1 Month

Today is one month since Margarita crossed over the rainbow bridge. The last month has brought so much pain, but also much comfort in seeing just how many other people love Sweet Reet. The thoughtful gestures and gifts presented to Brian and I not only have warmed our hearts, but also opened our eyes even more so to how blessed we are to have such a large support group – both near and far. I have been a wreck (to put it lightly) and Brian has been my rock despite his own sadness. I just could not find the words to write this morning, but then I saw the following posted on a friend’s page, which is pretty much spot-on for how I feel – and accurately describes Rita :

“We could live a thousand lifetimes and I’d like to think that I’d always find you, in every single one. And I hope one day I’ll have the words for that moment that we met. That kismet feeling like my subconscious had been looking for you my whole life without me knowing it. I recognized you instantly and I’ll never know how or why, but I’m so darned grateful you were mine. You changed my whole world. More than one could ever imagine. You were bigger than life. You still are I guess. My once in a lifetime. You just loved it all so much. You loved every single moment of this life. Every person, animal, all of it. You appreciated life in a way I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. You were a miracle, and i know that sounds so ridiculous, but there’s no question, it’s just what you were in the most subtle and humble of ways. You had a life. You got to live. That was the miracle. And I’ll never stop being grateful for that, for our [5] years together, but I hate that you’re gone now. I hate it so much. I don’t want to do any of this without my [girl]. I just don’t want to. But I’m glad you’re healthy again somewhere. I’m glad you’re finally free. But I wish you could have stayed. More than anything I wish you could have stayed.” ~Author Unknown


The photo posted is my all time favorite picture of Margarita. I’m not sure why… I have many better pictures of her….It wasn’t taken at any special event, her piggy nose is out of focus…yet for some reason – it has always been my work email profile pic, my Apple Watch background photo, my phone wallpaper, the photo I choose of her for everything … Maybe it was just the way she was looking at me – or maybe it was because it was taken soon after I met her … soon after my life changed forever.💖

Señorita Margarita 4/4/2010 ~ 6/12/2021

Today Heaven became even more beautiful…as the most special angel has arrived.

This morning, much sooner than expected, Margarita lost her battle with liver cancer. Just a few minutes after she woke up, she had a seizure while getting a drink at the water bowl in the camper. In addition, her abdomen looked to be distended and her gums were pale. A phone conversation with our veterinarian, Dr. Campbell confirmed what we had suspected- the mass on her liver most likely had ruptured. 

Luckily there was an emergency veterinary hospital 10 minutes from the competition. By the time we reached the ER, Margarita was having trouble breathing. An ultrasound confirmed that she had internal bleeding. Dr. Campbell spoke to the ER doctor and agreed it was time to help Rita cross the rainbow bridge. Brian and I held her in our arms until the very end.

I am grateful that Brian and I were there with Rita when she had the seizure, we were able to go into the emergency animal hospital, and that we were able to be with her until she passed, kissing her and hugging her- telling her how much she was loved and thanking her for all she has done for us and all the love she has shown to us. We are fortunate and thankful to have a veterinarian who is always there for us and our pack no matter how far away we are. 

The Emergency hospital offered to ship Rita’s remains to us in NJ. As much as I appreciated that, I will be driving or flying back to OH when Rita is ready to return to us  – to bring her back to our family. 

Brian and I were beyond blessed that Margarita chose us as her forever family. Margarita changed my life and taught me so much. The connection her and I shared was like no other and although I will cherish that bond forever, I will be lost without her. 

Señorita Margarita is reunited with the love of her life – her fiancé and fellow Pointer, Mr. Spock. I know in my heart Spock was waiting with flowers for her (as he always did) at the other side of the rainbow bridge. 

Words cannot begin to describe the devastation and pain of Margarita’s passing. Five years was nowhere near enough time with her. It has been comforting to be surrounded by our dock dogs family.

REETired

It is with mixed emotions that I announce Margarita’s early retirement from Therapy Dog work. It has been decided that it is not in Margarita’s best health interest for her to receive vaccinations. Recently, her rabies titer test revealed she no longer has immunity and would require a rabies booster. Her Therapy Dog registration can not be renewed without a rabies vaccination.

Although I am saddened that she cannot carry on with official Therapy Dog visits, I’m thrilled that she can to continue to be actively involved in our online math lessons with my students for the remainder of this school year. 

In the last 4 years, Sweet Reet has formed a bond with so many individuals. In hospital and retirement home settings, she provided much comfort to the elderly. Within the school setting, she has improved students’ success socially, emotionally and cognitively. I am absolutely honored to have been a small part in the huge role she has played in making a remarkable difference in the lives of countless people of all ages. 

