"Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.


All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together...."  - Author unknown

I invite you to leave a memorial for your pet on my website

Just send a picture and a story to jmarchiDVM@gmail.com

Pooh Bear

"Her sweet little begging eyes were her secret weapon!" - Mom

Roxy and Lulu became our "first born girls" 17 years ago right before my husband and I got married. Although they were both so naughty, they were the loves of our lives. Five years later we had our first daughter and 7 years later our second daughter. Roxy and Lulu became the loves of their lives too. Roxy didn't like any other dog except Lulu, and Lulu loved every dog and person she met. They were my best friends and never left my side, no matter who else was home... Roxy gave us 14 years of love, loyalty, and laughter. I will not easily forgive myself for not sending her to heaven from our home, her home.


My guess is that Lulu was tired of living in the shadow of her "attention hogging" sister Roxy, and happily was the center of our (my) attention for a year longer. Lulu got very tired and likely missed her sister Roxy. We hung on to her as long as we could, while being kind, and not selfish. The morning I knew her time on this earth was meant to end and transition to heaven, my husband took over and called Dr. Marchi. We are forever grateful for the kindness, patience, and compassion we experienced from Dr. Marchi who lovingly helped us send our Baby Lulu to heaven. Now our Roxy and Lulu will be waiting for us at the Rainbow Bridge.


With much love- The Speiser family

We have always had German Shepherds and each has had their own very special personality. 

Richter was no different. 

He came to us through German Shepherd Rescue where he was surrendered by a backyard breeder. He was the kindest dog we ever had. I think he wanted nothing more than to feel safe and secure and part of a family. We were able to give him that. He loved nothing more than hiking and being with us. He was a people's dog not a dog's dog so Thanksgiving and Christmas made him happy as friends and family would flood in and he would happily greet them. He could spend forever at the dog beach chasing balls in the waves. I think that's when he felt most alive. He'd make friends with street cats and people would push their kids into his face without hesitation. He just had that soul, that aura that invites connection. I know I will never have another Shepherd like him. We love you Richter. 

I got Pumpkin when he was 10 weeks old. He was a 4 pound bundle of white fluff. I took him everywhere with me. He was a frequent traveler to Canada. He was the most loving and loyal little Maltese. I had never had a dog before so he taught me many life lessons that only little dogs can teach. He had so much energy and was loved by his dogwalkers and friends. He was a trouper in his last 3 years as he had quite a few health challenges.  He never complained and was always willing to give a tail wag and nuzzle to me. I will miss him but I know that he was a very loved little furry family member.

Dr. Marchi helped Ruby J. (her middle name was Joy) on 2/14. My worst Valentine's Day ever. But, it was her time and I loved her too much to let her suffer. With Dr. Marchi there it was as peaceful and loving as it could have been.

I got Ruby in December 2010. She was almost 2 years old. I had 2 cats at the time so she didn't get to be alpha until they both passed from old age. She was 2 weeks shy of 11 when I let her go. She was the BEST dog. Smart, sweet, loving and she loved to run!! I used to call her my little racehorse. I took her to places she could be off-leash. I would get a ways away from her and then call her. She would race to me as fast as those little legs would go.


I love her very much and miss her immensely.

Bailey April 10, 2004 - January 25, 2020


I can say nothing that hasn't been said hundreds of times before. From the moment she wriggled her way into our lives to her last breath, she was amazing. Vivacious, intuitive, smart, adorable, loved beyond words and missed beyond measure.

We adopted Freddie as a kitten. He was gentle, sweet and loving. He was accepted right away by our other cat Luvy. They became mom and baby. Though he was somewhat shy with people, Freddie was always accepting of other animals. When we got Kallie, they became fast friends. When we got Lucie, he treated her as friend right away. 

He always loved his mom and would get on the couch and wrap himself around her shoulder. He would quietly come into a room and settle in as part of the family. He also loved watching videos of birds, squirrels and other animals in nature.

He gave us more than we could ever give to him. His quiet demeanor could calm you after a difficult day. His simple way of making sounds were his way of communicating with us telling us how he felt or what he needed.

The terrible news of his illness was devastating and we thought the cancer would take him within a month. He lived on for a year. He was a fighter, in his own quiet way.

On November 11, 2019, after nearly 13 loving years, we said goodbye to John David Booty. He was named after a fairly average USC quarterback, but he was an extraordinary creature. We found each other when he needed rescuing from a puppy mill, and I needed rescuing from law school stress. He wasn’t perfect, he peed on everything and once ate half a package of Trader Joe’s chocolate, making me call poison control in a panic and induce vomiting. But his love was true and unconditional, and he was a (mostly) tolerant and vigilant protector of our boys.  John David was my first baby, and a cornerstone of our family.  When he got sick, we knew John would fight to stick around as long as he could, and he did. Even when he started losing weight and steadiness, he would still venture into the kitchen when he smelled chicken, or chase someone who was holding a snack.  Eventually that stopped, and he looked so tired, and we knew he was ready to rest. We are so grateful for John, for the life and joy and even the hardship he shared with us. We’ll love you forever, John John. Fight On.

