Rainbow Bridge Bracelet Benefits Rescue Groups

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Rainbow Bridge bracelet

Earlier this week I discovered Three Scoops of Vanilla, a site offering beautiful handcrafted jewelry in dog, cat, and even horse themes. Each week a different rescue group benefits from a portion of sales and online auctions through Facebook. A custom bracelet that was offered to benefit English Springer Rescue was simply adorable and sold for over $250 in the auction. I love the multi-colored Rainbow Bridge bracelet which includes a charm personalized with your pet’s name. What a lovely way to  honor their memory and save another pet’s life! Check out the beautiful jewelry, all made in America and inspired by three beautiful yellow labs, the “Three Scoops of Vanilla.”

This post is part of the Saturday Pet Blog Hop hosted by Two Little Cavaliers and Life with Dogs. Please visit the blog hop and discover lots of fun pet blogs!

How to write a pet condolence card

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Courtesy of IStockphoto.com

Recently, several dogs in our pet therapy group passed away. When a loss occurs, the group is notified by email with the family’s address, should we wish to send a sympathy card. Some of the dogs I knew very well, and I find it easy to personalize the card with a particular memory of the pet, but others I didn’t know as well, and I struggle to come up with the right words. But I know how meaningful it is to receive a condolence card when you lose a pet – it’s a validation of your grief and an expression that the pet’s life mattered. The challenge is what to say that doesn’t sound trite or generic. (more…)

Life Lessons from a Therapy Dog

Monday, July 4th, 2011


Haley, a long-time therapy dog with Paws with a Purpose (now known as Paws on a Mission) recently passed away. Haley spread joy and comfort right up until the end, continuing to make therapy dog visits during what would be the last week of her life. The following tribute written by her owner, Ken, contains an important lesson.


Ever since she was a puppy, Haley loved toast and she loved peanut butter. In fact, she would eat ANYTHING with peanut butter on it! Every time the toaster was set on the kitchen counter top, Haley would strategically position herself to be certain to receive the corner piece of toast to which she felt she was entitled. Haley would get one corner and her sister Sam would be tossed another – rarely would the ‘girls’ actually catch the pieces but they’d certainly scramble like mad to clean them off the floor. Even when Haley lost her sense of hearing, she seemed to sense when that toaster came out and she’d be sure to be there, drooling like a starving hound, waiting for that tiny, precious, single corner of toast. (more…)

A Prayer of Thankfulness for Animals

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Today is the anniversary of my springer Chester’s death, on November 20, 1997. He passed away gently in his sleep, after ten wonderful years together. That Thanksgiving was very sad. After all this time I still think of him often, but now I smile at the memories. During this week of Thanksgiving, I am especially grateful for the dogs I have known and loved. The wonderful book Animal Blessings: Prayers and Poems Celebrating Our Pets by June Cotner, contains the following meditation on thankfulness:

The Love They Give Us

by Kent C. Greenough

Not only is there always another good animal in need of a good home, but we must remember to be thankful for the time and love our animals give us while they are here. Take time to enjoy them and learn from them. As painful as it is to lose them, they teach us to love unselfishly, they teach us to live each day to the fullest, they teach us how to grow old gracefully, and they teach us how to die with dignity. We do them a disrespect to focus only on the sorrow of their death when they have given us so much joy through their life. If we wish to honor them, take what they have given us, all that love, and give it back to another animal in need of help.

As we begin this holiday season, remember and honor the animals that bless our lives, and especially those who need a home.

In loving memory of Byron

Sunday, November 7th, 2010


Three years ago today, on November 7, 2007, my beautiful Byron crossed the Rainbow Bridge. He would have been 15 in January, a year or so older than the typical life span for a Welsh springer. I adopted him when he was 18 months old, a breeder re-home situation, and during our years together life had many ups and downs, but he was always there for me with his gentle presence. I especially treasure his graceful aging. In spite of spinal arthritis which progressively weakened his hind legs, his spirit remained cheerful. We adapted to the mobility issues with shorter walks, where I let him turn back towards the house when he wanted. He had a comfy bed in every room of the house, but he spent most of his time on his bed in the hall, where he could keep watch over my comings and goings. I helped him get up and walk with a little sling, and when we came to the cabin, I carried him down the stairs to his bed by the window, where he enjoyed looking out into the woods. Saying goodbye to him was very hard, but I knew I had to release him from his struggles. (more…)

A Church Service for Dogs

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

I’ve written before about a very moving Blessing of the Animals service that Alex and I participated in. Now, Calvary Church in Danvers, Massachusetts has started Perfect Paws Pet Ministry, a half-hour service for people and their dogs on the third Sunday of each month. The service includes Communion,blessings, and dog biscuits for the dogs at the end of the service. The service also includes prayers for animals who are ill, and for those who are deceased. (more…)

Love is the Best Medicine – recommended book!

Monday, April 26th, 2010

love-is-the-best-med-2I became a fan of Dr. Nick Trout, a veterinary surgeon at Angell Animal Medical Center near Boston, when I read his first book, Tell Me Where it Hurts. His new book, Love is the Best Medicine – What Two Dogs Taught One Veterinarian About Hope, Humility, and Everyday Miracles (Broadway Books, 2010) is one of the best dog books I have read in a long time. Dr. Trout juxtaposes the stories of two dogs, an elderly Cocker Spaniel named Helen, and a young Min-Pin named Cleo, who became his patients under unusual circumstances. Without giving the story away, suffice it to say that these two cases and their unexpected outcomes  provide a riveting account of the human-animal bond and the spiritual dimension of healing. This book is about what it means to love a dog, and the lengths we will go to save them as well as how we come to terms with their loss. Dr. Trout is as skilled a writer as he is a surgeon,  writing with humor, honesty, and compassion. The result is much more than a book of animal hospital anecdotes; it explores a deeper dimension of medical miracles, and it is a book that stays with you long after you put it down.