Some highlights from Margarita’s four years of Therapy Dog work:

  • initiated the therapy dog program in the Shamong Township School District as the district’s first Therapy Dog
  • featured in the Burlington County Times newspaper Not once …but twice!
  • participated on campus at Rowan College’s Mental Health Week event, while she helped enlighten students and staff on the positive benefits therapy dogs provide for students with depression and anxiety
  • attended YMCA Camp Ockanickon with sixth graders 
  • appeared on Action news 
  • had her very own district-approved Google Classroom
  • featured in “School Leader” – the official publication of the NJ School Boards Association 
  • participated in a 2021 Burlington County, NJ Board of Education Director’s Meeting explaining the benefits of a Therapy Dog Program in a school setting and how she was able to engage students during remote learning (Click HERE to see her slideshow)

Of all the adventures our dogs have taken me on, this — 𝘣𝘺 𝘧𝘢𝘳 — has been the most rewarding of all. I am beyond grateful to have witnessed the significant and lasting impressions Rita has made in the lives of those she visited – both in person and virtually.

In her retirement, we will attempt to accomplish the last two items of her lymphoma Adventure List. Beyond that, you’ll find her lounging on the dock, GLAMping, and visiting outdoor wineries and breweries. 

#REETired 

Shamong Township Therapy Dog Photos from Pre-Covid In-person Teaching:

Coloring pages made from photos of Rita with students:

Remote Teaching with Rita:

Virtual School Spirit Days

Shamong Township School District Staff Yearbook Photo:

Rita’s Virtual Classroom:

Financial Support for Veterinary Care

If you have a fur-kid there may come a time when you will need to pay for a pretty hefty veterinary medical bill. If you have insurance for your 4-legged child, it can help cover some of the costs. But there may come a time when a a fur-child’s medical emergency or illness will exceed your financial resources. When this type of situation arises, often PAWrents are faced with a difficult choice. If you find yourself in a tough financial predicament, here are some resources you can reach out to for help.

  1. Boo tiki fund : Aims to keep animals in their forever homes by providing  crisis medical care when owners are unable to pay
  2. Credit Cards for Veterinary Care: Many veterinary hospitals do not take payment plans. One of these cards may be a solution if you are not able to afford the whole cost of treatment. Please note that your veterinarian must offer the service of accepting this type of payment.
  3. RedRover.org : provides support to help care for animals in life-threatening situations . They also provide assistance to victims of domestic violence to help them escape abusive environments with their pets. Additionally, they have a program that helps with disaster relief, criminal seizures, and hoarding cases.
  4. The Pet Fund : a national nonprofit dedicated to funding veterinary care for those who could not afford it.
  5. Harley’s Hope Foundation : Financial assistance is offered to assist with major or emergency veterinary care and behavioral or specialty training.
  6. Brown Dog Foundation : This organization is dedicated to helping families who find themselves in a temporary financial crisis at the same time their pet requires life-saving treatment or life-sustaining medications. They work with the clinic and the family to find the best, most affordable path to saving the animal and help bridge the gap of the veterinary bill.
  7. Shakespeare Animal Fund : helps elderly, disabled and those whose total income does not exceed the current poverty guidelines to obtain emergency pet care.
  8. The Onyx & Breezy Foundation : privately run nonprofit that started in memory of the founder’s dogs.  This foundation helps to provide emergency medical care to animals whose owners have fallen on hard times.
  9. Handicapped Pets Foundation : a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation dedicated to the health and well-being of elderly, disabled, and injured pets. They also donate mobility equipment to pets in need.
  10. Dog-Breed Specific Support : There are many associations that support specific dog breeds. Reach out to your local breed clubs for information on local, state and national groups involved in dog breed-specific veterinary care assistance programs. Below are a couple of examples:
  11. Disease Specific Support : There are groups that help with specific canine diseases. Below are just a few examples:
  12. Working Dogs / Service Dog Support : Some programs and organizations provide veterinary care assistance for service animals, such as:
  13. Dogs and Other Unsolicited Advice Foundation : a non-profit that was created to support and guide qualified applicants through emotional times with financial relief in the form of partial or complete payment of covered services.

Keep in mind the groups listed in this post are just suggested starting points to help PAWrents who find themselves in an emergency medical situation. There are many other local and national groups or organizations that may be able to assist, or who may be able to point you in the right direction. Even if the group or organization you contact cannot help, they may know of a low-cost vet clinic and/or possible solutions for financial assistance.

If you are looking for low-cost general veterinary care, Veterinary associations, veterinary schools, rescue organizations, and local animal shelters may be able to help you locate facilities and groups who offer low cost-spay/neuter and vaccinations.

