Of grief and redemption

I’m supposed to be working on my monthly update right now but my heart it isn’t it. I can’t seem to concentrate on it and I was sitting here looking at the blank page and trying to figure out why.  I wandered over to twitter and exchanged some tweets with others.  Ahh.  That’s what it is.  This is grief. That’s why I’m distracted and emotional and having trouble focusing on things.

The thing is that the distress I’m feeling isn’t my own.  Yesterday Rob and Mari lost their beloved Tyler.  Our friend Trudy lost her precious Rexy, and at Pets Alive we lost Mush, Lizzie and Morgan this month.  It’s been a rough month.  These losses remind me of, and make me feel again, that horrible keening pain of the loss of losing my own animals over the years.  I have eight dogs laid to rest in my yard.  Every one of their deaths was a terrible sharp knife in my stomach that never fully went away.  Losing each one of them took away a piece of my heart that never really grew back in.

When I lost Zack (also to cancer) I used his death to propel me forward and to save other animals as a way of making his life have more meaning. (You can read that story here: http://petsalive.com/blog/2008/01/27/farewell-to-zack-a-throw-away-dog/) .  He became a catalyst for me – to spur me forward to saving other animals and want to stop the killing and the breed specific legislation. He was a great dog and to this day pictures of him and memories of him can still stab deeply.

robmarityler.jpgSo today and yesterday I have been thinking of Mari and Rob and their family and the loss of their precious baby, Tyler.  You see Tyler was a catalyst too.  Tyler, that previous little soul, was the connection that brought Rob and Mari into “our” world – the Pets Alive world.  I am sure  they loved animals BEFORE Tyler, and I am sure they did good on their behalf, and I am sure that – in fact I KNOW that – their families are all animal loving and compassionate people.  But Tyler, ah, you see Tyler was something more.

Tyler was perhaps an angel sent here for a greater purpose, larger and farther reaching than we’ll ever know.
One little dog.
One little soul.

That little bundle of white fur that resulted in the salvation and the changing (for the better) of the lives of thousands of other animals.
Tyler had been a badly abused dog when he found his way to Pets Alive.  Marisol and Rob fell in love with him here and adopted him.  Because of Tyler, Rob & Mari became fierce and staunch advocates of Pets Alive.  They have given us money, support, volunteer time, and the love and support of their fans.  Because of that one little life, Pets Alive still has their doors open today.  Without their help last year, we would definitely have closed our doors.  That means that last year 1000 animals that we pulled from euthanasia lists, all would have been piles of bodies on the floor.  Because of that little bundle of white fur, called Tyler (or Teetsie), those lives have been saved and have gone on to enrich the lives of the families that share their love now.  This year, Rob is on tour and could not hold a benefit for us.  I admit things are extremely tight and I worry all the time, but because of that one little soul Rob’s fans have come out and continue to support us whenever we need help.  They have helped us financially, they have volunteered here, they have spread the word about us and they have lent us emotional support when needed.

Because of one tiny, little soul.

Because of that little soul, we have helped THREE other shelters become no-kill.  How many lives have THEY gone on to save?  How many more will THEY go on to influence and change? The rock is rolling and picking up all sorts of  positive momentum.

Because of one little, tiny, soul, thousands more will be saved this year.

Thanks to Tyler and the love he showered on his family, they have paid it forward to showering it all over thousands of animals.  Because of YOUR love for Tyler’s family, YOU have paid it forward to continue to help us to save lives and to stop the killing.

Because of one tiny, little soul.

How many other lives were touched by him as he passed through his short time on earth? How many of you paid attention when you saw him at a concert or on the streets?  How did it change YOU? What did you think of a man that would cancel his concerts because he couldn’t go on due to the grief he had over the loss of this one little soul?  Did it change you?  Did it make you think? If it did, then that one little soul affected YOU too.

That little soul that left this earth yesterday, will manage to touch hundreds of thousands of lives.

That little soul may be the result of us changing this area.  Our goal.  To make this whole area no-kill.

Will that one little soul help to see Sara’s dream become a reality?

Today we placed two VERY difficult dogs.

Peanut.  And Rem.

Someone said “What in the WOLRD is going on”?

I said “That’s Tyler.  He’s still out there.  Still helping ”

I am so deeply sorry for the loss of Tyler.  Maybe though, his job here was done, and he could do more from the other side.  I don’t know why our animals, our cherished bundles of joy, are yanked from us so early and before WE are done and before WE are ready to give them up.  But perhaps there is a reason that we can not understand.  Perhaps Tyler has done his part here and in leaving will take up a new role somehow.  I can’t begin to understand.  I just know that people that I care about are suffering a great loss today because of…

..that one little soul.

Rest in peace Tyler.

Filed in Tributes by kerry on Nov 06, 2009.  There are 25 Comments

25 Responses to “Of grief and redemption”

  1. Angela Says:

    What a beautiful tribute, Kerry. I’m at a loss for words, but I deeply feel the emotion. Much love to all.