It was a cold windy day on Feb. 23, 2011 when I came across a brown, skinny, stray dog in front of my house. He was very friendly and came up to me with no hesitation. Although I was a little scared of him at first, I reached in my lunch bag and gave him my left over muffin.

That whole night we walked around the neighborhood looking for his owner. He stayed by my side for the whole time while I walked with him. After walking around the neighborhood we were sitting in my front yard, me in my head thinking "What do I do with him?!" and him looking at me with his pretty puppy eyes probably thinking "Give me some more muffin".

It was getting late at night, I decided to take him in the house for the night and bring him to the closest shelter the following morning. I washed him and realized that he was a white dog! After the showering chaos, he jumped up on my couch and started sleeping. He probably hasn't slept comfortably for days. The next morning, I took him to the closest shelter thinking his owner will come looking for him.

Of course, since we "spent the night" together, I was already attached to him. I would go to that shelter to check up on him daily. When I would go see him, he would be so happy to see me and I was excited to see him everyday too.

Couple of weeks went by, no one has picked him up yet. He was available for adoption. Me at that time not having a stable job, living on my own and have never owned a dog on my own before, was hesitating to adopt him, but I had this weird connection with him at first sight. I decided to adopt him.

Of course, being a first time pawrent, there were a lot of first times for me, but I enjoyed his company. We went to the dog park numerous times, numerous trips, numerous toys, numerous bags of dog food (gaining over 10 lbs), numerous heels and textbooks bitten... He was one spoiled dog always wanting food and always wanting to play and always giving me unconditional love.

There are multiple times in my life when I made decisions based on him. I sometimes think where and what will I be doing if I haven't met him that day. After 10 years being with him, my life has went uphill. Stable job, nice house, met nice people and overall stable life than 10 years ago. Us having the weird connection at first sight, I believe he was sent by an unknown power/energy to guide me to where I stand today.

I don't know where you came from, how old you are, what your real name is, but you are the best thing that happened in my life. Thank you Moko for the wonderful 10 years you spent with me. Mom misses you so so so much, but because you came to my life, mom is one very very happy person.

Rest in peace. Love, Mom.

Yesterday was weird. I couldn’t get myself out of bed. I tried to get my legs under me, but they wouldn’t cooperate. But my mom was there and said, “Don’t worry, I gotcha little girl,” she carried me out the back door and down the steps. Something I had done so many times before in my life now seemed impossible. That was so nice of her. I needed to pee so badly, I just had to go right there where she put me down.


We headed back for the door and she looked at me and said, “Want to keep walking, mamas?” I did, but it was surprisingly hard. By the time we reached the back steps, I was tired. I tried to climb the first step, and just couldn’t. I couldn’t figure out what was going on.


Mom reached down and pet me. That felt good. She picked me up, and carried me in the house. I was still confused. But mom petted me, saying, “I gotcha little girl. I gotcha.” I love the way that makes me feel. She makes everything better.


My gramma is here, yay, she doesn’t come too often but she’s one of my favorites. She put a blanket over me, and wow… that felt good. I relaxed, and they both pet me, but they both started to choke back tears.


I never want them to cry, it breaks my heart. It’s my job to make them feel better. I was just a little tired. I drifted in and out of sleep, and they were always there, making sure I was okay, and chatting with each other.

Throughout the day, my person made some phone calls, and spent a lot of time with me. I heard her say, “tomorrow… ok… yes… Thank you Dr. Marchi”


Then as I was drifting off to sleep, I think I heard her cry a little again.


In the evening, my dad came home from work. I always Loved when he pat my head and says “hey Pepper”. I had all my favorite people. They were all so loving. I licked their tears away when they would get close enough to my face. They whispered sweet things in my ear, and told me I was a good girl. 


Later in the evening, I felt well enough to stand up and walk to get some water. It was more exhausting than I’d remembered it being. Everyone seemed glad that I was out of bed. I was too, but wow… after the excitement wore off, it was so exhausting to move around.

Then it got even better! We laid on the couch and watched TV all evening. My people were laughing at a movie, this made me happy. 

That night me and my mom snuggled, and it felt so good to be that close to her. I thought, “This is where I belong. I will never leave her side.”

It started just a few weeks ago. One day I was fine then after jumping off the bed, like I had done so many times before, my legs wouldn’t work like they used to. We went to see some doctors, and since then I’ve heard a lot of words like, “spinal cord injury,” “IVDD,” and, “may never walk.” All I know is that sometimes I feel okay, and sometimes… you know… I just don’t. My mom gives me pills and they help. 

