This page is dedicated to the Memory of Beloved Animal Friends who have Passed Away ~~We miss you so~~
June 17, 2008
This morning, Chancery Collette Byers - the Yorkie Princess of Highspire - died from Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE) at the age of 13 ½ years.
"C.C.", as she was known to her friends, was my first Yorkie. C.C. came into my life in early 1995 - just a few short weeks after my Mother died. After I returned to Manhattan following my Mother’s funeral - I walked past the American Kennel Club on 72nd Street and There She Was – C.C. was the "doggie in the window"! All of C.C. litter mates were standing up against the glass and begging for attention...but back in the corner, sitting like a confident and regal Princess, was the most extraordinary, beautiful puppy. When she saw me watching her with approval, she slowly turned her head so I could admire her profile too! Instantly my heart was Hers! I ran inside to claim this amazing little fluffball, received my first unforgettable Yorkie kisses and snuggles from this composed and elegant tiny gal and arranged to pick her up the next day.
C.C., a native of Missouri, and I spent her formative years in Manhattan – learning to walk on a lead in Central Park, begging hot dogs from streetside vendors, saying "Hi!" to the carriage horses and romping at the dogparks. C.C. had no fear of any person or dog and she especially gravitated to the Big Dogs. C.C. and I walked many evenings on the Upper West Side and down beside the Hudson in Riverside Park. We dressed up and went shopping together in Manhattan’s finest stores – Macy’s, Saks, Bloomingdales and Bergdorf – usually leaving with nothing but a big grin on our faces!. C.C. always rode in my oversized purse – standing up with her front paws and tiny head poking above the top. C.C. was so sweet and pretty that we never got thrown out of the stores! Even if we were only "window-shopping" on Broadway or 5th Avenue, C.C. was always happy so long as she was with me! C.C. was always ready to venture out and greet her adoring public.
Early in her puppyhood, I took C.C. out to Long Island to spend the night on my little sailboat. My boat was still in drydock, but I wanted her to learn the sights and smells so she could become my "First Mate". C.C. enjoyed the boat immensely and over the years we spent many happy nights cuddled up together on the forward berth. On each trip to the boat, I fed the ducks and swans. C.C. would help by grabbing a mouthful of Fritos and flinging them into the water to her waiting feathered friends. C.C. got so excited when the birds would take "her" Fritos that her happy tail was just a blur! C.C. liked boat rides and always greeted passing fishermen, fellow sailors and handsome Coast Guard and Naval officers with a happy "Yap!" and a full-butt tail waggle.
People usually mentioned that C.C. and I looked alike. I decided to put that idea to the test, so one time C.C. accompanied me to a swanky and exclusive Manhattan hair salon. Trying to not crack up laughing, I sternly instructed the colorist to match my hair color to C.C.’s color – a most marvelous, rich blonde - and blithely held my puppy up for comparison. C.C. sat on my lap during the whole visit soaking up the admiration of staff and customers. Today I think that she was just glad it was me - and not her - who was getting shampooed and clipped! Without a problem or protest, the colorist finished his flawless work...and then we had a "Mommie and Puppy" Night Out On the Town to celebrate! I remember C.C.’s first snowfall – which she witnessed from the 11th floor window of our Manhattan apartment. She couldn’t wait to get down to the dogpark to eat some of this new "treat". I didn’t realize at the time, but Yorkies are born to burrow...and I temporarily lost my 4 lb. puppy when she burrowed and disappeared into a waist-high snowbank. All of my friends surrounded the fenced dogpark and waited for C.C. to eventually pop out of the snowbank. When she emerged, she looked so joyous and pleased with herself -- and C.C. couldn’t understand why I was having a panic attack! After that, C.C. stayed on her lead in the snow!
