Memorial Tributes & Remembrances
Please join us in celebrating these very special animals and our time with them.
January 22, 2008 - November 4, 2022
Francesca (née Lily) Behrmann-West was born on January 22, 2008 at Wright-Way Rescue. She was named over margaritas at a Chipotle (although nicknames including Frannie, Fran, Franner, Fran-Banana, etc. were quickly adopted). She was brought home in a snowstorm in March at 8 weeks old + was a part of our family until almost 15 years old. Frannie had a heart of gold + brought so much brightness + energy to our lives. She loved swimming, barking, long walks, snow, fountains, chasing squirrels, + pretty much everyone she met (people + dogs alike). She was patient + kind with her little sister Olivia, who absolutely adored her. Francesca lived a long life, but our time with her was far too short.
We are forever grateful for the love, compassion, + incredible support Dr. Cook provided to Francesca + our family over the year we worked together, as it certainly prolonged + improved the quality of her life, as well as ours.
2003 - March 31, 2022
In memory of Vivi
Nineteen years ago, I was going through a rough patch in life. My career, my relationship, everything was going through massive upheaval all at once. To cope, I’d head to Pilsen every weekend to pour my emotions into a silversmithing class. I’d spend hours hammering out all my anger and frustration. This was right around Halloween, not a good time for tiny, timid, stray black cats. The studio I went to was in the basement of an old brick building. Every time I went there, this black cat would trail me. As I moved from space to space in the studio, she'd follow alongside me outside in the alley. I'd see her through the glass block windows, always watching me. (You can never be too angry when watched by a judgey cat.) Finally, on the last day of class, I told her... if you are waiting for me at the door after class, you can come home with me. And there she was. I named her Vivi, short for Vivian, derived from vivir, "to live," in Spanish. She picked me and I've always been her person. I love you, Vivi. Thank you for finding me, and I'm so glad we were part of each other’s lives.
2005 - October 4, 2021
You gave me more happiness is the past 8 years than I ever thought possible. It was truly love at first sight, and you surpassed every expectation I ever had. I mean, you made it passed 16! And I’ve truly enjoyed every second.
One of your greatest joys in life was FOOD and swimming at Splash Dog with Aunt Cindy and Aunt Laura. I will never forget you barking your order at the Mr. Beef drive through, or when you would let yourself in the back of Happy Dog Barkery to get extra treats. Your smile was always the biggest when there were treats to be given, and you always had a bounce in your step.
Our travels took us into another country to visit Niagara Falls and onto Maine where we got to swim in the ocean. Our local endeavors took us paddle boarding on Lake Michigan, trips to the Morton Arboretum for their “Tails on Trails”, Mackinac Island, and bike riding.
The one small comfort I had, is that in the last 4 months of your life Dr. Cook made unbearable situation comforting, and every second count.
Forever in my heart you will sleep.
2009 - April 9, 2021
We were only together for two years but Abby, you were my canine soulmate. I knew as soon as I saw your sad fuzzy face on my Facebook feed that I had to come and rescue you from CACC. You were an independent lady and loved laying out on the porch watching over your kingdom. Dr. Cook helped us sort out your arthritis and pain meds. When the time came he helped you go with such care and compassion. I miss you so much but that your end was peaceful and on your beloved porch helps enormously.
2013 - April 23, 2021
I would give anything to spend one more day with my beautiful baby, Jazz. You gave me more joy and happiness then I ever thought possible. You were my best friend and I will never stop loving you.
The one small comfort I have in all this is that I got to spend every second I could with you till it was your time to pass. Dr. Cook made an unbearable situation as comforting as it possibly could be. I will forever be grateful for the love and kindness he showed to my sweet baby.
Rest In Peace my sweet girl. Your mommy will love you always and forever.
2007 - October 17, 2020
Recently I said goodbye to the most handsome, goofy, sweet, and loyal furry kid that anyone could ever dream of sharing a life with. Toby was a big guy with a huge heart who thought he was small in size. He was clumsily protective around bigger dogs that seemed a little threatening. And had obvious crushes on smaller ones that were usually accompanied by sweet cries for them. He was obsessed with peanut butter, a passionate sniffer just doing his job for the neighborhood. And he had this funny and irrational fear of mailboxes. Those are just a handful of sweet things that made him a one of a kind companion. Toby has left a big space in my home, a huge hole in my heart and a forever impression on my life.
In Toby's 12th year, his health and mobility started to decline. Right after he turned 13, I was referred to Chicago Veterinary Geriatrics for at home acupuncture in an attempt to ease Toby's pain. When I read the website, I was immediately comforted to know that I had found a team that was committed to a holistic approach that addressed all the needs of aging and/or serious ill pets. And knew that I had found the right people to help guide me through Toby's final months. I will be forever grateful to Dr. Cook and Heather for their expert care, comfort and compassion in Toby's last month. Through CVG, I know that I gave Toby the best care possible and the gentlest of goodbyes.
2001 - 2017
Goodbye my Irys.
Goodbye my little friend.
Thank you for 16 years of companionship.
You will never be forgotten.
You were one of the best things that ever happened to me.
2003 - 2017
Today we said goodbye to our lovable, simple, big-hearted Chardy. He gave us 14 wonderful years of unconditional adoration before letting us know that he was tired and ready to move on. Now he’s someplace where we imagine him enjoying endless hours of chasing laser pointers and sleeping in sunbeams
Rest in peace our sweet, sweet Chardy. You will always be loved, and never forgotten. The bed is going to feel awfully big tonight.
We will miss Chardy’s obnoxiously loud purr, his fascination with Greg’s razor stubble, and his willingness to endure repeated (and aggressive) belly rubs from Ryan. He was the little sidekick who puttered next to Debbi all day long, often sitting on her computer keyboard and accidentally deleting files. If you ever got an email from her that suddenly turned into gibberish – that was Chardy’s ass at work.
Ryan and Chardy shared an especially close bond. He ignored her as a crying baby and just barely tolerated the tugging of her toddler hands, but eventually they fell into an easy rhythm together. She couldn’t walk past him without scooping him up and squeezing him tightly, and he always sought her out on the couch at night for cuddling. Ryan is heartbroken to lose her snuggle buddy, yet seems to understand that this is the heavy price we pay for loving so hard.
