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Jimmy Dean-a Dog, an Uncle, a Friend, a Companion, a Lover Recently, we lost our Jimmy Dean. He whiled his way into our hearts the very first day we got him, requiring the creation of a new phrase, Jimmy Luv! A simple call of Jimmy love and he would come running from any corner of the house to joyfully lick our face. I was putting down a new laminate floor. On a regular basis, unprovoked by me, he would come and stand in front of me smothering me in Jimmy Luv. Jimmy had a way of letting other dogs know it was time to play; he would butt them in there side. If the other dog was in for a play, off they would go. Sherlock Homes, his nephew came home as a puppy, initially about a third of Jimmy’s weight. Jimmy wanted to play, so he butted Sherlock with is regular force. Sherlock, being so small sprawled across the room. Jimmy’s final butt came just a couple days before his passing. Sherlock was obnoxiously barking, wanting someone to throw his blanket. (yep you heard right). Jimmy mustered up the energy to stand up, walk across the room and butt Sherlock in the side, Though the butt was only about a quarter of his usual force, Sherlock got the message and quieted down. Jimmy had a murmur that degraded over the years and eventually turned into congestive heart failure. With medicine, we were gifted one more summer. I chose to not concentrate on his feeble state or the fact he is gone. Why? Because he gave us so much Jimmy Luv and good memories that he truly was a gift to me. The above are two of so many stories of his life. Sure, I miss him, and cry as I write this, but that’s because the wonderful impact he had on me and the many people who got to know Jimmy Dean.
Date of Posting 4 Oct 2017
Posted by Stephen Magladry
"Good Evening Dr. V. I feel much better today. It was very difficult to let my precious Madison go. A part of me was hoping that there would be always just a little more time. I feel a peaceful calm knowing that Madison will not have to travel down the cancer path of pain without any treatment. She was pure love and she brought so much joy to my life. She loved unconditionally. The greatest gift I could give back to her was to let her go. I have amazing memories of my beautiful Maddie and she owns my heart. I am so glad this journey was not filled with nor did it end with horrific sickness. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. The last 26 months Madison was able to camp several times, spend Christmas in the snow, visit family and friends, and most importantly get a full wardrobe of dresses. She loved all. Take care and we will see you Wednesday. Lori and Mom"
Date of Posting: 23 August 2016
Posted By: Lori and Mom
Today I lost my best friend and love of my life. Sheila and I had almost 12 years together and were seldom apart traveling tens of thousands of miles together starting in 2004 as we drove the Baja with my good friend Ted. Back and forth to Cabo and as far away as the Caribbean sometimes in a kennel for hours with no medication she was always ready to go on a trip. We had just returned from a 10 week trip to Cabo where she swam and played on the beach to the very last day like she always had. A day after arriving back to LA she suddenly lost the use of her back legs. The cancer she was fighting which we had under control at last I believe was unrelated but the result of neurological condition many older dogs get if it not orthopedic. At almost 12 years old with another condition and an amazing life behind us painful as it was I couldn't see putting us both through more pain with a tail she could no longer wag. I was so blessed to have this beautiful little girl and amazing soul such a major part of my life.
Our puppy Shila now 16 months old her namesake has been the last few days unbelievably calm which is saying something staying next to Sheila all night long and most of the day.
They say animals can sense all kinds of things we don't give them credit for two of which are love and sincere grief of which I at the moment have an abundance of. I have attached a few photos I wanted to share.
Will Rogers once said "If dogs don't go to heaven I don't want to go" I can picture Sheila lying in a big kitchen somewhere while my mom makes her a snack, that would be paradise...
No matter how much one prepares for their pet companion’s departure from this world, the loss can really only be fully understood by those going through it.
A young man bolted outside the vet clinic sobbing uncontrollably. His brother followed and embraced him as they both cried together beside their parents. The young man’s grief was inconsolable. When Shiner and I approached, all I could say was “Only you know what you are going through”, as I gave blessing to this family for their loss.