This morning, I heard my mom get up and take a shower. She came back in the room, and smelled so nice. She helped me get up and when we got to the back door the two small stairs I had climbed so many times wow… they looked long and steep. But warmly mom said, “I gotcha little girl,” and carried me down. I did my business, and we came back inside. She made me a scrambled egg with hamburger patty, yum I love eggs! 

We had a little outing, went to Starbucks. I got a pup-a-chino, what a nice surprise, I haven’t had one in years! I don’t normally like car rides but today was different, I was in my mom's arms, head out the window and the sun shining on my face....


When we got back home everyone seemed concerned. It seemed a little like a play, where all the actors were sad, but pretending to be happy. Pretty soon after that, another person showed up. He was wearing doctor pants, he reached out and I licked his hand. He had a weird smell, normally I don’t like doctors but there was something kind about him. 


Truth be told, I was feeling pretty badly, even though I was sitting up and alert. My body shook with pain, my mouth hurt, and my back legs weren’t working right. 


The doctor pants guy said, “I’ll just put this into her back. It’s a sedative. Then you can just love on her till she’s asleep.” My mom kissed my face, and looked in my eyes. She was trying not to cry. Doctor pants guy gave me a shot of something in the back. I just looked at my person. I love her so much. 


My mom and gramma petted me, and said the nicest things – what a good dog I am, how much they love me, how thankful they are to have me in their lives. After a while, I started to get real sleepy. I looked back at my person. I love her so much. I drifted again. FOCUS! I can see my person. I love her so much. I will always be right by her side. She knows that. Am I sleepy? FOCUS! 


We put our heads together, I licked the salty tears off her face. I felt good. I can’t really describe it. We looked at each other again and then I closed my eyes....


Thank you,



Born: January 23, 2006
Died: November 5, 2019 @ 5:34 PM
Came into our Family: April 13, 2006
Father’s Name: Short Kid Carter
Mother’s Name: Little Sugar Toddy Carter


To Our Beloved Toddy:

You were our beloved little princess and our beloved daughter. We did the best
we could to give you the best life possible. You gave us great happiness, loyalty,
love and companionship in return.
God has called you to be with him despite our wishes. He only calls the best to
be by his side and you were the best.
We grieve tremendously at your passing and our hearts are broken. Nobody can
ever take your place in our hearts … ever.

Farewell little Princess … We Love You and We’ll see you in heaven.


Mom and Dad

His name was Kane.


He was as sassy and stubborn as huskies can get. Kane was a Siberian Malamute husky. He was fluffy, he loved hot dogs and hated baths. Although he loved being rubbed down with a towel after every bath, but that's probably just because he loved cuddles. He was a brat. When it was time to come in from walks he would lay in the middle of the street, cry and talk back. He definitely gave me a hard time when he didn't get his way but I couldn't stay mad at those blue eyes and goofy smile. He was an old, calm soul even when he was young. Wherever I took him, he always seemed to get attention and love from everyone. He was quirky and funny and I will miss him every day. 

Watching my dog as she lays on her bed, listening to Joni Mitchell….”Lady of the Bark Park.” She came to me by accident, when my neighbor lost his house. She came to me with her bumpy body (mast cell tumors) and SWEET disposition. The only Pit Bull afraid of squirrels - they came around every morning for peanuts - Lhasa, my sweet dog would get out of their way, so I could feed them.

She was Hippo color, dark grey with bright yellow/ orange/ brown eyes and beautiful pointed ears. She was smart and eager to please with just the right amount of stubbornness to survive my neighbor and his teenage son. Being single men, they could be neglectful, and I always worried about her well-being. When his son brought home another grey Pit Bull puppy, she had a bully companion when he grew old enough to intimidate her. I “adopted” them and fed them dog snacks over the fence, and made sure they had fresh water everyday, using my hose to fill their bowl. They appreciated my attention, waited patiently for me to appear with food. Eventually as years passed, I was able to take charge of their care and I was relieved.


Do you know that Lhasa is the capital of Tibet? Lhasa AND Tibet were my four-legged neighbors. When their “owners” lost their house, I FINALLY got my wish to keep her. I found a great rescue in Capistrano for Tibet (he recently found his forever family) and brought Lhasa over to my house to make her MY dog!

One year and almost six months is all we had together. But, we made the most of it. She got her first-very own-bed, we got her another for the outside patio. She got monthly baths and flea meds, I made her chicken w/brown rice for her meals and dog snacks, chewies for her teeth and toys to wrestle with. Daily walks, morning and evening. She LOVED her walks, and if we went down alleys I could take her off-leash. And we found park areas where she could explore. She actually pranced and walked so proudly. When people saw her coming, they often reacted with trepidation. I would assure them that she was overly friendly - NOT your typical Pit Bull - children seemed to realize instinctively that she was kind-hearted and always bent down to hug her. I told them she was an “old-grandma dog” and she loved attention from family and friends and anyone kind enough to notice her.

