This letter from Me to Zoe was written on Wednesday, February 4, 2015Zoe

Dear Zoe,

Oh how I miss you! It's been 5 weeks today since you left our family and it's still so very hard and heart breaking to me. I feel your loss so deeply and I just cant seem to get the hurt to stop.

Every night before I go to sleep I tell you how much I love you and miss you and I hope to see you in my dreams every night.

Zoe you were there for me on some of the hardest times I have ever experienced, you loved me unconditionally and fully even though at times I didn't think I deserved love from anyone or anything.

I didn't know how much you filled my life and heart until the very minute you left me. I hope you know I wish I could of done more for you, but cancer is a hard thing and looking back now I see you had been going through it for awhile, but you were so good you didn't show me just how sick you were until that fateful day. I cant believe I lost you at nearly 7 yrs old just seems so unfair. I thought we had so much more time together. I thought you were going to be our travel buddy when we hit the road in a couple years. I would give anything if I could just hold you one more time and smell you and see you run around the house picking up balls and bringing them over to play. You were such a good girl Zoe. Some look at you with fear, but you were always a special girl to us and our family. One day we will see each other again at the Rainbow bridge and until then I hope you and Magie and all our other fur babies are playing together.

I Love you Zoe my beautiful special Rottie!!

Missing You,

Me

This letter from Mummy x to DOJO was written on Sunday, January 25, 2015DOJO

Dear DOJO,

Words can not convey the depth of loss I feel in my life, since you passed away at 9 years old from cancer. June 21st, 2013, the first day of Spring, and the day that I felt giving up on life. You comforted me when Dad died, then when we lost Mum. I would not have been able to get back on my feet after we lost Pat, if I had not been able to talk to you and cry into your fur, while you wrapped your skinny little leg around me in a hug. We were a team. You won Cesar Millans DOG OF THE YEAR 2011 for all your charity and therapy work. You ran the dog rescue with me and showed the lost souls how to be a good dog. You were my heart dog, my `go to` dog, for everything in life. Nothing is the same without you Doj. You were THEE Ambassador for Rottweilers, the gentlest and most compassionate dog I have ever met in my life. Every night you lay on my side of the bed to warm it up for me. You were my confidante, my trusted best friend, my strength, my joy, my love and my pride. You aced 6 levels of obedience, sometimes we didn`t have time for the practice so we`d stand in the parking lot of the training school 5 minutes before class and whip through some commands, you nailed everything in 30 seconds, lol, you were so easy to teach and so eager to please and help. People would laugh when they saw you in the front of the canoe with your eyes closed snoring so loud it echoed across the lake, canoeing always lulled you to sleep, lol. You kept me warm in the tent and I feared nothing or no one, even though you would never fight or even growl, you were the peacemaker. I lost all direction when you died.

Oh Dojo, you meant the world to me my big gentle boy. I miss you so much my Doj and love you forever. See you at the Rainbow Bridge. Thank you Doji.

Love Mum XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Missing You,

Mummy x

This letter from Gaylan to Scooter was written on Friday, January 23, 2015Scooter

Dear Scooter,

I miss your little waddle. And your grumpy bark. I hope you loved living with me as much as I loved you.

Mr Butters and I miss you around the house. I hope you're happy in heaven, as I'm certain that's where you are.

You were such a good boy.

