Love Of A Family

These are the dogs who crossed over the rainbow bridge and left paw prints on our hearts.
We are grateful we were able to give them a home and show them the love of a family.

CHESTER

Our first special needs senior rescue, and the handsome face from our logo. We consider our adoption of Chester a success, as had cancer and terrible arthritis and was only given months to live. Chester lived for two years as a part of our family. He was about 10 years old and had spent over 8 years in a shelter. We are eternally grateful to have been able to love him for the last two years of his life and have dedicated our work with this sanctuary in his memory.

MACKIE

Our sweet girl, Mackie was a deaf pitbull with terrible arthritis. She was roughly 10 years old and was used to breed until she couldn’t anymore and was dumped at the pound. We got to love her for the last two years of her life.

LITTLE BUDDY

Little Buddy was a deaf stroke survivor who was found abandoned in a backyard. We adopted him in October 2016 and he passed away February 2019. He was 16 years old.

RIPLEY

Miss Ripley was a beautiful and loving 15 year old hound mix with renal failure. We adopted her June 19, 2020 and she passed away in Todd’s arms July 2, 2020. We only got less than two weeks with this angel, but we’re lucky she got to spend her last days cuddled up with us and the rest of the dogs, instead of alone and leaving this earth next to a stranger.

CLYDE

Clyde was Anna & Todd’s first dog together and was with them from December 14th 2005, through 3 living spaces, before engagement and 15 wonderful years up until January 27th 2021. Clyde passed suddenly and we believe it was either some sort of cancer or his rare blood disorder finally took his life. He was the OG. He will live on in our hearts & memories forever.

MAX

Max was an almost 14-year-old Shitzu who was rehomed into the Sanctuary in July of 2020. He had an advancing heart condition and was going blind and deaf. He couldn’t do the stairs and had to be carried in and outside regularly. Max had surgery to remove his eye in June 2021 and made it through despite his now grade 6 heart murmur. In August, he started to show signs of fluid around his heart again and after a trip to the vet and a decision to increase his medication, he sadly passed away 10 minutes after arriving back home. It’s almost like he waited to be back home. Todd stared to feed him dinner and Max ALWAYS barked at the top of the stairs to be brought his dinner. One day, he didn’t and Todd found him in distress and held him until he passed away in his arms. He was the smallest one with the largest presence and he is missed every single day.

WALTER

Walter was adopted in early September 2021. He was completely deaf and had thyroid issues. Unfortunately, it is believed his deafness was caused by lack of attention to them for years. After only 5 short weeks we came home, and it appeared he had a stroke. Usually with old age vestibular disease they bounce back with medication. Sadly, Walter did not. His head and neck were twisted up pretty bad and he couldn’t get his bearings to stand or walk. He passed away in Todd’s arms on October 19th, 2021.

COLBY

Colby was one of Todd & Anna’s 3 dogs before they started rescuing. Colby was a puggle like Clyde and he was a part of the family from August 2007 up until December 17th 2021. Along with Clyde it was before they were married and living in the condo. He was really the only dog they had that never had any issues and was as easy going as they come. He developed a spinal infection that sadly led to him unable to walk and was in quite a bit of pain. He is no longer suffering and we are sure Clyde was the first to meet him at the Rainbow Bridge along with their huge pack in heaven.

VELMA

Velma was with us at our sanctuary for exactly 3 months. She was adopted in December 21st, 2021 and was with us until March 21st of 2022.This 14 yr old poodle didn’t have it easy. When she was surrendered in November, the rescue learned she was never spayed resulting in a multitude of mammary tumors. Also infected with fleas they were eating away at them. She had horrible dental disease and needed a fresh start in life. We stepped up and adopted her.

She was the senior old lady in our nursing home. She was always quiet and found a bed in the sanctuary that she claimed as her own.Velma loved laying in the grass in the sunshine. We know her last few months on earth were better than her previous 14 years. And that she was to finally know love and how we should live and leave this life. We miss you my girl. I’m sure Chester, Mackie, Little Buddy, Ripley, Clyde, Max, Walter and Colby greeted you at the bridge.

Petey

Petey came to the Sanctuary in December 2020 and passed away on July 7th 2022. He was 17 years old. Pedro (his nickname) was like no other dog we’ve ever had. He never barked, not once, ever. He slept about 20 hours a day in his little round, cushy bed. He was completely blind and deaf.