The 93-year-old sister of a centurion, who lived at the rest home, where Shiner volunteered, as a therapy dog, asked how he was doing. She knew he was home battling liver cancer. “You probably won’t think much of me when I share this story”, she said. She told of her 60 year marriage to the most wonderful man in her life they shared with a 20 year old canine companion that laid in her husband’s lap daily. One day she ran errands only to return and find her husband deceased. Their loyal canine remained in his lap. Months later, their beloved canine also passed. She said she cried more for that dog than for her husband’s death. “Don’t get me wrong, I really loved my husband dearly, but that was how I felt”. I expressed my compassion.
The TV shows Lassie and Rin Tin Tin were part of my youth. When Shiner, our Pointador, with Sue and I began volunteer pet therapy in 2012, we briefly visited Lassie’s former body guard who shared his experiences working with Lassie. All 7 Lassies. Animal therapy is truly an amazing experience for therapy recipients, the companion animal and their handlers.
Sharing Shiner’s gift as a therapy dog with so many was rewarding beyond words. Our visits to the 1736 Crises Center for teens, the elderly, the challenged, and countless others were an amazing journey through the daily struggles of humanity and the healing he provided. We taught Shiner to give hugs and what a hug meant in human terms and after much training, he figured it out. When Sue arrived from work, he always gave her big hugs.
We really miss that.
May 10, 2016…. is still like yesterday. Shiner had been battling liver cancer for over 8 months now with a good quality of life and still able to work. But he was recently declining with dramatic weight loss and weakness. The day came for our beloved Shiner’s last breath in this world. When Dr. Alice Villalobos, our oncology vet, said it was time for Shiner to transition, a great burden had been lifted from us. She was the first pioneer veterinarian to develop the Quality of Life Scale for the end of life stages for companion pets. Dr. Alice set aside other pressing issues that day and took the valuable time to transition Shiner at our home in a very special way.
Sue and I placed Shiner’s favorite toys next to him as I read a series of Bible verses with Sue. Shiner was listening. We lit candles and opened our slider to the Pacific breezes that he loved so much and shared with us for over a decade. Our dear friend Alexa brought Chelsea, Shiner’s 13 year old friend and walking companion canine for 8 years to say goodbye for the last time and left a beautiful flower next to Shiner’s face before departing. I burned a special root given to me by a Pueblo medicine man in my youth. I removed a sage bundle from a medicine bag a Lakota healer gave me years ago.
The burning fragrances took me far back to special places and times in my life…
Time was standing still now.
I played John Hulling’s “Breath of the Mountain” from YouTube that reminded me of my wilderness backpacking days where I found comfort in the remote solitude and felt the powerful presence of our Creator.
As if magic, our laptop screen switched to Liquid Mind – My Orchid Spirit (Extragalactic). What a coincidence that Shiner had laid next to a Phalaenopsis orchid we had next to his bed before he passed on that I bought for Sue on Mother’s Day.
It was profoundly telepathic.
Somehow, the song “Come to Me” by Hiroshima entered my thoughts. I had not heard this song for many years. Only when we listened to the words that the message was so overwhelmingly powerful and our tears would not stop…
It was as though Shiner was comforting us at that moment in a way we would know.
It was very powerfully mystical and spiritual…
Every day that Shiner battled cancer with the exception of the last several days, he ended every daily walk by pulling his leash to complete our walk facing the Pacific as I watched him gaze into the beyond until he felt our walk was complete.
Oh, to know his thoughts then as he gazed across the ocean… He had an extraordinary strong will to live.
Dr. Alice arrived with her wonderful husband, Ira. They shared our special bond with Shiner throughout his 8 months of care and valiant fight to the end. It must have been particularly hard for them as they recently lost a beloved canine, yet Dr. Alice was very compassionate and professional. She hovered over us with a tablet depicting a video of canines running through billowy clouds over the mystical Rainbow Bridge in the midst of our grief.
A most profound memory to be forever etched in our minds. It takes a very special veterinarian with a strong heart and will to perform this great service for many decades in a very compassionate and most comforting way.
The day he passed was the only day in his battle with liver cancer that he did not wag his tail. We knew it was time to let go. Sue and I loved Shiner very dearly and it was not any easier for our loss. Fortunately, we had friends and family members from our wonderful blended families to comfort us. Neighbors in our community stopped to ask about him when they saw us without him. I now carry the last of his therapy dog cards with me to share with anyone who asks what happened.