“The Love They Give Us”

Monday, March 29th, 2010

I have a friend who is struggling with the loss of her beloved dog. She wants to adopt another dog, but she is afraid that it’s too soon, that she is being disloyal or dishonoring to the dog she lost.  A veterinarian I know said once, “I encourage my clients to adopt again as soon as possible. The love has to go somewhere.” How true! The following  reflection echos the same sentiment. It is by Kent C. Greenough, from the wonderful book Animal Blessings: Prayers and Poems Celebrating Our Pets, edited by June Cotner (reprinted by permission). (more…)

A Pet Cemetery for People, too

Friday, February 26th, 2010

For those of us who would like to be buried with our beloved pets, there is a trend in that direction. A recent article from CNN.com:

Pets and people buried together

By Rose Hamada, CNN

February 24, 2010 11:57 a.m. EST

London, England (CNN) — Like many people, widow Penny Lally plans to be buried alongside her family. But in her case, that includes a menagerie of family pets.

Her husband, John, who died of cancer three years ago at the age of 64, is already buried with their horse Super Sam, Blot the cat, Muppet the dog, and even Brian the bird.

“I often tell people that John has a canary singing in his ear, a cat purring at his feet, a dog at his side and a horse to ride on when he likes,” Lally said. “I know some people might find this strange, but I loved my pets and wanted them all to be close to me and my husband and to each other.”

Lally, 66, runs a pet crematorium and woodland burial place in Penwith, Cornwall, in southwestern England. She has buried more than 30 owners alongside their animals and has over 100 more plots reserved for pets and their owners, she said. (more…)

In loving memory of Marmaduke, Dec. 31, 1993

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

I always think of her on New Year’s Eve even though it’s been 16 years since she died from hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive cancer of the blood vessels. I remember well the day we adopted her, too, and my first impression that she looked like a lioness lying regally in the shelter cage, her paws crossed, with an attitude of “There must be some mistake. I don’t know what I am doing in this place.” As we signed the adoption papers the clerk warned, “She’s been brought back twice. This is her last chance.” In spite of many behavior challenges, we gave her a forever home for the next seven years. When she was diagnosed with cancer, I learned how much I had come to love her for her courage, loyalty, and count-me-in attitude. As a final gift, she inspired me to begin a collection of tributes to beloved dogs, later published as Angel Pawprints: Reflections on loving and losing a canine companion. Although their years with us are never long enough, and it is unbearably sad when they leave us, I have come to think of each of my dogs as a precious gift that has enriched my life and opened my heart in unexpected ways. I am blessed and thankful to have walked beside them.



Request from the Rainbow Bridge – a comforting poem for pet loss

Monday, October 12th, 2009

istock_000000549683smallThe familar poem, “The Rainbow Bridge,” started me on a journey to collect, and later publish, comforting poems and tributes related to pet loss. I particularly love those written in the pet’s voice. The following poem, “Request from the Rainbow Bridge,” has been cited often by readers of my anthologies, Angel Pawprints and Angel Whiskers, as among their favorites. It it one of my favorites, too. (more…)

Pawprints in the Stars – a new book for pet loss

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

In my last post I wrote about looking up at the Dog Star in the early morning sky, a ritual I found healing following the loss of Byron and Emily. I mentioned that objects with star motifs began appearing in my life, as if the dogs were letting me know that we are still connected. Thus, I was surprised and delighted to come across a new book, Pawprints in the Stars; a Farewell and Journal for a Beloved Pet written and illustrated by Warren Hanson (Tristan Publishing, 2008). pawprints-in-stars (more…)

Dog Poem of the Week

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

Following the loss of Byron in 2007, I began a morning ritual to connect with his spirit. Standing on my back porch, I could see the Dog Star Sirius in the early morning sky. I would take a few moments in the quiet of the dawn to look up at the star and remember him. I had a strong feeling he was watching over me, and this simple ritual was comforting.

Byron, age 14

Byron, age 14

As if he was answering me back, I began to notice star motifs appearing everywhere. Digging around in a cupboard in the garage, I pulled out an extra dog dish to take to the cabin. It was a handmade pottery dish, with a star motif. I had completely forgotten I had this dish. The circle seemed complete when little Alex was born with a small white mark on his back like a shooting star. I still look up at the stars, and think of all my beloved dogs. Browsing through my dog poetry collection, I came across this poem. (more…)

Dog Poem of the Week

Monday, June 15th, 2009

In the process of compiling Angel Pawprints; Reflections on Loving and Losing a Canine Companion, I acquired an extensive library of dog literature, including poems, stories, essays, and tributes. I love the old books with their thick, rough-edged pages and charming pen and ink illustrations. Sometimes there is a bookplate on the inside cover or inscription in flowing fountain-pen script on the frontispiece. I like to think of the book’s previous owners and how they must have loved dogs too. I’ve decided to share some favorite dog poems in this blog. (more…)

Dog Blessings – recommended book!

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Following the loss of Marmaduke and Molly, I embarked on a project to compile poems and tributes to dogs that had died. I found them in out of print books and out of the way places. Most of the tributes that were ultimately published in Angel Pawprints; Reflections on Loving and Losing a Canine Companion were written in the early 1900s, although I included a few contemporary poems as well. Through this project I became a collector of antiquarian dog books, vintage photos of dogs, and quotes about dogs. I never tire of reading about dogs and the countless ways in which they enrich our lives. Thus, I was delighted to find this treasure, a new book called Dog Blessings; Poems, Prose, and Prayers Celebrating Our Relationship with Dogs, edited by June Cotner.dog-blessings (more…)