Love,

Gaylan

This letter from mitch to Tedman was written on Thursday, January 1, 2015Tedman

Dear Tedman,

We had to say goodbye Teddy on May 14, 2014. We had no choice. We had just under a year together, and I have to tell you, it was one of the finest years I've ever had. Don't get me wrong, I've loved all my dogs. But you were SO special. You brought love and light and laughter and happiness to me, the kind of which I've rarely seen in these 54 years and counting. The night you arrived home, after weeks of monitoring you and finally discovering you weren't adopting out for your health issues, I made my decision, and you arrived. Your smile was the most infectious ever. You came in that night, unpacked your bags, and settled in. It took no time at all, for us to make friends. You slipped into our lives like a glove. Our first months together were awesome. You were such an excellent co-pilot and rescue Ambassador. I loved dancing with, and cuddling you every night around suppertime. I rejoiced when you'd wander down into the office from your spot in the living room, whenever you smelled food, or anticipated the next "event" in our day. I loved celebrating you, like no other. Teddy! TEDDY! I loved how you licked my nose. My god, what a gift it was, when you would lick my nose. I loved every hair on your beautiful head. I loved policing you in the backyard, in good weather, and in bad. I loved your tippy tappy toe toe dance, the special one you'd give, when you were anticipating treats, attention, or just love, sweet love. I loved the smell of you, I loved your toes, I loved your smile, I loved your presence. Teddy, I just loved YOU. Every single thing about you, every moment together, you made my world. I will never forget you.You were brighter than a thousand suns. For gods sakes, you upstaged JC!!! You were just a star Tedman, that's what you were, and still are. I wish to god I could have one more minute with you. Ted, I have to say goodbye to 2014, and with it, you. Your picture is over my desk. Friends, family, colleagues all miss you. They SAW you. They loved you. Ted man Harrison Nadon - we will never be the same, and we thank you most sincerely, utterly, for gracing our lives. Teddy, if I may be so bold, pls wait for me. All I want to do is hold you in my arms again. Please stay on the bridge. Watch for Cyril, Mo, Max, Stormont, Petey, TrixieLu, Mishe and Choules... and Nana. Wait for me honey. If I found you in this life, I WILL find you in the next. I love you darling littleone. Kiss your face, Teddy. Thank you for your love, and your trust, Tedman.

Love,

mitch

This letter from Mom to Otis was written on Wednesday, December 24, 2014Otis

Dear Otis,

Merry Christmas to my dear, sweet boy. My handsome, stalwart one. My little New Yorker. My hunk-a-chunk-a-love. The rock of our family. The glue that keeps it together. The little prana running around our home. My great joy. All these phrases I used over and over again with you to describe the sparkling spirit that came to me wrapped up in a dog suit (those adorable “floating cloud” eyebrows). It’s no wonder I have so may songs about you, all those silly little lyrics I set to various (admittedly, mostly lifted) melodies.

I started singing to you, about you, practically the day I met you (Hello Otis, Well hello Otis, it’s so nice to have you right where you belong…) and kept writing those little tunes throughout our more than ten years together. One of the more recent ones, that snappy little ditty I started up that night last winter while we were bracing ourselves against the cold, whipping wind and the snow (Let me love ya, Otis… I’ll keep you safe, I’ll keep you warm, I’ll rub your belly for all of that charm…Let me love ya, Otis), was a particularly good addition to our song catalog, I think. And one of the very first songs I wrote that included you, I’ve been singing every day since you had to go because it has given me such an incredible amount of comfort during this grieving process:

Pushkin and Otis, brothers and friends,

Pushkin and Otis, friends to the end.

Whether they’re playing or sleeping tonight

Pushkin and Otis are doing just fine.

It comforts me and brings me a modicum of happiness in the midst of the sadness to think that, after nearly six years of flying solo, Pushkin is no longer alone on the other side; you are both young and spry again, scampering around together and loving every minute of it. Now you’re alongside your big brother for our morning meditation together, and again each evening for our Om Shanti, Goodnight. We created this routine when our family was grieving over the loss of Pushkin, and the routine’s not going anywhere. You know that each morning we’re going to start the day with “Good morning, Pushkin! Good morning, Otis!” You can count on it.

You also know I’m still singing to you each day, just like I kept on singing to Pushkin after he went with the angels. I made sure before you left us that you knew, beyond all the “Otis” songs, the one special song that, whenever you hear me singing it, you know I’m singing it just for you:

I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places, that this heart of mine embraces…

Yes, each day “in the park across the way” as I’m still walking your brother Galileo, I’m seeing you right there with us. I’m grateful for every minute I ever had with you, but in these recent days I’m especially thankful for the glorious year and half we had here together in New York. For all my initial concerns about how you — a Tucson dog, and a dog with some later-in-life aggressive behavior challenges — would fare in the city, you couldn’t have surprised and delighted me more. Within two days, you made New York yours: you adapted more quickly than any of us, even me. With the help of our marvelous trainer Inna, you immediately figured out how not only to tolerate neighborhood walks on a leash (no more backyard and dog door), but also how to savor those long walks in the park. You figured out how to not go berserk at the sight of another canine in the distance so we could have that time together. Awesome job, Otis! I told you over an over again how proud I was of you, and it’s so true. You were a rockstar.