So now we turn our care and attention to Diesel, who’s never been without his constant companion before. We could tell he’s been worried about Chardy these past few weeks, and it’s been bittersweet watching him try to clean and comfort his brother. But in that weird, “animal instinct” kind of way, it’s also clear that Diesel was better prepared for today than we were. We caught the two of them together last night in a tangle of fur and paws and tails akimbo. They were completely content in their private embrace, and seeing this made us ridiculously happy.
12/29/2002 - 01/16/2017
2002 - December 27, 2016
Tux was diagnosed with lymphoma this past March 2016 and I lost him just two days after Christmas. Though heartbroken to lose such a wonderful friend and companion, I'm grateful for the 14 years we had together and I'm reminded, in this season of appreciation and renewal, just how important the simple things are: a purring kitty on the lap (pet me), a brief nuzzle of the cheek (cuddle me), a gentle paw on the mouth in the early morning (get up and feed me). And a soft meow in the kitchen (put the bowls down now, you're really taking much too long at this). Don't forget to appreciate the simple things in your life. Peace, love and happiness to you and yours for 2017 and beyond.
2007 - December 30, 2016
In memory of our little fluffbutt:
Rory was a constant source of joy and brought much happiness to our household. She taught us the reward of patience through the bond that we shared. She lived a happy life, full of carrots and chewed up furniture, cozy sun snoozes, TV snuggles, and crazy bursts of skittering up and down the hallways. Her (mostly) quite and gentle presence will be greatly missed, along with her devious adventures into the small spaces we never thought she'd get into. Stay out of trouble little one and enjoy all the carrots. You are greatly loved.
Jamie and Jacob Clementi
April 1999 - November 11, 2016
In memory of my Little Fur:
I don’t know what your bore in your previous life, and when I got you from Anti-Cruelty, it wasn’t easy but you were meant to be for me and me for you.
See you at the Rainbow Bridge...
March 13, 2000 (est.) -
December 12, 2015
For anyone that asked how we met, I always replied Moe was the happiest accident I ever had.
A light has gone out inside of me; but, never the memory and most certainly never the love that he has left behind in my heart for me.
Not looking to rescue a third feline, I saw his name - well his breed name and color “Blue Persian” – on a chalkboard outside of an adoption room at a PetSmart in Northbrook, IL. I was curious, went inside, heard his story and then met him as he introduced himself, quickly zipped away out of sight and then popped up behind me again; his, at that point unbeknownst to me, trademark hide-n-seek move. I had thought to myself - he’s cute, my neighbor would love him! (Said neighbor being the reason I noticed Persians in the first place as I coveted one that showed up on her doorstep). The surprise, however, and Moe’s unique gift of companionship was on me; for she had declined. Years later, after knowing him, she quipped that that was one of the biggest mistakes she had ever made; for, he was, very simply, that absolutely wonderful.
Today we are sad. We know that Cronkite wouldn't want that for us. He was always so happy and lived life to the fullest. He was a great example for how we should all live our lives with love for others and enthusiasm for each day.
He touched the lives of so many. The raw pain of losing a beloved family member and the void in my life of not having him to take care of will get less over time, but I will love him and miss him forever.
Cronkite, my daughter Marla’s dog, suffered from prostate cancer. From the time he was diagnosed in late April, 2016, until the end last night when he was euthanized at the home he shared with Marla for the past 10 years, he lived life to the fullest.
The vets who cared for him including Dr. Culp at UC Davis, Dr. Smith, his oncologist, Blum Animal Hospital, Blue Pearl, the Animal Medical Center at Fort Sheridan, and Dr. Cook from A Living Bond, who so compassionately took care of him at the end deserve special thanks. They all made it easier for us to make Cronkite's final months, days, and hours as good as possible.
Cronkite was Marla's best friend. Her pain at his loss will get better over time, but she will never stop loving him nor will she forget the happiness he brought to her life.
Cronkite will be missed by me (his “grammie”), Grandpa Larry, and Barney, his best dog friend. Cronkite taught Barney how to be mischievous and how to play. As late as yesterday, after not eating for almost a week, Cronkite played ball with Barney and ran with him at the beach. They stole each other's food and were always sure that the other was getting something better. In the last couple of weeks when we were making Cronkite burgers and chicken and chicken soup and trying to coax him to eat, Barney happily stepped in to get his share and to eat all that Cronkite refused. When Marla and I took our road trip to UC Davis for a clinical trial, of course Barney went with us to offer comfort. They slept together, and we would often find Barney spooning Cronkite or with one leg thrown over him.
Although Cronkite lived with Marla in Lakeview, he spent a lot of time at his "country home" with me and Larry, especially when Marla traveled. After our trip to California, we learned that Cronkite’s cancer had spread so that he couldn’t be in the clinical trial. When Dr. Culp told us that he had "weeks, maybe months left" he stayed in Highland Park from Sunday night through Thursday night where we all cared for him. Marla commuted to the city with Larry to go to work. She and Cronkite slept with me and Barney, while Larry slept upstairs so that Cronkite could have easy access to outdoors at night. On Thursday nights, Marla would go home and meet us at Northwestern, halfway between our houses to take him home for the weekend. Marla was able to spend the month of August with him while she was on sabbatical, and we all spent several days at a beach house in Michigan during that time. She and we will always be grateful for that time with him.
In many ways he was our dog, too, and my first dog. If it wasn't for Cronkite, we would probably not have gotten Barney. He brightened my parents last months even as he shredded Kleenex all over their condo, peed on their kitchen floor every time he was there to mark it as his territory and stole a grilled cheese sandwich from their kitchen table.
Cronkite was extremely smart, kind, and loving. He had a deep bark and thought he was a watch dog, but we all knew better! He loved watching tv and barking at any animal he saw on tv. He loved playing ball and tug, long walks, the beach, going to doggie day care, chasing squirrels and rabbits, and visiting the dry cleaners and bars on Belmont and Halsted that would give him treats. He loved when Marla's brother Jeff visited and even though he didn't see Jeff much after he moved to New York, he was always so excited to see him. He was a Cubs, Bears, and Bulls fan and loved cuddling with Marla and watching the games on tv. Most of all he loved hanging out with Barney and being with Marla, Larry, and me.