When I moved back to West Virginia, C.C. took up residence as the Princess of Highspire. C.C.’s new country surroundings suited her just fine because grass was a rare commodity in Manhattan – and now she had all she could handle! C.C. discovered the joys of sniffing the flowers, inspecting and managing the garden cats and strutting her new - albeit smaller and tamer - town streets. C.C. helped me create new flower beds at Highspire by lying in the shade under the wheelbarrow while I dug up sod. When I was planting, C.C. helped me dig holes and then "watered" my new plantings! After a hard day at "work", C.C. would occasionally join me at the Dairy Queen drive-through for a Doggy Dish. If I ever dared to show up without C.C., the counter girls would scold me and send me straight home with a "take-out" Doggy Dish for hand-delivery to their favorite Yorkie. C.C. enjoyed our frequent trips to the Nursing Home to visit Grandmom. Our Grandmom and our step-Grandfather, Max, loved C.C. and referred to her as their "Grandpuppy"! I always allowed an extra hour or so for each nursing home trip because C.C. delighted in cuddling with and kissing every resident she could find. The residents sitting in the hall would perk up instantly when they saw C.C.’s happy face! C.C. relished sitting on all the residents’ wonderful laps. They never rushed her and always had time to pet her, rub her belly and tell her she was beautiful. When it was time for the next resident’s turn, C.C. would fake "limp dog" as I lifted her up and carried her on down the line. Grandmom always enjoyed seeing C.C. and brushing her soft blonde fur. Later in Grandmom’s stay - on days when she wasn’t alert - C.C. would carefully climb into Grandmom’s bed and snuggle alongside her hip. C.C. would wait patiently and eventually Grandmom’s hand would always reach over to pat C.C. gently on the head. Many times, that was the only deliberate act that Grandmom would make for that day.
Every January 14 - C.C.’s birthday - is celebrated in my office with C.C.’s Doggie Birthday Party. Sporting a fresh "hairdo", each year C.C. arrived with sparkle ribbons tied to her collar and ready to dine on anything that her guests obligingly "dropped" off their plates – and behind my back. Even the spectacle of the pastel streamers, pretty doggy-shaped cake and colorful balloons did not compare next to the C.C.’s radiant beauty.
C.C. never met a stranger, so when I became involved in Yorkie Rescue, C.C. immediately opened her heart and home to each elderly, special-needs Yorkie I brought home. She was very secure in our Love, was never jealous of a new arrival, and welcomed each pup as if it was her lifelong friend. C.C. recognized right away when a dog was blind and would greet them at the door, escort them around the perimeter of the kitchen and show them to their new bed. During the night, C.C. would offer the new dog all of her toys, and the new dog would awaken the next morning trapped inside a heaping ring of C.C.’s stuffed toys – her most sincere gesture of Welcome. If a special-needs dog was sick, C.C. watched over them intently and would come get me if something was seriously wrong. C.C. was the perfect nursemaid and hostess and worked hard to instill these values and skills in Tashia, my 4 year old puppy-mill rescue Yorkie and C.C.’s Lady-In-Waiting.
C.C. was healthy all her days, so her acute, unexpected illness and sudden passing was a shock. HGE has no advance warning symptoms, no known cause and no known cure. C.C. fell ill within hours, received immediate medical care and survived six more days at the hospital. I was blessed to have one last evening at home with C.C. before her passing. For our last evening together, I carried C.C. through the Gardens and she sniffed the flowers that she had so carefully planted and "watered" many years before. She laid in my lap under Daddy’s maple tree and we listened to the Main Fountain trickling and the leaves rustling in the breeze. She said Goodbye to my neighbors who had watched her grow up and who always had a kind word for her. We sat together in the Summerhouse while I told her one last time of my Forever Love for her, and I carefully instructed her about all the folks waiting to say "Hi!" to her in Heaven. We spent C.C.’s last night cuddled up together on the floor cushions. During the night, C.C. rested her tiny head on my outstretched arm – just like she did when she was a baby. I listened to her every heartbeat, felt her tiniest movements and smelled her sweet puppy breath for the last time.
Our Love will survive this agonizing separation because a Love this Long and this Deep does not just die. C.C. has bravely and with Great Dignity gone to the Bridge, and I know she will come fetch me when my time comes. My arms are emptier, my house is quieter, but my heart is still filled with Love for C.C. – and I’ll miss C.C. – my First Yorkie, my little Friend, my Dairy Queen Buddy and my First Mate – forever.
