This letter from Mom Wendy and Dad Cal to Shadow was written on Sunday, August 22, 2010Shadow

Dear Shadow,

It has been about three months since you passed over the rainbow bridge, but I see you every day in my heart. Eighteen years together is not small for a cat that had been abandoned as a yearling and arrived on our deck with a horrible racking respiratory infection. It was touch and go for about a month, wasn't it? But I guess you felt our love and knew that if you could just get well, we would care for you forever! Funny thing is that your voice never came back to its normal robust volume and for the rest of your life, when you tried to "meow", you just "squeaked". I'm smiling because this was very endearing.

You were a very solidly built feline, like many of your cousins from England - short, stocky legs, muscular body and what we call a bull head, wide and masculine. I'm sorry that I was never able to enter you in the Household Pet category of a cat show because, in your prime, you would have won!

I miss that black paw snaking out as I pass to grab my hand and attention. It was your way of saying, "Hey, Here I am, how about a treat?" I always thought that there would be more days together; you left so suddenly. Funny thing was that the vet thought there was not a major problem and your bloodwork came back showing good health for an oldster. Dr. G. says that it must have been a blood clot that suddenly took you. I had left for work, but do you remember that Calvin cradled you in his arms when he found you on your side? You took a few more breaths and then slid away. I wish I had been there to whisper how I loved you and that you had to travel to the light now.

I'm sure that your old pals greeted you on the other side. Did Squealer say hi?

Anyway, Shadow, you were an easy cat - you never asked for much and always had a hug for anyone who picked you up. That should get you a high ranking as an Angel cat! Although I'm sorry your time with us ended in an instant, I'm glad you didn't linger and suffer. We miss you terribly and so does your old companion Jesse and even Bippy. Jesse wouldn't eat for a few days and is just fading in grief. I've tried to perk him up, but he won't hear it. So here is what I'm asking you, now that you are an Angel:

Come and comfort Jesse. If he really wants to go with you, then stay by his side while he makes the transition over the bridge, or maybe you can convince him to stay here awhile longer. Both of you came to us together eighteen years ago and he is just lost, even though Bippy is trying to comfort him. We will take care of Jesse, of course, but it is you he wants. Be with him.

I'm sure you know that I go to our little graveyard in the woods and say a prayer for all the Furries that spent some time on earth with us and now rest in peace. You have a place there, but more importantly, you are in my heart and soul. I wish you could enjoy the screened in patio with us this summer, but I bet you are trotting all over the yard, chasing chipmunks!

Well, I'm going to close for now, Shadow, Please give a spirit visit to your old pal, Jesse, as soon as you get this message. You're great!

Love,

Mom Wendy and Dad Cal

This letter from Patty to Cricket was written on Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dear Cricket,

Happy Birthday Pal!!!!!

It has been almost two months since you left me behind for that open field in the sky. I still miss you very much. Not a day goes by that I don't think about you. I even say goodnight to you every night. I still feel like a part of me went with you that day.

I wonder every once and awhile if you accepted Buddy into our extended family, because you knew he would help to mend our broken hearts. He has picked up on a lot of stuff too that you used to do. It makes me wonder when I see it , if you are whispering something in his ear. I think maybe you are trying to tell us that a part of you will always be with us.

We put a head stone on your grave. That way people would know how special you are. If you are around Spicey, Pepper, Misty, Kristy,Brandy, Muffin, and Molly. Tell them that there is a headstone for them too. Also tell them that their human Mommy loves and Misses them too.

I start back to work soon. It will be even harder to come home now and not have you there to greet me. You always knew just what I needed when I got home.

I am sorry that I was not there at the vets on that day. I really wanted to. I even tried to say good bye and I love you. But other people told me not to. They said it was better for me. I knew it wasn't. They got to say good bye to you, the last thing I said was love you Crickie as they took you away.

I don't know if you can see it or not. I ordered 2 necklaces to help me cope. One is a paw print with a bone, the other is a heart. The heart say "Always in my heart" which is where you will be. You may have seen two other dogs hanging out with some of my other dogs. Their are apart of our extended dog family. The neighbors next door to us had a golden retriver, and a mutt. Those dogs are good dogs too.

In my heart I believe that you are waiting in the field for the day when you can see me again. I hope you are happy and have lots of friends to play with. I also hope that you still get a chance to see a deer go by. I know how much you love to do that.

