Archives for Tributes category

Dr. Paul Johnson awarded Starfish Award at the Pets Alive 2013 Fur Ball

The Starfish Award:
Paul Johnson DVM

pjdvmEach year Pets Alive bestows our “Starfish Award”. The “starfish” award is so named because of an old parable:

One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir.”

The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”

The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “It made a difference to that one!”

We find great similarity between what we do and that ancient story. As a result, our most prestigious award each year is called The Starfish Award and is given to someone who understands and exhibits how each person can make an impact on the lives of animals, and how one person can impact thousands. Starfish recipients go far and above what is expected. They make a BIG impact for animals AND a BIG impact for Pets Alive. This year it is with great respect and appreciation that we present this year’s Starfish award to Paul Johnson, DVM.

drjohnsonDr. Johnson is a man of character and principal, with a generous heart and a kind nature. He runs his own veterinary practice full time, plus he is a volunteer at Pets Alive and many other organizations, including the Middletown Humane Society and the Port Jervis/DeerPark Humane Society. The good doctor has only two days off per week. What does he do on those days? On both of his days “off”, Dr. Johnson can be found at Pets Alive in Middletown, volunteering his services. He walks through the animal care rooms, making notes as he goes, examining and treating sick animals, giving vaccinations. He treats each animal with kindness and compassion. He compliments the things we are doing well, and makes recommendations when he sees something we could do better. He offers advice and help as needed, and always with a positive attitude and kind manner.

In his practice, Dr. Johnson can always be counted on to squeeze our emergency animals into his busy schedule at a moments notice – and he offers us a discount on all of his veterinary services! Dr. Johnson has taken elderly dogs back to his office and given them laser therapy to ease their arthritis and aches and pains, and many of our dogs and horses have benefited from Dr. Johnson’s chiropractic treatments.

pauljohnsonIn addition to giving so generously of his time and expertise to the animals at Pets Alive, Dr. Johnson stood side by side with us throughout the year as we fought battles in defense of animals. At a local town meeting, Pets Alive fought a proposed ban on feeding stray and feral cats. Dr. Johnson not only showed up at the meeting, but stood up and spoke in defense of feral cats. When Pets Alive offered to help the town by managing a trap/neuter/return (TNR) program for these cats, Dr. Johnson stepped up and altered the first 50 cats completely free of charge! To date, we have trapped and altered over 125 cats for the City of Middletown and Town of Wallkill. Dr. Johnson continues to alter all the feral cats at a huge discount, and we suspect he doesn’t make any profit at all from these surgeries.
Dr. Johnson voluntarily gave us his cell phone number (no really!) , and you can’t even begin to imagine how often we text him at all hours of the day or night to ask for help or advice about an animal! Dr. Johnson has never once let us down. He is ALWAYS there for us. He has NEVER turned us away. He has gone far and above what is expected. He has made a BIG impact on animals and a BIG impact on Pets Alive.

For that, and for all you continue to do for us all, we commend you Dr. Johnson. We respect you, we appreciate you….and we give to you the only thing we can give you. Our gratitude and our highest award.

Filed in Tributes by kerry on Jun 04, 2013.  There are 0 comments.  

Dottsie Perez awarded VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR award at the Pets Alive 2013 Fur Ball

dotsieDottsie Perez is someone that you meet once and you don’t forget. We have all witnessed again and again a woman that doesn’t ever stop doing all she can to help find animals homes.

Dottsie took on the role of Volunteer Coordinator at Pets Alive three years ago. In that time, she has developed an offsite team of dedicated volunteers to bring dogs to events for adoption. She has also developed an amazing orientation team of volunteers who teach new volunteers all about Pets Alive. She has developed and has been the driving force for several fund raisers over the years. Dottsie’s passion for animal rescue has been an inspiration to many others. Her dedication for animals in need filters through all of the work that she does to enable them to find homes. This would not be a suitable tribute to this amazing woman without stating that her love and passion for pit bull rescue has resulted with many finding wonderful homes as well. Not only does she dedicate so much time to Pets Alive and animal rescue and advocacy, but she also works a full time job, has animals of her own as well as a husband and family to care for. But none of that keeps her away from Pets Alive. She truly loves the organization and the animals and she puts her heart and soul into everything she does.