Lhasa was almost 13 years old, and years of benign neglect, next door, had taken a toll on her physically. We watched the tumors and her health - despite her past history - was relatively good. Her last Vet visit didn’t go well and complications from antibiotics (for a UTI) and perhaps getting a blood sample hit one of her tumors. NOT blaming anyone, but her health quickly deteriorated and within a week of the initial visit, she was barely able to walk. But, being Lhasa, she insisted on going outside to pee & poop. I think struggling to get up and maintain her dignity was paramount for her. When she refused to eat from my hand and just laid on her bed looking tired and forlorn, I knew it was time to let her go. My friend, Chelsea suggested Dr. Marchi, and my friend Rebecca, who loved Lhasa too, was here and helped me say goodbye. We held her, whispered to her how much we loved her, Lhasa relaxed was not afraid. Dr. Marchi was gentle and I didn’t even realize when Lhasa passed. 

My last image of her was in the back of his car, she lay there so still with her head above the blanket as if she was just asleep and ready for her last car ride. My husband and I said our last goodbye and patted her head. I cry whenever I think of her. I miss her very much, but was grateful for the time we had together.

I have had family dogs and many animals throughout my life, but there was something very special about Lhasa that will stay with me for all my days. I will never forget how she looked at me in the mornings when I drank my coffee, it was like, “c’mon Denise, get dressed so we can walk!” On cold nights when I tucked her into her bed under her blanket and kissed her and whispered how happy I was that she was my dog - she seemed to agree with me as she lay there with her sweet sleepy eyes smiling and snuggling into sleep. It was always wonderful to hear her wake-up and scratch at her dog door in her room. She had to sleep away from me because my cat Izzy NEVER accepted her as part of the family, and the cat slept in our bed in our room. But, Lhasa was so careful not to disturb the status quo and accepted things as they were. She had no desire to buck the wishes of our cat. She accepted everything with grace and dignity. She was the most thoughtful kind hearted dog. And I know, she loved me and understood exactly how I felt about her from the very beginning, even when she lived next door. She knew how I loved her unconditionally and wanted to do whatever it took to help her have the BEST things in Life because she was SO deserving. 


I will miss Lhasa forever…..

This is a short story about Hank, my beloved cocker spaniel who I had for 17 glorious years. He was a rescue which I received shortly after the death of my husband. He was a wonderful “little man” as I often called him. He was my constant companion and was so loving. I sadly had to have him euthanized a few weeks ago due to old age. It was not something that I wanted to do but it was time. His personality was awesome, everyone loved him and he fit right into my upbeat, crazy family. I will miss him every day and know that someday I will see him again.

Blazer Trails, aka Handsome 

We say, it was love at first meow when we met.  We knew, we’d be a family as soon as we saw you. From there, you’d become our hearts and life. In your healthiest, and even in your sickest of days, you were absolute love. Every human who crossed your path knew, pure and true love. Even your dog, Zoey, knew your love and presence. Whether it be the way you shared the best bear hugs, your warm kitten kisses, your play time between a closet and drawers or the way you’d carry on a conversation like no other - you were absolutely one of a kind. We are forever grateful for the love, life, and being that you shared with all of us, for as long as your physical body allowed. It was love at first sight, that will last as long as we are alive.


Thank you for the memories and sharing your life and love with us, Blazer Trails.

For my Marley          4/11/07 - 10/27/18


Where have you gone my faithful friend

your little life taken in the end

by inner beast that lay within

and you unable to defend.


God placed you on earth for me to see

what true love and devotion was meant to be.

An object lesson for we mortal man

to give example of how we should stand.


And now here you lie...

with each heart beat warm life flows,

staining the bed with bits of your soul.


In anger and pain I curse the beast

that sickens my friend and will not cease!   

Slowly, yet calmly your life begins to ebb

resting now he lowers his beautiful head.


With still a glint in those big brown eyes

he looks at me as if to say goodbye.

Time grows short.. its time now to rest

Forgive me my friend...I tried my best!


And now I will walk those paths alone

no longer accompanied by the one I’ve known

to journey down life’s path serene

your absence now, sight unseen.


But know compassion swells in my heart

till finally reunited with our Lord’s eternal part.

We’ll walk yet again and throw that ball

when blessed within God’s glorious hall.


So rest in peace Marley...man’s best friend...

I’ve loved our time till this very end.


–Harte Robba     San Pedro, CA

To my Spike          1/28/11 - 9/16/19 


Open the door, I enter in...

expecting that love that jumps from within.

The bounding body, the banging tail

that furry bundle of love that comes without fail.


Yet silence greets me...where is my boy

whose love and slobbers brings such joy?


But there he lays on soft bed he slumbers

welcoming my caress yet looking encumbered.


Awake! Rise up my big furry friend!

My day comes close, it nearly ends,

that time you so love is getting here

when I grab the leash and gather your gear.


