Friday, July 25, 2008

Thank You, Emily!

Isn't it wonderful how dogs can win friends and influence people without ever reading a book. — E.C. McKenzie

Emily, a small Border Collie mix, embodied the true spirit of puppy up! Janet Graham, 2Dogs Volunteer Coordinator, recently shared a story about this very special rescue she came to know and love. While this is only the briefest glimpse of Emily’s life, it shows, once again, how the love and inspiration of one dog can change the lives of so many. Janet recently wrote in an email, “My rescue network is vast and I am blessed with amazing friends I have made on this journey. I have worked with Echo White Shepherd Rescue, and one dog in particular. Emily.”

Emmy was pulled from a shelter in Trumbull County, Ohio about one year ago. She was scheduled for euthanasia as she was malnourished at only 27 lbs and had recently been attacked by another dog at the shelter. Someone saw her and called ECHO White Shepherd Rescue, not even knowing if she had any White Shepherd in her or not. The rescue did not care. This sweet girl needed help and they gave it without hesitation.

A friend in Echo who lives near me was contacted and agreed to take Emily, knowing that the dog couldn't even be put on a 5 hour transport — the chance of her surviving the trip to the foster home was slim. My friend, Dee, drove 5 hours and got Emily and took her home. I spend a lot of time with Dee and her pack and have been involved with Emily from the start.

Emily was a stubborn dog. She often had to be forced to eat and only recently started to eat dog food. She HAD to be cooked for — gotta love the attitude. Hours and hours were spent with her, keeping her alive. She had an entire group of angels always rooting her on. We did a photo shoot shortly before her adoption took her to Florida for a calendar that is supposed to be released this fall.

This sweet spirited dog had her ups and downs with weight gain and loss, and many trips to the vet for various issues. Joshica's Planet Canine stepped up when they heard about Emily and donated swim time to help her regain her strength. Through all of this, Emmy gained a fan club of followers who mass e-mailed the latest developments and newest pictures. They sent best wishes, offered encouragement, and prayed ... a lot. They sent her many gifts, including a healing collar and t-shirts to wear. In the beginning, these were to protect her wounds and keep her warm; later they were simply worn as fashion statements. She seemed to enjoy all of the Harley Davidson apparel the best. This amazing group of individuals was given the moniker Emily's Angels. After months of rehabilitation, through triumphs and setbacks, Em finally reached a goal of 40 pounds and was ready for adoption.

This past February, a loving couple in Florida, Lori and Warren, who had been following her story, decided that she was the one for them and adopted her. Dee drove her all the way to Florida and her new start, and cried all the way back to northern Indiana, but knew that Emmy had found her place in this world and would finally be loved and cherished. The gaggle of well wishers, and let's admit it, star-struck fanatics, still received updates and had plenty to say about Emily and her new adventures.

Emmy thrived and loved the Florida beaches. She had found her home at last.

The surprising news came a few weeks ago that Emmy was not doing well. They weren't sure what was happening at first, as she had been walking on the beach, swimming in the pool, and enjoying her life to the utmost one day, and in declining health the next. It was determined that an aggressive cancer had taken over her body.

Lori and Warren were committed to Emily's comfort. Emmy got to make all of the decisions. They had the option of hospitalizing her, but felt strongly that she was happier at home. The cancer seemed so be all over, so putting Emmy through unnecessary medical procedures was not the choice any of us want for her.

Emily’s Angels set to work sending strength and love from all over the country to Emily and to her forever and foster families alike. Sadly, Emily died last week. The cancer was so sudden and advanced that Janet doesn't believe her type of cancer was even diagnosed. In the end, Emmy chose to move on and all her angels could do was wish her well and thank her for what she had brought to their lives. Many commented on how this great love for one dog had brought so very many people together.

Warren talked to me a lot about living in the moment and celebrating Emmy's life. He has taken over 1000 photos of our Princess. Lori and Warren are committed to celebrating her life and gifts to all of us. They are truly the parents that Emmy was supposed to have.

In her memory, all of Emily's friends and extended family will be honoring her, along with other beloved companion animals who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, in a Memorial Service, Saturday at 6 PM at Joshica's Planet Canine .

A press release on Emily's passing reads, "We have all lost a furry friend at one time and know how important it is to be with others who understand this loss. They become a cherished part of our family. We invite you to gather with friends and celebrate the lives of those who are no longer with us. We will offer flowers in the water as a tribute. It is only fitting that we do this near water, which Emily loved so much."

Emily was such an inspiration to all of us. This will be our final gift to her, but in reality, it is Emily's final gift to all of us and to the world. Only Emily could have made this a reality, only Emily could have inspired so many people to be involved and given a voice to so many who had been silenced.

Finally, we want this to be a celebration. We want to celebrate Emily's life and love — a celebration of a "little furry skeleton with giant eyes" who touched our hearts in places that we didn't even know existed.

We are holding this memorial service Saturday at 6PM. For those in the area, we invite you to meet at Joshica's Planet Canine, then drive to the river for the service. For others, we invite you to take a moment and think of Emily and all those who have gone before, remembering them each in your own way.

They will all remain forever in our hearts.

Thanks to everyone who shared Emily’s life and her story:

Janet Graham and her friend Dee
Lori and Warren, Emily’s forever family
The people at Echo White Shepherd Rescue
The people at Joshica's Planet Canine, LLC
The people at Paws 'N Purrs with IMPACT, Inc.; Indiana Mission Pawssible and Canine Transport
And, of course, ALL of Emily’s Angels


2 Dogs 2,000 Miles said...

As part of the Memorial Service for Emily, they will be honoring and remembering all the angels of 2 Dogs 2000 Miles who have watched over us and been with us every step of the way.

In Pace Requiscat Dear Emily.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for honoring Emily - I know she is smiling today - we currently have a list of over 300 names to be read tonight at the memorial service of loved animals that have gone on. Included on that list are all the animals on the 2 Dogs 2 2000 shirt.
Who would have ever known what an impact one little dog could make all over the country!!

Peace be with all of you!

Janet Graham

Malamute3 said...

Rest in Paradise sweet and beautiful Emily.

This story touched me deeply & brought back so many memories of my kindredsoul, Kiska, an Alaskan Malamute lost to Fibrosarcoma cancer just after her 5th birthday in 2004 after doing everything we could for her. This walk is so very important in the quest to end canine cancer & I will do my best to spread the word about it.

My deepest sympathies to Emily's family and to all those who love her.
God Bless,
T.H. in South Dakota