Dottsie, we are so grateful to have you as a part of the Pets Alive family. The animals are incredibly lucky to have your love and compassion. You truly are an angel for them. So many have gone to homes because of all the efforts you have put forth to make it happen. That’s who you are though. That’s what you do. We are eternally grateful for your love and passion for animal rescue. You have a driving force within you that will not ever stop until every animal that ever comes through the doors at Pets Alive finds a loving home. We want you to know how much you are loved. The same way the animals love you. You have an amazing heart and we are very grateful to have you in our lives. From the Pets Alive family, we thank you.

Filed in Tributes by kerry on Jun 04, 2013.  There are 0 comments.  

Spencer Roveto presented with the Kameron Jacobsen Award at the Pets Alive 2013 Fur Ball

The Kameron Jacobsen Award:
Spencer Roveto

Kameron Jacobsen was a 14 year old boy with a very loving and gentle nature. He was kind, giving, and generous. He volunteered with his family at Pets Alive and had a special bond with animals – his compassion truly made a difference in their lives. Kameron lost his life as the result of bullying by some of his contemporaries – bullying that was so relentless Kameron felt he could no longer live in such a world. We grieve along with Kameron’s family at this horrific loss.

This award was named for Kameron and is given by Pets Alive each year to publicly recognize a youth that acts as a positive example for other young people by exhibiting empathy and kindness toward animals and selflessness in helping those animals. Just as importantly, like Kameron, the recipients of this award extend those same qualities toward people – especially peers. Like Kameron, these are young men and women that we want others to look up to.

spencerThis year we are proud to announce the recipient of the Kameron Jacobsen award is Spencer Roveto.

Spencer is a junior volunteer with Pets Alive. He has shown a dedication, commitment, work ethic and responsibility toward all the animals at the sanctuary.

Last year he worked all summer, almost every day as a volunteer. Spencer worked in the kennel cleaning and feeding the dogs, he worked with the dog staff and helped care for and train the dogs. He not only cleaned kennels, but he filled waters, he scrubbed and filled pools, he fed and groomed dogs, he walked and helped train the dogs, he helped maintain the grounds, he painted, and mowed, and weed whacked, and helped in any way requested of him – even for those jobs that were not all that pleasant!

Spencer worked tirelessly to help our animals. He also listened and respected the training offered to him by the Pets Alive staff, he has helped to spread that knowledge to others and he is always courteous and polite to other volunteers or visitors at the sanctuary.

For that, and so much more, we are proud to present him with the Kameron Jacobsen award. Thank you Spencer, for all you have done, and continue to do for Pets Alive.

Filed in Tributes by kerry on Jun 04, 2013.  There are 0 comments.  

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.

patkaren

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.

patjeter

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.

patcalss

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.  

How Mikey found love

(Written by Pets Alive volunteer Monika Roosa)

Earlier this Spring, I had heard about a Rottweiler that was brought in to Pets Alive by the police a few nights before. He had been brought in on a snare pole because the police weren’t sure if he was aggressive and they needed to take the extra precaution. The dog had been tied to a tree with a cord and left on the side of the road with a dog bed by his side. He was completely emaciated and extremely lethargic.


20120624-082601.jpg
Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in Tributes by kerry on Jun 24, 2012.  There are 4 comments.  

In Honor of Butchie

(Written by Jen Taylor, Executive Director of Pets Alive Westchester)

I don’t typically write many blogs or personal view points. I am fortunate enough to have some of the most amazing animal welfare advocates I have ever met deeply and closely involved with Pets Alive and Pets Alive Westchester and they are an incredible voice for our organization and for the No Kill movement. I am always in awe of our President, Kerry Clair and animal rescuer John Sibley at how well they are able to convey a message, how they are able to create change through their words and how sincere they truly are in each and every post they write.

However there are times in which I feel it is also important to join them. I feel it’s important for our volunteers, our supporters, to feel intimately involved in everything we do. It’s is because of them, of YOU, that we are able to continue rescuing animals, rehabilitating them and helping them all find their forever homes. We are an organization of transparency. We hide nothing, we share everything. While we tend to focus on the positive aspects of our days, our weeks and our years – there are times in which we must also face the difficult, the hard and the unknown sides of animal rescue. The difficult situations are typically the ones that create the most questions, or misunderstanding. While at times it may appear that we (those employed within the organization) do not want to talk about it – I believe it really comes down to not wanting to overwhelm our supporters with the negative or sad things we must deal with. However occasionally it is appropriate to discuss these things openly so that we can all remain on the same page, with the same focus, saving animals. Treating, rehabbing, and rehoming animals.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in Tributes by kerry on Jun 21, 2012.  There are 10 comments.  