Mother’s Day 2020

🐶The Snuggle is Real! 🐶

Being a mother doesn’t mean being related to someone by blood. It means loving someone unconditionally and with all of your heart.
🐾💛💚❤️💖💜💙🐾
To all the dog moms out there who traded beauty sleep for dark circles, salon cuts for ponytails, long showers for quick clean-ups, late night parties for late night potty walks, sleeping-in for early morning face-licking-wake-ups, pedicures for PAWdicures, and designer bags for poop bags …

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mothers Day to all the Mamas out there!

Easter 2020

Happy Easter to all our peeps!

I tried to give up my siblings for Lent…but no one would take them! ~Limoncello
You can keep the eggs… I’m here for the chicks. ~ Hooch
What do you call a rabbit with fleas? Bugs Bunny! ~ Hooch
You must be an Easter egg because I’m “dyeing” to know you.” ~ Lager
Easter… the only time of of the year when it’s perfectly safe to put all of your eggs in one basket. ~Margarita
Some spread rumors that I’m a bad egg… but I don’t carrot what they say. 🥕
You must be the Easter Bunny because you’ve been hoppin’ around my mind all day. ~Porter
What do you call a mischievous egg? … A practical yolker. ~Porter

St. Patrick’s Day 2020

“May your troubles be less, your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door” ~Irish Blessing

When I count my blessings I count you twice. ~Margarita and Lager
There are good ships and wood ships, ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships…may they always be. ~Whiskey and Hooch
A good friend is like a four leaf clover…hard to find and lucky to have.
~Limoncello and Porter
What do you get when you cross poison ivy with a four leaf clover? A rash of good luck. ~Porter
Erin Go Bark. ~Whiskey
Get your Irish on! ~Margarita
Never iron a four leaf clover… you never want to press your luck. ~Limoncello
Warning! May be prone to shenanigans, hooliganism, and malarky! ~Hooch
Who needs luck… I have charm. ~Lager

Valentine’s Day 2020

Love is in the air… or is that bacon? 💝🤷🏼‍♀️🥓Same Difference! 😜

💚💝💛💙❤️💜
Sending you all a 6-pack full of love! Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m looking for a leash-free relationship ~Limoncello💛

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You must be my back-yard …Cuz I really dig you. ~Hooch💚

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Hey, Ladies! Are your paws tired? …‘Cause you’ve been running through my mind all day. ~Lager 🐾❤️

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Well here I am. What are your other 2 wishes? 🧞‍♂️✨~Margarita💖

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Will you o-FISH-ally be my Valentine? ~Whiskey💜(AKA Wish the Fish🐟)

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Is your name Google?….Because you have everything I’m searching for. ~Porter💙


Mother’s Day 2019

May 12, 2019

The Snuggle is real! Being a mother doesn’t mean being related to someone by blood. It means loving someone unconditionally and with all of your heart

…💛💚❤️💖💜💙 …

To all the dog moms out there who traded beauty sleep for dark circles, salon cuts for ponytails, long showers for quick clean-ups, late night parties for late night potty walks, sleeping-in for early morning face-licking-wake-ups, pedicures for PAWdicures, and designer bags for poop bags … Happy Mother’s Day! 🐾

Easter 2019

Happy Easter from the Lemons and the Livers!

The Lemons:

Lemon Pointers: Margarita, Porter (foster pup), and Whiskey

The Livers:

Liver GSPs: Lager, Limoncello, and Hooch

Our pups had a blast doing an Easter egg hunt on our camper during our Easter camping trip!

When We arrived home from our camping trip, the Easter Bunny had left a little something for Margarita and foster pup Porter!

We hope everyone had a wonderful Easter Sunday!

 

Valentine’s Day 2019

Valentine’s Day 2019

Brian and I are always trying to think of more ways we can help dogs in need. This Valentine’s Day Brian bought me a portable photography lighting kit and backdrop set. Not only will this be fun to use with our own pack, but the overall thought is that we could mesh one of my favorite activities (taking dog photos) and our biggest mutual passion (helping dogs in need). We plan to offer to take free photos of needy pups that shelters/rescues can use on social media in hopes to help some homeless pups find their forever families. …Now to figure out how to use the lighting correctly, learn how to shoot good indoor photos, and reach out to local shelters/rescues to see if they’d be interested!

Thank you,  Brian!

Christmas 2018 (Whiskey and Porter’s First)

Annual Christmas video 2018

 

Porter had a separate segment in addition to the above video because he was still our foster dog and we did a separate video for the rescue that just featured Porter.

This was both Whiskey and Porter’s first Christmas!

Porter left Santa some pizza and beer…way better than milk and cookies! Haha!

Merry Christmas from our pack to yours!

July 4th 2018

4th of July 2018 (Whiskey’s First!)

