Medical Center, Raritan Health and Extended Care and the Eastern Star Home. He ended up going to visit the residents of the Eastern Star Home twice a month. They always brought him a banana, yes, Rocky loved bananas.
He was featured in Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs Tails from the Front in 2001. And, also on the Bright and Beautiful holiday card.
Rocky was the Volunteer of the Year on 4/23/05 at the Eastern Star Home where he visited the residents regularly for over 6 years. His last visit due to his arthritis was in December 2005.
Rocky was featured in the Bright and Beautiful Spring 2005 issue with information regarding his Volunteer of the Year award. He has also been Bright and Beautiful’s Dog of the Month and featured in one other issue of their magazine.
He provided us with unconditional love until 6/16/06 and will be remembered always and forever in our hearts. May the shamrocks fall softly and may you be with Brandy, Hundi, T-bone and all your other fosters who have gone before you running and playing again pain free, until we see you again sweet boy!
Rocky taught me so much, to enjoy each day to its fullest.
He is and always will be my heart dog, we had a very special bond between the two of us, we could heal each other.
Rocky adopted 2/16/98 – 6/16/06.
You gave us a wonderful 8 years and 4 months of pure unconditional love.
We are really not sure of his age, best guess by most vets he was 13+.
Phil and Deanna Cuchiaro
With Patrick and Andy, both Irish Setters and both Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs!
http://www.irishrescue.org/rocky.html – some great pics of him here.
Angel was a beautiful and loving dog. She gave me, my family, and everyone that meet her great joy. She was loved by many, those who knew her and those who did not. Angel was very gentle and obedient. Angel loved to ride in the car, it would put her to sleep. She loved to get her belly rubbed. Angel was a very active and physically fit dog. She was an inside and outside dog. She was an excellent protector, on the family farm and to everyone in our family. She loved her brother and sister. She loved being a therapy dog and getting love from the residents at the Homestead, nursing facility. Angel loved everyone whom she meets and those who meet her. Her name totally fit her personality. She was a loyal friend and will be greatly missed.
Am/Can CH Homespun Silvers Starburst, CDX, JH, WD, NS, CGC, Can CD ROM TDI, Delta, B&B “Coco Loco”(CH Redlions Bear of Upper Creek WDQ x CH Snocree of Snogun CDX)
Sadly we lost Coco today, she will be sadly missed. Coco will be remembered as a fun loving Chesapeake with a sense of humor especially in the obedience ring and at hunt test.
Coco was a 16-year-old Chesapeake Bay Retriever who is full of love to give and has enjoyed her long career in Pet Therapy activities.
Coco has been registered with Therapy Dogs International, Therapy Dogs Incorporated, the first Chesapeake registered with Delta Society, and now she was retired from Bright and Beautiful.
Special honors have been given to Coco over these 16 years. She was the first dog in the State of New Jersey to be made an Official Hospital volunteer at Hackensack Medical Center. She wears her own photo ID badge plus has her own hospital shirt with volunteer patches. In 1993 Coco was made Volunteer of the Year, attended a dinner, and received a plaque for her work at HMC Tomorrows Children.
Coco was actively working at nursing homes visiting until last year at the NJ Veterans Home in Paramus, and the Oakland Care Center. Over the years Coco has started pet therapy programs at the Holley Center, Hackensack, NJ; Woodcliff Lake Nursing Home, Woodcliff Lake; Llanfair House, Wayne and many more.
Coco represented the AKC at Public Education Seminars and Demos for children and adults.
IN 1993 Coco was awarded a Certificate of Commendation by the County of Bergen, NJ for her devoted volunteer services and was made Volunteer of the Month by The Bergen Record newspaper. It was the first time a dog received this award.
In 1995 Coco received the award for outstanding work in the Animal Assistance field for Recognition from the Delta Society and was featured in their annual Calendar.
When not bringing smiles to children and the elderly, Coco enjoys what her ancestors where bred for retrieving ducks, swimming, and tracking.