Kameron Jacobsen award recipient – Andrew Solimeno

Kameron Jacobsen was a 14 year old boy with a very loving and gentle nature. He was kind, giving, and generous. He volunteered with his family at Pets Alive, and had a special bond with animals – his compassion truly made a difference in their lives. Kameron lost his life as the result of bullying by some of his contemporaries – bullying that was so relentless Kameron felt he could no longer live in such a world. We grieve along with Kameron’s family at this horrific loss.

This award was named for Kameron and is given by Pets Alive each year to publicly recognize a youth that acts as a positive example for other young people by exhibiting empathy and kindness toward animals and selflessness in helping those animals. Just as importantly, like Kameron, the recipients of this award extend those same qualities toward people – especially peers. Like Kameron, these are young men and women that we want others to look up to.

This year we are proud to announce that Andrew Solimeno is the winner of the 2nd Annual Kameron Jacobsen Award. Andrew truly exemplifies the spirit of this award. He is a volunteer at Pets Alive who is giving of his time, his love, his compassion and his caring. He works with many of our dogs and is here each week to see what he can do to help us and to help them. He is always kind to other people and children on the property and goes out of his way to offer any assistance he can, or do any job that we need done. We are grateful that Andrew is a volunteer with Pets Alive and even more grateful that he is growing up with such compassion, love and empathy.

Congratulations Andrew and thank you for all you do to make the world a better place for animals and for people.

Filed in Tributes by kerry on Jun 04, 2012.  There are 2 comments.  

Pets Alive Annual Starfish award: Recipient – John Sibley

Each year Pets Alive bestows our “Starfish Award”.  The “starfish” award is so named because of an old parable:

One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one   by one.

Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”.

The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”

The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “It made a difference to that one!” 

We find great similarity between what we do, and that ancient story. As a result, our most prestigious award each year is called The Starfish Award and is given to someone who understands and exhibits how each person can make an impact on the lives of animals, and how one person can impact thousands.This year our award is given to John Sibley.

John does so much for animals each year, and so much for Pets Alive.
John takes our oldest and sickest dogs into his home to provide them hospice at the end of their lives.
He shows them love, affection and a “real life”.  He provides a care that they could not get, dying alone in a kennel run at a shelter. For that John has our undying gratitude and love, for when we fail to find an animal a home it weighs heavily on us all. The fact that they have John to care for them and see them through to the other side gives us all great comfort.

John is also an avid blogger. His animal blogs and writings about injustices involving animals, be it shelter systems, rescues, funding, or exposing issues to thousands of individuals – his blogs have gotten the attention of the ASPCA, HSUS, the CACC, and are     shared and reposted by thousands in the animal community. He has done so much to bring awareness to the issues that concern us all, and in effecting change to how animals are cared for and treated.

John has also done mass rescues with Pets Alive.  On his own time, and his own dime, he has flown to locations all across the country to help us assess situations and arrange to get the animals back to Pets Alive. He also often does transports from the city to Pets Alive and will go just about anywhere to pick up an animal and bring them to safety.

And even with a busy schedule and a house full of his own dogs to care for, every week John  makes it a point to spend  some quality time with the animals at Pets Alive.

He has truly changed the lives of many of the dogs in Westchester by matching them up in playgroups.  Most of those dogs had been labelled “dog aggressive” and had lived for many years with absolutely no interaction with other dogs. John put an end to  their lonely existence and enriched their lives tremendously.

To this end, and for so many more things we have no room to mention, John has our utmost respect and our eternal gratitude.Congratulations John and THANK YOU for all that you do for animals everywhere.

Filed in Tributes by kerry on Jun 03, 2012.  There are 9 comments.  

Kameron Jacobsen Youth Award & Memorial Garden

kamanddogThis year at the Pets Alive Annual Fur Ball (our most important fundraiser of the year), we awarded the very first annual Kameron Jacobsen Youth Award.

