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IN LOVING MEMORY...


Baby


Dear Kari,

About 10 years ago, I fostered a pit mix named Baby, whose tail wouldn’t stop wagging. Despite months of adoption events, nobody ever took her home. Eventually I realized that I had fallen in love with her goofy grin and snuggly personality, and you let me keep her forever. She became my beloved Bailey.

Over the next decade we had more adventures than I could possibly name, but there is no question that she made me a more patient, kind and thoughtful person. Bailey won the hearts of so many people, including some folks who didn’t like dogs but insisted “she’s different. She GETS me.” She even learned to speak a few “words”…she developed specific noises for specific needs. To request assistance retrieving a ball that had gone under a couch, for example, she made a noise that sounded like a dinosaur. To everyone’s amazement, she never mixed up her “words.” She was easy to love.

Over the years, I jokingly referred to her as my “Mercedes,” because I had spent enough on her to buy a luxury car. She was worth every penny and more! I knew that I would marry my husband when I saw how lovingly he cared for her when she got intestinal cancer. Every four hours after her surgery—for weeks-—we took turns medicating her, walking her, and coaxing grilled chicken into her. She rebounded, and defied the oncologist’s post-surgical prediction that she had six months to live. Without any additional treatment (they had told us it wouldn't really help), she thrived for another two and a half years, and joined us at the bed and breakfast where we held our wedding. We knew she was on borrowed time, and were thrilled when she kept enthusiastically demolishing squeaky toys and hopping into bed for snuggles. For a while, it was easy to forget that she had cancer.

This tenacity shouldn’t be surprising, given her history. When you rescued her from the shelter, she was half her normal body weight, and she had an ingrown collar that needed to be surgically removed. My precious girl was almost certainly doomed; but someone called you, and you agreed to pay for the surgery. I can never express to you how grateful I am that you saved her. From the bottom of my heart: thank you, thank you, thank you. I would have done anything for her, but she needed you to save her first. For that I am forever grateful, and I have made a donation to Ace of Hearts in her memory.

Sadly, this summer our tenacious, intelligent and agile Bailey suddenly lost the ability to move her back legs, and a trip to the neurologist revealed that the cancer had reappeared in her brain. We tried to keep its progress at bay, and she regained the ability to walk; but ongoing diagnostics revealed that the cancer was rapidly spreading throughout her body. We knew that this time, our sweet girl was beyond medical help, and it gutted us. We had just bought a home with a beautiful yard and screened porch, and had imagined how much she would enjoy it. Indeed, she did enjoy it in the final weeks before we said goodbye. Even with her reduced mobility, she managed to corner a few crickets! Her last moments, like the life we tried to provide, were filled with love. As we laid in the sun-dappled yard, I held her head as she slipped away on her favorite quilt. Our hearts are beyond broken. I know everyone thinks that they had the best dog in the world—but she really was. Thank you for saving her, so that we could make so many happy memories together. I'll treasure them forever.

~Alison Snyder (formerly Hoenk)



Marley




Dear Kari, It has been many years since I wrote to you about our Marley, but I wanted to give you a final update and thank you once again for saving his life. In the summer of 2001 our son Stuart was studying at UCLA. One day, he happened by an adoption fair your organization was sponsoring and there he saw a big red dog named Hudson. When Stuart decided he wants something, he usually gets it; and he wanted the big red dog. Probably against your better judgment, you decided to let this young college student adopt Hudson. Stuart renamed him Marley ( Marl, as Stuart liked to spell it.)

At the end of the year, Stuart decided to return to Ohio for college. He packed up his car and , with Marley riding shotgun, set off across country toward home. I remember spending those days researching accommodations that allowed pets, making reservations for the two of them as they drove east. To be honest, I wasn't happy that Stuart had taken a dog because he still had college to complete. Clearly, this dog would be the responsibility of my husband and me for a while. But such was life with a kid like Stuart.

