Personal News

Nothing animal shelter related here.

Just a note to touch base with everyone and to say I’m still here.  I’m not ready to return to blogging and honestly don’t know when or if I might be ready.  I’ve been struggling over the past year personally, professionally – basically all the –llys.  I was laid off from my job last month and so far, no prospects.  My Dad, whom I love dearly, died last week.  I would like to share the obituary I wrote for him because if you like me, you can thank my parents.  And you guys are my friends.

Milton Robert Thistlethwaite, 72, of Bristol, went 25 rounds with cancer, a top ranked opponent, finally landing a knock out punch on February 10, 2018. In attendance was an adoring crowd along with Marilyn Thistlethwaite, his beloved wife of 50 years and always present corner man. The crowd went wild as The Toughest Fighter in the Universe spectacularly achieved his long sought victory.


Anyone wishing to make a donation in memoriam might consider St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, CT. Oncology is on the 8th floor where they both treat patients in preparation for their return home as well as care for hospice patients and their families. They provided us a suite down the hall from my Dad’s room so that we could take turns sleeping in an actual bed, getting a shower, etc. I can’t say enough good things about the caring staff. And there was one volunteer team that brought us a few minutes of comfort during my Dad’s final days – a Golden Retriever named Rosie and her owner. I wish I had thought to snap a photo of her but I was busy kissing her face and getting kisses back from her.

I also would like to share a link to a GoFundMe I set up in hopes of being able to visit my Mom as often as possible now that she lives alone. If you are not in a position to donate financially, that is all right. I have relied upon the warmth and support of our YesBiscuit community many times over the years and it continues to help me now. So thank you for that.

in honor of rosie

An image I came across on Pinterest, in honor of Rosie and all the dogs who bring comfort to those in need.


Be Seeing You, Wendy

Wendy was diagnosed with kidney failure in May and, though she did very well all summer, she declined rapidly over the past week and it was time to let her go.  I held her in my lap as our vet gave her the injections and the last thing Wendy felt in this world was a kiss from Billy.  We only had her for 3 and a half years and wish it could have been much longer but we are so thankful for the time she was with us.

Wendy was a very calming presence in our home, so much that Billy sometimes called her Zendy.  She loved to eat and to sleep, which made us kindred spirits, and she was the only dog I’ve ever known to fake sleep by squeezing her eyes shut when she was clearly awake but didn’t want to be bothered in her bed.  I miss her dear heart already.

This snippet of her playing ball, taken earlier this year, makes me happy:


Be Seeing You, Surrey


Surrey in 2011 (Photo by Terri S.)

Surrey was about to give birth and on the kill list at the pound in Tipton Co, TN when I saw her photo in an email. With the help of area rescuers and several blog readers, we were able to welcome her home in SC in December 2011. She has been a very easy keeper and nearly without fault – just a few high speed tours of the neighborhood on the rare occasion she was able to manage an escape – but that’s not really a fault with beagles so much as a feature.

She has not been feeling well recently, then rallied for a few days, but then took a downward turn.  My vet worked her in as an emergency yesterday and determined her trachea and esophagus were being pushed to the side, likely by tumors.  This was why she was struggling to breathe and having difficulty swallowing.  Her blood work revealed more bad news and after some discussion, we accepted it was time to say goodbye to dear Surrey.

Surrey was the dog who greeted me at the door every day after work with her baying that she reserved for that occasion only.  Her love love love of food food! FOOD! made us kindred spirits.  She never felt entirely comfortable with physical affection though Billy made it his mission to bring her as far as he could, which she clearly enjoyed.  Although she never wanted to sleep on the bed with us, she did like to get into the recliner next to the bed.  I will miss seeing her sweet face there in the mornings.  And I will miss her silly quirks, such as going to the hinged side of the door, scratching, waiting for it to open.  She even did that in the exam room at the vet’s office last night, despite her poor state.

I wish we could have had more time with her but there are no regrets.  We were lucky to have had her these several years and I will always be grateful to everyone who helped make that happen.

Be Seeing You, Patty

Patty in 2013

Patty in 2013

We said goodbye to Patty today. She had been declining at a rapid pace recently and the vet determined she was riddled with cancer with no reasonable options for treatment. She was 9 years old.