With Love, C.C.’s Forever Mommie, Tina XOXO
September 28, 2007
This evening Toto, my 16 year old, special-needs Yorkie, succumbed to complications of liver and kidney failure.
Even though she was elderly and mostly blind and deaf, Toto willingly gave and accepted Love. Toto enjoyed bathtime and welcomed gentle grooming, cuddles and kisses anytime. Despite the neglect she suffered before she came into Rescue, Toto had increased her weight from 3.8 to 5.3 pounds since I adopted her on July 18, 2007. Toto successfully managed the onset of congestive heart failure, but the partial collapse of her immune system and advancing dementia were the prelude for the acute failure of her liver and kidneys. Her elderly body could no longer keep up with her graceful and determined spirit, and Toto was gone in less than 48 hours.
Tonight the sky is clear and the moon is bright. Look up and you’ll see a new, tiny twinkling star lighting up the Heavens – my little Toto.
Toto’s Forever Mommie, Tina XOXO
July 26, 2007
Teensy passed away this evening from complications of mammary and brain cancer at age 16. She died after only four short months at Highspire.
While Teensy's arrival was unexpected on April 1, 2007 -- only days after Victor's passing -- I welcomed the chance to nurse this sweet, gentle and abused little girl as best as possible. Teensy had been seized from a 16 foot trailer holding 60 dogs down in southwestern Virginia. Teensy had been used as breeding stock and never spayed. All of the dogs in the trailer had been temporarily housed in a high-kill shelter and were scheduled for euthanasia. Fortunately, yorkie rescue was contacted and Teensy was spared that fate.
As I drove south on I-81 to pick up Teensy, I realized that if I were not driving to save her, I would just be sitting home crying over Victor's death earlier that week. Victor would not want that -- and in fact, I had asked Victor in prayer to send me any little needy Yorkie to fill the void his death had left in my home. I knew Victor would hear my prayer -- I just didn't expect an answer only 1 and 1/2 days later!
Teensy was a mess when I picked her up from her brave rescuers -- covered with ticks, raw wounds and scabs -- but she welcomed the help of the emergency vet and responded to treatment immediately. Despite her senior years, Teensy's outer wounds healed quickly, but her collapsed trachea, enlarged heart and mammary cancer proved difficult. Nonetheless, Teensy enjoyed her time at Highspire and was a true lover. She enjoyed cuddles and just couldn't get enough! Teensy's favorite activity was to go out in the yard and lay upside down in my lap and watch the birds flying overhead while getting a belly rub from me. After she would fall asleep in my lap, I would carry Teensy back inside (still asleep) and put her to bed.
As Teensy's cancer continued to spread, her condition became more complicated until finally, bilateral perineal hernias developed which were inoperable due to her trachea and heart conditions.
Although Teensy had been very comfortable and had enjoyed good quality of life with me up to now, she slipped dramatically in the last two days, and I had to let her go to the Bridge.
Teensy was beautiful, fun, curious, gentle and loving. I truly wish I could turn back time and have Teensy for years so she could lay in my lap upside down and watch the birds forever. Good night, little Teensy. I'll miss you and your sweet gentle face always.
Teensy's Forever Mommie, Tina XOXO
July 11, 2007
Today Buddy, my Garden Pal, died from liver failure. Buddy came to me as a stray over two years ago. Initially, Buddy insisted on remaining an outdoor cat, despite my efforts to coax him inside. We finally came to an understanding late one snowy night. Before dark, I called Buddy for dinner -- but he did not answer. Right before bedtime, I went to the basement door and called again. A faint and pitiful "meow" came from under the boxwoods. By now the snow was up almost up to my waist and I couldn't get far; but I heard snow crunching and several minutes later out popped Buddy from the snowbank and into the basement. He was frozen with snow compacted up in his dense fur so hard he could barely walk. I spent the next 45 minutes thawing him out and drying him off. After that, we were fast friends - and Buddy agreed to come into the basement - at least during bad weather.