  2. KarenK Says:

    I, too, know this deep grief and the pain haunts me. Rest in Peace, sweet Tyler. Abiding peace and gratitude to his loving family and to all of you at Pets Alive.

  3. Kimberly Nygren Says:

    A beautiful tribute to Tyler and to all the owners of animals who have gone through the grief of losing their own. I’ve always been a dog lover, but have only had the opportunity to own two dogs, Dewey and Dixie. They were sibling lab/retreiver mixes when my husband and I got them from a shelter in Atlanta, GA 13 years ago. We lost Dixie 2 years ago in October. The grief is overwhelming and I can understand and feel the pain that the Thomas family must be feeling right now. These animals are true companions and will love you no matter what, and no matter who you are. They are special souls and as well, PetsAlive is a special soul for what you do. Much success in the years ahead on keeping more of these souls alive and in putting them into the hands of such loving compassionate people as the Thomas family.

  4. Karla Says:

    What a beautiful tribute. My heart aches for Tyler’s family. and yet I can’t help but feel they and all of us have been blessed with his time on earth. Thank you for sharing his story with us! Much Love Always!

  5. Jennifer Reed Says:

    Thank you for the very moving tribute to Tyler. People are always in such a hurry to get through life.That we fail to find the little things such as our pets that make it better.
    Thank You Rob,Mari an Pets Alive for sharing Tyler with us.
    The One Little Soul that links so many together.

  6. Liz Geyer Says:

    Thank you for such an eloquent tribute, and for the caring and passion you continue to show. You will succeed in the goal of making the whole area “no-kill”. Things are changing slowly. People change one at a time.

  7. SarahB Says:

    So beautifully written, Kerry. Rest in peace, Tyler. You did so much for so many in your short time here. :*(

  8. Kelly Says:

    My heart grieves for Rob and Mari. I have also felt the loss of a furry child. He was my cat. I found him on a farm. He was free to a good home at the age of 6 weeks. I named him Spike. He passed away March 19th 2003. He lived to be 21 years old. I miss him everyday. The hole in my heart is never filled. I have tryed, with 2 cats, 1 dog, and a guinea pig, all to try to find the love I lost.
    I can’t replace my Spike, but I have found more love in my new furry kids. My guinea pig just passed away a few months ago. So sad. Her name was Piggy. I look at my 2 cats (Lovie & Sadow) and my dog Sadie, and I know that I will just feel that same pain all over again. But I know that they are so loved and spoiled beyond words and I will give them the best life possible, no matter how long or short.
    Your tribute to Tyler made my heart swell.
    The fact that Rob took time out of his tour to mourn the loss of Tyler, is why I respect and love the man so much. He is so real and not afraid to be real.
    (((((((((((( Rob and Mari ))))))))))))

  9. Illusion Girl Says:

    Kerry,What a beautiful tribute to Tyler! I was unaware of his history & how he came to Rob & Mari. I love how Rob starts his concerts w/ “Let’s Celebrate Life Tonight!” This has great personal meaning to me. Now knowing Tyler’s history, I will always remember him & the lives he has helped/changed,Especially when i hear Rob say, “Let’s Celebrate Life Tonight!” and when he sings “Little Wonders”. i have a very special furry friend, unfortunately she is not my own but a friend’s. B/c of KOKO I can u’stand Rob & Mari’s pain. Whenever i see KOKO she brighten my day & lifts my heart -the way she intuitively scampers up my lap to sit on my shoulder (even when i’m driving my power wheelchair) & give me kisses as if she’s saying, “It’s okay-i’m here now. Everything will be alright!” So thank you Tyler! May you rest in peace knowing you have many human friends carrying on the good you have done! Hugs to Rob & Mari & Sammy! “Celebrate Life” Of Tyler & yourselves! HUGS!!! Thank you Kerry for writing this.

  10. Heather Says:

    Wow…now that I’m done crying I think I may be able to thank you for that wonderful tribute. Thank you! I’ve only lost one of my ‘kids’, Zeus, a 5 year old black lab we lost way to soon to lyme disease 3 years ago, and I am dreading having to go through that pain with our current 2 pups and the many more we will rescue in our lifetime, but the joy they bring us so outweighs the grief. When Zeus was diagnosed, everyone we went to and spoke to gave him about 2 weeks to live. Well he stayed with us for about 2 months and then some past those infamous 2 weeks. He was such a trooper, as was Tyler, and those few extra weeks he gave us meant SO much. I hope that Rob and Mari can take some comfort in that time they had with Tyler the past few months. And to everyone else who has loved and lost a pet, stay strong for the millions of animals out there who still need our love!!!

  11. Angela Says:

    After I posted my first comment, I started thinking about all the wonderful little souls who have blessed my life by being in it. And I remembered that it was the passing of my little Delilah at only one year old that brought me to Pets Alive. I was so heartbroken with grief… But giving to Pets Alive and helping others in turn helped me. It IS so true, that helping others, helps YOU. I will miss Delilah every day of my life… It’s been almost a year and a half now, but I still feel the pain of losing her. Kerrry…your tribute to Tyler made me think that perhaps Delilah’s short time on Earth with me had a purpose, too… To bring me to you. You and Pets Alive have become an integral part of my life, and who I am. My heart goes out to Rob and Mari, and I hope they too can see through the pain how much little Tyler has helped during his time here… By bringing people to you, and saving thousands more. RIP my sweet little Delilah, and that precious Tyler, too…”You will not be forgotten. You will not be alone.”

