Goodbye my friend….R.I.P. Patrick Whitacre

IMG_6019Today at Pets Alive, we lost our canine behaviorist.

Today I lost one of my closest friends.

Today the dogs of the world lost an amazing advocate.

I’ve started and stopped this blog a dozen times because I don’t think there is any way that I can get the words to come out right.

To try to explain to you all how much he meant to me personally, how much he helped me, how much he meant to our organization, how much he meant to the dogs here.

There wasn’t a dog here that wouldn’t see Pat coming and start wagging their tails.

152 copyDogs that most people would have given up on, he couldn’t wait to start working with. He would be delighted to find out there was a new project dog coming in, and would immediately start devising a plan for them.

Pat had off Sunday’s and Monday’s but because he lived at Pets Alive he was never “off” and would most days come down and help volunteers, or walk the more difficult dogs or spend some extra time with a new dog or a shy dog.

I loved Pat.

I can’t even explain to you how much he meant to me.


He would come horse back riding with myself and my husband, or hiking with me and Karen, or kayaking with me for 5 hours at a pop. He was just a GREAT friend.

patsnakePat was NEVER judgmental. You could tell him anything at all and he wouldn’t judge you, or anyone else.

He never spread gossip. He never had a cross or rude word to say about anyone. In all the years I knew him I don’t think I ever once heard him say a negative thing about another person.

Pat was also the guy that you could sit in the middle of any group of people – rednecks, snobs, hillbillies, democrats, republicans, liberals – it didn’t matter….Pat could talk to anyone and carry a conversation and he always had something interesting to say or add to any conversation.

Also in all the time that I knew him, I never once ever ever heard any person have a complaint, derogatory remark or criticism of Pat. EVER. I don’t know anyone else in my life that I can say that about. Everywhere you go, someone doesn’t like SOMEBODY else. But not Pat. EVERYONE liked Pat. Everyone. He was just that kind of guy.

IMG_4669He was humble. He was self deprecating. He was funny. He was game to try anything. He was so much fun to be around.

He and I rode our motorcyles together, we hiked, we kayaked, we went out drinking…. and no matter what any of us suggested, Pat would give it a try. We even dragged him to Zumba classes! He went, and laughed and said at the end that maybe it wasn’t for him.

I learned a great deal from Pat. I learned that often there is more than one solution to a problem. That may sound oddly simple but I think I used to get caught up in “THE” answer. Pat taught me that there were a lot of answers and one may not really be better than another.

Pat taught me to look at problems and be able to see solutions that might not be the ordinary fit. He taught me to think differently.

“Technically” I was Pat’s boss, but whenever I had a serious issue or a problem, he was always the person I would go to and discuss it or twirl it around in his head and see what came out. He made me see failure as a growing experience and not something to be upset about.


Some days when the stress of my day got to me I’d seek him out and I would pretty much accost him, usually as he was walking a vicious dog. I would start talking a mile a minute and start petting the dog and patting my chest for the dog to jump up on me ,while he smiled at me and advised softly that he had just been teaching the dog that jumping was not something you do when greeting visitors. Oops. :) And he would laugh a little and say he was done anyway and why didn’t we go get some coffee?

patwhisperHe was a great person to talk to you when you were upset or stressed because he had such a calming and soft way about him. I so enjoyed his company and so loved doing things with him, or having conversations about tons of different subjects. Pat was super smart and had a lot of knowledge about so many things.

For almost a year we hunted for houses with him. His requirements were small. A tiny living space, a tiny place to wash up, and a HUGE garage! That was what he was looking for…and any of us that saw such a dilapidated shack with a HUGE garage would immediately call him and then run back out there with him to check it out. Nine times out of ten the garage was too small. (I tried to explain to him that people living in dilapidated shacks didn’t build big four car garages, but he never really got that). He never cared about the living space…but he had DEFINITE opinions about the garage.

patporchdogBefore Pat came we had about a 10% rate of returns for dogs. After Pat came we had about a 2% rate of return. And the 2% that came back, he would usually “fix” about 1.9% of THOSE and they’d be back out and adopted in a short time. Pat was a wizard with dogs. I’ve been around dogs my whole life, I absolutely love dogs and I know dogs really well – but everything I knew would fit into a thimble compared to how much Pat knew about dogs. And it wasn’t from classes and training and seminars. Yes Pat took all those classes and got all his degrees, but Pat was really self taught. I spent endless hours talking to him about dogs and training and the “why’s” and the “why-nots”. He said most of his training was done by watching a dog and figuring out what the dog wanted.

Pat was instrumental in getting Robert back on his feet and standing and then walking and finally running again. He was one of the few that was able to befriend Kyla.

He helped the the aggressive, the lost, the scared – any dog that was abused or mistreated could find a friend again and learn to trust again because of Pat.


I remember when he flew out here to help us work with a really shy dog named Amelia. If you haven’t read that story and how much Pat changed her life, and taught us, you can read it here.

patcamI remember when he first walked Cam….the most vicious dog we had ever seen. It took Pat about three days to have Cam out and on a leash and now Cam is a staff and volunteer favorite and handled and loved by many people.

I remember when we were about to do the Arkansas rescue. We had no idea what we were getting into. I called Pat and at the time he was still working for Best Friends and I asked him if he could come and help us. He did. He took some vacation time, flew to Arkansas on his own dollar, and helped us for three days out there while we figured out what we had, what we were looking at, and the reality of the situation. When I started to lose it with the crazy guy running this “rescue”, Pat was the voice of reason that intervened and got the contract for surrender signed.

Pat was just….awesome.

He was so funny too. He had a dry sense of humor, but he had a very funny dry sense of humor.

patrobertA group of us from Pets Alive go out to eat about once a week and Pat would always join us. This week he wasn’t feeling well and turned us down for the first time. He had a cough for the past few weeks and also cancelled training class this past Saturday which was very odd for him. We all figured he was coming down with the flu. But the reality was that he was very sick…and while results are not back yet, it appears he had a heart attack. One of the healthiest and fittest men I knew. It is almost unfathomable.

I know this blog is jumbled and disoriented, but that is how I feel and I can’t seem to get the usual flow of words tonight. I invite you all to write in the comments your own memories of Pat and how he changed you, or your dog.

I keep hoping and praying that I will go to sleep tonight and when I wake up in the morning this will all have been a bad dream and Pat will be out walking his dogs, Timber and Kipling, and I will start talking too fast and he will say that maybe it is time we go to my office and have some coffee. I have a feeling though that won’t happen. That Pat is truly and really gone from this world.

And my heart weeps on that reality.

patlaughToday Pets Alive lost a great man.

Today I lost a great friend.

Today the world lost a remarkable soul.

RIP Pat.

I will never, ever, ever, forget you.

You will always be a part of me, a part of Pets Alive, a part of Best Friends, and a part of every person you touched.

Most of all there will be many paws that will miss you and your calming and loving impact on their life.

For them…I truly cry. Because to them, they have lost so much more than the rest of us.

The dogs lost the one person in this world that completely, and truly, understood them and was their voice.

I love you Pat.

I will miss you forever.

Rest in peace my wonderful friend.

(Written by Kerry Clair, director of Pets Alive Middletown)

Filed in Tributes by kerry on Jan 21, 2013.  There are 145 Comments

145 Responses to “Goodbye my friend….R.I.P. Patrick Whitacre”

  1. Shelby Lanier Says:

    I am so very sorry for the loss of such a wonderful sounding human being. Although I did not know Pat, your blog had me in tears by the end. I am also very saddened for all of the dogs that he seemed to have such a way with. Please accept my most sincere condolences on the loss of such a gem… RIP Pat, may your spirit live on.

  2. Skip Hagerty Says:

    I had the privilege to work with Pat for 2 1/2 years. I learned much from him, not only about dogs, but about human nature. Pat will be missed by so many, human and canine alike. He is with Rolly and Peanut now. RIP Pat. We love you.

  3. Kari Richards Conklin Says:

    I am shocked and saddened to hear of this great loss. Pat and I spoke on the phone when we were having issues with Bridge, and when I wasn’t getting it, Pat came down and spent almost two hours with us helping with her, even though she barked and barked and barked at him, he was so calm. He said something I always try to remember when I run into a behavior issue… “Dogs know what is true, so you have to make something true to get the behavior you want (loose quote)”. So when Bridge was anxious about us leaving, I made it “true” that us leaving meant a yummy kong! And it’s helped… I send my sympathy and condolences to his friends and family. RIP Pat.

