October 3rd, 2017 we fulfilled our promise to Miss Daisy at the age of 11 years old after being treated for congestive heart failure for nearly a year.
We rescued Miss Daisy, formerly Applejack, from Carson Shelter on February 11th, 2015. She was being overlooked because she had a large inguinal hernia which we repaired twice upon rescue. Once she was feeling better she was included on daily walks, long naps on the biggest beds, and homemade food!
Her mom reflects, "She had not been doing well and after a particularly difficult night, I called my vet and made an appointment. After evaluating her (a requirement at his practice), he agreed it was her time.
Miss Daisy was a little spitfire. She was opinionated and let you know how she felt. Early in her time with me, I gave her a little appetizer snack before her meal. After the measly portion, she walked over to her food mat and peed on it! I recall thinking how cat-like that was. When I adopted a new dog some years ago, one of my cats pooped on the garage floor in protest. That's what cats do. Miss Daisy was commenting on the measly food portion by peeing on her food mat. She did it only once as she realized that it was simply an appetizer and the meal came soon after.
She hated getting wet and it took her quite some time to enjoy our beach outings. She even got to the point where she would dip her paws in the water though that's as far as she would go - toes only. She loved riding in the truck - high in her booster seat perch and able to see all the sights. I took her on all sorts of errands which she loved.
She got out daily in her stroller - another activity she enjoyed. She was a hit with all the dog walkers in the park. A number of people would stop us to give the little Miss a pat on the head. In her early days she could make a good portion of the walk before needing to be put in the stroller. I knew when it was time as the opinionated little Miss would simply sit down and not walk another step.
Every morning during harness leash-up time, I would kneel down to get her harness on and she would lay her head on my knee for pettings. Before she became so bloated she had a habit of throwing herself on the floor in front of me for belly rubs. She was so adorable. I like to think I gave her the best last years of her life. It makes her loss a little easier to bear."
The photos tell the story of Miss Daisy's time as a Frosted Face in a way that we hope they all are cherished. Thank you to Moira Mahony for making Miss Daisy and her happiness a priority unconditionally. Thank you to Amber Tkach and Faith Manno Balsier for being Miss Daisy's dedicated monthly sponsoring Fans.
We love you, sweetheart.
On October 5th, 2017 we fulfilled our promise to Finnegan and his mom tells his story with neat detail.
"Oh Finnegan. We went through a lot together, but this is the hardest. Rest in Peace, my sweet boy.
Finnegan, Finnie, Finn, The Finster, Finn Man, Finnegan BeginAgain . . . My Finn passed away peacefully on October 5, 2017, just 4 days short of his 3rd Frostiversary. Five months after he joined our family, Finnegan was diagnosed with insulinoma and given 6-9 months. But he wasn’t going to have any of that, no sir. He had a family now, and he wasn’t giving us up so soon! Together we celebrated 3 Christmases, 3 Frosted Faces Foundation Anniversary parties, 3 Halloweens, 2 Frostiversaries, and so much more.
Finnegan loved his food and treats. A favorite was watermelon, oh and sardines, and then there were . . . well, you know, there wasn’t much he didn’t love. Finn was a pretty mellow boy once the hormones after neutering left his system (he was a bit of a “hound dog” those first 10 days!). Finnegan enjoyed sunning on the patio, neighborhood walks, car rides, snuggling (especially on movie days), but only tolerated “dressing up”. After putting a sweater on him, or a Santa hat, or a Halloween costume, or his Frostiversary finery, he always gave me that look that said, “You know I’m only doing this because you love it so much, Mom.” Yet he was ok with the Green Bay Packers scarf. A tribute to Kelly and Andy, I’m sure!
Thank you Kelly Smíšek and Andy Smíšek for making Finnegan a Frosted Face on October 9, 2014. He has been the joy of my life. Finnegan’s two fans from Day 1, his Auntie Glenda Edwards and Auntie Kim Salt, were devoted to him. Thank you both for loving Finn so very much. And thank you to all of Finnie’s Aunties and Uncles in our Frosted Faces Families. Our FFFamilies give “Family” a whole new meaning.
Run free, my Finnegan. I will always love you. Until we meet again . . ."
Like I told Gail upon Finn's passing, I think I will always feel like he is out there being loved. Finnegan was one of our first Frosted Faces and to imagine him aged and gone is not easy to wrap my heart around. We could always count on Gail to invest her whole self into his care- thank you Gail Shirley for the life you offered Finnegan and all of your support through time, recruiting new families, and donations to spread our work.
We love you, Finnegan.
On October 9th, 2017 we fulfilled our promise to 12 year old Sunshine after battling liver disease.
We rescued Sunshine on October 1st, 2015 from Carson Shelter. His mom struggled to find the words this week to embody Sunshine's time with her, and she describes why:
"Sunshine touched our lives in such a deep yet quiet kind of a way that's hard to describe. He was just there, quiet and often in the background, being happy, and always looking for me and happy to get some love and attention in between long naps. How do you describe a perfect restful peaceful day - nothing happens to mention yet it's quietly the best day ever. That was Sunshine."