Marla, Larry, Barney, and I were with Cronkite at the end. Jeff joined us last night to have our family shiva. We ate pizza, chocolate chip coffee cake (Marla said we had to have the cake for the shiva) and cupcakes sent in by her coworkers. We cried and told funny Cronkite stories.
18 years of meows, furry cuddles and headbutts, snuggling in our arms with a paw on our faces, the amazing love he bestowed on people and other animals, and wacky Sosza time- he filled our lives with love and light.
We love him dearly and will miss him very much.
I knew from the moment I laid eyes on our beloved Sosza Bear what a special guy he was. He pounced over to me, playful and purring. He was the embodiment of gentleness and kindness and love, the sweetest, most patient boy. Sosza lived to love- and we loved him so much. He was affectionate to any person or critter he met.
At Rest on September 23, 2016
Amy, your sweetness conquered the hearts of every person who really knew you. It still horrifies me to think of the many difficult years you endured at the hands of callous people before you became my forever cat, and I your forever human.
When I brought you home that sleeting night in December, you scrambled to the top of that tower of boxes in the closet, and only revealed your great, green eyes to me a few times a day…for months! I never imagined you’d blossom into the interactive, chatty, cuddly, effusive bundle of joyous fur and extra long whiskers that you did.
Your purrs extinguished tummy aches. Your customized greeting rituals made each of us feel special. You warmed us from the inside-out with just the touch of your paw pads. When you rested your tiny chin on my arm, your delicate bone structure, the vibrations of your purr, and your whispering exhales transported me. Your silky and plush fur was unique, pure, and unforgettable.
You were an elegant lady with a powerful personality and quite a howl. You announced litter box activities, complained when you were home alone for too long, and even warned about the rodent intruder! At 7 and 6 and even 5 pounds, you never stopped filling our world. You were the soul of this home.
Even in your final hour, you exuded sweetness and class while letting us know that you’d had enough.
Losing you continues to be very painful and hollowing. I deeply miss the limitless fountain of happiness and love that I would find curled up on the sofa or in “the cattery” each day.
You deserve to be at peace, sweet baby girl, after more than two decades on this earth. Thank you for trusting us, loving us, and for sharing with us your purity. We will never forget you.
I lost my soul mate this week.
Zeus was in my life for nearly 14 years and was my rock, my protector, my healer, my angel. No other being has ever loved me so unconditionally and vice versa. Always so calm and so gentle, he lived his life the way he left us...ever so peacefully.
Thank you to Dr. Cook for being my hero and making one of the hardest experiences in my life a little less scary. I love you Zeus, you will always be a part of me.
Charlie, our beautiful boy, has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge yesterday morning.
Special thanks to our friends and family, for the love and support we received over the last several weeks; to PAWS Chicago, for bringing Charlie into our lives; to Dr. Cook, for helping us fight for Charlie.
Andrew, Svetlana, and Gregory
As we watched him go, we had a chance to say our “good byes” and our many “thank yous”: for all the joy and laughter he brought into our lives; for all the fun and adventures we were able to share; for the beautiful walks, hikes and trips we took together; for all the snuggles and kisses; for the love we were able to give, but even more so – for all the love he gave us; for helping us teach Gregory how to love, respect and care for those who depend on us; and so much more. We are heartbroken to see him go so soon, but we are grateful for the time we had with him. Rest in peace Charlie - we hope you are in a place, where there are no fireworks and thunderstorms.
Natasha was a sweet, weird, intuitive goofball. She would stare at the wall like she was deep in conversation, eat anything offered to her, and she only liked to play with clean socks or live bugs no matter how many toys she was presented with. She let me know who was in charge the first day I adopted her by walking in my house and pooping in my dining room. Natasha always seemed to know when people needed a little extra attention. She would frequently stop to say hello to patients entering or leaving the hospital down the street as if she knew they might need a little extra love that day. She kept Boris in line and always woke me up on time. We only had seven years together but they were the best seven years. She is missed.
Mama's sweet princess, I'm missing you so much.
I can't remember my life before you, it seems you've always been by my side. We grew up together, you just grew old a little faster. You've found peace, and I'm at peace because of that. Thank you for always being my everything, and accepting Caiden when he forced you to share all my love.
I will cherish each memory of you until we meet again.
Shadow, on July 6 I laid you to rest for I could not bear to see you suffer any longer. You have enriched my life in so many ways. You were were my road trip buddy, perfect sleeping companion and the only constant in my life over the past 17 years. My bed is lonely without you at night. Thank you for your unconditional love and compassion. You will forever hold a piece of my heart.
June 1 2003-May 27, 2016
My story is one of not only of myself but of my dog, Higgins and how he helped me deal with something I never imagined facing in my lifetime.
Higgins was 4 years old when I adopted him. He was very shy and afraid of so many things. I made a promise to him and myself that I would work as hard as possible to socialize him and to be my best buddy. Our bond formed quickly which was amazing given his challenges in life. Little did I know that by taking care of Higgins, he was teaching me patience that would help me in my future challenges with my eyesight.
Higgins will always be with me in my heart as he passed on May 27, 2016. My memories of him lifting a paw for me to shake or putting his head on my bed to give me a nudge to get out of bed to walk him have given me the strength to continue on this journey.
Thanks for hearing my story! Marsha
2006-June 8, 2016
Ten years with you was not long enough, my little Misha, but my heart can rest knowing that your body is at peace, and your spirit lives on. Your little coo, your sweet scent, those tiny paws, the delicate way you asked for what you needed, your direct way of expressing who you did not want in your space and the way you bonded our tribe, my tiny cat companion.
I appreciate the opportunity of being with you until the end. It encouraged me to reflect deeply on what I may take for granted in life, what I value as most important in life, and how deep love for another living being can be. Our tribe is now one less, but your presence remains inside of my heart, my healing kitty. Thank you for your time with me on this earth.
April 10, 1994-May 24, 2016
She came along and picked me at just the right time, and did everything she could to not leave at the wrong one.
Tigrrr aka "Tigletoo, Tigletta"
Tig is missed by us all.
On a frigid, snowy December morning in Chicago, my then husband spied a young mother cat and her REALLY young litter huddling for warmth under our porch. Tigrrr was the first kitten we caught, hunkering down instead of fleeing, as she would her whole life.