  4. Dana Says:

    PetsAlive and it’s animals lost a true friend. The animal world will not be the same without you…

    You helped me over the phone when I was having trouble with my dog I adopted from PetsAlive. You offered me advice and said if I needed anything to call you again. Your advice helped me to have a better understanding on how to deal with my Bella.

    Thank you for all of your work you have given to so many animals that needed you….

    RIP Pat – you will be missed by all that knew you….

  5. Mary Lou Deitrich Says:

    This is such extremely sad news. I am thinking of you, all the staff at Pets Alive and the volunteers who had the good fortune to meet Pat. I am thinking of what a loss this is to the animals. He was amazing with them.

    You and the others at Pets Alive are in my thoughts at this very difficult time.

    Pat will be missed very much.

  6. Lisa Holm Says:

    I’m so sad . What an incredible loss to this world.
    I used to watch Pat on the show Dog Town, he was amazing. What a way
    he had about him. He seemed quirky and fun, a wonderful man. Kerry, your blog was not just a blog, but a beautiful eulogy and testimonial of what a difference Pat has made in this world. I have a feeling that he has crossed over Rainbow Bridge and is with the ones he loved best.

  7. Cathie Says:

    I can’t tell you how sad I am to hear this. I was privileged to work with Pat at Best Friends. He was such a caring, calm, compassionate man with the dogs and people. He will be greatly missed. :'(

  8. Cathy L Says:

    Godspeed Pat… see you at the Bridge.

  9. Susie DeFord Says:

    Pat was a friend and mentor to me, I’m very sad to hear this. Is there any info on funeral/memorial. Are his dogs ok? Anything I can do to help?

  10. Lori Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful friendship you shared.

  11. Kim Hobock Says:

    What a truly amazing and remarkable man, may he rest in peace always <3

  12. John Says:

    Thank you so much for this heartfelt tribute to a truly amazing man.

  13. Kathi Says:

    I met Pat on my first trip to Best Friends while Dogtown was still airing. I was completely starstruck and I’m sure appeared as a bumbling moron, talking to him. He was such a warm, kind person and if he was annoyed by a total stranger giving him a hug, he never showed it. We saw him several times on subsequent trips and he always recognized us and always stopped to visit with us.
    I can’t believe he’s gone – what a horrible loss for both canines and humans. I’m so sorry you’ve lost your friend, Kerry and I hope Timber and Kipling are ok. Thank you for your beautiful eulogy for such a special man.. RIP Pat..

  14. Alma Says:

    I am so sorry. This world needs more people like your friend Pat. RIP

  15. Randi Robinson Says:

    I met Pat at Best Friends. He was Waylon’s buddy. Waylon was a gorgeous chow mix that I loved and Pat stopped and talked to me about him. He was such a nice man. Waylon died last year. He and Pat are together now.

  16. John Lankard Says:

    I’m a Whitacre family friend. My heart goes out to you. I’m so sorry for your loss. I enjoyed spending time around Pat at the holidays, and his presence is part of what made the time special.
    I’m hugging my pups a little tighter tonight.

  17. Lynette Says:

    I didn’t know Pat well, but I know what he did for the dogs. Everything in this blog is exactly what people have told me of Pat.
    I’m so sorry for your loss. Let your memories comfort you. The world lost someone who cannot be replaced.

  18. Anthony Says:

    I learned, and understood, more in five minutes of Pat talking about dogs and muzzles, than I had learned in my entire life about animal husbandry in general.

    Thank you for Cam, Pat.

  19. jacque johnson Says:

    Last year I hadthe very real pleasure of working one on one with Pat with my office dog Oscar. Oscar is one of the Vicktory dogs and he was very shut down. Pat helped me teach Oscar how to play and was instrumental in helping prepare him for his CGC test. Because of the things Pat taught me Oscar is now in a home of his own. Pat told me something that changed the way I looked at dogs. He said “the dog doesn’t know he’s doing things wrong. Its up to us to show him a better way”. I am so saddened by this loss. RIP Pat. There are many of your charges waiting to greet you at the rainbow bridge.

  20. Jill Williams Says:

    My heart is very sad tonight. Pat was among one of the first people we got to know at Best Friends when we moved here. He helped us with our own “problem dog” who ate our house, literally, before moving to Utah. He would babysit our crazy husky from time to time and each time we would pick him up, we saw a different dog! (a better one, obviously!!) Pat was a very genuine and true man who loved his dogs and his job. He will be missed.

  21. Deborah MacDonald Says:

    I never met Pat but he sounds like he was a wonderful soul. Your blog brought years to my eyes. I too cry for the animals for they will not understand his absence. My prayers are with Pat’s family, you all at Pets Alive and especially the animals. God bless you for all you do. May Pat rest in peace.

  22. Janine D Says:

    This is very sad news. Pat had a heart of gold. He was with my husband on one of the earlier Pup My Rides and I recall of that trip my husband becoming so fond of him. Our little gal that came from that trip just posted her own tribute to him

    I got a chance to speak with Pat one day after a dog fight had happened in our house. I was beside myself and in desperate need of advice on how to handle it. Pat didn’t judge me for being scared, wondering if I had it in me to keep both dogs, or for being too trusting too soon with a new dog. He talked me off the ledge and helped me work out a plan that made sense for us. His help and guidance is the sole reason we were able to keep and manage both dogs – who have even gone on to become best friends. I’m so sorry for your loss. He was one in a million.

  23. Anita Bingham Says:

    I met Pat during one of my many trips to Best Friends. We sat and talked about different training ideas. He was a great man and avid animal lover. He will be missed by many.

  24. Karen Says:

    I am so saddened to hear of Pat’s passing. Almost two years ago I drove to NY and brought you a dog that I found, a dog that no one else would take because of food aggression issues. Pets Alive was my last hope. Pat was visiting at the time – I recognized him from Dogtown – and sat in on Timber’s evaluation. (I’m not sure if this Timber is “his” Timber?) I learned a lot from him that day and marveled at his insite on the amazing personality of this dog that I couldn’t get anyone else to see. I believe he saved Timber’s life that day and I left there knowing that I met the true “dog whisperer”.

  25. Joseph Knipp Says:

    Goodbye Pat. You introduced me to Robert. You spent weeks working with me as I struggled trying to get two large dominate dogs to accept each other. You showed me what patience really is as I worked with Robert and his “cat training”. You took your time with both people and animals and you made both smile. I am thankful for having known you. You are truly a kind soul and this world is a better place because you were here.

  26. Gerry C. Says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss Kerry and especially for all the dogs he helped.

  27. Mark M Says:

    Pat was a great man. It was an honor to know and work with him.

  28. Amy Meade Says:

    Pat was our friend, neighbor, and coworker for over 2 years. He never got upset when our dogs would jump our fence, and end up at his house. He always had suggestions. I’m shocked and saddened by his passing. I pray those who worked closest with him are able to carry on 1/10th of his legacy. RIP Pat.

  29. Erin Whitacre Says:

    I am Pat’s niece and want to thank you for writing such a nice tribute of Pat. He will be missed by all. He was doing what he loved and truly seemed to have found his calling.

  30. Susan M Pietropaoli Says:

    I never met Pat in the short time I worked with Pets alive but I heard a lot about him threw the grapevine and his amazing way. I know there will be a lot of people and animals that are going to miss him and we all should remember what he taught us through his actions, words, and example. My condolences to Pat’s friends and family and his family at Pets Alive.

  31. Kay Says:

    “when I wake up in the morning this will all have been a bad dream and Pat will be out walking his dogs”
    He will be in spirit.
    God Speed Pat!

  32. Sarah Kubacki Says:

    I am at a loss for words. It is never easy losing someone who has made such a huge impact in your life, and Pat was of of those people. During our deployment via BF to Pets Alive in 2007 we stayed at the blue house together and the stories he shared about his life are some that I will never forget. Pat had taught me so much and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to learn from him, to hug him, to laugh with him and to ride in his amazing vehicles. His heart may have failed him, but he left pieces of it behing in many of us, and took a piece of ours with him. His memory will never be forgotten.
    Thank you Kerry for surrounding him with people and animals who respected and cherished his being. Pat, you will be missed greatly.