To Jim and Suzanne Wagner, thank you for giving Sunshine the best of his life. Thank you to Cherylynn Miykeilah Roberts for being his dedicated monthly sponsoring Fan.
We love you, Sunshine.
Pepper passed away on October 10th, 2017.
We rescued Pepper from Apple Valley Shelter on September 1st, 2017. About three weeks ago he was bleeding internally and after extensive diagnostics and an exploratory surgery we learned that he had a mass inside his abdominal wall and an enlarged liver that was inoperable. After 6 days of hospitalization and not eating, we were faced with the decision to euthanize him. We waited one more day in light of the heartache of Frosted Face Patton's death, and sure enough, day 7 he ate!
We discharged him and never looked back! He was back to performing tricks, climbing into laps, and following everyone everywhere. Knowing he had a terminal prognosis, we opted for him to stay at FFF which is occupied 24/7 by people who show up JUST to enjoy dogs- dogs like Pepper! Pepper had about 20 different Mommies and Daddies and he played his "I'm dying card" at all opportunities, although I know not one volunteer would say he appeared to be suffering and may have even guessed he was fooling all of us.
Everyone was so happy to see him eating that he got unlimited treats, he ate rotisserie chicken for every meal for fear he would decline a meal if we tried anything else. Pepper ruled the FFF lobby and climbed into open laps. He didn't just sit in your lap, but even as he occupied it, he pawed at your arm. I interpret this as his way of begging us to live in the moment because there were so few left. He went to wineries, out for Mexican, on lots of walks, we took him home at night where he watched movies while sneaking scraps, and he slept in bed with us beside our dog selective pittie, Sawyer, who welcomed him to the club of few.
Most notably, Pepper went to the Pumpkin Patch on Sunday with volunteers, the day before he declined. And there it is...
Isn't it so special that Pepper allowed so many people the opportunity to go through the really enjoyable and truly the hardest part of what we do? I think he reminded the volunteers of the value of their work on site at FFF. They offered hope, they gave him undivided special attention, and most importantly, they showed up for him when he could have had no one. These are good people who as promised, helped us to host happiness.
"Pepper was my 1st freedom bath...dreads and all! But those beautiful big smart eyes! I fell in love with this little man instantly! He was my little shadow everytime I came to help. Little snuggles and soft kisses! So glad I got to squeeze him one last time. Pepper you were a strong brave doggie and I will love you always!"
~Mama Tammy Larson, Volunteer
"I was doing laundry at HQ and turned around and there was Pepper looking for attention. I sat down on the floor for a few minutes to scratch his ears and talk to him. He laid down on the floor near me while I folded laundry, getting a few more ear scratches before I left. He was such a sweet loving boy.
Don't we wish he had more time to know love..."
~Mama Sue King, Volunteer
"I didn’t get to meet Pepper, but I was invested from the start, like so many of us - rooting him on to eat just one more bite. I’m so happy he had some time to experience the good life. It was a tough decision from day one, whether to give him a chance or let him go out of compassion. I’m so happy you chose to give him the chance. Even though his time was short, it mattered."
~Mama Celeste Leander, Application Screener
"😭 I'm going to miss this guy so much! He spent the weekend with me and helped watch over Maverick as he recovered from surgery. Such a good little dude with the cutest little face. Rest in piece my little buddy, may there be unlimited chicken and hot dogs in heaven ❤️❤️"
~Papa Neil Jarvey, Volunteer
"My heart breaks..."
~Mama Kris Valverde, Volunteer
" I think about when I was sitting in Pepper's kennel the first day I met him trying to get him to eat something, anything. Fast forward to last Friday where he was tootling around with his dog friends, tail wagging, eyes bright, practically grabbing chicken out another volunteers hand. Endless supplies of it in heaven for you, Pepper. 💜"
~Mama Angela Gunnett, Volunteer
Thank you to Kelly Wilner for being Pepper's dedicated monthly sponsoring Fan. Pepper, from your whole FFF Family, we love you and we will miss you dearly. Thank you for coming into our lives and fighting oh so hard to hang on for us to enjoy you.
On Saturday, October 14th, we fulfilled our promise to Asher.
We rescued Asher on June 26th, 2017 from OC Shelter when he was scheduled for euthanasia because he was immobile and struggling to breathe. He arrived drenched in urine, tufts of loose fur, oil, and dirt all over him. We cleaned him up and willed him to live until his vet appointment in the morning.
Asher was diagnosed with laryngeal paralysis as a result of his vertebrae being completely fused in his neck from arthrtitis. We medicated with just about every pain medication and supplement in the book, and added the power of steroids. Asher became mobile through about the middle of August and his breathing normalized.