                                     Whiskey (then still “Wish” our foster pup)

 

Lilly’s Painting

Remember our Pointer Rescue, Org foster, Lilly ?

Well JJ Kelley, who drove a part of her transport from TN to NJ, painted her from a photo her new FURever family took of Lilly and her new Bro-fur!

JJ Kelley plans to sell her paintings, and donate 50% of sales price to various rescues, fosters, and other groups involved in rescuing pets!

You can see the full post here: Bluej Imagery & Art

Mother’s Day 2018

Being a mother doesn’t mean being related to someone by blood. It means loving someone unconditionally and with all of your heart…

To all the dog moms out there who trade beauty sleep for dark circles, salon cuts for ponytails, late night parties for late night potty walks, sleeping-in for early morning face-licking-wake-ups, pedicures for PAWdicures, and designer bags for poop bags …

Happy Dog Mom’s Day! 🐾

Amazon Influencer Program

We are proud to announce that we are now a part of the Amazon Influencer Program!

This program allows us to have our own page on Amazon with an exclusive URL to showcase the products that the pups and humans in our pack recommend to our followers! When Amazon customers shop through our storefront, we earn money on qualifying purchases.

We get asked very often about the things people see in our posts.  Now it’s even easier to compile and share items with our followers!

You can find a link to our Amazon page on the home page of our website, or by clicking HERE!

 

Halloween 2017

My 2017 Halloween Super Heroes!

Rita Goes to College!

Margarita had her “first day at college” with a great visit at Rowan College at Burlington County meeting students and staff in the Student Success Center for their Mental Health Week event, while she helped enlighten them on the positive benefits therapy dogs provide for students with depression and anxiety!

The event was sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa Chi lota Chapter and RCBC Student Support.

The first full week of October focused on increasing understanding of what mental illness feels like, so others can learn more about the wide range of symptoms experienced by those living with a mental illness.

In addition, the purpose of this week was to also reduce the misunderstanding and stigma associated with mental health conditions.

Blessing of the Animals at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church: Brick, NJ

This summer Margarita was blessed at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Brick, NJ!

All the animals waiting to be blessed:

Margarita waiting in the shade as the Pastor begins the ceremony:

Waiting in line to be blessed:

 

Getting blessed by the Pastor:

All the animal’s PAWrents also received a prayer square:

 

More Summer Bucket List Items Accomplished

Margarita visited Island State Beach Park where she checked of TWO 2017 Summer Bucket List items:

1.  Visiting a State Park

2.  Walking in the ocean

 

Entering the beach

Rita had fun taking a walk in the ocean for the first time!

My favorite photo from the day:

Tito’s: Vodka for Dog People!

This summer we were lucky enough to receive a pretty cool package in the mail – – Tito’s  Vodka bling!

Tito’s Handmade Vodka is made in batches using old-fashioned pot stills, is gluten-free, and distilled & bottled in Austin, TX.

They even have a  “Vodka for Dog People” program  – where their mission is to better the lives of pets and their families.

100% of the net proceeds from sales through their Vodka for Dog People web store go directly to support their non-profit partners  – and you get to choose which one non-profit you want to help!

Our pack thoroughly enjoyed their goodies from Tito’s!

 

Barnegat Lighthouse State Park

While checking-off a 2017 Summer Bucket List item, we were close enough to Barnegat Lighthouse to take an extra little drive and visit this NJ State Park.

Such a pretty lighthouse with an amazing view from the park!

Walking on the Beach

Margarita checked-off another 2017 Summer Bucket List item when we visited the dog Beach on Long Beach Island.

She even went into Barnegat Bay for the very first time (You can see Barnegat Light House across the Bay)!

Margarita had a blast retrieving her toy from the bay!

We had an amazing day!

 

First Baseball Game!

Margarita checked-off another Summer 2017 Bucket List item …  We attended a Lakewood Blue Claws game together!

On our way to the game:

Arriving at the Blue Claws  home stadium- First Energy Park:

Rita got her own “wrist” band for the game!

Finding our seats… we had a great view!

Watching the game with Pop:

Keeping cool during the game:

Margarita found a doggie friend, and didn’t want to leave his side!

Margarita enjoyed her first ball field hot dog !

Such a fun time!

First Canoe Ride!

Margarita’s Summer 2017 Bucket List item:  Take a ride in a canoe for the first time!

What a beautiful night ~ The sky was as pink as Rita’s life jacket!

We had a beautiful sunset, and a fun night out on our lake!

First Ice Cream Cone!

One of Margarita’s Summer 2017 Bucket List items was to enjoy her first ice cream cone!

We took her to the Sand Stand in Medford, NJ – I think she enjoyed it! Haha!