  33. Jill S Says:

    I am so deeply saddened to hear this very sad, and unexpected, news. Like everyone else I have fond memories of my time with Pat. I was fortunate to work with him at Best Friends and watch in awe of his incredible relationship with so many dogs he helped with his quiet and patient way. Many times I went to Pat for his insight on dogs I was working with, sanctuary, foster dogs or my own and he always found time and shared his valuable thoughts. He will be greatly missed by all!

  34. Holly Roseberry Says:

    I am sorry for your loss. Clearly Pat meant the world to you, and for good reason. You say your post is jumbled, but your intent is clear.
    Take heart that you learned a lot from him, and I have no doubt he will guide you and many others from wherever he is now.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us in your grief.
    Dog bless.

  35. Lisa Young Says:

    I let out a wail when I heard the news. Tears sprang to my eyes and a heaviness filled my heart. Pat was everything you wrote and I only got the pleasure of meeting him a few times, but we emailed and talked on the phone a time or two about… you guessed it.. Dogs! As it happens, I am the mom to the siblings of Pat’s dog Timber. My dogs, Zinnia and Zephyr, were very shy (feral) like Timber, but Timber was by far the worst fo the litter. No one could touch him. Pat was part of the team that rescued Timber, Zinnia, Zephyr and their mom Autumn from near death out in a culvert in Kayenta, AZ. When I adopted Zephyr Pat helped me help him learn to trust me. I also had another dog, Jiminy, that came from Best Friends. Pat helped me with some issues the two were having. Pat would talk to me on the phone about this problem or that problem or he would email me a long and detailed suggestion on my latest delimma. I’d never had a shy/feralish dog before and I needed help. Pat gave it freely and helped me so much. Both Zinnia and Zephyr are fantastic dogs. They still have some shyness but they will approach strangers and they learn everyday that people are nice. They’ve come so far, thanks to the ground work help that Pat gave me.
    On my last visit to Kanab in Jan 2012, I had the pleasure of seeing Pat and Timber. I was there for a funeral of a family member and it was a dark day for me. It was 5 o’clock and everyone was packing it in up at the clinic. I called and Pat said to come, he’d be there and would love to see me. I raced up and sure as the sun, he was there. I got a huge and a big smile. We talked and I showed him video’s and pictures of Jiminy, Zinnia and Zephyr – then I asked if Timber was there. Pat said, he was and if I’d like to see him. We walked back to the office where Timber was waiting for him, Pat opened the gate and called to Timber to come on its time to go home. Out came Timber, eyeballing me with caution. Timber sat down and I asked Pat if I could pet him. Granted permission, I gingerly gave Timber a belly rub. I glanced up at Pat who was beeming. Pat fulfilled a dream of mine that day. I got to touch Timber.
    I knew Timber would end up with Pat as soon as I heard the story of how Timber bit him when Pat was trying to save him. When I heard the confimation that they were a family, it was one of the happiest days of my life. Pat just beemed when he would talk about Timber.
    Even though I didn’t see Pat or interact with him as much as some, everything you described above is exactly right. I remember telling my friends how funny he was and how smart and kind and that I liked him the instant I met him. The world was a better place because of Pat. I feel bad for those who did not get the gift of knowing him, even briefly. Our world is a bit darker now that Pat has left us, but when you see the glint off the water, the warmth of the summer sun, the snuffing and huffing of dogs at play or a kitten’s soft mew… that will be Pat saying hello.
    RIP Pat. My world my dogs are better because of you.

  36. Lisa Says:

    I am saddened beyond words…

    I never had the pleasure to meet Pat personally, but I learned so much from him by watching his work on the Dogtown series. He truly understood the animals that he worked with and they were better for it.

    Rest in peace, Pat. The Rainbow Bridge just became a better place!

  37. Mackenzie Says:

    My heart just broke. It is in actual pain right now.
    I had the incredible luck to see Pat when I volunteered at the sanctuary, not to mention see his wonderful work on episodes of Dogtown, and I just can’t believe he’s gone. An inspiring advocate, caretaker, and human being. I like to think that he, too, has crossed the rainbow bridge, because neither he nor the animals should be without each other.
    You will be missed, Pat.

  38. Michael Hand Says:

    Pat was easily one of the finest, upstanding dudes I’ve ever known in my life. I’m glad to have known him and to have learned from him. Infinite kindness and infinite patience. Pat will be missed by any who met him and forgotten by none. He was just a great person.

  39. Rose Travers Says:

    I can’t stop sobbing. I remember first meeting Pat and being unable to stop crying at being with the man who helped Cam, who came to Pets Alive because of me. I was beyond grateful to him for what he did. My heart breaks.

  40. Simon Says:

    There is a certain kind of person who you encounter in life if you are lucky, who without knowing it affect you deeply. Whose calm and understated demeanor never reveal their genius, one they themselves would likely deny. Pat was one of those people. The kind of person who I would aspire to be if it could be learned.

    It was an honor to have had you help me with my dog when I needed it. Thank you for all you have done for the Pets Alive family and my family.

  41. Christina Says:

    I never met Pat, but I watched him on Dogtown and when I volunteered at Beat Friends in June 2010, I passed him in the hall and he gave me a big friendly smile and “hello”! I was too shy to tell him how much I respected him, his talent for working with lost animals and how much I appreciated what he did every day. You have written a beautiful tribute to what I know was a beautiful soul. RIP, Pat.

  42. Cher scarpone Says:

    I am trembling with sadness crying with such a great sorrow. I’ve learned so much from Pat each Saturday working with him on different dogs at PA. He had great patience and was a very kind man. I miss him already. Saturday’s will not be the same I worry for the dogs at PA now without his calm influence and help. I pray all of us who have learned from him can help the best we can and continue his teachings
    The world has lost a kind soul the dogs truly lost their voice. God bless you

  43. JULIE MENNA Says:

    Pat, I didn’t know you well, but you took time to help me with my dog Roxy one day..I’m sure you wouldn’t remember but me & Roxy do. You were always soft spoken, gentle and calm… these traits made you a wonderful trainer.. Thanks for everything you did in your life to help both animals and people. You will be sorely missed. Sincerely Julie & Robert Menna and Roxy, my dog…

  44. Erika Spencer Says:

    I too am another Best Friends volunteer who only briefly knew Pat but am so saddened by his passing. My husband and I have been to BF several times and each time we saw Pat he was always so kind and just exuded a kind of peace that I could only aspire to have. How touching that a man that many of us mainly came to know from brief interactions or through a TV show can have such a profound effect on our hearts and souls. The tears that are streaming from my eyes are from the grief as to the world losing such a huge and wonderful advocate for all those dogs that may end up not being understood and helped like they would have if Pat was still in this world. For the animal community it is a huge loss. For Pat’s friends and family I cannot fathom your loss. I am truly sorry.

    I do take respite in the belief that Pat is now with Waylon past the rainbow bridge. His love for Waylon was incredible. I pray they are happy and are together.

  45. Pia Says:

    I hadn’t been volunteering at Pets Alive for very long when I heard that Pat had been hired. The news was cool and interesting, but you know: “that guy who was on a TV show”, anything could happen, right?

    Pat was about the coolest guy I’ve ever met. Without trying to make this spiritual or weird, he was so Zen, so centred, so .. ageless. I don’t know how old he was, but in the classes I attended, it didn’t matter if you were a greybeard, middle aged or junior, male or female, he addressed everyone with quiet respect and always sought to understand everyone’s situation. He talked to people like everything they had to say was interesting and he treated dogs like .. well, I think he had an English-dog translator. If I could bottle what he had, I’d be a brazillionaire. Here’s the thing though, he shared his secrets to any and all who cared to listen, he was the open source of dog interaction and understanding.

    He made what he knew funny, interesting and informative. In the short, short time I interacted with him (I don’t presume to say I knew him) he was just such a freakin’ cool cat. I wish I’d known him better, and I’m painfully aware of what a terrible blow to Pets Alive his loss will be. I’ve seen with my own eyes how dogs CHANGED with him, not because he waved a magic wand, but because when they saw him, dogs knew that his reality was their reality. With two of Pat’s “Improving Adoptibility” classes I saw how my interaction with project dogs improved – and so quickly, too! Step by step, paying attention to details, they all always improved. I took a series of pictures of another volunteer who, using Pat’s techniques managed to go from interacting with a dog who was being a “pogo stick”: jumping around while the volunteer was OUTside the kennel, to allowing that volunteer to open the kennel latch and walk into the kennel, calm and relaxed. It was amazing to watch. Pat’s techniques WORKED. And in a crazy world where you don’t get to say this a lot about another human being, Pat MADE SENSE.