You didn’t just adjust, either; you thrived. There seemed to be a new bounce in your step here in NYC. We arrived in springtime and, by the fall, it was clear you were loving the slightly cooler weather; and the way you trotted around the neighborhood, it was clear you thought you were such hot stuff anytime you were sporting one of your sweaters or jackets. So, while the rest of the family fumbled around a bit while trying to get the new groove on, you showed us all that, indeed, you can teach an old dog new tricks. More than that, the old dog is perfectly capable and happy to figure out some new things himself, as long as the day offers him a belly rub or two. One of my favorite images of you from here in New York: you, sound asleep on your back on the living room carpet, one arm outstretched — we tagged it the “Superman Pose.” You spent many an afternoon like that. A picture of utter contentment.

You were with me for a little more than a decade of your fourteen and a half years. You came to me through your Dad, who adopted you a couple of years before we all got together. He calls you his wingman because for a while it was just you and him. It was with an invitation for me to meet you that your Dad got his “in” to spend some time with me: that first night I went back to his apartment to meet you, and he and I ended up just talking until dawn. Do you remember that? He asked you to do some tricks for me because you were such a performer. Rolling around, twirling in the air… a couple of years later, you learned to jump up on the piano bench and press the keys when he asked you to play. Even back then, all you ever wanted in return was to be shown a little appreciation, a little love: a “good boy,” a belly rub, a treat.

There are a few very specific things I need to thank you for. While it’s true that most animals (at least to some extent) aim to please, one of the qualities that made you so special was your knack for making a person — any person, whether a family member or someone you just met — feel like he/she was your favorite. If a friend came to visit, you would in the quietest most un-pushy way, inch onto his/her lap for some lovin.’ Above all, let’s just say it here: you were a Grandma’s boy, and it wasn’t just for her Sunday meatballs. The attention and affection you gave Grandma let her know just how special she was to you and the rest of our family. That was a great gift you gave to her Otis, because she does a lot of thoughtful things for all of us, and sometimes the rest of us may not do as good a job as we should letting her know how much all the little things mean to us. So it was a gift to her, and something beautiful you also did for the whole family. Thank you for that.

Another thing I want to thank you for: Going back to that first night I met you… your Dad and I always joked afterwards that you gave him a strong talking to after I left that night, saying “SHE is my mama! You found her! So you better not f*#%k this up!” Yes, Otis, there is no doubt that, although your dad met you first and took on the role of your guardian, I was your mama long before I met you that night. The universe was working to bring us together from the moment you arrived on the planet. And when we did all get together in Tucson, I already had Pushkin. But what you — and later, Galileo — taught me was this miraculous thing about the human heart’s capacity: all three of you boys became my #1 at the same time. While it’s true that Pushkin got a lot of attention in his last years because he was ill, and Galileo has always required a great deal of attention — first, because he’s such a bundle of high energy and, second, because of his epilepsy — you were never taken for granted, not for a second, and no less important. Always know that. Then, now, and always, all three of my boys are my collective heartbeat.

And so, along this same line, I need to thank you for all the little moments you gave me throughout our years together, to make sure I didn’t feel like #2 either. It would have been easy enough for you to favor your Dad — your wingman. But you gave me all those times you jumped up onto the sofa to sleep beside me while I was reading; the times when I couldn’t sleep in the middle of the night and got up to get some work done, when you followed me into the office and curled up at my feet until I was ready for us to return to bed (often as the sun was rising); when it was just you and me, while Galileo spent the day at Spot to get in some playtime, and we’d go for long walks in the park and, in good weather, we’d just find a bench where we could sit together quietly. And the snuggling moments: most nights, you preferred to sleep on your dog bed in the bedroom; but sometimes, when you chose to come up onto the bed with us, in the morning you’d move from your spot near the foot of the bed to snuggle up to my side. You’d let me hug you like a teddy bear and we’d both stay in bed a little longer than usual.

Finally, I want to thank you for the last few mornings we had together. You were restless and wanting to go out for walks in the very early pre-dawn hours, around 4am. The first week of November, the weather was just starting to turn, but it was still a lot milder than it could have been for the time of year. On those last mornings, you specifically came to my side of the bed, for me to take you outside.