But first an annoyance ...that daily regimen,

my job demands a service ...my full attention.

So stand you by my eager friend and await my call

we'll soon depart to play with ball.


But God had planned that he should not wait

while I dallied with work which made me late.


Your brother Marley, who passed before,

had fought so hard for life and limb.

Yet you stepped out quietly and left with the wind.

There was no whimper, no pain, no fitful sound...

You went silently, with dignity,  my courageous hound.


Never again this pain I cry out!

Losing that love is pain one should live without.


Now the walls are hollow, vacant and void with no sound,

the barks and soft nuzzles no where to be found.

Alone I am left with just past thoughts

remembering the love and devotion you brought.


It is said one day all will be made right

and we’ll all stand together in one loving reunite.


And when that day comes, I will look for you

and you for me

together again... both healthy and free.

To walk and play and able to run

under Gods radiance...a gift from his Son.


           Harte Robba

                San Pedro, CA 9/18/19

I first met Dino when he was seven weeks old and I was seven. I picked him out from his litter, and was so excited when we were able to bring him home the following week. He was the runt, only weighing two and a half pounds when we first brought him home. He was so scared the first week, he would only eat out of our hands and would not go near his bowl. He quickly learned that bowls were not nearly as scary as he had originally thought, however, and ate everything in his bowl and everything he could find outside of it too.


There are so many funny stories I could tell about our Dino, as he was an incredibly charming character. For the first few years of his life, we lived next to two half-wolves, and he would howl and bark and try to play with them. He was desperate to be part of their pack. They, on the other hand, were desperate to have him as their dinner. He would bark anytime someone would dance or clap, and when I ran around with my friends, he would try to herd me closer to the house.


He got me through so many tough times, and would always very patiently wait as I held him and cried into his fur. He was the gentlest and kindest soul, who never did anything mean to any other creature despite the fact he had been bitten three separate times by other dogs (not the half-wolves, they never got to him). 


When I went off to college, I didn't know what I was going to do without him. Pictures and videos from my mom helped keep me satiated, but I was always so much happier when I was able to be around him. Helping him across Rainbow Bridge was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I am so glad that I was able to be there to do it.


Dino my Bambino, you are in our hearts forever and I will still wait for your bark anytime a skateboard passes me by. We love you, we love you, we love you.

I had to put down my beloved ginormous old-man puppy-horse, Max on Saturday, September 7, 2019. 


After losing my 16 year-old cat to cancer, I wanted to get a dog, particularly a German Shepherd like I'd had growing up. From time to time, I would see posts on Facebook about dogs needing adoption, but they were never "mine". One day, a friend shared a post from a rescue group about a dog at the Carson high-kill shelter. I watched the video, and I knew THIS was finally THE dog.


I went to visit him at the shelter that same night, along with my kids and 3-year-old granddaughter, and we all fell in love with him. He was the biggest dog there (120 pounds), approximately 10 years old, found by the dog catcher as a stray on the streets of Carson, already with arthritis and spine problems. I told him I would come back in two days (after the adoption hold was up) and take him to a new home.


I returned to the shelter two days later and told the clerk I wanted him. They asked if I wanted to take him out to one of the play areas to see how he interacted with me, but I said, "Nope. Don't need to. I KNOW he's the dog for me." 


And he was. The sweetest, most gentle soul ever. I'd specifically WANTED an older dog, because they are often abandoned and unwanted, especially when they develop medical issues. I wanted to give him a "Golden Retirement" in his golden years, and all the love I could. He was already past his breed's average lifespan, so we didn't know if he'd last six months or two years. 


He made it to two and a half years. His medical conditions gradually progressed, as was inevitable, and he finally got to a point where he sometimes couldn't even get up from the floor after lying down. It was time. He loved his "mommy", and I loved him with everything.


I miss my dog, Rip Curl.
I wasn’t ready for him to leave.
As he grew older and weak, I tried to prepare myself for life without him.
His quality of life declined rapidly in his last few months and he was uncomfortable, in pain.
I knew what had to be done. I made the hardest decision of my life.
I held him, spoke to him softly. Tried to comfort him through his passing.
He fell asleep and then gently passed away.
I wasn’t ready for him to leave.
My heart is broken.
I’ve cried enough tears to flood the planet.
He is no longer in pain.
I want to believe that he has been rewarded for being the greatest dog in the world.
That he is in a better place.
Free from the bondage of the last months of his life.


I miss my dog, Rip Curl.
I wasn’t ready for him to leave.
The time we had together was a blessing.
Now I struggle with mourning the loss and honoring the memories.
My wife said, “With great love comes the potential for great pain, But I’d rather feel the pain of that loss, than to have never experienced the love.”
She is so right.


I miss my dog, Rip Curl.
I wasn’t ready for him to leave.
He was my best friend.
He lives in my soul forever.
I will never be able to count the smiles he provided me.
I am the most fortunate man in the world.