    Pets Alive sometimes feels oddly like such a huge organization because on facebook there are so many friends and unique commentators and for a shelter, they’re REALLY REALLY personal and communicative, but really it’s such a small core of stupidly hard working people. I can’t imagine your loss, not just today but in the weeks and months to come. Yet Pat managed to touch the lives of an incredible array of people. What a blow to everyone, human and animal, to Pets Alive. I’m so very sorry.

  46. Fran Miller Says:

    Bless you Pat as you make your way to your next adventure. Thank you for sharing with us while you were here, it will never be forgotten. Thank you too for working your magic with those society has tossed out like garbage, whether it was human or animal. You will be missed. Journey well Pat.

  47. Vanessa Says:

    This is a really bad dream. It cant be real. :( he was one of the kindest, most patient people i have ever met. My heart hurts for all of you and for the dogs. :,(

  48. Deanna Korte Says:

    I used to watch Pat on DogTown and am from Orange County, NY, so this is worlds colliding for me. So sad, Pat was a truly gifted man. My thoughts are with all of you.

  49. Jo Says:

    When I started volunteering at PAW, one of the first dogs I walked was Rocketman, or I should say he was walking me. Pat came over to us and introduced himself, and we started talking. A few hints and Rocketman and I walk just fine now. Anytime I saw Pat he would say hi, stop for a brief chat at times, and always had a smile. So very sad, RIP Pat.

  50. Melissa Salerno Says:

    I am so truly sorry to hear of Pat’s passing. Not only has Pets Alive lost a very special and dedicated human being, but the animal world has lost an advocate and savior. God Bless and Rest in Peace, Pat Whitacre. I know you are where you are happy, over the Rainbow Bridge. We will all miss you, your guidance, your passion for our animals, and your goodness….

  51. Marian Gravel Says:

    RIP Pat. My daughters and I first saw him on the TV show, Dogtown. He just seemed so gentle and sensible, magic with any dog. Then my daughter went to a training at Pets Alive and told me ‘We saw Pat from Dogtown!’. I only met him briefly once myself, but he was kind to me. As a new volunteer, I asked him a question which could have seemed like an obvious question, and if he were not so patient, I might have felt stupid for asking, but he told me, ‘I’m glad you asked that question.’ That one brief encounter with him made me feel like a good and responsible volunteer instead of a bumbling newbie.

  52. Kelly Casabona Says:

    I know how much everyone looked up to & lived Pat. I am so sorry for the loss if your friend & a such a great friend to the animals. I would see Pat around as I volunteered spoke with him once very briefly, but always hoped I would get to know him better & gleen some valuable tips from him. This is truly a tragedy. Pat will live on in the hearts of all of you, his friends, and in the lives of all of the animals he changed & gave a better life to. Truly a wonderful person has been lost.

  53. Jennifer Says:

    The Rainbow Bridge will have the best gatekeeper.
    Sweet Journeys Pat….

  54. Beth Arp Says:

    So sorry for your loss, we met and watched Pat work with a family and their new adopted dog juat a few weeks ago. What a great loss to you and the animals at Pets Alive!

  55. Valerie Lagana Says:

    I never met Pat or saw him on DogTown, but I’d read about him on the Pets Alive Twitter page, and I always got the feeling that he was a special man. Now I know I was right; these heartfelt words from so many are a beautiful tribute to a life truly lived to the fullest. I offer my most sincere sympathy to Pat’s family and friends, and I pray that he is now resting peacefully, reunited with those who meant the most to him. I am so emotional reading all of your touching responses, and I can only aspire to accomplish in my lifetime what Pat seems to have accomplished each and every day. Thank you, Pat. You will be missed.

  56. Dawn H Says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Pat while at Best Friends a few years ago. What a wonderful man with a huge heart. So kind, friendly, funny and patient! A great man has been lost. RIP Pat, you will be remembered by many.

  57. Ellen Says:

    What a wonderful eulogy for Pat, and I’m so sorry that you’ve lost such a good friend and being.

    I first came across him with the airing of Dogtown, and liked and respected him immediately. I am so glad you had a chance to “have” him at Pets Alive for the time that you did.

    He will never truly be gone from there, and will always be watching over all of you and the dogs – here and in Utah, and anywhere else he’s ever touched. Just walk out to a favorite place and talk to him – he’ll be listening.

    While reading all the endearing qualities you listed of Pat, it occurred to me that you’ve actually described all of the sentient being characteristics of a dog…and Pat was a wonderful pack leader. This is why he had the golden communication he did with all dogs…he was one himself.

    R.I.P Pat – you’ve left your mark in this world, and hopefully all the lucky humans that have crossed paths with you will pay it forward with all you’ve taught – especially patience. I know all the lucky dogs will!

  58. Adriana Perciballi Says:

    So, So sorry for your loss and for the animals. Watching Pat on Dogtown, he had a special, gentle and kind demeanor and I am sure he will be missed terribly by all including all the dogs. He taught us all even from afar on Dogtown.

  59. Lori Ragan Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I only met Pat a couple of times, but it was obvious that he was a very caring man. His eyes, manners, voice—al spoke volumes of his love for the dogs. He will be greatly missed by many.

  60. Ellen Says:

    I shared this beautiful tribute with all my rescue friends on Facebook, and one of them posted a beautiful thought about Patrick that I felt you should hear. He said, “Can you imagine the response when he approached the Rainbow Bridge?” :*)

  61. Jennifer Masiello - Sama Says:

    Although I did not know Pat, he sounded like a wonderful person and friend.

    God puts people here to make a difference. Certain people stand out because they have such a wonderful energy about them. That is why so many people and animals loved him. He was the difference at the end of the day that creates changes in us as humans and changes for the better with animals. Rest in pease Pat. May God look upon all of us as he has you in this lifetime.

    Jennifer Masiello-Sama
    New York, NY

  62. Joy Moffat Says:

    Thank you for the tribute that only you could write, Kerry. Pat has truly left a legacy, and the entire animal welfare community will miss him. Love and healing thoughts and prayers to you.

    Joy Moffat
    Kanab, Utah

  63. ThyraR Says:

    What a fitting and heartfelt tribute to an amazing man. I am so sorry for your loss, I had the privilege of seeing Pat in action years ago when I volunteered at BF; truly a hero for all dogs no matter what their condition. I am positive that Pat’s impact and presence will continue to be felt in the people and animals he touched with his work and spirit. I can’t help but think that heaven must have needed some help with some troubled dogs or they never would have called him home so soon. RIP Pat

  64. Ellen Says:

    When I opened up my emails this morning and saw the subject line my heart skipped…I am so very sorry for your loss and even more so for those of us who never had the opportunity to meet him. The first time I had been introduced to him was on the TV show, Dog Town and I was immediately in awe of his ability to communicate with the dogs. I was thrilled to hear that he had joined Pets Alive and had always thought that I would get over the facility to meet him in person. Im sorry I never did, I’m sorry I put off till tomorrow what I could have done today. I know in my heart that Pat is enjoying eternal walks in the woods with a whole posse full of pups. May he walk in peace.

  65. Victoria Katosh Says:

    Worked with Pat in Kansas, great man! My prayers go out to his friends and family, R.I. P. Pat!

  66. Janine Weeks Says:

    My deepest sympathy to ALL! Love and Prayers, Janine

  67. Tamara Dormer Says:

    I was blessed to work with Pat for over 7 years while he was here at Best Friends. He was a great friend to animals, a very funny guy, very, very smart. He and I had the greatest talks on all kinds of things, but mostly of course dogs when we shared an office. When he left for Pets Alive, our talks was what I missed the most. Now the rest of the world has to miss him as well but in a more startling way.

    I am just numb and saddened for his family and his girlfriend and all the people who loved him. What an incredible stand-up guy.

  68. Shawn Says:

    I only watched Pat on TV, but he was amazing and such a calm spirit.
    RIP, you will be missed by all.

