Thursday, March 16, 2017
Deborah knew a thing or two about living, loving and dying.
Dogs had been at the center of Deborah’s circle of life for a long, long time.
In the past several years, she lost two of her beloved canine kids. In between losing them, Deborah adopted TJ, now a 3-year-old Bichon Frise male, whom she described as “the best dog I ever had.” TJ became the object of Deborah’s loving spirit, and he reciprocated that affection as her constant “cuddle-bug” from her couch to her hospital bed.
When Deborah’s diagnosis landed her in the hospital and subsequently at Hope Hospice, TJ had to take up residence in a kennel. Although the kennel was top of the line, and TJ got high “good boy” marks from his caregivers there, this was not the life that Deborah wanted for her baby.
Enter Susan Conner and her Golden therapy dog, Gipper. Deborah’s room at Joanne’s House was their last stop on their visitation list in late February. Deborah had never met Susan or Gipper before, but when they walked into the room on this particular Wednesday afternoon, Deborah zeroed in on a potential source of help for TJ.
In her matter-of-fact way, Deborah told Susan, “God has punched my ticket.” She explained that before God arrived to take her home, she must find someone to “go get my puppy from the kennel he’s been in for two weeks.” Deborah was clear that she wanted to find TJ a good home before she could rest in peace. One more thing was on Deborah’s mind: She wanted to see her baby boy again.
Realizing that time was of the essence, Susan pledged her help, then immediately contacted the volunteer coordinator to get help from Hope's Pet Program.
Susan offered to spring TJ from the kennel and foster him while a permanent home could be found. First, she needed all the required authorizations to pick him up from the kennel, his shot records, and permission to have him treated by a veterinarian before she brought TJ into see Deborah or to meet her own pets.
Deborah’s sister, Amy, proved to be a terrific ally in this process. Within 24 hours, all the records were produced and permissions granted. Susan “sprung” a tail-wagging TJ from the kennel on Friday, and after a quick bath on the Conner lanai, he went straight to see Dr. Linda George, medical director at Best Friends Animal Hospital. He checked out well, got his inoculations and preventive medications updated, and was declared healthy and adorable.
Susan says he behaved like a champ through all of these machinations. “Deborah told me he had been through a lot in his three short years, including the death of his best canine pal and Deborah’s illness.” Despite all of the bumps in the road, he remained a sweet, amiable puppy.” His only problem was whimpering borne of insecurity. On the flip side, he proved quite adaptable and sociable around other pets. He blended instantly with the Conner boys, Gipper and Edison, two hulking Golden Retrievers who are both certified therapy dogs and frequent visitors at Hope Hospice. Their acceptance of TJ was a given. TJ had never met a cat before, but Sassy, the Conner’s Ragdoll, and TJ forged a quick truce.
By Saturday morning, the clean and healthy TJ was ready for a reunion with Deborah at Joanne’s House. Susan reported that TJ was a great passenger, but when the car stopped, he was nervously whimpering, as if to ask, “Where to now”? When he arrived at Deborah’s threshold, he made his beeline, bounding onto Deborah’s bed and cuddling on her lap into a state of total relaxation. His expression communicated, “Finally, I am back where I belong.”
Susan, who was present at the reunion, recalls: “It is one of the most moving moments I have ever witnessed. The love between Deborah and TJ was unmistakable. I will never forget that instant when they reconnected.” The nurse on duty reported that TJ worked wonders for Deborah’s spirits.
In the two weeks that followed, TJ visited Deborah several times week while the search for a permanent home produced several suitors for TJ. After a trip to a professional groomer, who made TJ a bona fide knockout for his second visit with Deborah, interest multiplied. As Susan observed, “This puppy is so cute and so good. To know him is to love him.”
The person who emerged as TJ’s permanent owner was Jackie Mullen, who lives with her husband, Patrick, daughter Shannon, their rescue Lab-mix, Maddie, and their cat, Norma, in a nice ranch home near the Naples border with Marco Island. The only question in Jackie’s mind was whether TJ would blend well with their other pets.
So, Susan drove TJ down to their home for an audition. Again, TJ proved to be a non-confrontational guest and blended with the Mullen’s dog that very afternoon. Their cautious cat, who fled to higher ground as a preventive measure, was reported coming back down to earth in a few days. True to form, TJ, a certified “ladies man,” is now bonded with Jackie, who happily declared, “I think he’s mine.” That same day, Deborah said she was ready to let go of TJ, comforted by the knowledge that he had landed in a good place.
Based on a textbook example of teamwork from Deborah’s family, Hope staff and volunteers, TJ found his freedom in less than 48 hours from the time Deborah sent out her SOS . His forever home came in just 2 and a half short weeks. TJ owes his good fortune to the team effort, but first and foremost, to his beloved mistress, Deborah, who refused to rest until she found the help she needed for her faithful cuddle-bug.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Binkie and Tootie get so excited when Helen says, “Are you girls ready to go to work?” They race to the car and are always happy to visit at Hope. This friendly trio gets many comments from the guests and residents at the Hospice House. Some say “you made my day!” or “they’re so adorable!” So often, someone who Helen, Binkie, and Tootie are visiting will reminisce about the time they enjoyed with their own dogs. Helen says, “What a joy it is to see someone’s eyes light up with a smile on their face when we enter the room.” For those who would like the puppies to join them on the bed, it is amazing how easily Binkie and Tootie cuddle up in the blankets and enjoy simply being loved. There is nothing like a soft, warm little body to bring comfort.
Update March 2, 2017: Tera picked up Mr. Kitty and took him home to her grandparents who have experience with cats. They're excited to have Mr. Kitty in their home, and they think it will work out beautifully!
