When a pet passes away, it can be difficult to find the compassionate and loving support that are given when a human dies. Pet Partners' staff and constituents recognize that our companion, service, and/or therapy animals are part of our families and have a special spirit.
Those of us who have enjoyed the comfort and unconditional love animals provide look for ways to celebrate the bond. Some choose to show their appreciation for these animals through donations to Pet Partners to help further our mission of improving human health through service and therapy animals.
For those people that choose to memorialize their animal(s) in the amount of $100 or more, Pet Partners will add the pet’s photo and story to the Pet Memorials section of our website for six months. Please complete and send in the Animal Website Memorial Form when making a donation to ensure that your memorial is posted.
Tia, Pet Partners Therapy Dog — Janet and Henry Ramser
When Tia lost her best friend, Zechariah (Zak, Zakie), she was weakened. She was born with a “compromised immune system”, but lived 8 ½ years with several medications. She never lost her zest for life. She provided inspiration to suffering patients, families and nurses at the hospital. Tia knew who was hurting and she would take the initiative to be near them.
The cost of keeping Tia alive was too high for a less therapeutic dog. But her initial PetPartners’ evaluation rated her in the Complex category. For those of you who know the difficulty of Complex, you will understand why a serious financial investment was justified.
When we eventually replaced Zechariah with another Dobie pup (Bentley), Tia gave Bentley all the parenting nurture she could for three months, until Tia’s health was at the “hospice” state of existence. Occasional spurts of zest occurred in Tia, but as Tia’s appetite diminished, we knew the end was near. Bentley arrived on 1/19/13. Tia died 4/22/13. Brief, but precious days of companionship.
Where ever I was, at home or in the field, Tia would come and check on me. When it was time to wake up, Tia gave me a gentle nose touch. When eating a snack in the kitchen in wee hours of the night, I felt that gentle nose touch. Tia was so gentle & quiet that she could just “appear” in the “quiet of the night”, having not heard her approach.
Only an Angel can be that quiet, for which Tia was fully qualified. The institutional patients and nurses whom Tia visited felt her gentleness. People sometimes question whether a Doberman can be a therapy dog. Their emotional sensitivity to suffering leaves them completely exhausted. As they ride home, they fall sound asleep.
Bentley has graciously accepted the mantle to carry forth the therapeutic legacy of Zechariah and Tia. The Holy Spirit has accepted Zechariah & Tia into eternity. Bentley is now blessed by that gracious “touch” which his forbearers left him. With the weary hearts of weary soldiers, Zechariah & Tia have crossed the Rainbow Bridge and now rest in the holy land. Bentley carries within him, the grace of an enduring legacy.
We give thanks to Pet Partners for Certification Evaluators, as well as Gateway Medical Center’s Volunteer Director, Sandy Wooten, for providing Tender Paws a home base for operations and outreach into the community.
Henry & Janet Ramser
Paris Hilton, Pet Partners Therapy Dog — Dr. Brenda Carroll
September 19, 2010 — January 4, 2013
||Paris was a Pet Partners therapy dog at the Yuma Regional Cancer Center for almost a year. Although her time was short, she provided the comfort cancer patients needed, even at a time of adversity. Patients would look forward to Paris’ office visits as much as Dr. Carroll’s office visits. She loved her toys and treats and would sometimes twirl her way back to the office. Paris brought a comforting presence, love and joy to the patients and staff at YRCC. Paris would bring a smile to anyone she was in contact with and will be missed dearly.
I lost a treasured friend today
The little dog who used to lay
Her gentle head upon my knee
And share her silent thoughts with me.
She'll come no longer to my call,
Retrieve no more her favorite ball
A voice far greater than my own
Has called her to His golden throne.
And though my eyes are filled with tears,
I thank Him for the happy years
He let her spend down here with me,
And for her love and loyalty.
Zechariah, Pet Partners Therapy Dog — Janet and Henry Ramser
Zechariah's origin on earth is unknown, but his spirit was a gift from somewhere beyond. A Doberman Rescue team passed him on to us for earthly care in 2001. He was family henceforth and forever. His original female companion was Maia who eventually died (cancer induced bone fracture). Then along came puppy Tia who immediately became his affectionate companion.
Zechariah became a Pet Partners Therapy Dog around age 2, faithfully serving several Clarksville assisted living facilities, nursing homes and Gateway Hospital for the next 8 years.
His compassion and composure was unflappable. His intuition for human suffering was beyond measure. Around age ten, arthritis prohibited him from the necessary walking involved with patient visiting. However, by then he had shown Tia the ropes, and she found her place for therapy dog service.
Zecharia was a very muscular male, with floppy ears and a silky smooth coat. He would bring calmness to an overactive child, snuggling next to them. He was a safe-haven to the down trodden whose way in life was lost. Was he the embociment of the Holy Spirit? Some would say he was.