  69. Lenise Graddy Says:

    Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened———-Dr. Seuss
    RIP, Pat

  70. Jen deHaan Says:

    I am so sorry to read this, and my thoughts go out to all of Pat’s family and friends. I had the pleasure of meeting him – well, exchanging a few words with him from time to time while volunteering at Best Friends on a couple of occasions. More often he would speak with the dogs I was with at the time, and it was always beautiful and informative to watch these exchanges. Even though I was just a stranger passing by, he was always warm when we said hello or talked a bit about the dog on my leash. He had this aura – you just knew he was one of the good ones. He always seemed like the kind of person I would want to know, and have as a friend. The words in this post are beautiful, the world lost a great person.

    RIP Pat: thank you for making the world a better place, and especially for its dogs.

  71. Sarah Weinstein Says:

    I am so incredibly sorry to hear about Pat. He was very helpful to us on more than one occasion with our dogs and recently helped us select a puppy ( black bean ) for our family. He sat patiently waiting while we made the hard decision of choosing one of two dogs that we wanted to adopt. He answered our questions as we threw them out to him and he never once made us feel pressured to make a decision, even though I’m sure he had plenty of other things he could have been doing. He just sat patiently until we made a decision and then complimented us on our choice. I will always remember his gentle voice and his gentle and kind demeanor.

  72. Janet in Cambridge Says:

    Oh no. Too, too soon. RIP, good man. You were a dog’s best friend. You will never be forgotten.

  73. Linda Labbe Says:

    My heart breaks for a man I never even knew. There are so few of these angels in the world who do what he did and we need every single one of them. I so hope that he inspired someone to follow in his footsteps because it sure sounds like no one can fill his shoes. For those who were incredibly lucky enough to have known him, you have my most heartfelt sympathies. I really wish I had. <3

  74. Kathleen Knott Says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your dear friend and very sorry for the dog community. He made me realize my dream to be a behaviorist. If not for him I would still be lost with no idea where my life needed to go. Thank you for being my hero and a voice for the voiceless.

  75. Susan Connelly Says:

    First, you got the words to come out right!! You did a beautiful job of telling us about this man. I didn’t know him but now I do! Just knowing about a man like him makes me feel good. I am so sorry for your loss. God bless!

  76. Jane Bemehn Says:

    I am shocked and saddened to hear this news. Like so many others, I was totally taken with his calm and peaceful nature when working with dogs, and with people. I took a canine good citizenship class from him (with one of my dogs, of course) while I was working at Best Friends. Seemed nothing ruffled him… a quality that is so good to have when working with any sentient being. I only recently learned that he had left Best Friends, and I thought that where ever he was, it was most definitely their gain. And now the world unseen has gained a great soul. Rest in Peace, Pat, or should I say, “carry on…” for he will, where ever he is. He carries peace inside and wears it so that all can see.

  77. Cathy Scott Says:

    I had the privilege and honor of working with Pat and seeing him in the field do his magic with puppy mill dogs in Missouri as well as the dogs left behind by Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast. What a friend he was to them. The world is a far better place for having had him in it. He will be sorely missed by all.

  78. Jenn Martinelli Says:

    I am so sorry to hear of this loss. This is the first I’ve read of Pat but he sounds like a truly amazing person that everyone was lucky to know and have in their lives.

    I am very sorry for your loss, and the dogs’ loss.

  79. Melinda Plasse Says:

    Truly sorry for the loss of this gentle, brilliant man. The nicest walks are always too brief in this world. My hunch is, Pat is now caring for all the wonderful animals that have gone on before us. They have become the fortunate ones. Thanks for sharing this news, Kerry. I am sure it is a big loss for you and Pets Alive, but if you carry on with Pat’s legacy in mind each day, I know you and the Pets Alive he loved will do a fine job moving forward. You are all in my prayers.

  80. Maritza Santiago Says:

    Just by watching him on the show, my dogs and I felt so in peace and blessed, I can’t imagine what a blessing would have been meeting him or even better, working with him.

  81. Therese Says:

    He was an excellent teacher. He has changed the lives of many animals not just through his direct contact with them, but by his ability to teach others good technique. He will be so missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

  82. Jen Severud Says:

    Pat was my friend, co-worker and mentor. I taught a couple of workshops at Best Friends with him and I always learned more from Pat than I actually taught to others! One of my fondest memories of Pat was helping him socialize Timber in Tara’s Run at Best Friends. Timber loved my two dogs, Echo and Gavin and the three of them would run around Tara’s Run while Pat and I watched. Another fond memory is reading the t-shirts that Pat would wear. My favorite of his was, “Does the name Pavlov ring a bell!” So perfect for my favorite psychology guy! Thank you for writing such a wonderful tribute to Pat and sharing it with us. He was one of a kind and your blog made me laugh out loud and cry at the same time. I am truly sad that the world has lost such a fantastic person, but also happy that Pat is reunited with his beloved Rollie across the Bridge!

  83. Jacky Dormaar Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Pat Whitacre is irreplaceable. I met him at Best Friends. I would like to share something about my experience with him and what I learned.


    Last night I learned that Pat Whitacre passed away. Of course the first thought that crosses ones mind is disbelief “He seemed to healthy when I saw him last.” But then the thoughts of course turn to sadness over the loss of such a brilliant individual. In telling my husband he wisely said that “instead of being sad about his loss be grateful that you had the chance to meet him and learn from him”. Pat was always so gracious to me when I volunteered at Best Friends. Every time that I saw him I would ask what he was up to that day and if I could tag along to observe him and more often than not he would oblige me, letting me pick his brain for the next few hours. Whenever he had a question and answer period for the volunteers I would inevitably show up and monopolize his time there too. He was a brilliant man, I learned so much from him that has shaped the way that I work with dogs and how I teach people to think about training. So, in keeping with my husband’s advice, I asked if I could talk about the things that I learned from him, some of which I spoke about just two days before in a conversation with my family. As I said each anecdote I found that I had a little chuckle as I started, thinking of how he said it or how I then said it to someone else. It took me a fair while to tell of all the things I learned because each time I finished a new memory would pop up to be shared as well. It was a wonderful experience and I thank my husband for being there to suggest and share it with me. Its amazing how much of an impression an individual can have on you in such a relatively short period of time. I am very grateful for the chance to have met Pat and will treasure and share the things I learned from him where ever possible.

    As it is said so often, “the dead never really leave us, they live on, in our hearts”. Thank you Pat Whitacre for your patience with me, you made such an impact. May you meet all your loved ones, furry and not, over the rainbow bridge.

  84. Isabel Says:

    My hear hurts this morning… This world truly lost an amazing man, a man who taught so many so much, a man whose mere presence calmed human and animal alike. I too had the pleasure of working with Pat at Best Friends, although not directly. He always had a kind word and was always willing to help in anyway he could. Pat could walk into a room and you could feel his calmness and joy, and no matter you mood, his presence would surround you and make your heart warm. So many dogs have found new lives thanks to Pat, he changes so many lives and made them whole.

    Pat will forever be surrounded by love, joy and all the fur babies he’s worked with in rainbow bridge. He walked in wearing his hat and long coat to the excitement of all his four legged students howling with joy to have their best friend and savior back at their side, to love them as unconditionally as they love him.

    Pat will be missed, will always be honored and loved and our world will have one less remarkable man to guide us…. But know that he will be there to greet our fur babies and be at their side, walking in the tall grasses among the butterflies and leading the happiest pack of dogs….

    We will miss you, we love you… And we thank you for bring you.

  85. Lavanya Raju Says:

    I knew Pat when he and I were both at Best Friends. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to knhow him – he was the gentlest man and brought so much good into this world.

  86. Nic Says:

    How sad and tragic. The good ones always go first. I met Pat one of the times I was out volunteering at Best Friends. Such a huge loss to all the dogs who will now never knew his loving heart. Such a huge loss to all those who were lucky enough to have met him. The world is truly cruel sometimes.

  87. Sonja Hunn Says:

    What a beautiful tribute. I didn’t know Pat, but from your blog, I sure wish I had. I imagine that everyone would like to know that someone who survives them would write such a touching eulogy. Of course, the way to ensure that happens is to display the qualities that Pat did. If we all did that, someone would say nice things about us AND the world would be a much better place.

  88. Lynda Marpole Says:

    I was extremely fortunate to spend time with Pat while he was training dogs at Best Friends. As everyone has said, he was such a kind, humble and gentle soul. This is such a great loss not only to his human friends, but to all his animal friends too. RIP Pat.