Outside of pet therapy work Coco was featured in 1993 and 1994 in the Purina Hi Pro ads in several national magazines “Why Swim When You Can Fly” Ad. Coco and one of her litters were featured in a Fidelity pamphlet for investing. Coco was featured in the Hackensack Medical Center University Pet Therapy Brochure and in their 2000 Annual Report.
Coco has also been featured on several TV News Channels on documentaries of Pet Therapy work.
Coco also is photographed in several Chesapeake Books: One that is my favorite is TFH by Stacy Kennedy, Page 13 with Sophie and Elsa. Coco loved to be photographed. If you had a camera Coco would pose.
In May 2002 Coco along with a group of Bright and Beautiful dogs she were entered in to the New Jersey Veterinary Foundation Hall of Fame for their therapy efforts given in relations to September 11, 2001. We were honored to be part of the teams that worked at Liberty State Park with the Red Cross for the families of the victims and also for the hard working staff that they had there.
Coco has also had 3 lovely litters with her children and grandchildren going onto to be pet therapy dogs. They have also been top winning show dogs at Westminster KC, Group Placements, Supported and National Specialties, Placing in Obedience and Rally events.
Coco loved coming to the National specialties and walking around with her Dad Stan. They were a pair.
We would like to thank Sue Cone who worked hard with me on getting Coco to title CD and CDX. Rich Young who helped train Coco for her hunting, and Mike Twardy who helped run Coco to her JH title.
To all who remember Coco trying to get her nose print in Canada, no it never happened.
Coco has been the all around wonderful companion. She has always packaged herself on her personality, which is wonderful, and Coco has a marvelous sense of humor. The original Brown Clown.
Coco you have always made me smile and well represented the breed. We miss you dearly and you will never be forgotten.
Joanne and Stan Silver
Shawna, owned and handled by Marlene Dodd, Rockaway, NJ passed away April 6, 2005. She was 11 years old.
Shawna has white eyelashes and everyone she met, especially in Nursing Homes would say to her “you’re such a beautiful dog with those white eyelashes.”
There was one woman at Andover Subacute and rehabilitation in a wheelchair; she was crippled very badly but when Shawna went up to her she would smile, lean forward and pet Shawna with the back of her crippled hand.
Shawna’s favorite thing was to go for a ride in the car. All you had to say is “Want to go for a ride?” and she’d jump all around in excitement.
Shawna gave unconditional love and hapines to everyone she met, and that’s why was called her “Angel Dog”.
Picked up from Labelle Animal Rescue 2-3-96
Fostered in Fort Meyers from 2-3-96 to 4-15-96 while being treated for heart worms and other less serious problems.
Graduated from Peace River Dog Fanciers obedience training 11-19-96.
Received Canine Good Citizen award 2-3-97.
Received AKC Companion Dog certificate 4-20-97.
Completed Hospice Therapy Dog Certification 6-11-97.
Received United Kennel Club UCD certificate 2-21-04.
The following is briefly what Sandy, a registered therapy dog , has accomplished in the seven years after being adopted from Golden Retriever Rescue of Mid Florida: .Our dog club held UKC trials in February. I decided to see how much of past training Sandy had retained. I entered her in Novice B as required. There were 2 trials Saturday and 2 trials Sunday. Much to my surprise Sandy was first place in all 4 trials. Plus, one was a high in trial. One should have been second place, but the first place dog was disqualified for some kind of a paper work foul up. The scores were not bad. Low to mid I90’s.
I believe that was a fitting end to Sandy and I doing any kind of obedience competition due to age. My age is 73. Sandy’s age is 9-10 years old. Her estimated age must be close. She has lots of white fur. I bet we have been asked her age several hundred times while visiting nursing homes. It is a good conversation starter.
Sandy is my assist dog at this point in time. I have Parkinson’s, and need a little help walking. Talk about fate. Sandy and I were brought together for a reason. I don’t know whether to be grateful to the coward that abandoned her, or hope he never has another dog to mistreat the way Sandy was mistreated.
Our normal schedule of visits takes in 5 nursing homes, 1 hospital, I mentally challenged facility, Hospice House. Some of the specials we do are: Rodeo parade in Arcadia, Watermelon festival in Arcadia, Christmas parade in Punta Gorda, Little Angels fund raiser in Arcadia, Car club fund raiser for Hospice, Blessing of the Pets, Health fair, Halloween party for problem children, and the Animal Awareness Expo. There is more, like speaking at training classes, or recruiting drives.