He loved to be cuddled as we’ve never experienced a Pug so calm on his back being held like a baby. He would often nip at us gently and give kisses. Especially with Jagger. They had a special bond like no other. One of his favorite things was to dose off on the lawn in the backyard. Sometimes for so long we’d forget he was out there until it was bedtime. Despite all this, he had his struggles. He had to be contained to a small area due to his limitations and had GI issues and even with his special diet he’d mess, walk or fall in it, which lead to multiple times a week at 5am scrubbing the floors and giving him a bath. We didn’t mind it. Those that truly need help and have handicaps just have our whole . Petey had trouble standing towards the end. He’d lay down to eat and kinda throw his face in the bowl. He became really weak. That, coupled with heart and lung issues that developed a couple months prior, he declined sadly where we felt his quality of life was diminishing. We made the difficult decision for Petey to be with the rest of the Angels.

Sam

Sam was found abandoned in a drain in November 2021. He had a horrible skin disease that had been neglected to be treated by previous owners on top of being emaciated. He came to the Sanctuary very timid and weak. He was unsure of the surroundings and obviously lost trust in humans. We wanted to erase every memory of not being loved from this old mans memory. We fed him copious amounts of food and after a short time he was able to go up and down the stairs on his own. His fur grew back and he no longer itched in discomfort daily. Sam was a true testament what love and care can do. He remained a bit grumpy in his old age and would howl at us often to eat, drink or get attention. With those big, sad hound eyes, Sam would always be close looking for a treat or human to slip him a piece of whatever they were eating. In mid-August 2022 and very sudden, Sam fell ill. Within 24 hours he stopped eating and spiked an extremely high temperature and left us to become an angel.

HILLIE

Hillie was with us for a little over 3 years.  What was unique and special about him was being born without eyes.  That didn’t stop him and with his nose and ears he managed extremely well.  He was loving and easy and got along with everyone.  We really never knew his real age and thought he was younger and going to live many years with us.  But within a 5 day period he had trouble walking in which we thought he had a back/neurological issue.

Upon admitting him to the hospital they ran blood work.  His kidney levels were double the normal level.  They did an abdominal ultrasound and found a large mass.  The doctors were able to normalize his kidney levels but he must have been advanced with the other issues.  He came home and we were to take next steps about his back and internal mass but it was too late and within 24 hours he was gone.

Jack

Sadly, Jack was only with us for 5 days.  He had lost his mommy and his family was looking for a sanctuary to be hi new home and we gladly accepted.  He had Cushing’s disease and the timing was just unfortunate.  He has stopped eating and drinking and had succumbed to his illness.  He was a snuggle bug and wen wish we got to spend more time with him.

JENNA

Jenna came to us from North Carolina in April of 2022. Her owners were moving and decided to dump this 14 year old Angel at the shelter. She was skin and bones; you could see her spine and ribs. Our partners at Strong Paws pulled her and transported her to us.

She got in the backseat and crawled onto Jaggers lap for the ride home. She was an immediate crowd favorite. When we got home, we got her a cake and threw her a welcome home party. We vividly remember her eyes when she saw the cake, and that it was all for her. We love the moments when these dog’s realize what they can now call home.

Unfortunately, within just two weeks, Jenna suffered a stroke, but since she is a fighter, she overcame that over the following weeks and months. She was spoiled quite often and Anna would often give her 4 of 5 treats when the others only got 1 or 2!  She was able to gain a good 10-15lbs, and she needed it!

Jenna had zero boundaries when it came to personal space. She would see a bed and it didn’t matter if 2 or 3 dogs were in it. She would walk right in and lay on top of all of them!

She was first to howl in the morning for breakfast but we couldn’t blame her, she was making up for a long time of not being fed the proper quantities that she needed to stay strong and healthy. After her stroke, Jenna made the trip to Maine with the family and got to experience many acres of farmland and some time at the lake.

It gave us great joy to watch her lay in the sun and see how content she was in her surroundings.

Recently one of the tumors on her leg became aggravated, infected, and should have been removed. Unfortunately, since her health had been starting to decline, we felt that she would not make it much longer.  We decided to opt for treatments anyways, but after completing quite a few of them, we realized that our initial feeling was right and we started to see her health quickly decline. She started to suffer too much and was even having trouble standing up on her own.