Nicknamed Peanut Butter Patty because of her love of skillfully polishing the insides of peanut butter jars, she was very special to us. She never had a harsh word for anyone and despite being the former target of Linus’s aggression, she remained his only friend until her death. Patty vigilantly mourned at the graveside of each of our dogs as we buried them over the years. Today it is her turn to rest. We already miss her loving nature and kind heart. She was one of those dogs who make you want to be a better human.

Police Department in CT Leads by Example

Zeus, as pictured on Facebook.

Zeus, as pictured on Facebook.

There have been far too many tragic stories on this blog where police officers needlessly kill pets and are not held accountable by their own departments despite the irreversible damage they have inflicted upon families in their communities.  But there are occasional stories where police do right by pets and I like to bring attention to those too.  In this case, Ridgefield police are doing right by one of their own.

Zeus is an 11 year old German shepherd dog who served in the department’s K-9 unit from 2006 – 2014.  He had to be retired from duty last year due to a severe hip disorder and went to live as a pet with the officer who was his handler on the force.  Zeus had an impressive career:

Zeus assisted with 250 narcotics arrests, tracked 50 missing or wanted people, located six people in life-threatening situations and found six suspects on the run after crimes, police said. He also helped police discover 10 pounds of marijuana in 2006. The department also did many demonstrations with the police dog for members of the public.

Zeus’s health has declined greatly this past year and he is scheduled to be euthanized today.  Many pet owners who make that difficult decision like to do something special with their beloved family member on that last day.  And in keeping with Zeus’s years of public service, the Ridgefield police department has announced a final ride for the dog:

Retired Police K-9 Zeus will be honored on Wednesday April 15, 2015 with his final ride. The ride will began at Police Headquarters at 4:45 pm and take the following route: West on Governor Street, North on Rt. 35/Main Street, North on Rt. 7, ending at Ridgefield Veterinary Hospital. Ridgefield officers will be joined by local law enforcement agencies to pay tribute to Zeus during this final ride.

Members of the community are asked to gather on the sidewalks of Main Street along the route if they wish to pay tribute.

This is leading by example.  This is how police engage the community and show that pets are family, deserving of respect and love in life and in death.  This is a police department giving recognition to the human-animal bond and the role it plays in our communities.  Well done.

I am grateful for Zeus’s service and for the fact that I know he feels loved today, just like every other day.  More police/pet stories like this please.

Be Seeing You, Randi

Randi was my longest lived Flatcoat.  She remained very active and healthy until just recently and I am thankful for that.  Yesterday, we had to make the singularly difficult decision to euthanize our beloved pet.  The emergency clinic placed her in a cardboard coffin for us to take home.  As always, we allow the other dogs to see the body of the dog who has died as it seems to help give them closure.  They have all been very anxious since Randi took a downward turn last week and we wanted them to know she is now at peace.  Our dogs typically spend a few moments sniffing the body of their friend then move along – except Patty.  She has stayed at the graveside of every dog who has died, keeping vigil until they are completely buried and we all go back inside. Watching Patty grieve for those who have passed helps me with my own grief.  Pets are family.

patty4patty5patty21We love and miss you Randi.

Randi, September 29, 2002 - December 30 2014

Randi, September 29, 2002 – December 30, 2014

In Memoriam: Dr. Sophia Yin

Widely popular California veterinarian and behaviorist Sophia Yin tragically committed suicide on Sunday.  From her obituary in the Sac Bee:

Dr. Sophia Yin, a veterinarian and internationally recognized pioneer in the field of animal behavior as it relates to training pets, died Sept. 28 of suicide at her Davis home, according to the Yolo County coroner’s office. She was 48.
Dr. Yin taught animal owners and trainers to reward animals for positive behaviors as they occur and to remove rewards for bad behavior. In addition, she developed and promoted “low-stress handling” techniques for treating and working with animals in veterinary clinics, zoos, shelters, groomers and other care settings.

It’s not uncommon for caretakers to put the emotional well being of others, including animals, first. But you can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself. It’s not bad to put your needs first. In fact, it empowers you to make sure you are able to care for those around you.

If you need someone to talk to, call 1-800-273-8255 anytime, day or night to talk to a trained counselor. You can also chat online.

Please feel welcome to share thoughts regarding Dr. Yin’s life and work in the comments.

