Running a Sanctuary for the Old and Special Ones can be bittersweet. Being with these dogs through the good times and bad, day in and day out, leads to a very special bond. And, being with them at the end of their lives can rip our hearts out and at the same time, bring a sense of peace, knowing that the special ones did not die alone. We would like to remember, always, the Sanctuary dogs that have passed away.
Boo Boo was with us long before we officially opened the Sanctuary. He came in as an adoptable dog but was passed over 3 times for the most ridiculous of reasons. We knew then that he was meant to stay and he became a very important part of our work. He adored other dogs and often accompanied the new retirees on their first meet and greet. His gentle nature helped the new ones to find their courage. Although Boo Boo was healthy, we had a strange feeling that he would not live well into his senior years and he passed away at the age of 7 from cancer.
Spider came to us as an adoptable dog. He was gorgeous and adored people, was tolerant of cats but was a little protective of his back end around other dogs. He tried so hard to get “picked” by potential adopters, but was passed over time and time again. Spider also seemed to come down with the strangest of medical conditions every few months and we knew early on that he was probably going to have to stay with us. True to his unique nature, Spider passed away suddenly, sleeping in his favorite place in the sanctuary. He was almost 7 years old.
Andy Panda was only with us for a little over 7 months, but he had a huge impact on us. He was our first greyhound mix, the first we were able to pull from a county shelter, the first to help us learn about laser therapy and other types of treatments for the chronically ill. He taught us much about hospice care. We never really knew how old he was but we knew he was very old. We never knew anything about his background, where he was born, whether he ever took part in the field trials in the rural areas of Ohio, or whether he was ever loved in his former life. But, we were so fortunate that he spent his last days with us.
Cindy Bear was the sweetest of brood mommas with the thickest coat we’ve ever seen on a Greyhound. She was 12 1/2 years old when she came to our Sanctuary, very much in need of dental care. Her teeth were rotting, infected and causing a her a good deal of pain. We were so careful to run as many pre-surgical tests as possible and our vet was ultra careful during the entire procedure. Unfortunately, Cindy Bear did not survive. Her passing is a horrible reminder of the unique physiology of retired racing greyhounds and serves as a caution to all dogs undergoing anesthesia. We miss her dearly.
Momma Levity was our “first” in so many ways. She was the first retired brood momma to grace our lives, the first “super” senior that we took in, the first to be awarded a grant for her care, the first to live to the ripe old age of 13 1/2. We thought for sure she’d make it to 14, but that wasn’t in her cards when she suddenly couldn’t walk. We knew immediately it was a spinal stroke (FCE) and at her age and her already weak hind end and her kidney disease, we also knew that she would not survive. Momma Levity was such an integral part of the Sanctuary and our lives that it’s hard to realize that she’s gone. But, her spirit lives on in our hearts and we are better people for having had the opportunity to care for her.
Buttons was a mixed breed hunting dog who was severely abused in his past life and was never able to fully overcome the physical and mental effects of that abuse. We did everything we could to bring him peace and in the end, his symptoms became unbearable for him. We miss him dearly and wish that his abusers could know just how badly their actions toward him were.
Pepper lived to the ripe old age of 13 1/2. A cancer survivor and a survivor in many other ways, it appeared that Pepper would live forever. But, no one can escape death and we were powerless to save her. We miss her deeply, her doe-like eyes and her wide collection of facial expressions. Pepper was a staple at meet and greets and we always joked that she came to an event to show everyone just how easily a greyhound could fall asleep! Rest now, sweet one… You are forever in our hearts.
Stone was with us for many years before his 13 1/2 year old body just wore out in September of 2016. He was terribly shy and hated going anywhere. His senses started to fail in his last years and he was almost deaf when he passed. One of the big boys, Stone’s presence was a comfort, despite his separation anxiety and other eccentric behaviors, which limited our time away from him. Rest in peace, Old Man Stone. We miss you.
Roscoe, a senior greyhound mix, came to us in January of 2016. He had a spindle cell sarcoma on his right elbow that was malignant. He also had cataracts and was completely blind in his right eye and losing vision quickly in his left. His back was plagued with spondylosis, an age related wearing of the discs in his back. Later in 2016, he developed a heart murmur, high blood pressure, and was in the early stages of kidney disease. Roscoe was a trooper through all of the chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and other treatments he was receiving from both our regular vet and a board certified internal medicine and oncology specialist. He took his twice daily handful of pills and supplements without complaint. But, in late January of 2017, Roscoe’s old body was failing, he was in pain and his tumor was overtaking his leg. It was time to let him fly free. Roscoe touched many hearts and he is dearly missed.
Smokey was never officially a Sanctuary dog, but we felt that he never wanted to leave and we were ready to make him an official member if he couldn’t find a home by the end of February. Sadly, Smokey was taken from us on Valentine’s Day, after emergency abdominal surgery the day before. He never recovered and passed away shortly before noon. His passing is a painful reminder that, no matter how young, a beloved pet can slip away with little warning. His passing is a constant reminder to love your beloved pets everyday and never, ever take anything for granted.
Momma Sissy was one of the best meet and greet dogs, ever. She came to us shortly after weaning her 4th litter of pups, with several bad teeth and chronic gum problems. We took care of her medical problems and she took care of our emotional needs. She was such a hard worker and loved to be present at any event. Her doe-like eyes and graying muzzle invited all to get closer to her. When her hind end got weak with age, she spent many hours on our laps, enjoying the view and attracting attention wherever she went. Bone caner took her too young, she was one month shy of her 12th birthday when we had to say goodbye. Always stoic, and never a complainer, Momma Sissy will always be in our hearts.
Momma CoCo was a role model for us. Six years before she passed from inoperable liver cancer, CoCo was badly injured racing. Her right front leg never healed properly and she got around mostly on her 3 good legs and went on to whelp and raise 4 litters of pups before she was retired and placed in our Sanctuary. CoCo was always happy, always ready to travel to meet and greets and always smiling for “her” public. She never complained and never let her disability get her down. Even as her hind legs began to weaken with old age, CoCo still wanted to work her crowd. As long as she had her blankets to rest on, she was ready to spread her joy. Everyone knew Momma CoCo and her passing has hit us hard and let a huge hole in our hearts.
Momma Granola was one of the sweetest brood momma’s ever to live at the Sanctuary. Passed over many times by other adoption agencies because of her severe muscle tremors, Momma Granola found her retirement home with us. She fit right into the Sanctuary and even became a surrogate momma for Blind Truman. She suddenly became ill and wouldn’t eat. After weeks of testing and treatments, the vets discovered that she had a very atypical case of intestinal lymphoma and went downhill very quickly. We had no choice but to let her cross over the rainbow bridge. Her passing hit us all very hard and she will be in our hearts forever.
Hero was only with us a short time, but in that time, he touched our hearts. His passing was a glaring, gut wrenching reminder that bad things happen even when you do everything right. We have no control over death and we should never get comfortable doing routine surgeries and procedures. There is always a chance of a bad outcome, especially with a breed as delicate as a greyhound. We are so, so sorry, Hero. Rest in Peace.