This letter from Mom to Koda was written on Sunday, November 17, 2013Koda

Dear Koda,

It's been two and a half years sense you passed and you are not forgotten. I think about you all the time. I adopted a Yellow Lab named Maggie and I'm sure you would approve of her. She is not the laid back easy going dog that you were but I love her for who she is. When you left you took a huge piece of my heart with you. You were not only a dog, you were my companion and my family and I loved you with all of my heart. Still do. Saying good bye was the hardest thing that I have ever done. I hope you are now at peace and pain free, running and playing in that place where we go when our time here is over. I don't know how it works but I do hope that we will get the chance to be together again someday.

Please know that I love you dearly, you meant the world to me and you will never be forgotten. Maybe you can help guide Maggie in the right direction, she doesn't always make the best of choices but she has a good heart and I do love her. Thank you for the 13 wonderful years that we shared, you are a very special girl. I love and miss you always.

Love,

Mom

This letter from Kim to Nubbin was written on Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dear Nubbin,

You died in our backyard on August 19th,It was the saddest and hardest decision I ever had to make to have a vet come to our house to put you to sleep..Watching you trying to breathe the last few days really took it's toll on me.I had two extra weeks to spend time with you because of the cortisone shot the vet had given you.I still can't believe you are gone.I call you everyday still out the back door and hope to see you in the yard still smelling the fresh air.

You were the best friend I could ever hope to have.I found you in 2000 as a rescue not knowing your age.You had been through a lot.Your tail had to come off and your teeth were in bad shape.Through the ten years I spent with you you gave me more joy than I ever could imagine with your quirky ways about you.I miss you helping me make the bed in the morning.I miss you sleeping next to me EVERY night and head butting me.I miss wrapping you in a towel after you have come in from a rainstorm soaking wet.I miss watching you race around playing with snakey and having your fits around the house.I miss watching you roll in the driveway in the sunshine.I miss every ounce of your little body every second all the time.I miss stroking you and telling you how much I love you .I miss and love you to the moon and back....You are with every beat of my heart.In everything I do...you will always be with me held so tightly in my heart.A permanent piece of my soul. your mother, Kim

The best cat anyone could could ever have.....

Love,

Kim

This letter from Your mommy, Sheri to Astaire was written on Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dear Astaire,

I can't believe almost a year has passed (12/13/12) since you left me at just 10 yrs of age and went to the "land of slow squirrels". Although we were only together for 7.5 years, I miss you so much every day and wish you could still give guidance to the other whippets in the house like you did while still here on earth. Your days as a show dog in Arizona were grand but the joy you brought to me as a pet (my very first whippet) in NM was just the BEST. We snuggled, we ran, we took long walks, and best of all, you were my soul mate, only interested in yourself and me but providing guidance to the others when asked. Why you had to leave and pass over the rainbow bridge with just 2 weeks notice I'll never fully comprehend. You were stoic, strong-willed, and masked your illness so well. I can still feel your beautiful body laying next to mine, the striking white and fawn coat. Your prancing at the park and your rooing even until your final hours at our home will always be in my heart. Although another whippet has joined our family since you passed, another retired show boy, I know you will continue to speak to him and the others as to what is expected in the house...when it is OK to sleep in your favorite chair, OK to wear your favorite coat, and of course, never OK to wear your favorite collar nor lead. Don't remind the ones here of your counter surfing, though....particularly some of the incidents involving cornbread with your greyhound buddy, Vivian, just before one Thanksgiving! I LOVE YOU AND ALWAYS WILL.....I KNOW YOU ARE AT PEACE WITH THE OTHERS IN THE "LAND OF SLOW SQUIRRELS".

Love,

Your mommy, Sheri

This letter from Mom&Kandi to Mac (MacTavish) was written on Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dear Mac (MacTavish),

You were the best! Well-mannered and a true gentleman! You wouldn't eat when someone was watching, and you avert your eyes if they were naked. You took good care of us when we lived in the big city. i always felt safe with you. That big booming bark scared everybody that came to the door, even the people who knew you!! It's been 22 years, and I still cry when I think about you. I will never have another dog because no one can compare to you! You were the greatest dog, the best friend, best babysitter and the truest gentleman ever!