I miss my dog, Rip Curl.
I wasn’t ready for him to leave.
Thank you for everything Rip Curl, my pal.
I miss you. I honor you. I will love you forever.

Forever Rip Curl, Rip Curl Forever!!!

For Treasure the Cat


Of all the heart wrenching situations we encounter in our rescue efforts, and there are many, some of the most are the plight of senior cats in shelters.

Such was the story of Treasure, whose sad face in a networked shelter photo broke our hearts and saved her life that day. She had been brought to the shelter by her owner, who declared her old and sick and left her to die with strangers. Now, we certainly understand the financial burden of caring for a chronically ill animal, the harsh choices of balancing time and money, and euthanasia is often the only realistic option. It tears at our hearts, though, to think that the last face on earth an animal sees, the last voice, the last touch, is not that of her beloved person, but of shelter staff to whom that task falls.

So we saw the photo of this stunning calico, a mix of bewilderment, resignation and maybe even a little hope in her nearly blind eyes. Her medical file was lengthy, with ailments which included hyperthyroidism, chronic kidney failure, arthritis. She was deaf, cachexic and ataxic, barely able to walk with her feet splayed beneath her. She had a mass in her chest, revealed by an x-ray. We figured when we got her that she had maybe a few weeks left, and we would give her the dignity of having a home for that final journey.

We took Treasure to a vet, got her on thyroid medications, administered subcutaneous fluids to keep her hydrated. She ate well and put on some weight. We gave her joint supplements which improved her mobility and she would toddle around the house. She even took a road trip to Palm Springs and explored the backyard, sniffing and enjoying the sunshine. She napped. She purred when she was petted. And, oh, how she loved to be brushed!! What a magnificent cat she must have been in her prime; still strong and willful and confident, even as frail as she was.

The weeks turned into months, and the months into years. In all, Treasure shared the last 21 months of her life with us, spending time in several foster homes. In the end it was not the many maladies we knew about which took her from us, but an aggressive, bone-eating mouth cancer. Our proud lady had been tough long enough and it was time for her to finally rest.

To the brave, resilient warrior who won our hearts, our Treasure, we wish you Godspeed. Even though we weren’t your person, the one with whom you had shared your life, we hope you came to think of us as your family, for we surely thought of you as part of ours.

It was a privilege to care for you.

I rescued Bobo fifteen years ago from Little Angels Pug Rescue. When I attended the barbecue that Little Angels was holding to adopt the many many pugs available, the coordinator had said “ you need to select five pugs, I wrote on my sheet for selection that I wanted 1. Bobo 2. Bobo 3. Bobo and so on.. I knew from the very first introduction that Bobo was my guy, I fell in love with him upon first meeting him. He was not like the other pugs, he had tons and tons of energy and he was kinda crazy, like his mommy ( me ) we just got each other from the very beginning. We are both extroverts and we both tend to see the glass half full rather than half empty.  I said to the man in charge at Little Angels, what do I have to do around here to get that dog? He said let me see what I can do. They called me a week later and said, you have been selected to rescue Bobo, I was so happy! I had all of these Italian names picked out for Bobo but when I brought him home I realized very quickly he was an actual, Bobo part clown and part dog. Bobo has been with me through thick and thin, and never once ever complained or made me feel as though I was not doing a good enough job for him. He was by my side through a cancer diagnosis and waited for me patiently by the door to come home from Chemotherapy. He took care of me when I was sick and has been the best friend a girl could ever have asked for. He has seen boyfriends come and go and through it all he has been my constant companion. Having my morning coffee without my buddy by my side will not even come close to being the same.

Yesterday my heart broke into a million little pieces when I finally had do say good-bye to my best friend. I will never ever forget or stop loving my fur baby Bobo, May he rest in peace. I know his soul has traveled on to the next realm and I am super excited to one day have his soul connect with my soul once again. 

Mazzy was given to me by a friend at eight weeks old, by a friend whose dog didn't want a companion. She lived her life for me, and hung on just for me. The first few years we were together, we lived in apartment. She showed me her disapproval of apartments by destroying everything I owned while I was at work. When I was able to afford it, we moved into a rental home with a big backyard. 


While in that backyard, she contacted valley fever. She fought back and survived. We'd spend our summer nights, walking around the hood with her off leash. Our next home had a pool. Her favorite pool game was to swim counterclockwise circles around me. 


She was proud to have peed in four states, and enjoyed car rides as long as they weren't eighteen hours long, like our round trip drive from Phoenix to San Luis Obispo and back in one day.


I love you Mazzy, and I miss you 

Callie was too big a presence in our lives to just lend a few paragraphs. We will attempt to give you a glimpse of this remarkable member of our family. She had the sweetest demeanor and even walked with a bounce and a constantly wagging tail. Such a happy girl who greeted everyone she met on her walks. In fact, soon after we got Callie, I retired and because of her I met so many neighbors’ dogs…and their owners.


