A farewell to Katie: 2005-2012

Katie, 2005-2012.










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.

9 thoughts on “A farewell to Katie: 2005-2012

  1. This absolutely breaks my heart. Katie was a beautiful dog and the short life she lived makes it even more sad. I am so glad whoever let the authorities know of the horrible life she was living but had no control – an Amish family of all people. God bless you for loving her; God bless your husband for singing to her; and God bless Ellen. Dogs have a way of quicklyt making their way to our hearts. I am a huge animal lover myself. This actually makes me sad to read this, but all of you saved the poor dog’s life. And for that you should be commended. I know all of you will miss Katie. It’s never easy losing your best friend.

  2. That is really beautiful. I’m sorry for your loss, I have a foster pyr girl here, who came in really bad shape, broken hips, pneumonia, ear infections, and I love her dearly, I don’t know what I’m going to do, I have loved all of my fosters, but I nursed her back, laying on the floor with her and cleaning her face off, trying to force masive amounts of anti biotics into her somehow, she going to be the hardest to see leave. I imagine much like that was for you. The Pyr is such a wonderful breed. They’re truly special animals. especially when they come back from being mistreated. I really don’t understand people. But thank you for sharing this, and again I’m sorry about your girl. But you reminded me why we do it. It’s a wonderful thing fostering…

  3. I am so sorry. When I read what humans do to animals it makes me hate people. Then you find people like Ellen, an angel. My pyr has a gigunda tumor too and we’re giving him the best life we can for as long as he is not suffering.

  4. I am so sorry. I feel grateful to be sitting here with my 3 YO Quinn. What a wonderful thing you both did to give this wonderful dog such a good life!

  5. This is just beautiful. I am so glad she had at least a few years of being happy and loved. She is at the Rainbow Bridge and having a wonderful time and not in any pain any more God take care of her as I know you will

  6. I may just be having one of those days, but this post brought me to tears at work. Not a great place to cry. Her life did indeed matter. Bless you for all your hard work and love on behalf of those who cannot advocate for themselves.

  7. I just finished wiping away the tears that fell when I read your tribute to Katie. And as I type, I continue to wipe away more. Just as endless as our love is for our animals, it is the same way with our tears for them when they pass. Ellen is my cousin and I had the honor of meeting Katie twice because of her life prior to living with Ellen. The last time I saw her was August of last year. We were in a pool and I was AWED as I saw Katie march around the pool, doing her “check”. I was amazed at the pure beauty and intellect of this majestic animal. But, my family and I were even more amazed when Katie approached us as we quietly called her name and spoke to her. She did not allow that to happen the summer before. I had chills run through me when she came so close and sniffed us and I actually got to pet her under her chin. I knew the story of her past and felt it was a privilege for her to allow us to get closer to her. She really had gone to a wonderful home. Ellen always had dogs growing up and they were treated with such LOVE. We will miss seeing Katie this summer., but will keep her close to our hearts, she deserves it at the very least. Rest in Peace Katie!! We will miss you….

  8. It’s sad to hear what she endured, but awesome to see what quality of life she had when you took her in, it’s been a real eye opener reading all of the horror stories of these puppy mills.

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