The award was in honor of 14 year old, Kam, who took his own life, after suffering intense peer bullying in his school and via social media.

I admit to being AWARE of bullying (and how heinous it was), but I was unaware exactly how prolific it was. How invasive. How viral, and how frequent, and often it occurs to children in this “new world”. I’ve watched as Wanda and Kevin and their family shattered and fell apart, and how they have been trying to rebuild themselves. I read the anguish in their posts online, and their reaching out to others, and their determination to make sure that Kam is never forgotten, and that people are aware of this insane epidemic that is attacking our children.  I can see how desperate they are to help save other people’s children and other families from going through this, or losing their children.

Read that word again.
CHILDREN.

Children today are such victims in so many ways.

I remember as a kid riding my bike miles and miles, all over Staten Island, all day long. Mom’s rule was that we had to be in at dusk. Can you imagine your seven year old out all day, on their bike, MILES from home (with their dog running alongside)?

No way.
Not a chance.
Today is a different world.

gardenchimesBut the very word “children” denotes an innocence. It brings up images in your heart of purity and even a naivety.

Children.

Little creatures that are out there in the world trying to make their way, trying to come out from under mom and dad’s wing and figure out a life for themselves.

Children.

Yet these same little innocents are not only targets of vicious attacks, – it is perpetrated by other “innocent” children.
I have spent many hours wondering if these kids that hurt others know what they do. Are their brains so under developed that they simply don’t get it?

How can such an evil lurk in a child, that they could do such harm and such damage to another, so the result is that the victim can think of no other way to stop the pain, humiliation, grief, and sadness of their little lives, than to snuff it out?

I didn’t know Kam really. I met him a handful of times, mostly in passing. I did know his mom though. She is one of the greatest people I know. A WONDERFUL mom. A giving person. A loving soul. A faithful and religious woman. I’ve spent many hours wondering how this could happen. The truth is, it could happen to ANYONE. I’ve seen through Wanda’s posts, the hundreds of parents that have lost their CHILDREN …CHILDREN…to suicide. Children. Little children.

The evil ones have such a market now.

Now you can knock a kid down, or slap his books out of his hands, and your friends can video it, and take pictures and it will be on facebook and in text messages to thousands of people, in seconds. It is truly a different world. And once out there, how does the victim, the CHILD, move past that horrific image of himself looking the fool, or looking silly, or put upon by his peers – other CHILDREN. Children. How does he get past ….perhaps the girl he likes…, seeing that and making a comment under the thread on Facebook?

My god.
How do they survive it?
The fact is, that many don’t.

I am begging you all to check your children’s FaceBook pages and their posts. Don’t say “my kid would never”. Don’t. Go see what they are doing, and if you find they are even participating in such a heinous thing, please, think about how you would feel if YOUR child was the victim. And stop it. Stop it in any way you can. Thinking of your child, no longer with you, and STOP IT. Because that is someone else’s beloved, and loved, and cherished little child. Make sure your own is not one of the ones that is aiding, abetting, helping, or even randomly commenting on such disgusting things. Please. Or if you think it is no big deal, then I challenge you to go to Wanda’s page and read her anguish. Listen to her screams and the echos of grief that this family will never completely recover from. And then take your child aside, sit them down and make sure they don’t get up again until you have made the point VERY VERY clear to them. Do you understand?  If so, then you are responsible for making your child understand and you can not, you may not, look the other way. These are our CHILDREN.

wandanikkiAnd so Pets Alive started the Kameron Jacobsen Youth Award. (KAM = Kindness Above Malice). And each year we will pick one CHILD that exemplifies the GOOD that CHILDREN can show to each other and the great things they can accomplish by being selfless and giving and KIND.

This year the award went to Nicole Bagley.

Nikki is a sweet little kid that I have grown to love a great deal. She is kind, and innocent, and giving, and generous of nature, and like Kam, she loves animals and wants to do good things for them. She is one of our best dog handlers and one of our best volunteers. She was well deserving of this award, and I hope she always has that innocence about her, and that kindness to others and to animals that she has now as a CHILD. A CHILD that is GOOD to other CHILDREN. I think that she will.