Imagine the untold numbers of single owners with pets without family or those with few or no friends who don’t have anyone to comfort them but their companion pets. When their beloved pets pass on, there is no one. How truly devastating that must be for them. Only they and God know what they go through.
We are so fortunate to share this experience with Shiner for over a decade. Many owners lose companion pets much sooner. He gave us so much and the very least we could do is make him feel the very best in his valiant battle to the end.
Days later I opened a beautiful card from Dr. Alice and her wonderful Pawspice staff expressing their condolences and a notation that a gift was made in memory of Shiner to the Peter Zippi Fund for Animals that Dr. Alice founded years ago. Another card came from the Animal Health Foundation indicating that Dr. Alice and her staff at Pawspice made a generous donation in memory of Shiner.
Our local veterinarian, Dr. Kimberly Daffner, who referred us to Dr. Alice, along with her wonderful staff at Family Pet Clinic, shared a very touching card with a heart shaped pad with wildflower seeds.
We now have a beautiful urn with Shiner’s ashes and his pet therapy bandana that he wore when he volunteered at various facilities and events around Los Angeles County.
Two weeks to the day he passed, Sue was looking through some family photos and stumbled on a photo that I took in October, 2005 depicting Shiner with his then canine companion, Chipper a mischievous Chow Pit mix that an owner let run for hours a day off leash with Shiner in Northern California where I lived.
I could never find that photo whenever I looked for it.
The storied life of these canine companions then compelled me to convince the owner to give me Shiner. I always will wonder who his original owners were. I was told lived somewhere in San Diego County. Shiner was 12 years and perhaps 13 when he passed.
The Phalaenopsis orchid had already lost their petals after Shiner passed and it re-bloomed in mid-July. We still reflect on our loss, but know we were truly blessed to have Shiner in our lives for over a decade and all the healing he brought to so many in pet therapy.
Shiner’s transition was the most difficult and profound experience Sue and I have ever shared together. Our friend Alexa shared a eulogy she wrote for Shiner who she called an angel on earth in her Facebook page. Truly, he was an angel to us and many others he comforted…
Sam Jojola, USFWS Special Agent (ret)
“The greatest experience we can have is the mysterious”. – Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
Date of Posting 6 October 2017
Posted by Sam Jojola
"Patches was the sort of friend that doesn't just touch your life but bends it into a new and better shape. He joined our family after being rescued by a kind couple, and for over eighteen years since that time he was the heart of the household as well as a source of inspiration and strength. When we first discovered the lump that would prove to be adenocarcinoma, we were devastated. But it was an honour and a joy to be given the chance to repay some portion of our debt to him. This terribly aggressive form of cancer struck after he had already begun to suffer renal issues in his old age, complicating matters. Even so, Dr. Villalobos and her team of skilled professionals were able to give him several happy months that he never could have enjoyed otherwise. They are greatly knowledgeable, working from the forefront of animal research, and are deeply dedicated to the quality of their patients lives. We will always be grateful.
We'll see you tomorrow, with cookies.
Date of Posting: 07 August 2012
Posted By: Kerry O'Rear
"In January 2012 the tumor was continuing to grow, although he did not seem to be in pain. I couldn’t handle not doing anything and made an appointment with a vet at VCA Animal Hospital. The vet could do nothing, but told me that Dr. Alice Villalobos, a cancer specialist, was back practicing one day a week at VCA (private practice) and had formed PAWSPICE for animals near the end of life. I made an appointment to see her, too late for the cancer, but she provided support for me and Junior for the next 4-5 months. Our thanks to her and her staff."
See the rest of Junior's full story in resources
Date of Posting: 26 July 2012
Posted By: Story of Junior
"R I P My Beloved Pescadero~
AKA- Mr. Handsome, Pesky, Angel Face, Handsome P, P Diddy, Precious, Buddy-Lou, Poopers, The Dario, Ainggge, Thumper ;)
Some may have called you ‘just a dog’, but to me you were one of the greatest souls I’ve ever met… and my best friend.
You wore many hats… teacher, healer, and partner in crime, constant loyal companion, and simply my boy.
Without words you taught me more than the 100’s of books I’ve read and years of classes I’ve taken. Even right up to the end … with your 7-month dance with cancer you taught me about the true gems of living… through your dying. I promise I will not let ANY of it go in vein.