I couldn’t leave her home when we left for the holidays, and instead chose to install her as a lap kitty on the six-hour drive to my parents. I wouldn’t let her go after that.Tig’s enormous round eyes lent her an always-alarmed appearance. Her beauty was rounded out by multi-color toe pads, a ‘dirty’ smudge mark on her nose, and cookie dough-colored front leg markings, perfectly aligned, right to left paw.
In her youth, Tig was diagnosed with a heart murmur. I sequestered her while deciding how to introduce her to my other clawless and neutered kitties. I still regret that strategy, and wonder if it contributed to her hesitancy to interact with her feline housemates.
As a youngster, Tig’s curiosity and longing for stealthy hiding spots undoubtedly cost her one of her nine feline lives. After jumping to the top of the kitchen cabinets, she fell into a gap between the wall and cabinet, behind the oven—requiring us to break thru the wall and remove the appliances to rescue her.
A less dangerous, but equally ingenious hiding spot was also on top of the cabinets--inside a picnic basket. From that vantage point, she could safely keep tabs on the perceived enemy, without blowing her cover.
Tig played a key role in illustrating the food chain. We watched as she hunted a fly, and as she chomped it, the dog rounded the corner and likewise put the cat’s head into his mouth.
Other key comedy roles included the time she caught her tooth in her break-away collar, undoubtedly trying to remove it. I returned from out of town to find her head appearing puffy and mouth agape. I gave her a break from the collar to allow her to heal from the experience. A day after returning her collar, she caught her entire paw in it. Message delivered: the collar came off and stayed off.
And then there were trips to the vet. I should have sold tickets to the entertaining spectacle of my often unsuccessful chasing and corralling her.
Tig lived delicately and gracefully. She didn’t molest flowers, but did splurge occasionally on plant salad, often leaving news of her meal on the carpet. Feeding this picky eater was challenging. I tapped a hand weight to prop the bedroom door open just enough to allow her to come and go from the bedroom at night, while preventing her canine siblings from sneaking out to snarf her food.
Though she wasn’t a fan of other kitties, Tig immediately adored my Golden fosters Max and Lucy as her family, suggesting that perhaps she thought she was a dog. When my other kitties passed, Tig blossomed, so I decided that she’d be an only cat from that point on.
Tig relished those last four and a half years, adoring face scratches and bathing in her favorite sun spots, which she followed around the house as the day progressed.
She loudly catawauled to request that I release the hounds, to celebrate her favorite catnip fish, or yarn ball. As the ball showed wear from the rough love it received, I tried and failed to replicate it for her, even trying to make one.
Tig appreciated the small things: her nightly snuggle time with Max, and the little handmade Mexican mice I brought her as a souvenir. A few years later, I tried to replenish her supply and was delighted to find the same woman selling them when I returned to San Miguel de Allende. Alas, this batch was not acceptable, for reason only Tig knew. She ignored them completely. Now the Mexican mice serve as mementos for the special people who cared for her.
As Tig aged, her voice often failed her, as did her hearing. I tried not to startle her and watched for her silent meows. Following a reconstruction project, she was confused by the basement reopening, searching for the former location of her litterbox, now relocated for her ease.
Tig often nested on heat vents to gently request that I goose the thermostat. So for her 18th birthday, it only made sense to present her with her very own space heater.
Shortly thereafter came her cancer diagnosis. Tig fought it hard, forgiving me the regular shots, pills, cocktails and fluids that helped her stay longer. She didn’t have the heart to bite me, even when I subjected her to what must have been torturous medical treatments. She hissed, growled, even made a play with her teeth on my wrist, but stopped just short of pulling the trigger. As a kitten, her shyness made me worry that I’d never be able to medically treat her, but when the time came, she trusted that I knew best.
For the most part, Tig was herself to the end. She continued grooming, which left her smelling sweet, her fur soft and silky. She even played with her favorite shoelace and catnip fish. As graciously as she lived her life, she gently bid us each adieu, initiating private nuzzle sessions with each of us, after I begged her not to go on my birthday nor on the anniversary of my dad’s departure.
I didn’t have the heart to separate Tig from the dogs on what became her final day with us. She was obviously agitated, pacing, often losing her balance. She calmed and settled immediately when I released the pooches. As her legacy, they now have free reign of the house.
Tig had often made a habit of claiming the dog beds. Poetically, the one on which she passed now remains empty. It seems the dogs have reserved it as an ongoing tribute to her.
We continue to look for her at her favorite spots: on the love seat, waiting at the back door for our return from work, at the front door when the pooches and I went for a walk. She’d accompany us to the door, hanging back to nestle in a dog bed to await our return.
Two months after losing Tig, Lucy encountered a kitty at the vet. This typically hyper dog sat still and transfixed, completely focused on the meowing-- even running to the window to follow as the cat was carried to its car. Obviously, Tig is missed by us all.
Scirocco aka "Puddin"
1999-May 4, 2016
On Wednesday, May 4, 2016, we said goodbye to our beloved Scirocco (aka Puddin ).
His chatter, acrobatics, and snuggles, enriched our lives for 17 wonderful years. Rest in peace sweet boy.
Love, Lance & Carole
1998-April 19, 2016
Mittens had a look that brought a smile to everyone’s face. My niece pointed out that when she laid down, the white markings of her cheeks and chest formed the shape of a heart. She was such a dear cat and companion to my parents, and will be deeply missed by all who knew her.
Mittens…I am glad you found me!
She showed up in the window on a late August day in 1998 and meowed with that demanding voice of hers. I realized it was not either one of my cats, and spotted this lovely tuxedo cat on the other side of the screen. Of course I started feeding her on the front porch, and she would come around every few days. At some point, I thought to let her into the house, and suddenly there was a gray, white, and black ball rolling down the hallway. She had pounced on my kitty, Maxine. She also threatened Bruno, our 80 pound boxer. Mittens was a lover of people, but not of fellow animals, and was causing unrest in our house. What to do with her? I called several no-kill shelters, and some shelters would only take her if she were healthy, and others, only if she were sick. I took her to the vet and she was in pretty good health. She had to have one of her front teeth removed—it had been broken, possibly by a kick. Again, what to do with her now…my parents swore off another cat because it was too hard on them when the family Siamese passed away. But, luckily other forces were at play. The cool nights of autumn were arriving, and mice were coming into their house through the attached garage. I had a solution! Mittens! I said they could borrow her to alleviate the mouse problem. One week later, I returned for a visit. The mice had disappeared, and there was a cat condo in the dining room and cat toys everywhere. My parents doted on their new cat, and Mittens found her forever home.