  89. Mina Yindra Says:

    I was fortunate enough to spend a small amount of time with Pat at Best Friends. As so many have said, his intuitive knowledge was astounding and he had enough patience for 15 people, even with someone who made a dumb mistake. He would just smile and make a suggestion on how to do it better next time. :). I truly am in shock- I had to keep reading the posts and looking at the pictures to believe it was really him. He seemed so immortal to me- because of who he was and what he did, I guess he always will be. I know there are a lot of joyous canines who were waiting for him and he is truly in peace and happiness now. Rest blissfully Pat- those left behind will always miss you.

  90. Kathleen Grube Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Your tribute to him captures the magic that was his. There are very few people in the world like this. These characteristics are all things we should strive to emulate.

    Rest in Peace, Pat. I’m sorry I didn’t ever know you, but rest assured that you have left a great legacy as a role model and compassionate leader.

  91. Mike Says:

    I met Pat while dealing with the aftermath of hurricaine sandy. It was the first and last time I met him. I feel it to be necessary to add to this blog that I too saw him as a stand up gentlemen. He went out of his way to help. May god rest this kind mans soul and may we carry on his legacy.

  92. Andy Jensen Says:

    I learned a lot from Pat over the years and I will always carry his lessons with me. He always took the time to help me with any questions I had. Usually when I would go to him with question about one of the dogs, he would spend at least a half hour with me even though his days were busy. He wouldn’t leave until my question was analyzed thoroughly and a plan was formulated. Pat taught me to think outside of the box. He was a truly remarkable human. RIP Pat.

  93. Gina Sicina Says:

    In 2007 my husband and I went to Pets Alive to adopt a dog, Pat said he had a dog he wanted us to meet..he brought over a shy Black Lab, who we fell in love with right away and adopted. When the three of us would watch “Dogtown” and Pat would appear, Raider(our Black lab)would go right up to the TV…he recognized his friend Pat…the man who treated him so well, built him a bed and introduced him to his new parents. Rest in Peace Pat…you were an Angel on Earth for many dogs

  94. Leslie Hart Says:

    I too am so sorry for your loss – this gentle man sounded like a truly incredible individual – certainly one who loved, nurtured and respected the dogs he so gently mastered. I only hope that there will be another “Angel” brought to Pets Alive who can help in every way Pat did – one who will help heal your grieving hearts. For you and especially the dogs, I cry – you have given this man a beautiful tribute – God Bless all of you at Pets Alive for all you do for animals. May Pat’s gentle spirit always guide and be with you.

  95. patricia folgar Says:

    we have lost a great man! i didnt know him but from what i have read, he sure made a difference in many people and animals lives. i know pat has his wings now. rest in peace!!!!

  96. Gina Sooby Says:

    My most sincere condolences to you and the staff at Pets Alive. Although I did not know Pat, your blog put me to tears. I do know that people like Pat don’t come into your life to often. His source of strength, knowledge, calmness, and warmth will be a hard emotion to get through. Please keep his memory alive by using all the knowledge and calmness that he has brought forth. Keeping his memory alive will help. Rest in peace Pat.

  97. christine Says:

    I am so very sorry for the loss of Pat, i only had the pleasure of meeting
    Him twice, once on Derby road where he helped me
    Load 2 rotties in my truck, amd once at pets alive, both times we had great conversation he was such a gentle person, rest in peace Pat and take care of all the fur babies on the other side, continue your work there.

  98. Pamela Weese Says:

    As soon as I met Pat at Best Friends, I knew he was special. Every move Pat made was deliberate, every word he spoke eloquent. He worked with my dog Shady and I after work in my home in Kanab for months and would never take a dime, a cookie, a gift certificate, nothing. He did it because he believed in Shady and knew I desperately needed his help. After I moved to NY I found out Pat had also moved East. We reconnected one day at Pet’s Alive and he gave me the biggest hug…maybe ever. I told all my dogs this a.m. that Pat was gone and then pulled Shady out of her box to tell her to take care of Pat, the way he took care of her. RIP Pat and thank you from the bottom of five hearts- Pamela, Shady, Velvet, Port and Gus.

  99. Clarisel Gonzalez Says:

    No wonder the doggies loved him so much. He seems like a wonderful guy. I’m sorry about the loss of your friend and the loss of an advocate of the doggies of the world. May he rest in peace.

  100. Sam Wike Says:

    There are many people I like, some people I love and even a few I admire. But Pat Whitacre is the only person I’ve ever known who had all of the human, and yes, canine qualities I wish that I could emulate. He was a gracious and giving mentor, a simple yet elegant man, a friend forever. The many times he stayed at our house when visiting the east coast were some of the most unique, entertaining, informative, down to earth, simply incredible times my wife and I have ever had. My wife, who is people shy, found from the moment she met him that she never had to be shy from him. She loved his manners, his stories, his lack of ego, his way of making her feel so at ease. Pat Whitacre is the only person I’ve ever know who understood and embraced the Serenity Prayer. He was like Einstein, Ghandi, Mother Theresa and any number of saints all rolled up into one. Incredibly grounded, nothing was never, ever, about him. He would never have understood the impact that he has left on all of us nor would he approve of all the accolades we write. I say this selfishly, for me and everyone else who has every known Pat, that our world is a little dimmer, a lot sadder because we don’t have you anymore. As you always reminded me, “it’s what’s true to the dog. It’s about their value system, not ours.” Well Pat, what’s true to me is that Rosanne and I will miss you forever. You are one of the most valued people I’ve ever had the privilege and hnor to know. You see Pat, it always WAS all about you, the gifts you gave each and every person and animal you ever met, you just didn’t know it.

  101. Lisa Says:

    We are so deeply saddened by this news. The world was blessed by Pat’s beautiful spirit. Our hearts are heavy…we spoke to Pat just a few weeks ago when we picked up our Lucy after she was spayed. He was so pleasant and remarked how pretty she was. How sweet! He watched us as we walked away with her, and I got the feeling he was taking in a nice moment: happy doggie parents and a happy puppy with a forever home. I could almost sense it when I looked back and he was smiling at us.
    Rest in Peace, Pat.
    You left many tears behind, but I’m sure you were greeted with lots of happy kisses : )

  102. Barbara Says:

    A beautiful, moving tribute to a beautiful soul. R.I.P. true friend to animals, and to all.

  103. Karen Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, I have never had an honor to meet Pat, but from your blog I can tell he was a wonderful and caring person, this world needs a person like him to help out all the poor and mistreated dogs.
    He was an angel and now he is in a peaceful place.

  104. Tricia Jacobson Says:

    I never was lucky enough to meet Pat, but knew of him through episodes of Dog Town. Through those shows I witnessed his gentle nature , dedication to animals and never ending compassion. I truly am sitting here with tears in my eyes thinking about all the dogs whose lives he will never touch who could so benefit by this special man.

  105. Bob McNary Says:

    I was never blessed to know Pat but my dear friend Julie did and passed on this tribute to him. There is a special place for Pat across that Rainbow Bridge………..God bless all of you who committed yourselves to the “Innocent Ones” (Thanks Donna!)

  106. Stacy M Says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Pat and seeing him work with dogs at Best Friends. It wasn’t a trip for me until I saw him in his signature hat and coat around Dogtown. I then got to see him again when I went to Middletowm NY to help rescue a couple of dogs from a puppy mill situation. Pat had such a calm, patient way and I just stood there and watched as helped some of the very scared dogs, move onto a new life. I was hoping to take a class with him next month Such a sad loss for the dogs and all of you who knew him so well. RIP Pat, you will be missed!

  107. Amy Affrunti Says:

    First, I am so sorry for both your loss, as well as the loss to every life he has ever touched. What would thoughts be about setting up some sort of foundation in tribute of him and the incredible impact he made on this world? I would be more then honored to help or contribute to that!

  108. Sally Rich Says:

    Such sad news, pathetic… So what do we do now for the animals he loved so much?
    What would he want us to do? To find another, there is no other answer.
    I’m sure it would give him great peace knowing someone stepped up to the plate.
    I don’t know how to do what he was able to do but I’m willing to learn, my heart and soul are in it. No matter who it is, me, you, someone, someone who truly cares, lets not let him down :-(
    So few people unconditionally love so much <3

  109. Sarah Nichols Says:

    What a neat person!! May we all learn from him. R.I.P

  110. Erin Schmitz Says:

    I was fortunate to work with Pat at Best Friends for a year and a half but I learned such an incredible amount in that time. He truly was the nicest person and was always willing to help out with anything, anytime. We were so thrilled when he came to visit earlier this year and got to visit some of his old canine friends. His favorite boy Waylon was dealing with end-stage cancer at the time but watching him prance around Dogtown while Pat fed him cheeseburgers each day was pretty beautiful. So many dogs found homes or were finally able to love and trust because of Pat; the world lost a good one. RIP Pat.