And so I would dress quickly and take you downstairs into the streets — pretty much empty, save some early-morning delivery trucks, or the bakers and bagel makers in the neighborhood. In that quiet, we walked and I sang. I sang your song to you, and I sang Christmas carols because I knew you wouldn’t make it to the holiday season. After walking in the grassy trails on Riverside Drive, you’d pull at the corner to go the one block up to Broadway. So we would go. And then you’d get tired, and I’d pick you up and keep singing as I walked us back home and back to bed. In my arms, you were my baby and, at the same time, you were an old man.

In everything that’s light and gay, I’ll always think of you that way…

There was as much fun and playfulness about you as there was tenderness, Otis. As far as playing went, you weren’t into toys as much as you were into clothes, but there are a couple of favorite memories I will carry with me that really highlight your playful nature. First, when you and Pushkin first bonded and he was still young and healthy, I remember the two of you running around the apartment with Billy Pilgrim, the pilgrim stuffed pet toy that was gifted to Pushkin back in his own New York days. It was the one toy you ever played with and, after Pushkin died, every once in a while you fished it out of Galileo’s toy bucket and just lay with it between your paws with your chin resting on top. I wondered then whether you were missing your older brother and whether holding Billy gave you comfort.

My second Playful Otis memory is one of you teaching a puppy Galileo how to play. You would roll with him and stay there on your back while the little tyke wrestled with you — all in ultra-slow motion. It was fascinating to watch because it seemed you knew just how gentle you needed to be, and also that you were aware you were teaching him. This was not unlike the time in the middle of the night when I was standing out in the backyard in the moonlight with your brother, who couldn’t have been more than ten-weeks old at the time. I was urging Galileo to do his business after he’d gotten me out of bed with his barking to be let outside. But once we went into the yard, he just looked up at me with his little freckled face, completely puzzled. He didn’t know what to do or where to do it yet. And then you entered the scene, walking in your lion-esque way, slowly and deliberately. First you came towards me and looked up; then you walked over to Galileo and looked at him. You took a few steps over to a shrub, lifted your leg, and proceeded in a very dignified fashion to demonstrate. Once finished, you looked back at G, then me, then just as slowly — majestically — went back to bed. The fact was — I told you this all the time while you were still on the planet, too — you were an excellent little brother to Pushkin and an excellent big brother to Galileo. Playful and protective with both.

I’ll find you in the morning sun…

Above all my dear one, I always will remember how jubilant you were. Yes, that’s the perfect word for you, from your wordsmith mother. Jubilant. Often, all it took was my walking through the door. You’d run up to me and start bounding off your front legs, like a little pogo stick. And your smile. Your smile was the sunshine and the moonlight and all the lights of all the other planets and stars bunched up together.

Yesterday was your DAY 49 — the final day, according to the Tibetan Buddhists, that your spirit might possibly still be navigating The Between. So after a long journey — for you, and for us as a family as we’ve been riding the waves of grief and praying for you each day — today, we CELEBRATE your great spirit. We started the day with a special meditation and brought a bunch of stuffed pet toys, a box of treats, and one of your dog beds to Animal Care & Control on 110th Street (which, in a nice twist, was the place responsible years ago for sending me to Bideawee, where I met Pushkin). In your honor, a few homeless pups still waiting for a forever home will have a little brighter Christmas. For the rest of the day and evening, we’ll be playing happy big band music and Christmas songs (likely, there will be some dancing around the living room), we’ll light a candle in church at tonight’s mass, and we’ll raise our glasses in a toast to you at the start of our holiday meal. Hey Otis! Hey noble spirit we call Otis! Fly with Pushkin and the angels, and have fun! We love you!

Earlier this week, your Dad, Uncle Dan, and I went to Cleopatra’s Needle to catch some jazz. Very talented musicians on stage. Piano. Drums. Upright bass. So what an opportunity it was to sit in with them. I got behind the mic for the sole purpose of singing just one song — your song. And I made sure to sing your name (that I add to the lyrics) loud and clear. I can’t know for sure whether you hear my words, or just feel the vibrations of my voice traveling to you from across the universe. Or maybe you were right there at the foot of the stage, though my human eyes can’t see you. But I know you’re here. I know you’re listening. And I know my love reaches you because the connection we have is forever.