June 23, 2003-April 6, 2016
Yesterday, I had to make the very difficult but necessary decision to put little Scratchford to rest. Dr. Cook was compassionate, wise, understanding, calming and, above all else, professional. The way he handled my beloved pet has helped put me at peace in this trying time.
West End Dork
A very kindhearted Chicago police officer was on patrol on the west side of Chicago one night in 2003. In the 5400 block of West End Avenue, he found a kitten, just a few weeks old, who was trying to walk but kept falling over. There was a group of teenagers laughing at her. She was covered with bite wounds and infested with ear mites. Her pelvis was broken, and half of her tail was hanging by a flap of skin. She had likely been used as a bait animal by a pit bull breeder and lived to escape. The warmhearted police officer kept her alive in his hat on the dashboard of the patrol car until he could get her to a vet, who treated her wounds, amputated the end of her tail and put her pelvis in a cast. The kindly police officer nursed her back to health, kept her as a pet and named her West End.
His good fortune became mine a few years later when he and his wife, expecting their first child, had to move to a smaller place, and West End and Porcini, her adopted sister, came to live with me. I was grateful when the loving police officer offered to drop them off at their new home. After he arrived, I realized he was checking me out to make sure I was who I had claimed to be. I would have done the same. It was a huge struggle for him, but I do not know how he left her without tears. As soon as the door closed behind him, West End and Porcini hid under the liquor cart in my kitchen, and I knew they had come to the right place. West End emerged first and made herself comfortable on my lap, and it was love.
For a cat who had begun her life with so much trauma, she was fearless. And grateful. And majestic. And fierce. And beautiful. And profoundly loving. It was clear from the beginning that it was she who had chosen me, not I who had chosen her. She ran to the door to meet me whenever I entered. She awakened me every morning with her diesel-engine purr. She never failed to alert me to dinner time or to an unsatisfactory litter box. Our neighbors all knew and adored her from her regal promenades through the hallway. She greeted guests in our house like the lady of the manor that she was. Only once in our years together did she reject a guest, and he had to leave immediately.
I was hoping that West End would be one of those cats who live into their 20’s. Then in mid-January of 2016, I found a dime sized lump in her belly. It didn’t seem to bother her, and I thought it could wait until her annual check-up three weeks later. Before then, it had grown and had begun to bother her. West End had her favorite foods, pizza and French fries, for dinner on the night before her biopsy, and we spent the night watching TV on the couch. The verdict: a very aggressive mammary gland carcinoma. I had always hoped that she would pass quietly in her sleep in one of her favorite napping spots at the end of an astonishingly long life. I am so grateful to Dr. Cook for helping me to ease her passing in one of our favorite napping spots, even if West End’s life was not as long as I had hoped. Right up until the very last moment, I wondered if I was taking care of her or if she was taking care of me, but it was clearly love.
It has been just over a month since her passing, and we miss her every day. Her ashes sit atop a high bookshelf, still watching over me as I look for the perfect urn for the perfect cat; nothing less would do.
November 16 marked the end of an era when we had to say goodbye to Luca.
I was blessed with over 14 years of love and devotion from him and anyone that knew Luca knows he was so much more than a dog.
We were two peas in a pod, best friends, two halves of the same soul and he had my whole heart. Over the past few years, although I knew we were on borrowed time, his persistence, strength and energy never ceased to amaze me. He was a true miracle dog and legend. When my husband, John, came into our lives he knew we were a package deal. He embraced our little family and he loved Luca as much as I do. We are heartbroken by this loss, but forever charmed and grateful because of the experiences we were able to share with him.
We love you! Thank you for all the love and warmth you gave us while expecting so little in return. This year we honored you on our Day of the Dead Altar, along with our departed grandparents. Like them, you are our family, and your spirit will be with us always.
Christine, Eric, and Cream
AKA – “Chimpba”, “The Gargantuan of Millennium Park”, “Croakus”.
My partner Eric and I adopted Simba from Animal Control in 2007. At that point, he was already seven years old and had a wobbly, lilting walk from an old pelvic fracture. These things did not matter to me – the orange tabby with the musical meow had already won my heart. I had never had a cat all my own, and had no idea what a profound and beautiful experience it would be. He became my furry little sidekick, confidant, and a good and loyal friend.
Sweet and serene, our big cuddly tiger cat loved people. Simba was the most tranquil of beings - I called him my "Therapy Cat". Simply stroking his fur for half an hour, hearing his loud purring, and receiving his pure and unconditional love was enough to diminish the stress of even the most serious of problems. He was gentle, and bore with dignity the frequent harassment by his rambunctious younger brother, Cream the Crazy Cat.
Simba loved tomatoes, getting scratched on his cheeks, flute music, and sunbathing. We called him "The Supervisor” for his habit of watching intently over Eric as he sawed and nailed on his woodwork projects. Simba also had a large vocal range, thus earning the nickname "Croakus" for the frog-sounding meowing he did each morning while waiting for us to feed him.
When Simba’s health began to fail, his sweet nature didn't change. He accepted the pills and injections with little fuss and taught me so much about nurturing. Finally saying goodbye to him was painful and hard, but I'm grateful that Simba was able to spend his final moments surrounded by his loving family, resting on his favorite couch.
January 16, 2004-October 27, 2015
aka "Rusty of Ravenswood Gardens, Butcher, Doofus, Rusto-Gigio, Bubs, etc."
We brought Rusty home on March 6, 2004 at 8 weeks old.
From the moment we saw him walking the perimeter of the house while his brothers jumped all over us, we knew he was different and we loved him instantly.
Rusty brought such joy, laughter, and love into our home. He was proud, protective, gentle, funny, loving, and so incredibly smart; there wasn’t a trick he couldn’t pick up with a little practice and plenty of treats. Learning to ring a bell when he had to go outside (or when it was snowing and he wanted to go back out to play) was always a bragging point. He always made sure he placed himself within sight of us or at the very least within earshot of hearing the pantry door open. When friends came over, he would plop himself right in the center, trying to be part of the conversation, which always worked. An amazing, natural watchdog, he watched over us and the neighborhood from the window where he’d rest his chin on the windowsill and spy with beady alligator eyes. Highly observant, he would also notice any new object or different placement of things in the house and nudge them while looking at us and getting our approval that all was well. Protection of family and home was his job, and he took it very seriously.