I haven't seen your friend Daisy at all this summer. I am almost afraid to go over there and find out. I am scared to find out that something happened to her. If something did and she is up there with you. Tell her Hi from me.

I will always love You Cricket. You helped me through alot. I just wish I could of helped you sooner. Then maybe you would be here right now laying at my feet as I type on the computer.

Missing You,

Patty

This letter from Daddy, Mommy, Buzia, Magoo & Mila to Ruby was written on Saturday, August 7, 2010Ruby

Dear Ruby,

It's been a little over a month since you've been gone, and I still can't believe it. Letting you go that day was the hardest thing Mommy and Daddy ever had to do. But, you were struggling each day, even though you acted like a trooper. We know in our hearts that you were ready to go.

I remember so vividly the day you came into our lives. Daddy saw your face come around the corner at work on the pet adoption day and immediately fell in love with you. He called me and told me I had to come to see you because we needed to have you. So I came to see you and brought Buzia to meet you, and headed straight to the shelter to adopt you.

Although I at first had my doubts about adopting a second dog, you added so much joy to our lives. You loved going for walks and got so excited when we got your leash out. You would do this silly dance up and down the hall, because you couldn't contain yourself. You loved treats and getting them out of your Kong bone. You would look at us and puff out your cheeks, and when we said you looked like a frog, you'd bark at us. When a bus would drive down the street, you'd bark at it. You loved spending time outside.

I always felt there was a sadness in you, though. And it seemed to me that you were still looking for something. And it was obvious that you were poorly socialized as a puppy or traumatized somehow. You were so afraid of storms and would curl up in the corner of our bedroom, shaking. I would feel so sad that I couldn't comfort you. I often wondered what your previous owners did to you and why and how they really brought you to the shelter.

But I'm so glad they did! It was such a gift to be your Mommy and Daddy. It was the most important thing in the world to us. Taking care of you and loving you and your sisters and brother was our biggest joy.

Toward the end of your life, you had special needs that required extra effort on our parts, but we want you to know that we were never mad at you for anything. When we seemed upset, it was just because we were tired, but not upset with you. Even with all your challenges, you still were such a sweet girl. You kept on going, and insisted on going for walks, even though they weren't very long or far anymore.

We hope you know we tried to give you the best life possible, and everything we did, we did because we loved you. We miss you so much and still see you everywhere -- in your bed, helping us get ready in morning like you did, in the doorway when we come home, walking around the yard.

We pray that you're truly in a better place where you're happy and pain-free. And that you found whatever it was that I felt you were always looking for. Spending seven years with you was so wonderful, and too short of a time. Having that last day together was beautiful. Sending you on your journey to your next place was so hard for us, yet we were so happy we were able to do it in such a peaceful, calm way in our home. We believe that we will see you again some day, when our souls will be reunited.

I'm sure you know that your little sister, Mila, is very ill. She will be joining you in a couple of days. It is extremely hard for us to have to let her go so soon after we let you go, but at least we know that the two of you will now be together. We think she misses you so much, that she decided she wants to follow you. Please be looking for her as she passes from us to you. Take care of each other and wait for us together.

We all miss you and will love you forever. You will always be in our hearts.

Love,

Daddy, Mommy, Buzia, Magoo & Mila

This letter from Mama and Papa (Amy and Art Almquist) to Buford was written on Tuesday, August 3, 2010Buford

Dear Buford,

It broke my heart today to put you to sleep. I wish there was some other way. When you bit my hand on Sunday with such force it scared and devastated me. I realized then so viscerally what I think I always knew but could not admit -- that you were not happy and had not been happy for a long time. I know that you wanted a certain kind of happiness that your papa and I couldn’t give to you. I know too that you had something emotionally going on inside you that made you frustrated at times, happy at times and forlorn at times. It wasn’t anything that you did or didn’t do or that we did or didn’t do. It just was. It killed your papa and I that we couldn’t figure out what to do to make you happy and give us peace in our home the way we needed it. We pray you have found your joy, your happiness and your peace in heaven.

This morning when papa let you outside, I saw you sitting on the rug, looking at the morning sun hit the trees and breathing in the cold fresh air. I came outside and sat next to you. We watched the beauty of the sun and the outdoors in the quiet silence. Somewhere in that quiet stillness there was peace. A peace emerging from the beauty that existed in the present. I felt you tell me that what was going to happen was all right because you already had the gift of the peace of that moment. It was a peace that many humans search years for but you were always able to find in our little back yard. It is why you rarely jumped the wall, because you found what you needed within the safety and beauty of our garden. Thank you for teaching me the value of stillness, solitude, cherishing the outdoors and not taking for granted the beauty in my surroundings, even in a little back yard.