And when the night is new

I’ll be looking at the moon, Otis

But I’ll be seeing you.

Love,

Mom

This letter from Mama to Sophie was written on Sunday, December 7, 2014Sophie

Dear Sophie,

We had 15 years together. It was a good run and I am not complaining, but I miss you terribly. I look at all the places in the house where you liked to sleep and there may as well be a black hole there they are so empty. Its been a little more than 2 months and I've stopped expecting to see you but the idea you are gone still takes my breath away from time to time. Thinking back to your younger days, I loved the way you would zoom around in figure eights when you were excited and how the feeling of sand under your feet made you switch immediately into crazy mode. I loved that you trusted us completely, even though you trusted only a few other people in this world. In your old age, you allowed us to rinse and lubricate your eye many times a day and you never gave us any flack about it, just a little tail wag as you sat down to let us have at it. My favorite old lady behavior was how you would stand up and walk over to me when you realized I had come home, and press your head against my knees so I could scratch your back and tell you hello. Most mornings you were the last to wake up, and I would carry you downstairs and tell you we had another day to enjoy. You were the first member of our family and you will always be in our hearts.

Love,

Mama

This letter from Pam to Monty was written on Tuesday, November 18, 2014Monty

Dear Monty,

13 and a half years ago I recall being asked if I would look after an EHS auction pup - I asked what breed of dog and when I was told English Cocker Spaniel I figured I wouldn't get attached. Well, that couldn't have been further from the truth. I fell hard for you little Monty - and you became my all time best bud. Wouldn't trade that experience for anything.

You were there through my all time highs and all time lows - tail forever wagging or sitting next to me with your head on my lap just letting me be in the moment - what a gift. I knew nothing about “training” a dog - all I knew was that I loved you and needed to take the best care possible of you. We did so much together - long walks - squirrel chasing (that was all you - I didn’t partake) - long car trips to Texas or Louisiana and of course vacations to Vermont with Sharon (your pack and my pack). Those were the best - you loved Lake Champlain - for all three of us it was our favorite place on earth. You just loved the water and could spend all day in it if we let you! Believe it or not doggy paddling wore you out so I bought you a life vest to help with the fatigue factor. As soon as we grabbed that life vest and showed it to you - you knew it was Monty time at the shore of Lake Champlain. Seeing you run with your ears flapping back and that tongue hanging out and that glimmer in your eye was such a site. I knew how happy you were to be there - and us too. We would spend hours throwing rocks into the water watching you chase each splash that occurred once they landed. One summer you learned how to submerge your head underwater and blow bubbles while trying to retrieve the large shells that often found their way to the shore. Another activity that you could spend a fair amount of time doing. Such amazing memories with such a loyal companion. I will forever hold them close to my heart.

Monty, you were not a grumpy pup – even in the face of the many medical issues you were handed during your time with me. You endured 3 major surgeries on that darn left hind leg of yours. Through it all you just patiently waited for the cone to be taken off and the last of the meds to be given – without so much as a whimper. This last issue – inflammatory bowel disease did get the best of you my boy. We tried everything - to no avail. I knew it was time, when the little dog who lived to eat had no more interest in food. It pained Sharon and I to take you to the vet that one last time – but we did – for you (not for us as we would want you to stay forever), as you had grown weary and we knew you were in pain. There was no curing this issue. So we bid you farewell - … I hated that day.

About a month and a half after my least favorite day with you – Sharon and I took a trip to Dog Mountain to visit Dog Chapel (Welcome: All Creeds, All Breeds, No Dogmas Allowed) which is in (you guessed it) Vermont. I needed to say good bye to you in my own way – and the Dog Chapel was the place to do that. It’s where pet parents can go and leave a note for the fur kid they have had to part with. So that’s what I did. It was a rainy day in Connecticut when we made the journey – and as we crossed into Vermont there was nothing but clear skies. It was the most amazing day – and you were there in my heart the entire time (you still are). Your picture and my note to you are in Dog Chapel – I didn’t say good bye – instead I said until we meet again.