Rusty loved the different seasons: bounding through snow and burying/digging up tennis balls in the winter, playing in the sprinkler/biting fiercely at the water rushing out of the hose and watching ducks in the river in the spring/summer, jumping at/biting at kicked leaves in the fall… he found joy in all things and made us appreciate the simple things in life we sometimes take for granted.
We never ate alone with Rusty in the house; he always joined us when we would eat, awaiting the final bite we inevitably saved for him (or the mini dinner that would be put aside for him on special occasions). Pushing doors open with his big block head (and the distinct sound it made each time), squeaking with the daisy toy before bed while patrolling the house (nerd patrol), sampling in the pantry, watching him dry himself on the carpet after a bath, hairy Hobbit toes, dancing in circles in the basement on St. Paddy’s Day to bagpipe music, carrying not one but two tennis balls while out for walks, crunching a bowl of ice cubes, barking at the gate before going to bed regardless of whether or not someone/something was there (saying goodnight to the neighborhood), getting excited over the first snow, finding tennis balls on walks, and so much more, we’ll miss all of the laughter and smiles he brought daily. In his later years he would have little conversations with us, using his low growly voice to show his displeasure and get some attention.
Rusty’s wacky personality never faded with age. Unfortunately his body couldn't keep up with his spirit, but he fought longer and harder than any of us ever imagined. From two knee surgeries before the age of two, early arthritis and hip dysplasia, a cancerous tumor removal and a bad back, his personality and love of life always carried him through; he was one tough cookie. When "Grampa" was told we were writing a tribute to "his boy," all he said was, "a good friend." We know he is right.
Life will never be the same without him and we’ll miss him tremendously; until we meet again our sweet, handsome man.
Dear Karma (a.k.a "Karm", "Karm-pooter", "Pooter", “Poots"),
Our heart still breaks for you Poots! We think of you every day.
You’re forever our sweet girl.
Vince & Daniel
From the moment Vince saw you staring at him from your pen at the Humane Society, he knew you were his new best friend. You were a gorgeous pooch and Vince's best friend for 11 years. When Daniel came into the picture 5 years ago, you welcomed him and quickly wormed your way into his heart. Together, the three of us felt like a family, and we are forever thankful for the laughs you gave us and for so many years of unconditional love. We still miss seeing your sweet smiling face every day and hearing you talk to us in your vocal way that convinced us you were on the verge of speaking English. We'll miss wondering what you were dreaming about when you were sleeping next to us, yipping and "sleep-running." Not a day will go by without us thinking of you. We don’t think that will ever change nor would we want it to. We can’t wait for the glorious day we will be reunited and can play together forever.
February 5, 2002-August 15, 2015
We celebrate the life of our beloved cat, LBJ, who was adopted from the Houston Humane Society in July of 2002. She loved a good meal, enjoyed greeting us when we came home, and could be found on our third floor windowsill keeping us safe by serving as neighborhood watch.
Thank you LBJ for thirteen years of unconditional love and companionship.
Your memory will live on in our hearts.
During her illness our already strong bond grew even deeper. She taught us that it is just as important to learn how to receive love as it is to provide it. We learned that there is always something that you can do to provide comfort even in the most challenging situations. Every step of the way she made sure to let us know how grateful she was for our attention and care. In addition, we are grateful for the support Dr. Cook provided us and the excellent medical care LBJ received.
Sweet Pea Fell
August 4, 2008-July 24, 2015
Sweet Pea came into our lives and joined our little family of two on August 4, 2012, when we adopted her from PAWS Chicago. She had been at the shelter for about 1 week, after having been rescued by PAWS from a city pound. Little is known about her previous life before she arrived at PAWS, other than that she was surrendered by a previous owner. Physical ailments she bore gave us a glimpse of what her earlier life might have been like.
When we adopted Sweet Pea, she weighed 96 pounds and had missing fur on both scabby elbows. Instead of having lush soft fur typical of most golden retrievers, Sweet Pea had a thin coat of hair and a ratty tail that was close to bald. She also limped because of her excess weight. PAWS Chicago estimated her age to be 4 or 5, and classified her as a “constant companion” in temperament.
Early on, we realized how blessed we were to have Sweet Pea in our home. On the practical side, she was already housebroken and was emotionally mature. She never whined or yelped when we left the house, and she asked for little in return except for food and attention. She also never barked inside the house, preferring instead to quietly watch birds, squirrels, people, and cars from the third-floor windows in our home. However, on the emotional and heart side of things, it was we who benefitted the most from her presence in our lives. You see, we grew as human beings when Sweet Pea arrived. She took over our hearts. She made us better people, she showed us where we could do better, she taught us compassion and love, she showed us how to be more gentle and, most of all, she showed us how to forgive. Our hearts were full. Sweet Pea was so wise.
After being diagnosed with hypothyroidism and receiving proper medication and exercise, Sweet Pea blossomed as a dog. When she shed her extra weight, she gained more energy and spunk in general. Her body grew a healthy coat of fur and her tail was no longer ratty. We quickly noticed that she loved to chase any creature smaller than her—squirrels, chipmunks, cats, you name it! Sweet Pea never met a stranger. She absolutely loved people. Every person on this earth was her friend. Whenever we were outside, she greeted each person who passed her by, often licking their hands and giving kisses. Most people only saw that side of Sweet Pea—the loveable, happy, excited golden who bounced their way. The loudest excited bark at the dog beach while chasing her favorite tennis ball into Lake Michigan. What they never saw was how much more loyal, gentle, and sweet she was at home. She often lay beside us on the floor near the couch, kept a close eye on us, always made sure that noise she heard at the back door was nothing, and followed us when we moved from one room to the next. Anytime she heard the words “walk” or “outside,” she pounded her tail on the hardwood floor like a propeller. They never saw how she cuddled up beside her humans at home, how she licked our elbows, how she tried to groom us (faces and arm hair included), how calm she was, and how she would search the whole house looking for one of us who was missing in order to take an inventory of her flock each time she came back from a walk. They also seldom saw the silly little things Sweet Pea did at home—like snort like a little piglet sometimes when she slept; yawn while making a delayed sound similar to a squeaky door hinge; or roll her tennis ball along the edge of the couch cushions and the length of her body as if she was giving herself ball-rolling physical therapy. At home, Sweet Pea also did not discriminate between one type of food or another—even that ice cube might be delicious!