Sandy has a very varied wardrobe to fit the holiday or occasion . The costumes are great attention getters. Especially a dog wearing sun glasses. and a hat These simple adornments draw attention away from pain and despair, and provide a stimulus for conversation long after the therapy pet leaves. Even visitors welcome the distraction. Sometimes there is the awkward silence. The tears The pleading to go home. Many times Sandy has quieted emotional situations that the staff could not.
It is not only nursing homes where Sandy makes a contribution. The recent hurricane, Charley, brought Sandy into close contact with young children when hospice of Southwest Florida provided day care for the staff. She takes the mauling as if these were her puppies. They dressed her in the costume of the day. Then, all tried giving Sandy commands at the same time. Some even grabbed the leash and tried to get out the door. It took some time to extract the leash from tiny hands and continue on to my next visit which was to a 95 year old Hospice patient.
Mrs. Thaler and Spritzer
I didn’t get back to that particular home for many years, and this time I took a different dog, my 11-year-old miniature schnauzer, Spritzer. Well, there was that same lady with the same twinkle. She told me that she had had a pet schnauzer many years earlier. She went bananas for Spritzie and they became fast and very close friends (as did Mrs. Thaler and I). Spritzer became frail as she aged and I retired her at 14½. She crossed the Rainbow Bridge a year later.
Mrs. Thaler, CoCo & Obi
I had recently acquired a new dog, a 4½-month-old male schnauzer, Obi-Wan Kenobi. I took him to visit Mrs. Thaler in the hospital and later, to a rehabilitation facility after her hip replacement surgery. Obi and I visited her again after she returned to the senior home and her progress was amazing! At the time, she was 94 years old.
Time and time again we visited and she was always such a help and inspiration to me.
I know that in our lives we sometimes have interference from others that distracts us from the true purpose of what we ultimately want to accomplish. Mrs. Thaler helped me remain focused on our ultimate goal of helping others with our beloved four-legged companions.
As time went by my life became more demanding, and maintaining my visiting schedule became increasingly difficult, but somehow I managed to squeeze one out here and there. The home was generous in allowing me to come whenever I wished, so often my Christmases, Thanksgiving Days, and Easter Sundays were shared with my friend.
This past Christmas my family and I all fell ill and we were housebound for quite a while. I wanted to be sure I was completely well before visiting Mrs. Thaler; I didn’t want to make her sick. When I finally got to the home she wasn’t in her usual place in the hallway. Instead she was lying in her bed looking very sad and not very well.
Mrs. Thaler died a few days later. I had been visiting her with five of my dogs for over 20 years. I miss her and am grateful for her love, guidance and friendship. The knowledge that I gleaned from her during our visits over all those years helps me run our organization every day.
Author: June Golden
We lost our Louie this Wednesday, 2/2/05 from a battle with cancer. He would have been 19 years old this coming Easter.
He lived with his first owner and watched his bar in Newark for 12 years under the name Beau. When the old man died, his children gave the dog the boot and put him out on the street, where he wandered for almost three years until becoming friends with another dog, Coco. Coco introduced him to George Gavin and they fell in love. He and Jim Cramer adopted both Louie and Coco and lived happily together for four years. Louie was the oldest working dog in Bright and Beautiful’s stable.
He went to work with George every week at the rehabilitation center in Newark, bringing joy to many seniors’ lives. He and Coco would appear dressed up as Santa Claus and his elf helper or other costumes, trying to get a laugh out of the crowd.
We’re so grateful God brought him into our lives to fill the hole Roger’s death left. And we’re so glad we got to give him the best last years an older dog could wish for, best friends, loving guardians, a soft bed and plenty of food and kisses and hugs.
We miss him so much but know that he, Roger; Duchess, Patches and Lady are waiting for us over the rainbow bridge to play together again someday in his gardens. I can’t wait, my Louie, for when it’s my turn. Although I still have many blessings to do before.
June would be angry with me if I didn’t do them.