Katie came to me in the winter of 2007 as a foster in dire need of care and attention. Initially, all I knew was that Katie was alleged to be a three-year-old Great Pyrenees and that she had been taken out of an Amish puppy mill where she had been bred repeatedly. On arrival, her appearance was nothing short of shocking and this sad waif of a dog weighed a shocking 52 pounds. She was afraid of everyone and she wanted nothing to do with people who had caused her nothing but misery over the years of her life. Of course, Katie immediately wormed her way into my heart and I knew we were in serious trouble when my husband began singing songs to her. With time and care, this shell-shocked dog became a beauty and her quirky, kind disposition charmed everyone who met her. By June of 2008, Katie was a different dog and she was clearly ready to go to a home all her own. With those many months of care and love, not just any home would do for Katie and to say that I was selective does not do justice to the rigors of my placement search for her perfect home. Eventually, a very wonderful adopter named Ellen Fedor proved too wonderful a home to pass up and with much sadness, I sent Katie to her new life. I checked in on Katie now and then and I loved the updates I got of Katie bouncing in the snow, or walking around the lake or lounging in the grass. Pictures of fosters who suffered all manners of horrors in new happy homes make all the suffering fosters parents endure with their foster dogs worthwhile. We do this for the dogs, pure and simple.
Last week, I received the call I always dread. Katie had metastatic mammary cancer. The plan Ellen and her veterinary oncologist had worked on was to treat her with chemotherapy to give her a good quality of life and Ellen wanted me to know how my beloved Katie was doing. We talked about our shared love for this amazing dog and it hit me that Katie had the extraordinary good luck to find that one in a million love of a lifetime in Ellen. Katie had lucked out. Today, however, Ellen called to let me know that Katie had taken a sudden turn for the worse and that she had let her go to spare her more pain as the disease had spread far beyond what had been initially believed. The tragedy of all this is that Katie died much too young and too soon because humans used her as a cash cow to whelp puppies and the result was mammary tumors which are so easily prevented with a simple early spay surgery.
Katie left us too soon and I will mourn her loss for many years to come. I am grateful for the time I had with her and I especially thank Ellen for making such a wonderful home for this amazing dog. I will continue to work to put an end to the brutal and inhumane use of dogs like Katie as living machines to crank out puppies for sale in her honor. Words are inadequate at times like these, but I want the world to know that Katie’s life mattered and that she was loved by many. So long Katie and thanks for all the smiles and kisses. You were well-loved and we will miss you until the day we meet again.