Miss you my dear loyal friend…

Love,

Pam

This letter from Jackie to Sammie was written on Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dear Sammie,

I met Sammie when a co-worker asked if I would take her deceased fathers Amazon to live with me. She came on a sunny summer day, and her first words were "what are we doing?" She chirped, sang, said hello, and only knew me for a few short minutes. She had a terrible eye infection, but she still was so happy. I did not know how much I would come to love her.

I took her to her first vet visit and found out that Sammie was near death. Her pallet was gone from infection, her eye was in terrible condition, and her beak was deformed, never to return to its normal state. The treatment for her condition was: melting tiny balls in water, feeding her every 15 minutes for two and a half hours every day. I also had to clean her eye, every 15 minutes. This took a year of my life, holding her and giving her the medication and just loving her. Two and a half hours a day I was tied to this bird, giving up any life outside of work and Sammie.

We became close, and she learned to trust me completely. No matter what I had to do to her, or medicine I had to give her, she allowed me complete trust. I knew she was old, she had cataracts, but I never knew how old she was. But, she loved people, and whenever anyone came in the room she would say hello, chirp, and welcome them.

My neighbor is named Dot. And Dot came for coffee in the morning. Pretty soon Sammie was saying Hi Dot, and Bye Dot. Sammie also talked like a low radio, when she thought you were not listening. I found out later her previous owner listened to the radio all afternoon.

Sammie's feet grew growths due to her age, and then they would come off and bleed. I was always taking her to get bandages on her feet. The last time I was concerned the bandages were too tight, and ran her to the vet, 90 Miles round trip. I was doing this every week or so. I thought it was just to change her bandages. But they said they would have to amputate her claw, and stitch it up. They brought her back in to me and showed me her eye was in bad shape. The Vet said if it was his bird he would put her to sleep. So in fifteen minutes I lost Sammie.

She was a light in my life. She trusted me, she loved me, and I loved her. I am having a period of grief, and am doubting my decision to end her life. But, she was a joy, and to have her suffer anymore was not what I wanted for her. She was sweet, smart, loving, and trusting. I will carry her in my heart forever.

Missing You,

Jackie

This letter from Mom - Marie to Carson was written on Tuesday, September 30, 2014Carson

Dear Carson,

I miss you more and more as each day goes by.

I am so sorry that you got attacked by the other dogs. I know you had a seizure and they were trying to get you to respond to them. You were the pack leader.

I still am very angry that the vet didn't do a thorough assessment to examine all your injuries. You needed to stay in the hospital for a few days, but he insisted that you would be fine in a few days. This was on July 25, 2014.

The following morning after giving you your meds, you seemed more active. I was crying tears of joy seeing you move around. You went and laid under the table and that is where you stayed. On July 27, 2014 you had another seizure and died in my arms.

I hope that you know how much I loved you and still do and always will. You were my little buddy and my travel companion. Going bye bye is not the same.

Daddy got me another Beagle puppy to love. I named him Carlin, which means "little champion". I see so much of you in him everyday and it brings tears to my eyes but I know you are teaching him how to be a good Beagle. I tell Carlin about you all the time.

Unfortunately 5 weeks after you passed, we lost another one of our boys to Parvo.

I know you are taking care of Gus Gus for me and believe he went to be with you so you weren't alone.

You may be gone but you are forever in my heart Carson.

I love you to the moon and back and just wish I could cuddle with you one more time.

Until we meet again, run and play and enjoy your Rawhides.

Love,

Mom - Marie

This letter from Brooke to Luke was written on Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dear Luke,

You've always liked that name, haven't you?

Lucas was never the right way to go with you, was it?

You weren't just in my life, because you've touched many others.

I saw you when I was three and pulled on your fur, but Luke you loved kids!

When you let me ride around on your back, it was amazing.

The wet hound dog nose nudging against my arm told me you wanted to play.

Your tail used to swing wildly everyday (so bad we couldn't put bulbs on the bottom of the Christmas tree.) Then you got older, gram and papa were paying tons and tons a money a month to keep you alive and happy.

Grandma said she will never forget the night you passed, she said your name, but you couldn't hear. She pet you, but you couldn't feel. Papa stayed up with you all night long, then when you stopped breathing gram woke up, she could hear papa cry.

I think you could hear the loud cry of a loving owner, and a soft song of an angel.

Missing You,

Brooke