When she became terminally ill, she showed us how to be strong. Not once did she complain. Not once did she give up. Nor did she abandon her post in taking care of us. She was our Tough Cookie, the ever perfect combination of strong and sweet. And she certainly lived up to her name—Sweet Pea. We will love her, forever. This pup was God’s blessing to us, a furry girl who taught us so much and made us all want to be better in our daily lives. She was truly a unique and perfect Constant Companion. May God make her new again in Heaven.
September 20, 2004-June 18, 2015
Losing Bella was extremely difficult. I truly believe that if it wasn't for Dr. Cook and his compassion and understanding of what was happening that sad day in June, it would have been significantly more heartbreaking than it already was. As Bella lay there with me in her final moments she seemed at peace. That is what is truly helping me get through this loss.
Bella will always be missed, and is forever in our hearts.
We love you Bella,
Estelle and family
One cold November Saturday morning, I walked into a local retail pet store to purchase bird seed. As I entered the store there was a young girl standing there with the cutest little black puppy wrapped in a towel that I had ever seen. She looked like a black velvet stuffed animal. She was perfect, sweet, and beautiful. I asked the girl if this was her puppy, and with a sad face the girl looked at me and said "No, this puppy does not have a home." I said "She does now!" That was the beginning of our wonderful life with Bella.
I named her Bella because I knew that Bella means beautiful. I ended up calling her my Bella Bella. Anyone who knew Bella loved her. She was just that kind of dog. She had such a sweet personality and I knew she loved me more than anything in this world.
We do not know what her exact breed was. I would definitely say she had Boarder Collie in her because she just loved being outside. There were many times I could not get her in the house, especially when it was cold or snowing. The funniest thing about this is I would call her name and she would turn her head like she was saying "I can't see you, you can't see me."
One of the fondest memories I have of my sweet Bella Bella is the first time I heard her bark. It was absolutely adorable. I can still hear that first bark to this day.
Bam Bam Bauman-Cascio
June 29, 2005-July 10, 2015
Our beautiful, precious boy Bam Bam ~
~forever at our sides
~forever in our hearts
Born into his earthly life 6/29/05
Earned his Rainbow Bridge wings 7/10/15
Our darling equal opportunity lover – Bam Bam
He wasn’t a hunting dog. He didn’t gather or retrieve. He didn’t bring us birds or track any elusive prey. He didn’t do what he was bred to do, which was to carry/pull a cart or be able to back up on a narrow trail along the side of an Austrian alp. He didn’t howl at the moon or bark at strangers. He didn’t chew up a couch or even a shoe. He didn’t make messes in our house (except on the occasion of illness,) or demand any special treatment. He never claimed a distinct place to lie his body down or needed a dog bed. He wasn’t a fussy eater or finicky when it came to his treats. He never bared his teeth to another dog or a human (ok, maybe once to his Husky “nemesis.”) He didn’t dig in the mud or pull up one flower. He never found the cool earth when he’d “dig” at the wood floor. He never backed away from a bath. He never fought me when I’d brush his teeth. He didn’t complain when we shaved his belly or when he had his ACL knee repair surgery or when we’d give him his meds. And most importantly, and true to the breed, he would never leave our side . . . until now.
Bam Bam, our monster McGillicuddy, our bubsicle, our moose, our pal pal, our buddy, our little buddy, our big fella, our Señor Handsome, our baby boy, our silly man, our silly willy, our equal opportunity lover . . . had run off to the Rainbow Bridge, and for the first time, the only time, he has left our side. After fighting the onset of disseminated histiocytic sarcoma for almost 2 months, he succumbed to the hardships that the disease ravaged upon his gorgeous body. He endured our attempts at keeping his disease at bay, but sadly & quickly, he lost this battle.
Our most recent memories are those filled with Bam Bam & his struggle. But we will not let that define who this unique & distinctive boy was. His personality was exceptional ~ he had so many antics; too many to list here. Overall though, it’s just his mere presence; his patient & kind gaze of trust & wonder with those insanely expressive eyes brows & beautiful brown eyes that we will miss each morning when we wake.
Never have I encountered a creature with such a pure spirit & love in his entire being. I called him “my equal opportunity lover.” It’s quite simple; he loved everyone equally. His greeting was the same for every human or animal ~ with the standard Bernese smile & a whole body wag. He welcomed any additional furry creature into our home & was the most amazing big brother to our girl Maybe. He taught her how to be something she knew nothing about ~ being a Bernese Mountain dog. In some magical way I know his special spirit & gentle soul are woven into the fabric of my being, subtle ways of living a life of goodness, free from cruelty, judgment & hatred & I hope I can carry that with me through all of my days, until we meet again. He was majestic, regal, royal; a grand gentle bear & a gentleman beyond compare.
Bam Bam, our precious boy, it was such an honor & privilege to have you at our sides for over 10 years. Yes, you made it to a double digit birthday. While our hearts are broken from you leaving, we’re so grateful that you got to be an old man.
Our walks; our days & evenings will never be the same. Really, our lives will never be the same ~ for you having been here & for you having to depart. While you are gone from the beautiful vessel of the body we knew here on earth, in our hearts, you will always be right here beside us. So, beautiful boy, we want to say . . . “Atta boy moose; You’re such a good boy; You better give me that mister; Do you think you’re the boss?; I’m gonna get you; Good job monster; It’s o.k., it’s o.k.; Who’s there, who’s there?; Where’s my little buddy at? There he is.”
I’m sure LuluBelle & Rusty were there waiting for you. The three of you can play just like you used to do when you were with us. I know there will be many days when you’ll stop & look over your shoulder, wondering, “Where are we, why am I not at your side?” But don’t worry our proud boy, one day we will all be reunited. And then we will be at one another’s sides for eternity. But until that day, run free my darling, run free.
And dear Dr. Cook, we’re grateful that a person like yourself, someone with a kind & gentle touch, was there to be a trusting friend to Bam Bam at the end. Your compassion, care & empathy for our precious boy ensured his last moments were filled with loving kindness & comfort. From the very bottom of our paw printed broken hearts, thank you for helping ensure his transition was one of ease & with peace.