We will forever treasure the time that we had with Zechariah. He was indeed very special. He has now gone back to be with our Heavenly Father.
Murphy, Pet Partner – Perrin & Rick Riggs
Murphy lived her life full of a drive to work, a devotion to her people, and a desire to meet or perform for everyone else in the world. She earned an AKC Companion Dog Excellent title, appeared on television several times, and even made a commercial. She performed for groups ranging from veterinary students to 4-H participants. A reporter observing one of our public demonstrations dubbed her in print, “Murphy the Wonder Dog.” And she was. Murphy was an ambassador for training using kind, gentle methods. Murphy is pictured at left with one of her good friends smile together during a visit.
As a Pet Partner, Murphy brightened the lives of many. She had a special relationship with one developmentally challenged young man, who as a child was deathly afraid of dogs but in later years always wanted to be near her. Murphy truly was his companion and best buddy. When it became clear, at 12 years of age, that she had inoperable cancer, she still maintained the intensity and drive that was her trademark. Even when she could barely eat or breathe, and it was difficult for her to walk, she still wanted to work. When we finally said goodbye, it comforted us to think that somewhere she was once again playing happily, her body young and whole, smiling her gap-toothed, Lauren Hutton smile, waiting for us to throw the Frisbee one more time.
Chester, Pet Partner – Sharon and Peter Green
Chester and Sharon Green were one of the first pet therapy teams to visit at Mount Sinai Hospital. Chester’s easygoing nature and calming demeanor endeared him to staff, patients, and visitors. Repeatedly, the staff at Mount Sinai was amazed by Chester’s healing powers: with quiet determination, he would know what to do to motivate the patients who were hesitant to walk, talk, or use their limbs. Many patients reported that they owe part of their recovery to the visits from Chester.
In the rehabilitation units, Chester knew just how to maneuver his body so wheelchair bound patients could have the chance to feel his silky ears and jowls. In the pediatric hematology/oncology unit, Chester was always available to kiss and snuggle a hurting child and ease some of their pain, or gently place his front paws and head on them so they could get some much-needed comfort.
Sadly, Chester was taken away from those who love him in the prime of his life. Despite his illness, he remained dignified to the very end. The loss is great and felt by many. Goodbye sweet Chester. We love and miss you.
Hoku, Pet Partner – Sue-Lynn Yim
I adopted Hoku from Kent Animal Shelter as a two-year old stray shortly after registering with Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue for Samoyed. I was struck by his happy-go-lucky attitude and commanding presence, and promptly named him "Hoku", which means star' in Hawaiian. He was exceedingly gentle and definitely a child-friendly guy. I remember one time a two-year old girl (total stranger) ran up to him on the street and gave him a huge bear-hug, exclaiming "I love you white doggy", and Hoku loved every minute of it. Although he had a mind of his own when it came to dog obedience, Hoku became a registered Pet Partner and did a brief stint visiting a senior home in Seattle's Chinatown until his various ailments caused him to stop. Hoku passed away from prostate cancer in 2003, after sharing ten years of his wonderful life with me, and he will be sorely missed. I will remember Hoku best for having a contagious smile, even the most canterkerous stranger couldn't help smile back wherever we went.
Nathan, Pet Partner – Beth Fink
Nathan Hale will always be a part of my heart. He was my first Pet Partner (1991) and gave me courage to venture into areas of healthcare I hadn't dreamed of. He was confident & reassuring to all who met him and touched his velvet head, and were won over by his soft spaniel expression.
A member of the Pilot Group of Rx: DOG LOVE in Akron, Ohio, he began visiting in 1991 in Onoclogy, Behavioral Health and Rehabilitation units at Akron City Hospital. Shortly after the program was underway, most of the other units and departments in the three Summa hospitals opened to us for visits.
Nathan Hale was the first dog that we know of in the US, and probably the planet, to be asked to visit inside an Intensive Care Unit (Summa Health System's Akron City Hospital, 1993) His intuitive gift touched hundreds of patients, and their critical caregivers. He set the standard for all to follow. He was mentor to many many new teams, from our hospital, and other facilities, and his impression and abilities, we feel, are part of the reason our program has been used as the mdoel for 23 other health care faciltiies across the US.
His children and grand children and great grand children carry on for him as my continuing Pet Partner team mates. Nate, you were the best. See you at The Bridge, Big Dog..
Ralph, Pet Partner – Jacqueline Jones
"Who is that?" the visitor inquired. "That's Ralph," said the resident, "Everybody knows Ralph." And so it was for the big black and white Border collie/Collie mix wherever he went. For 10 years he served Lancaster County giving hundreds of hours listening to children read, visiting adult day care facilities, senior centers, and hospice patients in assisted living and skilled care facilities. He received the 2006 Beyond Limits Award from Delta Society in 2006, and a lifetime Achievement Award from Hospice of Lancaster County in 2007 for helping to establish their therapy pet program and giving over 500 hours of service.