We wrote about the KAM award, and about Nikki, and we got an email from one of our long time supporters, MaryEllen R. She asked if she could drive the more than three hours to Pets Alive and plant a memorial garden for Kameron. I (after checking with Wanda) told MaryEllen yes! This week she came (with five other volunteers helping) and planted the most gorgeous garden. Rocks.. and chimes… and a bench … and an arbor… and beautiful plants. One of them is a bleeding heart plant. How appropriate. Bleeding heart. Surely there is a lot of those around right now Kam. Many bleeding hearts, grieving for who you would have been, who you once were, and who you still are to everyone.

kamharden2I asked MaryEllen why she would come all this way to do all this work and spend 10 hours in the dirt, in the 90 degree day to plant a garden for someone she didn’t know and never met. The answer – astonished me. MaryEllen has her own personal experience with this terrible stigma. Her son, is thankfully still alive, but MaryEllen said something like: “I knew that this could be me. Grieving for my son, and I cried, and I hurt, and I wanted to do something for this family”…and something for herself, maybe, I think. I think this is two families, touched by suicide, one with a hole burned right through their hearts, and another a hole that they are desperately trying to keep closed.

To both of these families I wish I knew something to say. I wish I knew the answer.
But honestly, I can’t even understand the question.
Can you?

kamsgarden

I will end this blog, with a speech that Kam’s dad, Kevin wrote in response to the Kameron Jacobsen Youth Award. I wish we had the time at the Fur Ball for him to do it publically, but I post it here so that it will be forever remembered.

kevinwandaAs a family we are so grateful to Pets Alive for honoring our son Kameron – in a way that genuinely remembers the kind of young man Kameron was. — By commemorating his legacy of compassion to others, we are humbled by this sincere tribute to his memory.

Whenever Wanda would foster a dog like Mufasa or Lulu, among others, — it was she who took on the responsibility — and gave them a comfortable and a healthy environment in which to thrive. She provided the all around well being of those dogs, but it was Kameron that took on what we believe — was a pivotal role in that rehabilitation. — With patience and loving perseverance –Kameron allowed those dogs to trust again to accept love , in some instances – from the innocence of a child for the first time.
Kameron enabled them to feel like they wanted to be part of a family — loved and respected – and all they wanted in return really, was to love someone back and HE showed them – that it was ok to do that.

Kameron embodied the mission of this sanctuary in its efforts to rescue – rehabilitate – and place animals into loving homes. We are so very proud of him and we miss Kameron very much. We are equally proud that Nikki has been chosen as the first recipient of this award for the tireless work she does and the energy and exuberance she brings here.

Nikki sets the bar high — and demonstrates the kind of excellence and attributes in youth that reinforces the notion -“That We cannot change the world by saving one dog….. BUT we can change the world for that ONE dog” .

Rest in peace Kameron.
You were but a little child.
You are so terribly missed in this big world.
We grieve for all that you would have been and how you could have changed the world.

Filed in Tributes by kerry on Jun 27, 2011.  There are 0 comments.  

Camp Tyler

Rob and Marisol in front of the new Camp Tyler gates

Camp Tyler Dedication

Thank you to everyone that came to the Camp Tyler Dedication and made it such a success. It was a beautiful, and poignant day.

We hope that you all enjoyed yourselves, were touched, and came to understand what Pets Alive is trying to accomplish and how much of it can go back to that “one little soul”.

Stay tuned for lots of updates about our new medical building and future plans for Pets Alive!

For a copy of the brochure from that day, please make a donation of $6.00 to help cover our expenses and we would be happy to mail you one.
(Make sure you note in the comments field that it is for the brochure).

If you would like to purchase a Camp Tyler t-shirt, please contact us at info@petsalive.com.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Camp Tyler it is a new area we built on the grounds of Pets Alive and it houses all our dogs during the nice weather. Each run is very spacious and contains a dog igloo, kuranda bed, pool and toys for each dog. All our dogs are paired up if they can get along with other animals so that what you see is dogs playing, romping and having a great time together. It is really a wonderful place and we really get great joy at being able to provide such housing for our dogs.  We call it a “camp” because that is how we consider this place.  A fun TEMPORARY placeforour dogs to live, on their way to their forever homes.  Like summer camp.

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/

So thank you all, for all your support in making Camp Tyler possible.

Filed in Tributes by kerry on Oct 22, 2010.  There are 0 comments.