Farewell, our beautiful fuzzyman (full name Buster Foster Figaro Williams Gershenson-Gates, aka "Bubba!!" to Henry).
You had our hearts ever since you fell into Amanda's lap at the shelter. Scaredy cat to strangers, cuddlebug lap dog to your inner circle, Pinky to Ginny's Brain, unlikely protector of Henry who could somehow intimidate two dogs after finding your courage. The first time we held hands, you were sitting between us, and you were between us again as we said goodbye. You were our sweetest love, and we'll miss you forever.
Mr. Kitty Smith
We weren't even toying with the idea of having a pet when this adorable kitty made his way into our family. We'll never forget the moment we saw him peering in at us through the screen door. He asked to spend the night and stayed 9 years. He was named Mr.Kitty because he was always a gentleman. He was kind, caring, smart and funny and an all around cool guy. His stature was large (17lbs.) and he had an equally big heart.
Our loving memories will always be held close.
Tobey Jackson Moser
My “Little Man”
Goodbye, my Little Man.
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart),
I rescued Tobey from a shelter in 2007, but the truth is we rescued each other. Together, we discovered the amazing healing power of unconditional love and over the years, the frightened, battered little pup I brought home grew into the bravest, gentlest, most loving Little Man I will ever be graced to know. Tobey’s favorite things: long walks, snuggling and wrestling with his sister Sammy, rolling in the grass, rolling in the sand at the beach, tummy rubs, hangin’ on the couch with Sammy and me, and chasing squirrels. He was playful, affectionate and unfailingly loyal – welcoming me home whenever I came through the door with his “happy dance” - his little body quivering with pure happiness. I learned so much from him during our time together and he filled every day with infinite joy. Tobey bore his illness with such great courage, raising his paw to give me a high-five even on his last day. He changed my life and the honor I feel to have shared his time on earth with him overwhelms me. He is what I understand about love. Tobey – I miss you more than any words can convey – I love you “all of it.”
Forever in our hearts
Honey blessed our family with 16 years of selfless, unconditional love- what a beautiful life she gave us.
We hope that heaven is full of peanut butter and squirrels.
Till we meet again,
Patrick, Lisa, Paige & Amanda
My darling Suzie.
Evening Newman & friends
Evening, March 2015
Starr, January 2012
Belle, December 2005
I hope they are all curled up together somewhere.
April 1, 2005-January 30, 2015
We met Will on the Montrose dog beach. He was beautiful, athletic, and huge. We were the sixth home for this guy. No wonder Willy was so frightened and out of control. But we soon realized that we needed to help this lad feel safe. Day by day Will began to trust us and grew into the affectionate and loving animal that graced our home. He became a vital force in our family; teaching us that life is short and to be lived in the present. We miss you Wilbur. Remembering you is a gift everyday.
Terry & Jeff
February 25, 2015
Buddy was 9 when I rescued him. He spent five short years with me but those short years were filled with love and plenty of spoiling. He was my sweet old boy who always had a quick smile when I was around, was easy going, loving and filled my heart with joy. He will be so, so missed and always in my heart. Rest easy sweet Buddy.
January 10, 2015
Our gorgeous Cocoa with a fuzzy face and tufty paws was a daddy's girl who purred loudly, loved boxes, often posed like an otter, and always insisted on doing things her own way. We love you and miss you.
Phil and Irena
Lexi Lou Grider
January 29, 2015
There have also been many of happy memories which have made me smile. It means so much to me that Lexi’s last moments were peaceful and that he was at home surrounded by family.
Diane & Rich
Feb. 9, 1996-Jan. 5, 2015
Charlie meant everything to me in life, and his memory will be with me forever. Charlie came to me (via OWM Highway) at a time when I was very sad, and even though he was only 4 pounds, he made me happy again. He and I understood each other and made each other's lives better. It was not always easy for others to appreciate all of his personality traits, but to me he was perfect even though he peed on everything I owned.
I am often asked how I can work with senior and geriatric pets--isn't it so sad? It is wonderful. It is a celebration of life. It is an opportunity to help animals live out their lives in the best way they can.
I love you Charlie, and I hope I will never forget anything you taught me. Thank you.
November 18, 2014
Our Murphy loved swimming, taking car rides, and loved going to the park for his walks. His special treat was near the tennis courts. He loved to find the tennis balls. He would have to walk with his ball in his mouth all the time it was his routine. He waited in his favorite chair every night till we all made it home.
He gave us joy and love everyday he will forever be in our hearts.
The Mills-Jackson Family
October 27, 2014
Cora will be forever in my heart and is now free from suffering. She will bve dearly missed!
September 21, 2014
We will always miss and rember Byrd, out loyal and faithful companion.
Elizabeth, Geff, Willis, Hite, and Cara
Byrd had many nicknames, but the most telling one was "Byrdie Sweetie" -- she had as sweet a personality as a dog can have, and we loved her very much. Rambunctious in her early years, Byrd was known for getting so excited she would run all over the house and finally start doing "tight circles", sprinting in an amazingly short circumference. Also, she was a great retriever of balls and other objects, and when she wasn't retrieving, she wouldn't mind lying down by her family and chewing on her ball for hours. While she lived her whole life in Maryland, she traveled to six states and especially loved going to North Carolina. At Atlantic Beach she retrieved in the ocean and swam with her family, and in Wilmington she had the treat of swimming in Jane and Larry’s pool, and playing for hours with her best “dog cousin”, Coliwasa.
But perhaps it was her later years that showed Byrd’s character best. She aged with dignity and grace, gradually losing her mobility, but never losing her sweet personality, her strong spirit, and her exuberance. Almost five years ago, with Byrd at the relatively advanced age of nine, we brought a wonderful, highly energetic Schipperke puppy, Quincy, into her life, and we feared we would ruin her golden years. But Byrd adapted and not just tolerated but even joined in the playful roughhousing the younger dog loved so much. Even close to the end, Byrdie would play how she could with Quincy, lying down using just her head and front paws, not able to get up on her own; and she would still enjoy “retrieving”, even if it meant rolling the ball to her paws or tossing it softly so she could catch it in her mouth.