  111. Donna Gerber Says:

    I never knew of Pat until I learned from a friend who knew him that he was gone. My heart goes out to all his friends, both human and animal, at their loss. I too was in tears by the time I finished reading your blog. What a wonderful eulogy and memorial to Pat. The world truly did lose a wonderful person today. God Bless.

  112. Amanda Jagger Says:

    I first saw Pat when I helped with a puppymill rescue in Wallkill, NY with my friend Stacy last May. He was there with Pets Alive to take 4 of the most difficult Rottweilers remaining at the facility that no other rescue groups were willing to take. Pat and the Pets Alive staff were amazing to watch. They smoothly transferred these terrified large dogs from their muddy, broken kennel runs into crates for a ride to freedom. Watching Pat and the Pets Alive team inspired Stacy and I to join their group and become volunteers. We made a weekend trip to Pets Alive in November and my Aunt and Uncle joined us. They fell in love with a dog and wanted to adopt it. When they brought their little dog for a meet and greet but it was not a match. Pat worked with them to see if the adoption could work and in the end advised that they not put their little Daisy at risk. Stacy and I have been planning another trip for February or March with the intent of taking Pat’s Improving Adoptability class. We were really looking forward to it. I’m sad that I didn’t get to learn more from him. I’m sure I would have learned a lot. The dogs lost a great friend when we lost Pat.

  113. Amanda Hook Says:

    I was not fortunate enough to have met this wonderful man in person, we just watched him on DogTown. He seemed to be the kind of person that I would have loved to introduce my daughters to and have them look at him as a hero. I imagine that his reception at The Bridge was so beautiful, as thousands of dogs bowed their heads in respect. Misty was in that reception line as we used some of what we had seen on DogTown to try help her overcome her fear and abuse. Thank you Pat for everything you did for the animals, and for us humans. Rest well sir, you were a true hero.

  114. Edie Says:

    I met Pat twice at Pets Alive so I did not know him very well. However, both times, he made it a point to make me feel welcome and offer insight in regards to the dogs I was spending time with that day. One time stays in my mind mostly – I was sitting in Willy & Wonka’s pen attempting to get them to come to me with no success. Pat walked by and offered his help without hesitation. He came in with me and gave me some pointers, and then offered to walk them with me. I am sure he had many other things to do but realized it meant so much to me, and put all aside so I could have the opportunity to walk the trail with these wonderful dogs. It was a quiet walk, not too many words said, and that was perfect for me because I am quite shy around people I don’t know, and I believe he intuitively knew that about me. I thanked him when we returned but I am sure he never realized how very much it meant to me that day. With that said, it is with sadness that I write this knowing his time on this Earth as Pat is over and we will not be touched by his compassion and kindness again in the way that we know but I am sure he has moved on to be with God and all those that he helped with his compassion and selflessness that have moved on also. I would love to think he will be back here on this Earth sharing his love and compassion again as a new being but I have a feeling God has work for him to do there. He was a true example of what our job on this Earth is as a human being, and I believe the lives he touched while he was here will never be the same. Pay It Forward comes to mind, and Pat made all who met him want to be as kind and compassionate a being as he was, and in memory of him and my love for God, I will do my best to do God’s Work and make a daily effort to spread love and compassion without any judgement or expectations of gratitude from others as Pat always did.

  115. Christine Says:

    We had the good fortune of meeting Pat this past summer. I remember my first conversation with him about two dogs I was very interested in adopting, but wasn’t sure if we could take on their needs with our schedules. A month later Pat introduced us to Wonka. We immediately saw the connection and the trust that existed between the two, and I left that day devastated and crying that I couldn’t give Wonka what Pat could. The following day we returned with our dog Sandy to meet his brother Willie. Needless to say, after spending time with Pat and Willie, Willie came home with us that day, and Wonka came home two weeks later. Every day we see Pat in our boys. Every time Willie sits and gives us his cute look for his cookie, to our Wonka, who learns to trust more and more each day, we see the miracles that were and always will be thanks to Pat. Thank you for what you did and continue to do for all of the animals and humans who had the good fortune of having had you touch our lives. His legacy will live on and through all of us and our dogs who were given a chance at life and family because of him. Thank you Pat for what you gave and continue to give the world. We will do our best to honor you and what you did for the world. Our heartfelt sympathies are with you Kerry and all at Pets Alive, Pat’s family, his beloved animals and all who mourn his loss.

  116. Kim Gillman Says:

    I didnt know Pat. But I am sure that I knew his work as we adopted our Tess from you a few months ago. I have recently been amazed at the incredible work done there at Pets Alive and although there are so many good people, I now understand that Pat was responsible for so much. My thoughts go out to all of the grieving humans tonight, and of course, to all of the doggies who will not get the benefit of Pat’s wisdom, love and training. But know that Pat is in a better place, a place where no one abuses dogs and there is only love and open fields to run together. Pat is at the “rainbow bridge” so many of us believe in. The rest of us will have to wait to get there. I hope and I am sure that Pat will continue to be an inspiration. But I am truly sorry for your loss.

  117. Angela Says:

    wow…disbelief, confusion, questions without answers, and then memories of a person who quietly, calmly helped so many. I’d go to Pat, unable to understand what I needed to do to help certain dogs (i.e. Zambi) at the sanctuary, completely unable to break things down to helpful action. Pat would always have the most simple, effective & straight forward suggestions that were right on, and I’d walk away, baffled – so right on, and yet I couldn’t have come up with it for anything. He came at things from such a different angle from how my brain works, and taught me things don’t have to be as complex as I was making them in order to help the dogs. My favorite memory is when Pat helped me with my, at the time foster dog, Zambi. At my wits end, I didn’t know how to stop her from snarfing at people who approached, which was making her adoptability an issue. A bathroom within feet, a person who volunteered to approach us & Pat’s simple calm guidance and within 20 minutes, problem solved. I was so close to the situation I couldn’t see what made Zambi tick and what she valued – a perfect example of how Pat could always see through all the layers, right down to what the root causes were. I am so sad such a truely good person is gone so early. So many lives were able to have a quality of life they never would’ve had without Pat’s help – canine & human. Be well Pat and say hi to Rolie & the gang for us.

  118. Diane Cox Says:

    Kerry, you did a wonderful moving job writing this tribute to a wonderful person. I remember seeing Pat on tv at Best Friends. He seemed like he could see into the soul of an animal that needed the trust they were born with. I am so sorry for your loss. Pat will be missed by all. :(

  119. Mary Kathan Says:

    Pat was an instructor at a dog handling class I went to at Best Friends a few years ago.

    He stood out from everyone there even though they were all great. He always seemed so calm and kind. Kind to the dogs and kind to the people. Very peaceful like.

    I am sorry you lost your good friend and I am sorry the animals lost such a great friend too.


  120. Anne Tribble Says:

    Rest in Peace, Mr. Whitacre. The world is a better place because you were in it…

  121. Connie Chambers Says:

    I met Pat several years ago when I was volunteering at Best Friends. He sought me out because he heard I lived with 14 cats and marveled at my patience. I was touched by his sincerity, his gentle manner, his humor, his kindness… I could go on and on. I wish I had gotten to know him better. I was stunned and deeply saddened to learn of his death. I will never forget him.

  122. Margarita Darling Says:

    I had never been to Pets Alive until I went do adopt Lacey. He was the first person I met there and was working with a dog with 3 legs. It was like I met him before somewhere, a familiar face, but could not quite place him. We both encouraged 3 legged dog to get up and walk out so he could get the Coordinator to show me Lacey… He said “who can’t remember my name” which is Margarita Darling… He thought that was a awesome name. Well that’s a guy you just don’t forget a gentle soul, a giving man. God bless him. I wish I had got to know him.