Missing You,

Mom&Kandi

This letter from Stephanie to Joy was written on Tuesday, October 29, 2013Joy

Dear Joy ,

I can't believe only a day has passed since you left us. I woke up in the middle of the night listening to see if I would hear for your little paws to wake me letting me know you were up. I came home from work hoping that I would hear your squeal excited to see me come home. Im sitting hear in my bed wishing that were sleeping right by my side and I feel so alone. I know your in better place now, but this place feels so empty without you. I still remember the first time I saw you when you were 8 months old scared and confused wondering why you were in this new home, but the moment that me and your sister held you 2 little girls refusing to let you go, that you would be with us forever. You grew up with us, through thick and thin, watching us grow from young girls into young adults. Through the best of times and the worst, you always new how to be the light that always shined in our hearts. And although you may have passed, your love and spirit will live on within us forever. We will see you again soon.

My love, my Joy, my angel.

Love,

Stephanie

This letter from Mommy, Daddy, Brutus, Scarlett, and Kuro to Bear was written on Thursday, October 10, 2013Bear

Dear Bear,

It seems surreal that you left us just over 3 weeks ago. I can still remember that day in 2007 when your daddy and I went to meet you at the Toledo Humane Society. I was so against going, but so grateful that we did. The years that followed with you by our side will forever be remembered.

You sure were one crazy dog!! Do you remember making us chase you around the neighborhood because you had some extra spunk? Looking back, it was probably funny to watch! Or the time we took you camping and made you "king of the log"- you had so much fun that day! I remember you running out into the yard in the big snow storm, then crying for me to carry you back in. You knew I would do it, you silly dog! You were always the center of attention when we'd have people over the house in college- you knew people were there to see you (which is probably true)! Remember when I tried to shave you up like a lion? Okay, okay, it was embarrassing!!

You used to get into arguments with dogs who were bigger than you- especially at the park! I remember when you tried to charge at a dog twice your size- you definitely had some little man syndrome haha! That all changed when we brought home Brutus- you and him were buddies from the beginning. He sure misses you! He won't leave my side, much like he never left your side the last week or so you were with us.

Scarlett isn't sure what to do- she is on a power trip, but still sniffs for you daily! You two ran the house (and probably caused a lot of trouble when I was at work). She misses you too, and cuddles in your bed every night!

Kuro is learning the ranks, and even reminds me of you! You know how you would lay on your back and hold the ball between your paws, or pounce like a cat at a rolling tennis ball? He also takes over the corner of the couch, not the middle- just like you! I see a lot of you in him, and it makes me smile!

Daddy wasn't here to see you off, but he was happy to see you before he headed overseas. He misses you too, you're his buddy! He comes home just before Christmas, and I had a special gift made just for him-your paw print. I know he will love it!!

I learned a lot from you- trust, strength, patience, and companionship. You had all of that with me, and I'm sorry that it wasn't until just a few years ago that I had all of that with you. You enjoyed testing my patience, but at the end of the day you knew I would forgive you. I trusted you- remember when you tried to warn me that someone was messing with my car, and I was upset that you kept carrying on? From that moment on, I knew to trust your instincts. With your dad being in the Army, I looked to you as my companion- we'd watch movies together, eat dinner together, cuddle at night, and you'd always listen. You taught me last year about strength- you fought through 2 major surgeries, several trips to Dr. Daters, and chemotherapy. Even with all of that, you still stood tall and never gave up- that's what I admire most about you!

Dr. Daters wanted me to let you know that you are still his buddy, and an inspiration to quite a few other dogs at the clinic- they all miss you! Jenny, Alden, and Adela miss you too! I'll see them all in a few weeks at the Woof-Woof 5k.

I sure do miss you sweet boy! It's not the same getting out of my car and not hearing that loud "woof" followed by a few short cries of "mom, hurry up and come see me". I miss having you lay in the bathroom with me as I get ready, or groan when the other dogs wake up extra early in the morning to go outside. I am very excited to know that you no longer have to take medicine- you hated it!! I want to thank you so much for everything you taught me, all of the memories you gave our family, and finally, for choosing us to be your family!

We love you Bear!!!!

Love,

Mommy, Daddy, Brutus, Scarlett, and Kuro

This letter from Mom to Alice was written on Monday, October 7, 2013Alice

Dear Alice,

I probably should have told you much of this long ago, but like so often with those we care about, I never got around to it. I don’t know if you would’ve cared that much, because we just cruised day to day, and it was clear that you were mine and I was yours. Still, sometimes I think you felt that you needed to prove your loyalty, when you really didn’t need to. I knew it.

Everyday we would wake up, and the first thing was your breakfast. You needed breakfast before you went out – so I fed you immediately, worried that your bladder was about to burst. Fortunately, you always ate in about 10 seconds (or less), and then gladly went outside. I loved to see you in the morning – our routine, so easy and so dependable. You smiled every day. But when I left for school, your eyes were so sad. I thought of you throughout the day, and couldn’t wait to get back home, to make sure you were okay. And you always were. The best dog. The perfect friend.