Our time together was sacred. You’ve always tried to get me to slow down by ‘putting on the brakes’ when we walked. I know you just wanted me to take it all in and ‘enjoy the journey’ rather than rushing to the destination. Recently, living with your ever looming ‘expiry date’ you inspired me to be completely present and live in the moment like never before.
You taught me that home does not mean four walls and a roof. Home is where the heart is, and I’ve never felt more at home in the presence of your love.
You are certainly not leaving me where you found me Pesky. You are a beautiful piece of the fabric that will be forever woven into my being. You’ve shown me the incredible capacity within me to both give and receive a profound and unconditional love…. the biggest gift of life and unfortunately an often a rare commodity in this world.
You were the ambassador of joy everywhere you went – with your whowhoowhoo and body waggin’ you put a smile on even the sternest faces. To know you was to love you… and I know I’m not the only one that will miss you. You were a community dog.
I'll never forget our moon light dances on the beach, our quiet moments alone, our fun adventures with family and friends and our too many road trips to count.
You were starving when I found you stranded on a beach in Mexico. I promised you’d never go hungry again…one of my greatest joys in life was feeding you. You had more steak than most humans… and yes, I may have went a little over board… but it was your favorite thing and to do. Seeing you happy brought me the deepest joy.
I loved bringing you ‘doggie bags’ from the finest restaurants in the city…and in return you gave me something that ALL the money in the world could NEVER buy…
I named you after the surf break I found you on…only years later to discover ‘Pescadero’ is referred to in the bible as a ”Fisherman of souls for Jesus”…
For me, Jesus represents the ultimate unconditional love. You sure did catch my soul little buddy, hook line and sinker…Please don’t ever let it go.
When you died in my arms yesterday a part of me died with you. My heart is breaking now…but I know, on some level it’s breaking open to a new life … of integrating all the gifts of you into everything I do.
My deepest prayer is that you will continue to love and communicate with me from the other side of the veil and once again help me to experience things I never have before…and let our ever expanding love continue to evolve.
I know I have been so incredibly blessed with a love that many may never understand and even sadder, will never know.
Rest in peace my dear friend Pescadero…until we met again. xo"
Date of Posting: 25 July 2012
Posted By: Kelly
I think I knew from the beginning that Buddy didn't have that much time, but in all honesty I didn't think we'd be going on two months based on what his Vet originally said. The biggest difference... has been the compassion. Other Vets I've spoken to were much more clinical and matter of fact without addressing the pain felt when a loved pet, a member of a family for many of us, is dying. I never thought I'd be going the route I've gone with Buddy... but there's just something about looking at that little guy and all of the joy he's brought, and thinking if there's a little hope for a little more good time, then he deserves it and the extra time spent together is worth it. Definitely human feelings and projections, yes? So far I think it has been worth it...and I guess Buddy & I & my husband know it's not for that much longer, so we're okay with it.
There are so many good things to say about Pawspice - here are a few of my thoughts:
- It's giving us a great and long good-bye.
-We've had quality time we didn't think we had.
-Pawspice helps extend the quality of many great lives.
-I wasn't looking for a miracle, just a compassionate place to keep Buddy happy for as long as he wanted to be around.
... He was truly an amazing dog, enduring two months of an illness with hardly a complaint or interruption in his daily game of fetch, jumping into the car to go bye-bye or his sacred pastime of eating. He went to sleep quite peacefully in his favorite spot by the backyard, after one final indulgence of Haagen Daz's Vanilla Swiss Almond.... He gave us a long good-bye and will be missed. He was definitely a lucky dog, but not as lucky as we were for the sheer joy that had been brought into our lives these last 10 years by a little guy appropriately named, Buddy Love."
Date of Posting: 20 July 2012
Posted By: Buddy
...From the time he was 2 months old until his passing, Bonkers gave us all immense joy. His playful and happy attitude was always a part of him, even when he was under going treatment. We want to extend our deepest gratitude to you for your compassion while caring for him. You are a wonderful, genuine person who always made us feel secure and confident...