Surely food was a motivator for this Beagle mix. Case in point, she would run to the front door barking when we had a visitor, then double back to the table where we may have left our meal. It would be gone by the time we’d get back to the table! When guests were over for parties, we would warn them that she looks for the weakest link and may get their plate of food if left unattended!


The Fed Ex lady started giving treats to her. Subsequently, Callie would bark and run from the back yard when she heard ANY diesel truck on our street, hoping to let Fed Ex or UPS know where she was. They were known to stop on the street when they spotted us walking to give her a treat.


At the Vet’s office, they all loved Callie because she was so happy to be there. She would remind them with a bark or two just why she came—for treats. They were always so kind to oblige her. Even if we dropped in without her to pick up something, they would send a bag of treats home “for Callie.”


Callie was so smart. Sometimes I would think she was smarter than me.

She loved solving puzzles. They all centered around figuring out a toy so she could get to the hidden treat.  Also, she had a pretty vast vocabulary. We would whisper words she knew in her ear—park, house, outside, toy, good girl, sweet dog, walk, carrot, turtle, the names of her family members (her pack). Her eyes would light up in recognition or she sweetly pressed her ear to our lips and tilted her head up.


If we told her a family member was coming over, she would sit on the back of the couch looking out the window until she spotted them.


True to her Beagle background, she was a talker. If she barked once, or whined, that could mean a number of things in her routine she wanted to communicate:


  • time to eat

  • time to go outside to the bathroom, or

  • cuddle time,

  • pill-taking time,

  • time for a walk, or

  • she smelled something good and wanted it, or

  • time for bed around 8 at night--With You, or

  • time to play ball, or

  • a back scratch or

  • she would sit in front of the pantry waiting for a treat inside


She was such a comfort. She gave Nana and Papa a sense of comfort when we moved in with them after they separately went on hospice. During the same time in 2015, my husband was diagnosed with cancer and Callie would sit on his lap or cuddle next to him on the couch or in bed. She was so gentle and attentive. It’s as if she understood her role. 

She loved road trips and her favorite place in the world was in the Eastern Sierras. We would camp there twice a year with her Nana & Papa and other family members. She could wait hours for a lizard to come out from under a boulder. Or we would go on 4 to 8-mile hikes. Her sense of smell guided her. There were only 2 times she didn't want to continue on a trail. We trusted her sense of smell for danger and turned back with her. 

Callie was a true blessing in our lives and is sorely missed. 

One of the hardest things that has ever been required of us was the day we had to let you go and let the angels carry you across the Rainbow Bridge up to heaven. We miss you so much, not a day goes by that I don’t think about you and how I wish you were still here with us! It’s because of you that I have a love of animals. You're my blue eyed boy, love you so much, please rest until we see each other again!!


Dog Mom Jerri and Dog Dad Andrew and your little brother Cosmo misses you as well!



Tried and the truest blue. When you adopt a dog at age 7, you never know how long you might get. It was beyond my imagination that we had 11 (nearly 12!) wonderful years together. When she came into my life I was a senior in college. Since then, we moved cross country twice together, she provided endless comfort and love as my life fell apart and was my constant companion as I pieced it all back together. Most importantly, she literally stood by my side as I became a wife and she was the very first one I told I was going to be a mother. She lived long enough to meet and know my daughter. I’m shocked at how fast the time has gone, but I’ve cherished every moment of the last 11 years she was by my side, slept at the foot of the bed, and waited for me to come home by the door with a smile. I’m still heartbroken to have said goodbye, but she’s already sent me signs she’s still with me.


All dogs go to Heaven.

Dear Thirteen:


I still remember the parking lot on that cold December night when I first saw you out of the corner of my eye. At first I thought it was only my imagination, but after another look I started calling out to you. I soon saw that you were in trouble and needed my help. You were scared but you still came to me, I put you in my car and started home. Boy oh boy, you sure had a lot to talk about all the way home, in fact you always had a lot to say. By the time I pulled in the driveway, you had crawled on my dashboard and your new daddy was standing there looking at you as I pulled up. He just started shaking his head because he knew you were being added to quite a menagerie of kitties, but really, what’s wrong with just one more. You quickly settled in with your new furry sisters and gave no trouble at all. You never gave any trouble, you were always such a sweet loving little baby girl. It’s been two months since I had to say goodbye to you but, somehow, it feels like years. The house is quiet and lonely without your sweet purrs and I still really miss you so much.


I will always remember you.


I will always love you.


I will always miss you.