In Memoriam: Faye Hunter

If you were following the wave of Southern indie bands in the 80s, Let’s Active was one of your listening staples.  Let’s Active co-founder, co-vocalist and bass player Faye Hunter influenced at least one of my high school friends to start playing bass and I’m sure there are many other female bassists out there who would say the same.  Her musical clout was epic.

In addition to being an influential musician, Faye Hunter was also more recently a live-in caregiver for her mother, a Beagle owner and a devoted friend to animals.  She regularly posted photos on Facebook of the donkey sanctuary near her home in Advance, NC where she volunteered:

faye and donkey I

Faye Hunter with child and donkey (via Facebook)

Faye Hunter with child and donkey (via Facebook)

Faye Hunter with child and donkey (via Facebook)

Faye also posted many shots of her beloved Beagle, Toby:

Toby (via Facebook)

Toby (via Facebook)

Toby (via Facebook)

Toby (via Facebook)

On June 25, Toby died and Faye posted the following on her Facebook page:

Please promise to run free and happy in doggie heaven, my most precious and good and adored little Toby. You suffered so much early in life, but once you found my house you were safe and showered with kindness and love. I love you, I love you forever and always, and my heart hurts. R.I.P.

and on July 2:

It has rained every single day since my Toby left us. In my heart it has too.

Faye died on July 21, 2013 at her home, a victim of suicide.  An obituary in the Winston-Salem Journal indicates she wanted any donations made in her memory to go to The Elephant Sanctuary in TN or an area animal shelter.  Let’s Active co-founder Mitch Easter told NC public radio:

“She was definitely artistic, but every bit as much as that she was a deeply kind person and she was an animal person,” Easter said. “There wasn’t a single animal of the face of the earth that she wouldn’t try to help if it needed help. She was just a great person, a really great person. Very distinctive, bright, interesting person.”

Faye and donkey (via Facebook)

Faye and donkey (via Facebook)


If you need to talk to someone, call 1-800-273-8255 anytime, day or night.  You can also Google other help centers.

Be Seeing You, Roger Ebert

To my mind Roger Ebert, “film critic since time immemorial”, did his best work in the last years of his life, after losing the ability to speak.  In this 2009 installment of Roger Ebert’s Journal, he wrote about his childhood pets and how he longed for decades to have another dog:

Every time I see a dog in a movie, I think the same thing: I want that dog. I see Skip or Lucy or Shiloh and for a moment I can’t even think about the movie’s plot. I can only think about the dog.  I want to hold it, pet it, take it for walks, and tell it what a good dog it is. I want to love it, and I want it to love me.


I want to make its life a joy. I want to scratch behind its ears, and on its belly when it rolls over. I want to gently extend its tail so the dog can tell it’s a fine tail indeed.

Mr. Ebert died today at the age of 70.

Still from the 1996 film "Shiloh".

Still from the 1996 film “Shiloh”.

In Memoriam, Because the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby Co Won’t

At least two of the dogs slated for killing by the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby Co were apparently killed there on Tuesday.  The HS has remained silent on the killings of Joy and Truffles and in fact has been posting adoption photos on the group’s Facebook page, as if that’s the most newsworthy thing happening there.  No mention of the poor dogs needlessly killed and no photos of them either.  I didn’t personally know either Joy or Truffles but their lives mattered.  They were loved, even if they did not know it at the end because the people who should have been advocating for them killed them instead.  So here is a little memorial for both dogs.  They deserved so much more but the least we can do is to remember them with love.

Joy, a dog at the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby Co, reportedly killed on Tuesday. (Photo submitted by a reader.)

Joy, a dog at the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby Co, was reportedly killed on Tuesday. (Photo submitted by a reader.)

Truffles, pictured as a youngster, was reportedly killed by the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby Co on Tuesday.  (Photo submitted by a reader.)

Truffles, pictured as a youngster, was reportedly killed by the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby Co on Tuesday. (Photo submitted by a reader.)

The person who fostered Truffles while she was growing up sent me a note today that read, in part:

She changed my  life. Before we fostered her, I was scared to death of a pit bull. She opened my heart to the breed and showed me how big their hearts are.  I was never fearful of Truffles.  With her floppy ears and feet that were too big for the rest of her little body, she was funny to watch and all she ever really wanted was someone’s full attention.

If only the hearts of those at the so-called Humane Society were half as big as a dog’s…