Mr. Kitty is a large, 7-year old, fixed, male cat, weighing in at around 15 pounds. He is an indoor cat, used to being the only animal in the home. Due to all of the changes in the past year, Mr. Kitty is very shy. Antoinette’s friend told us “he is the sweetest and most scared cat” she has ever seen. She also said that he is very loving and when he is in your arms, he only wants to be held and petted.
If you want to adopt Mr. Kitty, Hope can help you with start up supplies and support. Call (239) 985-7728.
Friday, February 17, 2017
Update February 20: Katy met Molly and the family reported that they seem like a “perfect match.” Molly is looking forward to enjoying her new lanai and playtime with Katy's son!
Molly is a 9-yr.old American Shorthair. She lived with Daniel in a Fort Myers facility. Daniel passed away this past week and Molly was left behind. The staff members who feed Molly have noticed she is grieving, and everyone wants to find a new home for her as soon as possible.
Molly is spayed and current on shots. She is an indoor cat only and is not used to being around other pets. Her front paws are declawed. She is described as "real sweet" and her favorite activity was to sleep in Daniel’s lap.
Can you help us find a new home for Molly? Call (239) 985-7728.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Update January 10: Sarah went to meet Mau today and it appeared to be a perfect match! Though Roberta could not respond, Sarah assured her that Mau would be well cared for and loved.
Mau is a 2 year old short-haired silver tabby. She is spayed, vaccinated, house-trained - and her front paws are declawed, making her an ideal indoor cat. She has a sweet temperament.
Her current owner, Roberta, is facing the end of life. When she passes, Mau will not have a home.
If you are interested in adopting Mau, please contact Colette at (239) 985-7728.
Friday, October 28, 2016
Friday, July 29, 2016
Update August 1: Susan, one of Hope’s volunteers, brought her family to meet Twinkie - who immediately warmed up to them. They bought her a name tag with a heart on it, she was good about getting her first bath, and they are happy to be her forever home.
After Twinkie’s first loving owner passed away, her best friend adopted her as they mourned their mutual loss. Unfortunately, it was only two years later when the best friend also passed away, leaving Twinkie without a home.
Twinkie is a female Chihuahua who is about 7-8 years old. She is spayed, housebroken, and gets along well with cats. Her previous eye injury doesn’t appear to impair her vision in any notable way.
Can you give Twinkie a third chance at a forever home?
If you are interested in adopting Twinkie, please contact Colette at 239-985-7728.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Friday, June 3, 2016
Update June 7: Tinkerbell and Sweetpea have gone to a new home!
Remember when you were in grade school and had a best friend? Tinkerbell (left) and Sweetpea (right) have been best friends for 7 years now. This Chihuahua and Cockapoo team have spent countless hours together since they were young pups, while serving as loyal and loving companions to Marilu.
With Marilu’s passing, we hope to find a new family who can keep these best friends together. Both socialize easily with people, having been well cared for with regular vet checkups.
Tinkerbell has been deaf her entire life and seems to rely on Sweetpea for clues about what is going on, like someone coming to the door. She’ll also respond to some hand signals for direction.
These cuddly girls may do well in a family where someone is home most of the day, as this is what they’re accustomed to. Look at their sweet faces, and it may be easy to say yes to this request!
If you are interested in adopting Tinkerbell and Sweetpea, please contact Colette at (239) 985-7728.
Monday, April 25, 2016
Update May 2: Diesel moved into his new home yesterday!
When Mary moves at the end of April, she won’t be able to take her beloved Diesel with her. These two have been a family for more than 3 years, but we are hopeful that Diesel can find a new, loving home to give Mary peace of mind.
Diesel is an 8-9 year old Brindle Pit Bull/Lab mix, weighing about 62 lbs. He is neutered, chipped and current with all of his shots.
This sweet dog is gentle and loves attention. He currently enjoys a small, fenced-in yard and daily walks with Mary on her scooter. Together, they wait in her driveway to greet neighborhood children returning home from school. Diesel loves to be petted by all the children!
If you are interested in adopting Diesel, please contact Colette at (239) 985-7728. Hope can help you with start up supplies and support.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Update April 22: Mia and Milo will be going to a new home! Gena has always had cats in her home. Patches, over 20 years old, passed away two months ago. Harry, a stray that found his way to Gena, passed away 3 weeks ago. A Hope staff person told Gena about Mia and Milo. Gena was still hurting from her own losses, but she couldn’t stop thinking about these cats. When she saw the pictures, she fell in love, saying that Mia looked like her Patches and Milo is the kind of cat she wanted next. Gena has made arrangements to take the cats home in a couple of weeks.
Mia is 9 years old. She is a long-haired, black, caramel and white cat. She has all of her shots, is micro-chipped and spayed. She's a little princess who will tolerate her buddy, Milo, when he wants to pounce on her. (She might have issues with other adult cats). Mostly, she would rather just sit, cross her paws and look pretty. She minds her own business during the day but likes her human time in the evening.
Milo is a 4-year old Orange Tabby teenager. He has all of his shots, is micro-chipped and neutered. Milo likes to play, but hangs by himself if he can't get Mia going. He, too, likes his evening human time.
Mia and Milo are not fond of sudden loud noises from outside and will run for cover if frightened by a lawn mower. Both sleep on the bed at night and have no issues with kitty litter. They come with a 6' Cat Tower that they received as a gift.
Can you help us find homes for these two cats? Hope can help you with start up costs and supplies.
If you are interested in adopting Mia and Milo, please contact Colette at (239) 985-7728.