You were shaking in my arms before the vet came in and your papa and I tried to calm you through our tears. You were so brave and gentle in facing this, like the true Alpha cat that you always knew you were but never got the chance to be. We wanted to be there to give you our comforting smells, voices and crying faces that would be the last images and thoughts you would take from this life. I know I heard you purr right before you died and it comforted me to hear the sound you make when you are most relaxed and happy.

Thank you for all the wonderful memories of: bending your head low for a head pet, chewing on my finger on the left side of your mouth, plopping into my arm crook for a cuddle, sitting for hours in your spot under the cape honeysuckle bush to escape the summer heat and look for bugs, wanting to share the lizards, birds and rats you caught with us, your dear high pitched meow that sounded like you were saying “milk” and your low pitched meow that sounded like “wow,” loving to play with stick toys and the hanging creature toy in our bedroom, your drowsy eyes when you would wait on the counter for Friskies, knowing how to sneak outside without us seeing you, being the toughest guy and the fraidiest kitty all at the same time, and always coming to me with a meow when I called you “Buford honey.”

Your papa and I will miss you my dear little boy. You were my baby, my forlorn one, my rat catcher, my one and only Buford honey.

We will always love you, dear Buford.

Love,

Mama and Papa (Amy and Art Almquist)

This letter from Mommy, Daddy and Lydia to Brutus was written on Friday, July 30, 2010

Dear Brutus,

Oh Brutus (Brutie Boy, as Lydia always called you) It's been a week since you left us so suddenly, and never could we have imagined what a huge hole you would leave behind. We miss you so much, the sound of your paws on the porch, seeing you laying in the big hole you dug under the swing, running to greet us everytime we got home.

Lydia is having a hard time understanding why you're not here anymore. You were her best friend, she seems so lost without you. She won't go out to play because you're not there. She just wants to read you stories in her tent and hug your big furry neck. She always called you her protector and she misses you so much that it's painful to watch.

She is so worried that you are afraid where you are now, but I told her that you are happy playing with other dogs and that you are with your Daddy again.

I can't believe it's been 11 1/2 years since you were born in our kitchen. We chose to keep you out of a litter of eight because you stole our hearts almost instantly. You were such a contradiction, shoving everyone else out of the way to eat, like a big brute (how you got your name) but then hiding between my feet like you were terrified when we took you outside to play in the snow.

We found a nice spot for you to rest in and tomorrow Lydia and I are going to decorate a special stone for you. We found it the morning we went looking for you and Lydia insisted we bring it home, it just seems fitting that we use it to help remember you.

Even as I write this I can't hold back the tears, I just want to rub your furry neck and, yes, I even miss you drooling on my feet.

I hope you knew how much you were loved. We miss you and we'll never forget you. I hope you're happy wherever you are my big Brute.

You'll always have a very special place in our hearts.

Love,

Mommy, Daddy and Lydia

This letter from Mama to Beloved Bear was written on Thursday, July 29, 2010Beloved Bear

Dear Beloved Bear,

It's been only a few days since you left this world so the hurt is still very fresh. I still can't believe you are no longer going to be part of my cancer healing and life. I'm still in shock. I can't really look at pictures of you just yet but you're always on my mind, every minute of the day.

I'm finding so many every day things difficult which I did not expect. Going to sleep is hard, all I do is think of you. What could I have done to prevent what happened to you. Why did it happen. Why you. Why now. What did I do to deserve this. Why more [removed]. The ultimate what the f*@k.

Waking up is just as worse. I miss letting you out of your crate, tail wagging against it. (thump, thump, thump) Then you go beserk with your toy, wanting to play first thing in the morning. I miss you following me from kitchen to living room to the bedroom while I get ready. Giving me the look of hope if you get to come to work with me. Our morning walks. Our morning cuddles. I still look in the tub to see if you've peed in it.

I can't even make a soy smoothie yet because I used to give you a little. You and your little soy shake beard.

I hate coming home. I miss you jumping on me. Then you would nudge me with your toy, you are ever so keen to play. No one stares at me anymore when I eat. As I sit here, sometimes I think you will still pop out from under the couch to play or hear you make funny noises when you're dreaming.