There are some dogs who once they lose mobility grow frustrated and wear the lack of dignity obviously on their furry faces. Asher always had the biggest smile as if he had just discovered ice cream saying, "These people will carry me around, wrap me in blankets, bring the water bowl to me, and entertain me with more bones than all of my friends! This is the life!"
What I loved about Asher is what he brought out in my husband, Andy. With each dog that passes through FFF I propose "keepers," and rational Andy declines. Even with a solid, more than capable foster offer on the table, Andy made the demand, "Get Ash off of Petfinder, he is ours!" The most laborious dog at FFF was the keeper. In a teasing tone, I never gave Asher a big enough bone, a soft enough blanket, a long enough bubble bath- only Andy could do it right for his boy and if he was on site he would gladly beat me to Asher duty.
Andy wanted to share his thoughts with you.
"The more of yourself you put into something, the more you love it. This is true for jobs, hobbies, relationships, and, of course, dogs.
Asher was only with us for a few months, but we loved him like we'd spent a lifetime with him. Despite his inabilities, he had that spark in his eye like he wasn't going to give up. We saw that and did our best to keep him happy because he still showed he wanted to be with us. I'm a sucker for the needy ones and, every time I heard his raspy bark from across the house, I'd go running to his call. He was saying 'I'm thirsty!' or 'I pooped!' or 'I'd really like more chicken, please!'
We worked hard for him and he deserved every bit of energy we put in, probably more. The reward was the satisfaction of seeing peace and happiness in his eyes. That, and the lizard tongue kisses. So many lizard tongue kisses."
This last week Asher said he was all done. Every person has their own philosophy about euthanasia based on personal experience, and I can tell you that for as many times as we have been through this, the timing and situations are never easy. Andy and I can make a dog last forever if he/she has the sparkle. We can carry them, clean them, cook and hand feed them, and take them on outings. It is quite literally our "day jobs." We need to be careful to evaluate each dog on an individual basis with the support of our vets. We invest ourselves in knowing each dog to understand what is best, as longevity is no contest without quality. What is understood is that every decision to treat or euthanize is made out of love. It is absolutely remarkable to us that Asher thought we were so cool that he wanted to hang out for as long as he did.
On Asher's last day we took him to the beach for a few hours. We floated him way out in the water so he could feel the weight off his tired bones. He was surprisingly relaxed and he loved it. We let him work on a bone while the wind evaporated our tears.
We love you, Ash.
We fulfilled our promise to 15 year old Finley on Tuesday, October 16th, 2017.
We rescued Finley from Baldwin Park Shelter on July 7th, 2017 after he was surrendered by how owners. This was a decision I would have happily passed off the burden of and I will tell you why.
When we rescued Finley networkers claimed he did not have eyes. Once we groomed him and vetted him, of course he had eyes, but they had such terrible ulcers from entropion that they were crusted shut. We treated the ulcers and kept his eyes clear the best we could. Finley ate well always in spite of his rotten teeth, and welcomed being held. He had horrendous spondylosis in combination with his blindness causing his head to always hang low. We would witness him lose his balance frequently and fall while wandering the lobby and turning wide circles.
Finley was lucky enough to land a foster home for a few weeks where he received excellent care, but the time commitment of a new job left his foster feeling like she could not provide for Finley as he required. With no new prospects we continued to cook for Finley, change his diapers, and tuck him in each night as our own dog. It seemed to us as though he had dementia, but it was oh so hard to tell based on his posture which could have been from lack of vision, and because we could not see the personality in his damaged eyes, and he could not hear. I just wanted to see a little bit of light left.
A positive thing I would like to share is that Finley loved food. We arranged snuffle mats and a flip board in his bedroom and loaded them with soft treats. They were always gone by morning!
We started to see that he was pawing at his eyes frequently which told us they were painful, so I scheduled the most ridiculous appointment (in my opinion) to date. Finley was going to go in for a quality of life exam and we were either going to perform dental surgery and eye enucleation, or put him to sleep.
Our vets agreed it was very difficult to interpret whether Finley was "in there" with his other impairments. It did not seem humane to put him through such a major surgery not clearly understanding his quality of life, but what we did know for sure is that he was in pain. We made the decision to put Finley to sleep.
I think what is hard for me to cope with is that our philosophy is to even let dementia dogs keep on so long as they are not distressed from the condition. He could have kept on had he not been in pain. At the same time, had we proof he was bright, we could have performed the surgery. I have to believe, that with our experience, if still after three months we could not determine Finley's mental state, that he was declining and that although not yet in a state of distress, he was in pain, and we made the right decision. Too, perhaps his owners relinquished him because they saw this decline knowing how he was before, and this also cushions this decision.
Here are a few photos I love where we caught him with his head up, which always meant a "good day!"
Thank you to all of the volunteers who spent time bathing, hand feeding, holding, and changing the diapers of Finley. Thank you to Laura Lechnerand an anonymous donor for being Finley's dedicated monthly sponsoring Fans.
We love you, Finley.