Sometimes you went to school with me. The art students were very sad to hear that you were gone. Jeremy wanted you to know that he always thought of you as the Mother Teresa of the dog world, the way you’d make your rounds cheering up and bringing happiness to the poor and frustrated art students. And Samantha wanted me to tell you that you were the sweetest, most cheerful dog person she’s ever known. She remembered how students would squeal with happiness when they rounded that corner to the painting studio to find that you were in residence that day, and you never once failed to share your infectious smile with anyone lucky enough to be around you.

You and I hung out with Kona and the rest of Laura’s pack, and we met new friends, Oslo and Oliver. When you were younger, you dove into Lake Cumberland, and snored hard after a long day of swimming. Even then, you were sometimes sore, but you were tough, because having fun was so worth it.

On the day we got you, I was skeptical. Someone had allowed you to get fat like a big licorice jellybean. But you caught the ball like a major league catcher, never once stopped wagging your tail, and you were so calm, and so quiet. I connected with your eyes on the porch that day, and there was no turning back. Later that night, I knew that I was smitten.

And although you were nearly perfect, you did the occasional bad dog thing. You ate white oil paint – tube and all. The house had white paw prints everywhere. And when you were getting x-rayed at the animal hospital in the middle of the night, the vet literally chuckled at what a beautiful barium x-ray you had. Later that week, there were those stay-puff marshmallow piles left in the backyard. I didn’t care at all --- I was just so glad you were going to be alright.

Alice, my beautiful girl. I love so much. I’m so sorry you hurt those last few days. I would’ve done anything to make it go away, to make you not suffer. Thank goodness, Maureen and Courtney helped both of us so much. Without them, I wouldn’t have known what to do. They came to us like angels. That says a lot about the kind of dog you were – when friends and even total strangers would give everything they had to ease your pain.

I miss you so much. I think I just always thought you would be there – every day. My house isn’t the same without you. The quiet is too quiet. And Wylie misses you, too. Everyone here misses you, and I know they hope you are in a dog park in heaven or on a cloud somewhere hanging out with all the other loved and missed dogs.

Remember not long ago, when the art students put the unicorn horn on your head. Although you weren’t’ feeling so good, that made you smile. All of us smiled the day you became a unicorn. So, most likely, when you’re not at the dog park in the sky fetching your soggy tennis ball, you are probably with your fellow unicorns.

And I know from now on, I will have YOU to thank for all the rainbows in my future.

Love,

Mom

This letter from Mommy to Teddy was written on Sunday, October 6, 2013Teddy

Dear Teddy,

You passed over to the spirit world a week ago today and mommy is so lost without you. I know grandma is holding you and you're playing with Pebbles and Princess. You can run as fast as you want, play with your toys as much as you want and without coughing. And you can eat as many greenies and Happy Hips you want, without any problem! Also, I know you will still bark if Princess tries to take your cookies from you.

From the moment I saw you at just six weeks old, you stole my heart instantly and made your way into my soul where no other has. Mommy can't see you but I dreamt of you last night and the night after you left your body, mommy saw you laying at your favorite place at the foot of our bed. Sometimes I can hear you bark, whine, or cough. I know it was hard for you to have the surgeries you did on your trachea but you were such a fighter and beat all the odds with the help and grace of God. Mommy always prayed to God to get you through the surgeries and God always answered my prayers! You and I had 13 unforgettable years together.

I miss you and love you more than any word in any language could explain. My sweet little boy, please don't be sad or scared because mommy is right here for you, always. I thank you for the gloriousness of your pure unconditional love. And know this, one day, mommy will meet you in heaven and we will never be apart again!

I love you with my entire heart and soul, my baby Teddy bear. Please visit me in my dreams so I can hug and kiss you.

Love,

Mommy

This letter from Susie Duncan Sexton to Zelda was written on Sunday, August 11, 2013Zelda

Dear Zelda,

Zelda and her Bonnie and Clyde companion Jack got captured on the lam by the local cops while veering back and forth between McDonald's and Wal-Mart. Scheduled for euthanasia, their mug shots got featured in the local newspaper prior to the July 4th holiday.

I extended to the shelter designated vet an offer he "could not refuse…"! I would "spring" for neutering (Jack!) and spaying (Zelda!) in addition to the battery of shots for each "convict" plus de-worming -- the entire nine yards -- rather than the doc receiving the obligatory, paltry euthanasia fee that would have transferred from city government to veterinarian. My bill totaled over 400 bucks...and that was a dozen years ago!