My car is not the same with you riding in it, crying at me to take your seatbelt off once you knew we were near work. How on earth do you know which exit it is?

My work friends miss you too. It dawned on me that they've known you for 5 years of your life! So many people said that you were the highlight of their day when you're in the office. You brought so much happiness and joy to so many people.

I can't even pick up my keys without thinking that you'd pop out from under the couch to give me the guilty look for leaving you home.

I will miss traveling with you. I'm glad you got to go camping with all my friends & experience your first swim. We would've swum more if it weren't so cold! Even my Aussie friends are heartbroken.

I have no idea why I had to lose you especially in this time when I needed you the most as part of my healing process. I want to just hold you.

I hope that you thought I was the best mama to you even when I gave you tough love.

I miss you so much it hurts but I'm glad you are in a much happier place. I bet you get to eat whatever you want now.

I love you very much Bear. You made me very happy, you made me laugh and you gave me great joy. You're my best friend.

Love always and forever.

Missing You,

Mama

This letter from Mommy, Daddy, Perry, Hayden & Baby Girl to Mingo was written on Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dear Mingo,

My heart still breaks for you everyday. I miss you so much! There is not a day that has gone by that i have not thought of you. I say a prayer for you every night. I also tell you goodnight each evening and send a kiss your way. The house is not the same without you in it. Baby Girl misses you, i can tell. Hayden sees your picture on my phone and talks to you every night as well.

Believe it or not Perry still cries for you. He is all the time saying "Why did Mingo have to go?" I just tell him that it was your time, and you are no longer suffering. Daddy is lonely without you, he misses playing ball with you. I kept your bed in the same spot that it was, sometimes Baby Girl lays in it. Your food bowl is still out too. God I miss you so much!

I remember when i first brought you home. You were so tiny! You would sleep at the top of my pillow, on my head! I took you everywhere I went. As you got older I could not go anywhere in the house without you being right by my side (even to the bathroom!). Sometimes I still look down to see if you are there, but you are not.

There are times when I hear what sounds like you walking around in the hallway, and sometimes I think that it is you just checking on us! I made you a nice memorial up on the hill. I can look out the kitchen window and look up at you everynight. I hung solar powered latern's by your grave so you would have light. I also hung a bird feeder out for you, because I know you loved to chase those birds! We also put a couple stepping stones out there as your marker. Perry came up with the idea of everyone putting their handprints on your grave marker, it looks really good! Even Hayden's handprint is on there.

My world seems to be empty without you. I was devestated when you passed away! I think I cried for a week straight. I knew that it would happen eventually given your health situtations, but you were such an active dog even though you had heart problems that we thought that you would live for a long long time! God I miss you so very much, that it hurts!

May you rest in peace my sweet Mingo baby! I love you to the moon and back. I will always have a special place for you in my heart. Love you always!

Love,

Mommy, Daddy, Perry, Hayden & Baby Girl

This letter from DD to Finnegan was written on Friday, July 23, 2010Finnegan

Dear Finnegan,

It doesn't matter how many years pass, Buddy-Boo, I still think of you every day. We had quite the life, didn't we, the three of us? You had this way of binding us together as a family. When we lost you, we lost that.

The week after you died, I went into seclusion and came out a few days later with a draft of a book I had written about you. I found it again a few months ago and read it over, sure that it would be just maudlin and schlock. And it was partially that, but even relevantly, it was a beautiful portrait of you and the people and places you loved.

I was reminded of so many things about you:

Your face after you'd been running in the snow, like in the picture.

The blissful holidays we spent up in Maine.

Your loving, welcoming, gentlemanly aspect, (as long as no cats were involved).

Your big tree in the back yard, and how you would chase the groundhogs who dared to trespass on your property.

Grooming sessions and baths, to which you patiently submitted, knowing how handsome you'd look on the other end (not to mention the treats you'd earn on the way).

The way you would take a proffered carrot out of my hand, carry it to "your" rug, arrange it between your front paws, plop your big fluffy butt down and munch away contentedly.

You were so well brought-up. That was your other daddy's doing more than mine. You and I were more like co-conspirators, best friends. I let you get away with lots more than I should have. But you had stolen my heart... how could I deny you anything?

Sometimes I wonder if I have ever loved another being as much as I loved you. There are times when I think that I am really deficient in the love department, that I can only take love, that I don't know how to give it. You set the perfect example of how to love purely, though. You didn't play favorites; you loved everyone on their own terms, and you gave them exactly what they needed. You could be a buoyant playmate or a companion in sorrow. Or sometimes just a barking maniac. That was okay, too, because you always kept us feeling watchdog-safe.