Truth is, my husband and I quickly fell in love with Marley and he became the family dog. He was so special. He walked into our lives and it felt like fate had put us together. The story of how close he had come to being euthanized had it not been for Ace of hearts was both heartbreaking and transcendent. I can only speculate about his life before being rescued, but he always seemed to understand that something very unusual had changed the course of his life. He had a wonderful disposition. Nothing bothered him -- not the cats, not other dogs he encountered when he walked, not sometimes having to be patient with his people, not anything. I don't what you saw in him that made you think he deserved another chance in life but you were very perceptive.

He was so smart. I had no doubt that he understood every word I said to him. When we took him to puppy class at Petsmart soon after he arrived from California, he graduated at the top of his class. He already knew some commands, but he picked up everything they taught very quickly. He also was incredibly protective of his family. Even though he was always gentle and unaggressive, I felt certain that he would tear to pieces anyone who tried to hurt me. He would spend hours sitting on the landing of the steps to our second floor. From there, he could see everything on the street outside. I think he considered it his job to sit in that spot and guard his people. We have a lot of pictures of him on this landing doing his job.

He loved being outside and riding in the car. For several years my husband drove a convertible and Marley absolutely loved riding in it with the top down and the air blowing his ears. Ge also loved to go hiking in the national park near our home. For years he and my husband hooked with a friend who had a female standard poodle . She and Marley became fast hiking buddies (we called her his girlfriend). And more than anything he liked to sit on the deck and enjoy the sun -- always the california dog, I guess.

As the years passed our Marley began to slow down. He developed cataracts and that impaired his vision. He got stiff from Arthritis. We worked with his diet to keep his weight down and ease the strain on his joints. We also were fortunately able to afford some really good arthritis meds that gave him several more years of activity. In the last year he lost much of his hearing and we had to touch him to get his attention. In june, we desperately tried laser treatments on his joints hoping to buy a little more time. But, on Monday, June 23 his little legs went out from under him and he could not get up again. I could see in his eyes that he was done. That night our son Stuart, now out of college and living in Cleveland, joined my husband and me to say goodbye to our precious boy.

His going has left a huge empty hole in our lives that can not be filled I have spent weeks thinking about how to honor the life of a dog who brought us so much happiness and love. And I decided I would write to Ace of Hearts and send a check to support the work you do in saving dogs like Marley. Along with the check, I am enclosing some pictures of Marley during his life with us. I hope you remember him and enjoy seeing the life you made possible for him. I made little notes on the back of each one.

Thank you again for saving his life and giving us 13 plus years with him. I know what you do is incredibly hard and takes unbelievable emotional strength.

Sincerely Brenda B. Pflaum



LULU


We fostered for your organization in 2003 and as a result were able to adopt a sweet frenchie girl by the name of Eloise at the time. We changed her name to Lulu. In 2005 she ruptured a disc in her spin and had surgery. We were relieved that she made a full recovery and was able to walk again. We loved her dearly, she was such a mellow and sweet girl. Always well behaved and loving. She made us laugh many a times through out the years and was a complete character.

Today December 10th, 2011 we lost our lovely girl at the age of about 11. She lived a happy life and was very loved. We are heavy hearted and have not been able to stop crying through out the day. My 5 year old is really having a hard time, but then again so am I. Lulu was such a special dog.

I would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to have her in our lives, our hearts will forever be filled with her presence.


EVITA


Hello, Kari: I don’t know if you remember us or not, but about 10 years ago we adopted a little dox/beagle (we think) mix from Ace of Hearts. She was called Isabella then, and she was fostered by a woman down in Orange County. We brought her to her new home in Tucson, AZ, and we changed her name to Evita. She loved it here.

Our baby girl was the light of our lives. She died suddenly, but peacefully and without suffering, just yesterday afternoon here at her home which we called “La Casa de Perrita” – The House of the Little Dog.

We wanted to thank you for your role in bringing her into our lives. You do noble work.