More to me than all of this, he was my companion for 13 and a half years, the warm furry presence with calm, trusting eyes and ready paw. A neighbor called him "the gentleman dog," and so he was. If we are lucky in our lives, we will find that one, very special dog. Ralph was that dog for me. He is greatly missed. I know he is waiting patiently for me on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, head cocked as if to say "What took you so long?"
Rhoger, Pet Partner – Sophie Craighead
In memory of Really Regal Rhoger...you will always be such a part of my life, and while you didn't make it as a Pet Partner, you were my best companion and truest friend. I will never be able to walk by a lake or river without thinking of how you snorkled for rocks and how you loved swimming under water... I know we will meet again.
Shana, Pet Partner - Diana McQuarrie
January 28, 1991 – September 16, 2005
Loyal Companion – Faithful Friend – Devoted Partner
Children in the classroom, patients in the hospital, elderly residents in the assisted living center, clients in an office, students in a workshop…..Shana was faithful in providing unconditional acceptance and intuitive attention to them all regardless of age, malady, their ability to interact with her or their level of interest in her. Shana’s outstanding qualities included intuitiveness, tolerance and joy in her work. Her career as a therapy dog spanned 10 years, touching thousands of lives. Shana taught us many things…..she lived in the present moment and, to her final breath, she offered herself to it fully without reserve. She communicated volumes without saying a word, teaching a capacity for openness that is perceptive and life-giving. In giving of herself so unselfishly, she exemplified what it means to be truly authentic.
I didn’t realize until she was gone the immense role that Shana played in what I’ve become. Her ever-affirming presence is now a gaping hole. I was fortunate to be able to include Shana in my work and this had a tremendous impact on the depth of our relationship. With each day, the familiarity and ease that developed between us evolved into an unspoken harmony. The depth of our experience with Shana is of immeasurable value and, ultimately, we believe that something of such great value will never be lost. With this hope, the eternal must surely be present in her. "All that we’ve shared is woven in our hearts, each thread is a memory from which we will never part." - Diana & Ken
Scarlet - Edith Taylor
Scarlet, I love you very much, and I miss you so much. I am lucky you shared so many years of your life with me.
Springer, Service Dog – Peggy Serry
Springer was my mobility assistance dog for 11 years, and my main companion for 12 and a half years. As a service dog, he went everywhere with me: to stores, medical offices, restaurants, etc - we traveled all over the United States, took a road trip to Alaska, and even rode on a few airplanes. Everyday Springer accompanied me to my classroom where I teach.. He attended faculty meetings (yawning when he was bored), had his own school ID card, and was picture with me in the school yearbook. I never knew anyone who was as excited to go to school everyday - I lightened up the rule about not petting a service dog, and Springer soon took on a dual role as a therapy dog as well as a serice dog. When he was not on duty, he slept on his pillow by my desk or sometimes he walked up and down the rows of desks, deciding to sit down by some particular student, who beamed at being chosen. The students would let their arms drop over the sides of their desks in order to touch his hair as he walked by. Springer helped the kids learn how to care for and treat a dog with kindness.
Students and teachers alike would drop by my classroom for what one teacher referred to as his "dog fix," and several staff kept dog cookies in their desk drawers. Because of Springer, I met and befriended a number of kids I would not have know otherwise - tough gang-types who would otherwise not speak to me, would stop in the hall to kneel down and pet or talk to Springer.
Springer and I spent every summer in the mountains and he loved those lakes and rivers. He died in those mountains, in the cabin that I've been building. He sat up and looked at me one last time before he slumped back and passed away. He is buried under a limber pine, surrounded by aspens. The rocks piled over his grave were placed there by many of those whose lives he touched. Yes, Springer touched so many lives and many people feel his loss. For me, it has been the greatest loss. But I am thankful, so grateful that he shared those 12 and a half year with me.
Woody, Pet Partner – Lynne Lerner
Woody was a Pet Partner for five and a half years. He and I visited United Cerebral Palsy in New York City each week. Woody loved all the people there and they loved him. One year, they asked me if Woody could be a "Doctor" for Halloween. Woody gladly obliged. When I asked why, they told me, "because he heals us - he makes us feel better." Woody celebrated many birthdays and holidays with his friends at UCP.
After September 11th, Woody also worked at the Family Assistance Center; twice a week for five months, visiting family members, staff and workers from Ground Zero. He accompanied family members on the Police boat to visit Ground Zero for their first time.
I will always be grateful for having Woody in my life. He was my best friend and my teacher. He was always by my side to support me and make me feel better. He was always happy, no matter what came his way. He enjoyed life and had a great will to live. He was and shall remain my inspiration. He changed my life and I miss him dearly.