I brought post-operative "patient" Zelda "home" first. She had an endearing quality of utter submission, rolling onto her back and lovingly gazing at humans while batting her seriously Ginger Roger-ish eyes. Charming! However, her first evening on my back porch, she disassembled every board game, lamp, padded chair, and window treatment within her grasp. Vandalism at its very worst! I decided to teach her that the opposite of "submissiveness" is NOT a rampaging romp by Attila the Hun, via my instruction and encouragement NEVER to roll over again. I felt like a "dog whisperer" extraordinaire. At the height of her bi-polar behavior, I decided to name her "Schizophrenia" which my friend JoEllen advised against. Thus, "Zelda", the sadly nutty wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, stuck as the perfect nom de plume…the perfect designation under which she would write L-O-V-E into our lives and across the sky for a dozen years to follow! Yet, she developed into an amazing ALPHA dog worthy of a novel!

In a couple of days, strapping, muscular Jack and clueless Susie left the vet's never really having ever been officially introduced to one another…I might as well have been Santa Claus being drug across the heavenly horizon by Donner and Blitzen and Rudolph and all of them there reindeer combined with a team of huskies as well! He positively sailed once we exited the door, and the two of us careened allll over the parking lot…me at one end of the flimsy leash and he -- in all of his massiveness and his happiness to be "free at last" -- at the other!

Long (happy) story short, Jack and Zelda enjoyed a dozen years joined at the hip…together they formed an exquisite Remington sculpture…they HAD to share vet appointments -- none of that "one at a time" stuff-- or they would sulk and pout and whimper…they were so strong that once Don and I were pulled across the vet's office floor while sitting in our respective chairs in the lobby. Iditarod, here we come ! They were one. LIFE was good.

Gorgeous Zelda, the Alpha dog with the schizoid name, impressed us as a model of graceful serenity as the years fled by…then one sad day, she indicated that her life was nearing its conclusion. I gave her a gentle bath, and we petted her and scratched behind her still-perked up ears. She could no longer stand. We lifted her into our car, listened carefully to the veterinarian's advice, knelt down on his tiled floor on either side of her and held her and kissed her as the needle injected whatever chemical concoction it is that terminates life forevermore. The "rainbow bridge", a man-made concept for coping -- IF one buys into it -- does not, for me, describe the hereafter but the NOW, in other words, the "bridge" being our gift in real time of many quality years of nurturing and of being nurtured by a beautiful being.

Whenever rain falls upon our roof, or thunder rumbles, lonely Jack paces the length of the back porch, quietly whines, paws at the door alerting us that Zelda may still be outside in the dark…that we forgot to bring her inside to sleep alongside her companion of so many years, her playmate, her best friend. I pat his head and offer him a soft blanket and a pillow and speak to him with assurance that Zelda sent me to spend some time with him and to make sure he is comfortable. Her name on my lips calms him. Now, how about that?

Love,

Susie Duncan Sexton

This letter from Mama Carolina to Momo was written on Monday, August 5, 2013

Dear Momo,

I can't believe it's already been more than a month since you passed away, but I am still learning to accept your absence, which is not easy for me in any way. As heartbreaking as our parting is for me, I am thinking so much about what a wonderful boy you were; how soulful, loving, wise, and courageous a kitty you truly were. It was an honor to be your mom and your person. I love you tremendously, and I miss you every day. I expect I always will. I remember how much you loved me and our family, how you loved to make friends with other humans and animals alike. And how much you seemed to touch those who came in contact with you. There was just something about you that was mysterious and wonderful. Our neighbors who learn of your passing have expressed how much they loved you, and how special you were to them. Your life was so full of love and friendship. So many loved you. And you gave so much love, too. You were truly unlike any cat I have ever known; such an old and deep soul you had. I don't really know how to say goodbye to you. You were gone so suddenly, and it's been so painful and difficult to accept. But I still feel that you are with us, and Luke / dad has said so, too--he told me the other day that he feels like you are with him all the time somehow, and you have visited so many of my dreams. Always you are full of peace and contentedly purring, as though you want to be sure I know you're alright. I love you so very much my darling boy, and even though you left us far too soon, and took a piece of my heart with you in the process, I am so happy that I had the time with you that I did. My life was better for having you in it, and I learned so much from you that I will never forget. Wherever you are in kitty heaven, please know that you are forever and ever loved, and forever in my heart. Forever and always, my sweet one.

Love,

Mama Carolina