Love, Mom 

A Dog Named Duke


With sadness I say goodbye to my friend and companion of over 13 years. He came into my life after being rescued by a truck driver who cared for him before a "No Pet" policy required him to move, or remove the dog. He found the young pup at a truck stop in the Inland Empire, eating discarded food from trash bins. When approached, the puppy darted towards a nearby creek. I can imagine this man as he chased the pup to a secluded spot where he found him burrowed in a spot in the creek bed. He kept the pup with him in the truck while he was on the road and took him to a vet where he was neutered and vaccinated. According to the medical records, the dog's name was "Suke" and his estimated age was 1 year. Unable to find a home for the growing dog, the truck driver kept him in his apartment when not on the road, until a posted eviction notice led the rescuer to the only remaining option. Fate intervened as the truck driver, with medical records in hand, took Suke to animal control in Long Beach.

The intervening angel was a prominent Long Beach attorney on his daily routine to the shelter to provide vitamins and treats for his ailing wife's dog, Shadow. Don had obtained a stay of a euthanasia order, after Shadow was labeled a "vicious" dog. He was in the parking lot when he saw Suke on a leash, being taken to the facility. He approached the man to inquire about the dog. The man spoke little English, but Don understood the dilemma of the truck driver, told him that the dog would be killed if delivered to the shelter, took the medical records and possession of the dog, and assured the man that he would find a home for the dog. I received a call from Don requesting my home to be used as a temporary shelter for “a couple of weeks.” I reluctantly agreed, making it clear that I traveled frequently and did not feel I would be able to give the dog proper care and attention. Twenty minutes later Don was at my doorstep with a timid 50lb Rhodesian/Shepherd mix on a leash. I was handed the dog’s papers. Don said the name on papers was Suke but thought the dog should be called Duke.

Although Don passed away 10 years later in 2014, he visited me and Duke three days before his death. He was worried about a lipoma he observed on Duke’s right front leg. At Don’s memorial service, I told the story of how Don convinced me that Duke was a temporary placement.

In 2016 when Duke was 12 years old, I made the decision to have the costly surgery to remove the tumor. I am grateful to Charles Mintzer and the staff at All Pets Medical Center in Phillips Ranch for the extension of time and quality of life given to Duke as a result of their expert care.

Duke wormed his way into the hearts of my children, neighbors and almost any woman who paid attention to him. He remained guarded around adult males, but over time would warm to all visitors to my home. Even the mail carriers grew accustomed to the loud barking which
began 3 houses before they reached my home and inquired about him when they didn’t hear his loud bark. He captured the attention of visitors through his playful nature and acrobatics, liked to show off, allowed small birds to eat his dog food and chased large birds away to allow smaller birds to feed. The last night of his life a small dove found its way through the open slider, keeping watch over him in his final hours. I am so thankful for Dr. Marchi and Amber of Veterinary Emergency Transport and Home Euthanasia of Long Beach for their service and compassion in aiding Duke in his final transition.


Duke is survived by his companion and housemate Wayne, Cheryl his best friend, walking companion, groomer and confidant, the Kistner children Lindsay, Whitney and Coleman, neighbors on Petaluma Ave and countless others who were entertained by him or called upon to assist when he would “dart” through an open gate, door, or unsecured leash and for their understanding about the occasional unobserved/unretrieved droppings as Duke zealously tested the limits of his leash in his unrestrained desire to explore.

“Companion, friend, and confidant,
A friend I won’t forget.
You’ll live forever in my heart.
My sweet, forever pet.”

Requiem for Meat

Peaceful now in breath and pose
warmth of illumination
in a terrestrial form
you are as close to an idea of heaven
I can accept
the pure
feeling of love
as your eyes have closed...

So this is my sorrow immeasurable
my sullen attempt at tribute,
a stab at the artful, the poetic
in the raw, unrefined form
the pouring out of soul...

But it does you no justice really
words are unsuitable
to capture lines
equal or unequal
no syllabic verse will suffice
for you have gifted something more
than ink can convey
more than these keystrokes at midnight...

The sense of your ghost beside me
without your breath from the other room
as assurance
I will keep in my heart
photographs of your eyes
acting as mirrors
catching glimpses of what you were sent to teach me
those simple lessons through these years
in deep sleep dreams
as little prayers
vespers calling me to meditate
keeping my demons and doubt
all the blues in this night
at bay...

Rave on my handsome baby boy
rave on...rave on...

Paillette (pie-yet) had many names. There was Yetti, Palest of Yettis, or simply The Palest. Compost Queen and Paillette Shit Neck were because dogs are disgusting, and proud of it. Paillette Skunk Face was quickly followed by Paillette Double Skunk Face, the very same night. She slept outside that night, and she learned nothing. The distinction between Paillette Tappy Toes and Paillette Thunder Feet solely depended on how late it was.


You were an expert at begging, shedding, staring and panting. You were the kindest creature we have ever known, and were the best help with kittens and other little critters. You were our shadow and constant companion for so many years. You were the best dog ever and we miss you terribly.


Even those thunder feet.


© 2015 by Dr Marchi, Pet Euthanasia at Home