Not long after Buddy arrived, I began construction on the Summerhouse and Buddy supervised every phase of construction. I seriously suspect that he did not call it the "Summerhouse", but instead "The Temple to Buddy". He would sit every evening down on the Terrace until dusk and watch me work high overhead on the Summerhouse roof. When it was time for his dinner, Buddy would meow "Quitting Time" and I was allow to stop construction for the evening. Buddy liked the completed Summerhouse and I would frequently find him there on the wicker settee courting yet another one of his "lovelies".
Buddy loved people and crowds did not phase him. At our 25th high school reunion cocktail party that Todd and I hosted, Buddy served as Greeter. Garden tours were also an opportunity for Buddy to mingle and show off his kingdom. Buddy would welcome guests and promptly guide them to his food bowl. If his bowl was empty, he would put on his best pout - leading to the expression around here "An empty bowl is a sad bowl"!
Despite his frequent wanderings, Buddy would always come to me if he was hurt or sick. More than once, I patched him up from yet another battle defending his kingdom or the honor of one of his lovelies. Whenever Buddy required medicine, he always cooperated with me, never complained on the car rides to and from the vet, and took his pills wrapped up in cheese like a champ.
Buddy also supervised all my trimming in the garden and would pal around with me for hours. He would even escort C.C., the rescue Yorkies and me on our morning "doggy walk'! Buddy was especially great with Victor, one of my rescue Yorkies who was blind. Buddy helped Victor with the occasional gentle "head butt" to guide Victor along and keep him on the beaten path.
I'll miss you Buddy - my wonderful Friend! You know I've loved you since you first arrived and our trust was built together day by day.
So send your prayers to the Rainbow Bridge for my friendly, handsome Buddy -- who liked his breakfast early, his dinner on time, and his ladies anytime.
Buddy's Mommy, Tina XOXO
March 28, 2007
This morning I had to let my dearest Victor go to the Rainbow Bridge. Ultimately, it was irreversible kidney failure that brought his journey on Earth to an end at approximately 13 years of age.
However, last Saturday - when Victor was still feeling okay - he visited his rescuers who had found him last October alone, neglected and starving. Now, five months after his rescue, they marveled over his beautiful coat and his handsome little face fully healed and covered with downy brown fur. They noted the fullness of his chest and the smoothness of his delicate tiny paws. Happy tears were shed by all as Victor’s rescuers smothered my precious bundle of joy with kisses and affection.
Victor faded quickly Sunday night and I begged him not to go. By last night, my pleas were for him to go gently and be free of his confusion and pain. I kept him at home, comforted in his familiar surroundings with the attention and care that he so richly deserved.
So tonight I’m crying for the loss of my Victor - and for the Victors who are still out there - blind, deaf, elderly and abused - and still waiting to be found. And after my proper mourning and respect, I know I’ll adopt again - because this gaping new hole torn in my heart reveals how very much room is still in there waiting and filled with love to share with the next senior, special-needs baby who finds his way into my arms.
Friends, please send up a special prayer tonight for my beloved Victor, who survived a lifetime of adversity and neglect with his brave and gentle spirit intact, who accepted help graciously without question or demand, and who gave me Pure Love and Pure Joy in return.
Snuggles and Kisses to you Victor, my Little Prince. Heaven is all the richer for your presence tonight. XOXO
Victor’s Mommy, Tina
My beloved Brandie was my first senior special-needs rescue Yorkie. She came to me with her multiple medical issues stablized with medication, but her heart finally failed her.
Although mostly blind when she arrived, Brandie quickly found her way around my home, the gardens and into my heart. Brandie loved being held and worked overtime to catch up on the loving she had missed earlier in life. Brandie loved smelling flowers in the garden and did so every chance she got during our ten months together. Brandie enjoyed being hand-fed and would sit at my feet at mealtimes with her mouth open like a baby bird -- waiting for the yummies that "magically" emerged out of the darkness and landed on her tongue.
Eventually, Brandie lost her remaining sight and her systems began to shut down. Brandie died peacefully surrounded by people who deeply cared for her comfort and happiness. My sweet Brandie -- I loved every moment with you -- and now you are safe in Heaven. XOXO Brandie's Forever Mommy, Tina