Jenna was our blonde little pittie mix, and we’ll forever miss her. We will always cherish the memories we had together and the happiness and love that she felt when we hung out in the hammock together on those beautiful tranquil summer days.

LUCAS

Lucas was surrendered to a local shelter due to his family not having time to care for him. He is a tiny little nugget that has a huge personality. He lays in his bed like he’s ready at any moment for a photoshoot with GQ magazine!

dino

Dino came to us just shy of a year ago. His “family” was moving and  instead of bringing him with, they dropped this 16 year old going blind and deaf poodle mix at the shelter. Their loss became our gain.

At first, Dino was very shy and would only eat Cesar’s packets. So if you were one that donated this specific food, it was for him. Over time we were able to switch him over to the regular wet food all the other dogs get. Especially when his buddy Chewie went on strike and only would eat Cesar’s too. Over time, Dino’s eyes worsened and he became completely blind. He always needed to be carried in and out multiple times a day. When Jagger came home from school daily, she had to let the dogs out and little Dino was easy for her to carry.

A couple weeks ago when I came home he was in the yard and couldn’t load his rear left leg. We brought him to our vet and administered some anti-inflammatories. He started to improve. But this food loving guy started to eat a little less each day. Then out of nowhere on Monday, we heard his voice for the first time. He was crying and I’m not sure if he suffered a stroke but he was disoriented and extremely lethargic.

Tuesday he was soaked in a mess that I don’t know if it was his own or he fell into another ones. I called the vet as I knew it was time. I gave him a warm bath knowing it would be his last. I really tried to get him to eat but he had zero interest. I ended up pushing his appt earlier today as I didn’t think he was gonna make it to 5pm. After my clients today, I snuggled him up tight in a warm blanket with his head curled up on my chest.

I gave him a thousand kisses and assured him that he was the best boy and that he could go, it was his time, and I’d be ok. Guess what? I’m once again not fucking ok. I know I choose this pain and the pain is more around the consistent losses I go though. But who the fuck leaves a nearly blind and deaf 16 year old poodle mix at a fucking shelter?!??

Regardless of how it hurts I just don’t think I can ever say no. Very few go in and take the neglected, abused and less fortunate. I swore after Chester I’ll forever be that guy. I’m just missing my 17 year old Dino I’ll never forget this night pictured when you came home and I serenaded you by the firepit.

Run free my boy. I trust Whitney, Layla, Chloe, Chester, Mackie, Little Buddy, Ripley, Clyde, Max, Walter, Colby, Velma, Petey, Sam, Jack, Hillie, Jenna and Lucas have found you.

bea

It was our normal morning, so I thought. The dogs started barking downstairs in the Sanctuary around 4:30am. It was one of those days I put on my safety earmuffs to just get to sleep a little longer. Anna woke me and I went downstairs to get them outside, clean up, feed breakfast etc. Anna attends to the ladies upstairs.

After that Anna came to me and said that Bea isn’t good. We knew this was coming. Bea and Betty due to their age and size stay upstairs in the kitchen. Anna had her wrapped up in a cozy blanket and handed her to me and said, “go sit with her.” We sat in the same chair I held Lucas in, although this time was a little different. I held her on my chest and her cold, tongue drooping out of her mouth was on my neck. She took a deep breath and it was her last.

One breath. She literally waited for me A few weeks ago we realized she must of had a stroke as that side tongue out of the mouth is all too familiar to us. We took her to Maine and she made a positive turn. She was barely standing and here we had her at the Lake and she was following Anna around and eating from everyone’s hands. Even though she lost weight from 11lbs to 6lbs we were hoping she’d continue to improve.

But it was her time. As I sat there crying and squeezing her tight, I closed my eyes and I saw Clyde. I then saw Colby, Sam, Jenna, Lucas, Dino, Velma, Mackie, Chester, Hillie, Little Buddy, Walter, Max, Ripley, Petey, Jack, Whitney and Chloe. They were all sitting there side by side outside in the dark waiting for Bea. I wanna believe this is true and when it’s my time, they’ll all be there waiting for me too. Fly with the Angels Bea Arthur. You were surely loved by us.

Chewie

My heart is broken. After Bea passed Wednesday and despite the predicted weekend weather, we decided to head out to Montauk Friday to get away.

