Leaving Behind a Year of Love and Loss

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Leaving Behind a Year of Love and Loss

We said farewell to 2013 this week, which, like any year, had its ups and downs for all of us, but the dog world seemed to suffer a fair number of losses.

As we begin 2014, we wanted to say one last goodbye to those furry loved ones we lost this past year. From dogs made famous in viral videos to stars of blogs, Facebook pages and books, at times it seemed the dog parade marching to the Rainbow Bridge was never ending.

While we can be tempted to say these canine heroes – and by extension their pet parents – lost their battles, in truth, these dogs and the people lucky enough to be their guardians, gave us all inspiration.

Here are just a few of the famous dogs the world lost in 2013 and how they inspired us:

Lucas: One of Michael Vick’s prize fighters seized in 2007, Lucas was among the “Vicktory Dogs” deemed most challenging by the courts and one that a judge ruled should never be adopted. Lucas lived out his life at Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, where he taught society he could be a champion out of the fighting ring. Fully rehabilitated and deeply loved by all that came in contact with him, Lucas showed us all that even the most damaged fighting dogs could be rehabilitated.

Schoep: The arthritic 20-year-old dog, photographed being held by his dad, John Unger, in a therapeutic swim in Lake Superior, died with his human companion by his side and feeling all of the love portrayed in that famous viral photo.

Read More: Schoep the Arthritic Dog, Subject of Heartwarming Photo, Passes Away 

Wallace the Pit Bull: Famous for being the first Pit Bull to win a national flying disc championship, Wallace the Pit Bull not only broke down typical stereotypes about the breed, but also broke down the myth that Pit Bulls aren’t fast enough for competitive sports. Wallace, who was the adopted brother of Hector, another of the “Vicktory Dogs,” was also the subject of the book, “Wallace: The Underdog who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage and Championed Pit Bulls- One Flying Disc at a Time” by famed Sports Illustrated journalist, Jim Gorant (who also wrote a book about Vick’s fighting operation).  

Molly: It was never my intention to make Molly famous with my “Open Letter to the Woman Who Gave up Molly,” but my musings, written after a long night with my beautiful sick red Dachshund, struck a chord with many adopters. The letter I wrote helped put into words the feelings of many adopters, who are at the same time grateful their pet’s previous owners gave them up, while still being angry and confused they could do such a thing to a pet we grew to love beyond words.

Lilly: The canine heroine of the award-winning Best Dog Blog, Champion of my Heart, originally taught us about the journey of a fearful dog. However, when Lilly experienced a rare extreme reaction to a rabies vaccine nearly two years ago, her dedicated mom, Roxanne Hawn, taught us all about returning the unconditional love given to us by our pets, how far veterinary science has advanced, as well as the costs associated with that care and how far we should go in a medical journey with them.

Frankie: The muse of the poplar blog, “Will My Dog Hate Me?” was spunky and full of personality, but “not very self-aware,” according to his pet parent, Edie Jarolim. She has since written that she is very glad 2013 has left us behind.

Learn more: Grieving Your Dog is Even Harder When He's a Public Figure

Though many of the pet parents of the dogs above set up foundations in their deceased dog’s honor, Jarolim’s struck an especially beautiful chord. Frankie’s Fund was set up through the Grey Muzzle Foundation to assist dogs in shelters that otherwise would not have the chance to know love in their final months/weeks/days.  

Pet360 would also like to remember all of the pets lost to neglect and abuse and killed in shelters this past year. Many of them were nameless and faceless, but animal lovers will not stop fighting for stricter laws and ending homelessness in their honor.

To all of our Pet360 family who lost pets this past year, our hearts go out to you, whether your pet was famous or not, we know they are deeply grieved.

When your heart is ready, remember the "Pet’s Prayer," which is to not forever grieve your beloved lost furry one, but to honor their memory by giving another homeless pet what they need most, your love.

Editor’s Note: Photo of Schoep the Arthritic Dog from Facebook.  

Did one of your furry kids go to the Rainbow Bridge in 2013? If so, tell us about them in the comments section below.