Brett Schoenhals, Javier Delgado, Cynthia Schoenhals"
Date of Posting: 20 July 2012
Posted By: Brett Schoenhals, Javier Delgado, Cynthia Schoenha
You've treated me like I was a member of your own family. I could not have asked for anything better. You have a special place in my heart and I'll remember you forever.
Love and Puppy Kisses,
Date of Posting: 20 July 2012
Posted By: Barney
Seven and a half years ago a new friend came into my life, Alf. He brought more joy and laughter to me then I could even have imagined. When I decided to move from Israel to the United States, Alf and Dusty were the only two things I needed to feel at home.
A year ago, Alf was diagnosed with Lymphoma and I thought that my world was destroyed. My best friend, who I needed every day, was being robbed from me in cruel way, but we were not going to give up without a fight first.
We visited several clinics before finding you all. None gave us the comfort and care that we were able to find with you. None kept me as involved with his treatments. I felt that here, people really cared about Alf. The way the crew here operates is really unique.
When the time came for me to say good-bye to my friend, the decision was made easier by knowing that you had done everything you could to help him. Saying goodbye is never easy, but knowing you would be there to offer a kind word made the process as comfortable as possible for us. You allowed Alf to have a dignified and peaceful ending to his much too short life. For this, I truly thank you and will never forget you."
Date of Posting: 20 July 2012
Posted By: Shalom, Ron Hoffman
What is amazing is, Kayla, 16 years 8 months (100 dog years) still had cognitive abilities. To back track, in 2007, we took her to Dr. Villalobos because of periodic vomiting. Also, I thought she was showing signs of confusion: standing at the wrong door to go out or facing a spot and not moving. Today, none of these things, Dr. V. did a MRI, to rule out a brain tumor and put her on Anipryl, Hepato Support and NutriGest.
For the last years, we have taken her to Dr. Rachel Jones and Dr. V. for any concerns. She has allergies so Claritin helps, Ear infections has caused her to loose her hearing but other senses have compensated. She has also been on a grain free diet. Pumpkin was her source of fiber.
As she has aged arthritis has become her buddy (Metacam and Gabapentin helped). We usually walked her 5 days a week.
The man of the house retired in June, 2010. She made him her pack, following him all daylong wherever he went; up the stairs and standing at the gate whenever he was gone. The secret, he gave her treats when he came home. She did not retire; her internal clock remained the same. mornings, up at 5:30 am, 2:00pm food with meds. and 9:00pm snack and meds. She would let us know what time it was.
She regularly patrolled the yard. She sensed changes and would bark. She was very sweet, and did not have a mean bone in her. She was attacked twice by other dogs on our walks but never changed towards people. She was always friendly and wanting to say hello.
In April, 2011, things started to change. Her right leg became weaker .We had to stop walking depending on her fatigue level. We would take her out, she would turn around when she knew her limit. It started to become 1/2 a block, then less and less. She had trouble with the stairs and mostly hopped up them, sometimes she needed help. What was amazing was her determination to her determent. In May, both legs started to weaken, her back began to sag. She started to roam alot, sitting to eat and urinate.
I could see in her eyes that something was amiss. There was no sparkle. It was hard for her to get comfortable on the bed, constantly moving about, and changing positions. She did not like to be left alone. She remained loyal and still barked to communicate but she was agitated.
It was time to give her peace and dignity because of a developing infection which was getting worse. We no longer have children at home, so we became dependent on her companionship like she did for us. We adapted to her, changing our lives to keep her comfortable. She was on 16 medicines per day but this was never a problem. It is sad that the body doesn't always cooperate.
Each dog is very special. Kayla was our third but there will never be another Kayla. Her sweetness, her loyalty, her diginity, and never ending love can never be replaced. A dog, she may of been, but family member, she was.
Our special thanks to Dr. Alice Villalobos, Careen Schuller, Ronnie and staff for always giving her outstanding Pawspice care. Her quality of life was really good, and she was given dignity through out her life (Oct 21, 1994 - May 31, 2011).
Norman and Karen Call
P.S. Kayla thanks you too!!!"
Date of Posting: 20 July 2012
Posted By: Norman and Karen Call
By Appointment Only
Pawspice, Hermosa Beach 562-493-5025
Animal Oncology, Woodland Hills 818-712-0060