NELLIE


I wanted to say Thank you for bringing Nellie into my life, I was her foster mom, but really I was her Mom. I took her to her adoptions, and I hated watching her in that cage, but was hoping someone could give her a better home, than my small apartment. She would come back, so happy to see me, no one interested, just her and I . I began to wonder maybe she was supposed to be mine, but how could I keep her in my small apartment where no dogs were allowed. I would sneak her in, no one ever knew, she was such a good dog, curling up in her bed, or mine:) Chasing eachother in my apartment, her barking and hiding, and she and I would play . She came into my life when I seemed to be at my most lonely. Bounding onto my bed, and into my heart! Looking forward to seeing her when I came home, or taking her on her walks, or the park, she loved being in the car, always comforting to know she was right next to me! Her heart, soul, and precious sweet face was so needed in my life, she was a gift from god.

How could anyone not want her I thought, but she had a story, and I learned she was very loved and taken care of. I loved listening to her barks and snarls in her sleep, and she loved people, people all the time is what she wanted! Curling up between my friends and I, looking up at us in adoration:) 

Then came the heart wrenching decision to leave LA, I could no longer afford to be there, but didnt want to leave Nellie, knowing she had been left in the past, but did not have a choice. I took her with me for 2 weeks up to Ben Lomond, a beautiful mountain community in Santa Cruz County, little did I know Nellie and I would spend the remainder of her life there. I kept her for 2 weeks and painfully had to give her back, I cried for a week straight, and hoped she would be adopted, hoped she was enjoying her life with wonderful people. I was wrong. I received a devastating call from Kai, one I will never forget. Nellie had cancer. She had maybe months to live. I cried for days, I felt like it was my fault, did I miss something, the thought of her little soul suffering killed me. She was like my kid, and I wanted her back.


I decided to take Nellie in the last of her time on earth, I thought she should be with me, and my mom. I am so happy I did. I decided I would do everything in my power to save her, I put her on a special diet, special earbs and vitamins, accupuncture,  her holistic vet was amazing!9 Nellie started perking up about 3 days after coming, she was sooooo loved, we just loved her up! Her last 2 months were amazing! She started gaining weight, playing, going on walks in the forest, eating yummy food, she loved our neighbor Patty and would always pull me over to her door and scratch on it, she went to the beach, her daily walk in the huge grass park she loved, also our daily trip to the store for her beefstick! I was really happy she had that time with me, and she was doing well up until about November 9th, she was showing signs of slowing down, and my birthday was the 12th, and I noticed she was not as peppy, and had hard time sleeping, she only had 2 really bad days the whole time she was with me, so when I saw she wasn't doing well that week I had a feeling. I told her I am going away for my bday, I will be back sunday the 14th, hang on, I will be back. I almost didn't go, but had hotel reservations and couldn't back out. I came back sunday, she looked really bad, barely moving, my mom said prepare yourself, I knew she didnt have long, and was going to call kai that Monday the 15th to talk about options. I didnt have to. Nellie passed away in her sleep the morning of the 15th, she looked so peaceful, I always told her go when your ready, let me know when its time. She did. I felt a sense of peace, knowing she was not suffering, and she only had 2 really bad days, and I am glad no more than that. My mom and I did a ceremony over her body, and I thanked her for all the love and joy she gave to me, she was truly a gift from god, and she could go home now. I cried all day, and have been on and off. I had her cremated and spread her ashes in the Redwood Forest and her paw print in cement with her name. This is really hard for me, and I miss her so much, I only had her for 9months, but it might as well have been 9 years...I always thought she would get adopted, that she was someone else's, but she wasn't. She was always mine.

Love, Rani 


ELMER BLUE

Dear Kari.. I dont know if you will remember me, but I was a casting director who you placed the most amazing shep/rottie/malamute mix with about 8 years ago. You named him Elmer Blue, because he stuck to people like elmer's glue and he had the most beautiful blue eyes. We just called him Blue.
He and I had 8 amazing years together and we just had to say goodbye to him due to cancer and multiple strokes... he had a great life.. made my life so worth living .. and loving and caring for him was really the greatest gift I have ever known... and I am ever grateful to you for the light, joy and love you brought to my life...

 




ANNIE/BEATRICE

It's with a sad heart we wanted to let you know that  our beloved Annie (ie Beatrice), our Rottie we adopted from you, passed away night  before last of cardiomyopethy. She was aproximately 12 years old and was very loved - we  miss her so  much - she was the best dog in the world. Thank you for bringing  her into our lives.


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