That was abruptly cut short. Barely there 24 hours and not even 72 hours after Bea, I got the call about Chewie. He had been on the decline but he was eating when we left. Grass fed beef and rotisserie chicken but at least he started eating for us again.

Unlike Bea, he did not wait for us. And this. This is the hardest part I have found about the work we do. It’s not even going through death on average every few months. It’s that some don’t get to be in my arms as we say goodbye. At yesterdays dinner feeding he was let out and collapsed. After coming to, he was shaking and his stomach became extremely distended. I began rounding up my family to drive back 4 hours in the rain to say goodbye, but the vet didn’t think he’d make it that long. So, we made the painful decision to let him go. The only thing holding me together about that was that he was with Sarah. Hillie was with her too when he passed and if I can’t be there, there isn’t anyone else in this world I’d want with my dogs. He was not alone. Chewie came to us a little over 2.5 years ago. He had a leg amputated bc previous owners let his hair get so matted it cut off circulation of his front right leg. That didn’t slow him down and he did the stairs better than a four legged dog. But what was the most amazing about Chewie was that he was EVERYONE’S favorite. People and dogs. He was Switzerland, neutral AF. He was always cool, calm and ready to snuggle up next to any dog. No one messed with him. He was Simba’s best friend though. There was nothing like going down to the sanctuary to see a tiny Shih tzu curled up under a big Pitbull. I hate that I didn’t get to say goodbye. Acceptance right now fucking sucks. You were the bestest boy Chewie and I mean that with all my heart

Archie

hate this part no matter how many times we endure the pain. Yesterday, we said our final goodbyes to Archie.

Archie came to us in early February this year. You see he was lucky because Jaggers first real connection was with Petey the Pug who had passed earlier the prior year.

She asked me one night if I thought there was a Pug who needed a home. So I went on Petfinder and low and behold was Archie pictured with his tongue hanging out and was local at a shelter in Long Island.

He was 12ish at the time and half day and blind and needed assistance to get in and outside. We brought him home days after we adopted Betty & Bea. (Bea who passed in September).

Archie didn't need much. Like most of them, he slept a lot and just needed and food and water, a cozy bed and to be carried outside to do his business and then back in.

He wasn't affectionate at all and would squirm if I tried to give him kisses so I just let him be who he was.

That was his routine. Even down the the exact place he wander back under the deck to the right retaining ledge by the door where he'd wait for us to come get him.

Archie, Benny and Salami all tended to cuddle up in one bed and they seemed happy to have each other. Recently I noticed Archie having trouble holding himself up. He had a good appetite and drank water but I saw this hind legs getting weaker and weaker whilst doing so. His breathing was starting to become labored as well and the past couple days we'd come down in the morning and due to his inability to stand he was laying in his poop.

I had vet appointments for Lily yesterday to get a Labrela shot to help with her issues as well as Kissy who has ben slowing down too so I added Archie to the list.

I was really hoping for another prognosis but our Vet advised me that we gave him a great life in the end and his quality had severely diminished and that buying a few more weeks, maybe a month or two was just delaying the inevitable.

Anna was with me and she got Lily and Kissy in the car so we could be alone with him before he left for the rainbow bridge. He laid on the vet table and I cuddled him for a moment where it was just the two of us. And fuck just tear my heart out because this non affectionate boy gave me two kisses.

I understood each instantly. The first was saying thank you for caring for him the last 10 months; for literally carrying him in and out an average of 1500 times. The second was another thank you for letting him go. Anna came back in and she held me as I did what I always do. I wrapped him in a blanket and held him tight and kissed his head and told him that he was the very, best boy. That I loved him and that I'm gonna miss him.

That so many of our crew is there waiting for him. Just as the clock struck noon he transitioned on. Hardest part here was having to go home and tell Jagger that Archie didn't make it home.

My daughter and I held each other for awhile and she understood. We went on to care for our other 10 dogs and I still ended up making 11 bowls of dinner.

I miss you already, Archie.

Salami

It was a week before Thanksgiving 2022 and Sarah reached out as Mt Vernon shelter had 2 seniors in need of homes.

1st was Lucas and he passed earlier this year. 2nd was Salami. And if I'm being honest, I just wanted a dog named after an Italian cured meat. Salami was picked up on the street and we had zero back history other than he was around 17 years old estimated.