I know it was hard on you when we moved. How you missed your big backyard. We all three missed it. But you adapted to apartment life, and there was more than enough green just down the street in the park where we would spend time every day.

I think back to the really happy times, and I think back to the black times, and you were always there. On rare occasions you instigated the trouble, like when you ate several feet of that rag rug and had to have emergency surgery. Or the time you got out from the backyard and we wandered the streets calling for you for what seemed like hours, and then when when you finally found me and tore across the street in front of that truck.

I tried never to take you for granted, because I knew that you were a gift, and a rare one, and that I would never have another friend like you. I hope I was able to give back just a portion of what you offered to me.

When we found out you were sick and we had no idea how much longer we would have you: those are the most bittersweet memories for me. You and I would go sit in the park and I would hold you close to me and brush out your beautiful wheaten coat. And you would curl up like a big baby in my arms and I would sing, so softly, in one of your fluffy blue ears: "My Love is Like a Red, Red, Rose."

"And I will love thee still, my dear, till a' the seas gang dry."

And you would look at me from under those big bushy eyebrows with those brown, soulful eyes of yours, and I would know the best happiness I have ever known.

Every time I pass a wheaten terrier on the street, I know that there is a little angel, an urchin spirit, still beaming down love upon me. I see them, and it's like you're there all over again, my little Fluff Nugget.

So if you ever sense that I'm down and missing you more than I can bear, just let my eye fall on a little cousin of yours. I'll get the message.

Love,

DD

This letter from mom to To my dear Smoke was written on Thursday, July 22, 2010To my dear Smoke

Dear To my dear Smoke,

I wrote a poem for you, because I was so so sad about losing you. I do that even to this day to express emotions. I hope you like the poem. I still feel like in some way it was my fault, that if I did not have your hernia fixed at the same time as having you "fixed" then this would not have happened. Even though they said it was an accident and told me what happened I still had a hard time dealing with it. Your brother is still not coping very well, he promised never to get close to another animal. I am still blaming myself and this is one way to help me cope. I miss your spunk and I still think about you all the time. I miss you so very much. I know that God is taking care of you now. I hope your sharing the blanket with him as you always stole them from me. Well, here is the poem and I will see you one day. Please forgive me. I am so sorry. I love you still.

Our Dog Smoke

One shiny night on a day in September

we rushed you to the ER

We did not know how much pain you were in

until the doc said, you were too far-gone

We made our decision in love and in fear

for we did not want to lose our dear friend Smoke

No more will we see your tail wag

or see your eyes light up when Kevin comes through the door

Dj will miss his best friend, when he goes to play fetch

and miss you nipping at his leg

You are in our hearts and we will love you always

You were only one year old, but acted like a dog of twenty

Your spunk and playfulness we will miss;

nevertheless, we feel it in our soul and it is then we will blow the air a kiss

Please catch our kisses Smoke, for they are for you and you alone,

take care of God as you sit by his side and make sure to uncover him

when you sleep by his side

In memory of Smoke

August 2005-September 16,2006

Love you always baby

Missing You,

mom

This letter from Tom to Woody was written on Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dear Woody,

After A long period of watching my best friend slowly going downhill, I made the decision that I thought would come later than sooner. It breaks my heart to lose him and I know I'll never recover from it. I did what was best for him not me. I know he was suffering but he would never show it. He gave me one long lick on the face more to tell me thanks for a wonderful life and to finally let him go. He was a Therapy dog that made many, many people happy. That was the great part of owning such a great dog. Therapy for so many people. He just loved to do it. Yesterday when I had him go to the happy hunting grounds was not such heartache as it is today. I know the decision was right for him and I just think now I was being selfish for not letting him go sooner. He's with all of his friends and I hope to god I'll see him again. A mother was telling her little girl that dogs have short lives and the girl said that's because they love so hard their whole life it takes every bit of energy out of them. I believe that. I know it takes time to heal heartaches but this one is forever. I love you Woody and I hope you are free of pain now. I also have another yellow lab(Lucy) that knows he's in a better place. She's not the same as she was yesterday. I'd Like to Thank my wonderful mother, sisters, my Niece and mother-in-law for being there for me. You just never know how much you love them until they are gone. Woody you'll never be forgotten. Please God take great care of him. I know you will.

Love,

Tom