  12. Leslie Gould Says:

    Thank you Kerry, this makes me appreciate my pets and all that they are in my life. It is always hard to lose a precious furbaby.


  13. Linda Says:

    I am trying to type at the same time I continue to wipe away my tears. What a beautiful tribute. Like so many other pet
    owners I lost two wonderful friends over the years. Recently,
    I lost my Beagle Boy, Bogart, to cancer. I lost my mother, sister and brother the same year but the heartache I felt after Bogart was the worse. I know that sounds horrible but he was with me all the time. If I moved, he moved! I respect Rob Thomas and his wife, Mari, for helping Pets Alive and what they have done for people, pets, etc. I recently saw him (the fifth time) in concert and he talked about Tyler and how he inspired “Little Wonders”. It was such a lovely story and each and every time I hear that song I will remember Tyler.

  14. Kris C. Says:

    Thomas family
    Your little wonder

    Thoughts and prayers are with the Thomas family and pets alive for the loss of such a sweet angel!!!

  15. Don’t Miss Out On Life’s Little Wonders « Says:

    […] charity that they are actively involved with, Pets Alive, a no-kill animal sancutuary in New York. CLICK HERE to read a great blog post from Pets […]

  16. Brenda Says:

    My heart goes out to Rob, Mari and all of those that loved Tyler.

    This story and ritual helped me immensely when I lost my beautiful Buffy. It was given to me by Cara Fernandez, of Kindred Hearts Pet Bereavement Services. We were fortunate to have such a service in our town.

    There are so few rituals for grieving the loss of a pet. Please pass it on to anyone that could use it.

    I twittered it to Rob but I don’t know if he’ll read it. If you think it would help, please pass it on to him and Mari.


  17. cristina Says:

    A beautifull tribute to Tyler, Rob and Mari thinking of you, the pain will heal over time, its very hard our 16year old kelpie/border collie cross GARBO has not got much time left are we dreading that day but we are making the most his time. god bless

  18. Brownie90066 Says:

    Very well written piece for a beloved dog. Tyler truly was a gift to all of us. I know the pain that Mari and Rob are going through right now. It’s not easy. It will never go away. Time just dulls it and there will be days when the pain will be greater than other days. Tyler will never be forgotten. He will continue to be an inspiration to others. We will continue to bring other people to your organization. God bless.

  19. Heather Says:

    its hard to read this and not be numb to the pain of losing your little furries. we are so blessed with the time that we have to share with our animals they bring us so many purposes in life joy and heartache in the end but really is there an end? Tyler will GO ON.. in the hearts of many people most that didnt even know him HE WILL SAVE many persons, animals that WAS his purpose for being here “Whether or not it is clear to you,no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should be” love to you and all and thank you for what you do “More people NEED to HELP the ANIMALS in this world WE ARE THEIR PEOPLE”

  20. Pets Alive Blog » Kerry’s Update - November 11th Says:

    […] Alive Blog « Of grief and redemption […]

  21. Donna Says:

    Our loved ones leave the world, but never our hearts. This furry blessing obviously touched many lives and that is truly a gift from God. What a wonderful tribute to Tyler. Tyler, Rob and Mari are an inspiration to all of us who love animals.

  22. Julie E Says:

    Beautiful Tyler.
    May he continue to WALK by the SIDE of ANGELS.

  23. Shanon Says:

    I can wholly appreciate Tyler’s ability to touch a few lives that then go on to change other lives in such an exponential way. My dog, Rufus, completely changed my life in ways I never thought possible…my love for him became a love for all animals and has affected what I eat, where I go, how I spend my time and money, my daily priorities, etc. It would’ve been unbelievable to me 2 years ago that my love for 1 dog could change my life so profoundly. It is unbelievable to me now that I went so long without realizing how amazing and transformative animals can really be.

    My heartfelt sympathies to Rob and Mari. I hope they can find continuing comfort in knowing how much Tyler changed the world for so many other animals. His legacy truly is a lasting one.

  24. Pets Alive Blog » Camp Tyler Says:

    […] Much of what we do at Pets Alive was made possible by Tyler and Sidewalk Angels – the foundations started by Marisol and Rob Thomas. So we named this Camp Tyler, after their dog Tyler passed away (Tyler was adopted from Pets Alive). At the time I wrote a blog about that and you can read it here: http://petsalive.com/blog/2009/11/06/of-grief-and-redemption/ […]

  25. Pets Alive Blog » Kerry’s Update – Nov 1, 2010 Says:

    […] Tyler passed away (Tyler was adopted from Pets Alive). At the time I wrote a blog about that and you can read it here. So thank you all, for all your support in making Camp Tyler […]

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