He was deaf and struggled to see a bit due to his cataracts. Salami was unlike any dog we ever had. He was the most difficult in being able to love him. Who knows what abuse he suffered but for almost 15 months he resisted affection. He needed help getting outside and when you picked him up, he tried to bite you. Every. Single. Time. I got used to throwing a blanket over him to carry him outside. You wouldn't dare try to give him kisses and if your hand went anywhere near his face you got out of there like touching a hot stove.

We just accepted it. Many months back he got in the habit of barking all night long. I'm talking 12:30am, 2am, 3am, 345am, 415am...until you just went down and got everyone outside and fed breakfast. His pen where he slept also needed a good cleaning every morning. We eventually had to get him on medication or we were going to go nuts without sleep. This did help and in the last couple months he started to deteriorate. He became quite confused and after I carried him outside, he'd turn around come back in and mess inside.

Also, some messes he trampled in and it's not easy bathing a dog that trys to bite you... Last week, he had trouble holding himself up with his paws curling under him and was laying in his bed crying. The other morning he didn't eat and we knew it was time. But here's the gift... I came home Thursday to take him down to the vet. I picked him up and he didn't try and bite me. He let me scratch his head. As I sat outside waiting for our appointment I said wtf, let me try and hold him. He didn't just let me hold him. He nuzzled up against my chest. He even let me kiss his head. So I did. Like a hundred times to make up for all the love I wanted to give him over the last 15 months.

I snuggled him while he was sedated and he had his arm and paw draped over mine. Salami wasn't fighting anymore. Not me. Not life. Not death. After he passed they always leave the room and allow us a few more minutes with our babies. I stayed and held him for quite sometime. Yesterday was 23 years since I smoked crack and I remember what it was like to push people away because of how sacred I was. What it was like when people didn't want to be around you let alone hold you. That's why I take in the dogs no one else wants and why I hug the way I do. I'm still alive.

Salami, thank you for letting me love you, Finally.

Lily

We adopted Lily on September 30th 2022 when Strong Paws Rescue literally drove her to us from NC.

Lily, an Australian Cattle mix, was 12 at the time and was missing her left eye as well as deaf in that ear.

She smiled the entire way home.. But when we got home she was very nervous of her new situation. To the point that she would not come inside that day and it took me hours until dark to get her inside. Luckily, that didn’t last long and soon enough she was following the puppies around the yard and loved being out there and felt comfortable to come inside on her own. Lily was the sweetest gal ever. Such an easy dog to care for. She never barked once her entire time with us.

I loved our moments where I’d crouch down and she’d give the most gentle kisses on the tip of my nose and then bury her head in my neck. It was her way of saying thank you Lily got along with all the other dogs. She was a bit of a push over, but just so non-confrontational. A couple months ago she started to have trouble getting up and getting outside. She started having accidents. We always do whatever we can to give our dogs a chance so I heard about an injection to help with her arthritis and that coupled with a steroid for her back, she slowly turned around. It wasn’t immediate and there we were once again at 430am giving her baths. But then one morning we came downstairs and she was standing on her own waiting to go outside. I even posted about how well she was doing. Only side effect was the amount of water she tried to drink and had to be in diapers. Her last vet visit I took them off so she’d walk in proud She did such a turnaround that she wouldn’t eat dog food but she devoured rotisserie chicken. So here’s Anna coming back from Costco with 8 whole chickens and we’re pulling the meat off the bones to get her food ready as we were heading on vacation. And then fuck. We left Sunday and Lily stopped eating Sunday. She and all the dogs were to be well cared for when we were gone but this took us by surprise.

She was doing So. Much. Better… After 2 days of not eating she started to shake Tuesday morning and became weak to hold herself up. This is the worst part of what we do. That some dogs choose to go when we aren’t there. Some wait for us and I believe this truly. I have a lot of sadness around not holding her to say goodbye. Once again Sarah took the best care of our Lily and had us on FaceTime to say good bye as she made her comfortable. There we were bawling our eyes out as Lily left for the Rainbow Bridge Acceptance… It’s out of my control when and how and there’s this balance where as this is a large part of our lives it’s not our whole life and need to care for ourselves too. But I wanted to hold Lily in my arms and kiss her head and tell her that she was the best girl, just like the rest. Now I am left with memories and a lot of pictures and most of all a heart full of love because I got to care for Lily in the end. Run free baby. Daddy will miss you every single day.