  123. aletheia mystea Says:

    I just found out about this, wrote a note on the BF blog and then found this one. My heart goes out to you Jen for this unbearable personal loss and of course, for the dogs. Everyone will grieve for the time period that they each need. My hope for you all is that you can find comfort in each other and remember your dearly beloved friend in all the ways that are most comforting. You know his bright, shining spirit will light your days in all ways and forever. I’m thinking he will continue to guide and grace you from on high when ever you may have questions…he will put the answers in your heart. God bless you and everyone who is going through this deep, heart rending loss. Aletheia Mystea

  124. Rita Says:

    I am so sorry to the Pets Alive family for your tremendous loss. I had the awesome opportunity to meet Pat the day our family grew larger with Danner’s adoption. Upon going to Pet’s Alive that day my children and I were immediately greeted by Pat. He remained with us for our interview and what I found amazing is he took every opportunity to educate me and my children on behavior with patience and grace. When we got Danner home I would love to say it was a honeymoon, but Danner needed to make his place. Pat called often and offered to come here on his personal time to make sure Danner was fitting in and behaving. On one occasion, I was frightened by a recent behavior, and within moments of following Pat’s instruction, Danner listened. It has become common in our home to say, “Do what Pat said”. It is readily apparent that the animal community has lost an amazing advocate, behaviorist and friend. My condolences go out to all of you, the people blessed to know and love him, at this difficult time.

  125. Toni Says:

    The world was indeed a better place for animals & humans with Pat in it.
    Thank you Pat for understanding animals in need.
    Thank you for helping us mere humans to understand them & their needs.
    Thank you for patiently answering the questions i asked, even if they seemed like no-brainers.
    And personally id like to thank you most of all for Cam.

  126. Lori van Handel Says:

    I extend my heartfelt condolences to the whole “family” of Pets Alive: staff, critters, friends. I met Pat the Friday before he died, late in the afternoon, when I came to Middletown to find a lifetime canine companion. After driving 2.5 hours to get there, I was happy to meet everyone, and Pat spent a great deal of time, talking with me, walking with me and my dog Archer and our hopeful new friend. He was kind and knowledgeable, caring and compassionate and confident. After we had spent time in the cat house, cat-testing our friend, I said to him: “I really feel like we have met before!” That is how he made everyone feel, it seems having read about him here and elsewhere. I am saddened beyond belief at his loss, as some have said, especially for the four-leggeds who will never have had the chance to be blessed and charmed by him, and more importantly for the role he would play in making the perfect match for many people who needed his guidance. My dogs, past the rainbow bridge: Bridget, Bootsie, Muffin, Callisto, Midas, Chili and especially Ajax are with him now, and I can tell you how happy they are. Rest in Peace. Thank you for your kindness and courage. I will not soon forget our afternoon walk in the twilight…

  127. Lauren Reggio Says:

    So sorry to hear of Pat’s passing. Not many of us in this life can say they have found what their lifes purpose was. Pat did. So gratefully he found a way to make a difference. In the human lives he touched but so importantly, the four legged friends whose lives he changed. Rest in Peace Pat. You were loved.

  128. Teri and the cats of Curlz and Swirlz Says:

    Reading over everyone’s remembrances of their time around this special man, made me sad that I never got to meet him, but what a gift he was to both humans and animals…He did make a difference in the lives of everyone he met…Fly Free, Pat…

  129. Art Comisky Says:

    Dear Pat,

    Thank you for being my friend over at Pets Alive.
    Thank you for all you taught me about doggies.
    Thank you for your patience, kindness and understanding.

    A Poem For You:

    In Memory of Pat Whitacre


    I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one………..
    I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
    I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
    of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
    I’d like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun
    of happy memories that I leave when life is done.

    Rest In Peace my friend

  130. Helga Silverstein Says:

    To the Staff and all animal souls at pets alive, I am so deeply sadened at the loss of such an exeptional human being. There is a saying that says “the good die young”. how so ironic.. Though I have never met Pat, but how he managed to relate to HIS dogs and all around him makes him a hero and life safer to so many. He lefft an emty spot that can’t be filled. God had other plans for him and may he find peace in this big garage up in haven. So, so sorry for your loss.

  131. Janice Says:

    I am so terribly sorry for the loss of a wonderful man. But keep him in your heart and he will be there forever. Such a sad loss for the pets and pets alive team. God Bless

  132. Betty mcdonald Says:

    I did not meet Pat personally but saw him at BF and he was in my living room weekly through Dogtown series. I am so sad…thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

  133. abbi Says:

    I never met him either but knew of him and the tributes to him are wonderful. I’m learning things about dogs in the tips others share just in reading which shows his legacy will continue to live on as well.

  134. Aileen Says:

    I’m sure that I am not adding anything that hasn’t already been said about Pat but feel compelled to leave a note. I was blessed to work with Pat for awhile. His gentleness, kindness and patience are legendary. He was close as to an angel as I think you can get.

    Maybe that’s why we lost him. We all know, there are a lot of dogs in heaven. I guess heaven needed another angel to shepherd all those special souls.

  135. Cary Dickey Says:

    Pat was the best. I was fortunate to have the privilege to work with him. His training techniques were simple and basic—and they produced positive results. He was always there for me when I had a problem training a particular dog. Most of all, Pat was a great dog training teacher. I will miss him!

  136. Sarah Ratliff Says:

    This is very shocking news! I met Pat only once. My husband and I live a few miles up the road from Pets Alive Puerto Rico. Joy and Ken invited us over, along with other friends of theirs to meet Pat as he was staying at the PAPR sanctuary so they could have a little vacation.

    We both found him to be kind, gentle, learned, comfortable in any setting, very non-judgmental, and someone whom, under other circumstances (perhaps if he lived on Puerto Rico), that we would makes with.

    In the few hours we got to know him, he touched us both. All the things written in this blog echo what our impressions were of him. We didn’t know him like all of you, but we would like to have. It is completely understandable why he will be so terribly missed.

    I am very sorry for your loss, to all who knew and loved him. It really sounds like you lost a kind and gentle soul. I hope he went peacefully.

    Paul and Sarah
    Utuado, Puerto Rico

  137. Lynn Hazlewood Says:

    I regret I never met Pat, but we spoke on the phone when I needed help with Jasmine and Tulip and I wrote down what he told me — simple, wise and insightful advice. He was obviously a very special man and his sudden death has saddened me far more deeply that I’d have imagined. I, too, want to thank him on behalf of Cam, and all the other troubled dogs whose lives he saved.

  138. Kerry Clair Says:

    Just an FYI if you did not see it that Pat’s memorial service will be held this Sunday Feb 3, 2013 at 1:30 pm at the Church of the Infant Savior, 22 Holland Ave, Pine Bush, NY.

    We hope that you all will come and pay respects to Pat.

  139. Linda Smigelski Says:

    What a bautiful and caring person! Surely he will be missed by many two legged and four legged creatures….God rest his soul and all the animals that he has loved and taken under his wing.

  140. Jonathan Levine Says:

    I just learned about the untimely passing of Pat Whitacre. Although I did not have the privilege of knowing him personally, I appreciated all of the work he did with the dogs at Best Friends and Pets Alive. As I read the testimonials of those who knew him, it’s become clear to me that not only was he an honorable human being through his work with troubled dogs; he was a wonderful person all around. RIP Mr. Whitacre.

  141. Susan Says:

    I never met Pat but yet I feel that I have in many ways. His presence was enormous in all his wonderful acts of kindness and compassion with animals as well as people. He will always be “present” because someone with such a gift as he had will live on forever.

  142. Bev E. Says:

    What a wonderful tribute. While I never met Pat, I watched every episode of Dogtown, and would also see him working with his beloved dogs when I volunteered at Best Friends.
    There are very few people who affect the lives of so many (human and animal) as Pat did. While his time with us was way too short, he made the most of the time he was given. He leaves an amazing legacy.

  143. Joan Stone Says:

    I met Pat when I volunteered with a bunch of Best Friends employees at Pets Alive in the spring of 2006. I was enthusiastic and curious about everything and so in awe of the people who dedicated their lives to working with animals. Pat very generosly allowed me to participate in the canine evaluations and was extremely patient with my unending stream of questions. Although I only met Pat during this one trip, he made a big impression on me. RIP Pat and thank you for all you did for the animals.

  144. Kathy Hirsh Says:

    I just found out about the passing of Pat and am saddened by this news. I met him on a tour of Best Friends and was fascinated by his way with a dog I had sponsored. R.I.P.

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