By Eileen Bohn
“It is not length of life, but depth of life.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Graduate Lucinda Teasley passed away on August 26, 2015. Lucinda and Libby, her service dog, were true partners and were often seen together in their NE Minneapolis neighborhood. Libby brightened Lucinda’s days and Lucinda brightened our days. Lucinda was fondly remembered by friends in a memorial get together on Boom Island, one of Lucinda’s favorite places.
Terry McKnight Cook, who was partnered with Yuki as her service dog, passed away on September 16, 2015. A conversation with Terry was always an interesting and fun conversation as Terry had an inquisitive mind. Terry was just one of those people who was “delightful” to be around and she is missed by family, friends and her Helping Paws friends.
Helping Paws graduate Jodi Nelson passed away peacefully at her home on January 7, 2016. Jodi had been involved with Helping Paws as both a graduate and enthusiastic volunteer for more than 20 years. Jodi lived life to the fullest. During team training classes, Jodi was a mentor and a cheerleader to her classmates. We are blessed that we knew her. She is now reunited with her service dogs Maggie May and Juni, who definitely showered her with kisses.
Jazz, Chad Wood’s service dog, passed away in July, 2015. Jazz was gentle, fun-loving, goofy at times, a buddy with Chad and Kristine’s cat and Chad’s faithful service dog who went with him to work daily. Jazz traveled many places around the country with Chad and Christine. In addition to being missed by Chad Wood and Christine Fossum, she is also missed by her foster home trainers, Louise & Jon Speck.
Tanna was Deb Vikander’s service dog who passed away in July, 2015. Tanna was sweet, affectionate, and sometimes a bit pushy when she didn’t want to let Deb knit or when she would wake Deb up very early, like 4:30 am. Deb used her for stability when walking, lots of retrieving, and for safety when alone. Missing Tanna are Deb and her son, Adam Vikander, and Tanna’s foster home trainers: Carrie & Jim Heyerdahl and the Darleen & David Lindgren family.
Recently retired as Tara Wirtjes service dog, Rue passed away in October, 2015. Rue was Tara’s second service dog and she was spunky and fun-loving. Tara taught her tricks to keep Rue busy but she was also a lifesaver for Tara. For example, Rue retrieved the keys numerous times when Tara dropped them on the floor in her van. As she aged, Rue grew afraid of thunderstorms. During a storm, she managed to open the apartment door and the building door and found her way to a neighbor’s garage where she spent the night on a couch. The neighbor was quite surprised to find Tara in the garage and we were all incredibly relieved to find her after searching for her. Rue had breakfast at the neighbor’s while waiting for us to pick her up. Rue is missed by Tara, her foster home trainer, Jane EckesEtzel and many family members and friends.
Emma, Mary Weinand’s beloved service dog, passed away in October, 2015 after enjoying a brief retirement with her foster home trainer family, the Steve & Judy Michurski family. Emma enriched Mary’s life as her service dog. Quoting from Mary: “She was there to cuddle in bed with me when the day ended…and she enriched all the minutes in between. Every outing was easier with Emma at my side. Her help with tasks and emotional support were never taken for granted. Never. Every day I still look to pet her, say her name, and miss her so much even I can’t find words to express it. I lost a best friend. Dog lovers understand.”
Lulu, Lynn Dorr’s service dog, passed away in December, 2015. We sometimes are struck by the “unfairness” of life. Lulu developed significant health issues shortly after she was placed as Lynn’s service dog. Unfortunately, Lulu also was hit with lymphoma this fall. Lynn gave Lulu the very BEST care and love and we thank Lynn for being Lulu’s person. Lulu was the sweetest of dogs and we send our condolences to Lynn, her family and friends and to Liz & Joe Gadbois, Lulu’s foster home trainers.
Mandie, Gina Lytle’s retired service dog, passed away in December, 2015. Mandie was a beautiful dog and she was precious to Gina, to the family who adopted her on her retirement, and to her foster home trainer family of Deb DeMeester & Paul Schalekamp.
We lost Charlie, Tyler Olson’s service dog in December, 2015. Here is what Tyler posted on Facebook about Charlie: “My buddy passed this morning. Thanks everyone for your continued prayers and thoughts! The best thing about Charlie was his love. He not only shared it with me, but with anyone who met him. I’m heartbroken, but glad he’s at peace! Not sure where I’d be in life if I didn’t have My Charlie through my best and worst days after my injury. Time to grieve, but also celebrate the life of the BEST DOG EVER!” Since Charlie and Tyler are such diehard Vikings fans, Tyler bought a Legacy Brick in Charlie’s memory. It’ll be placed outside the new Vikings stadium! Charlie is missed by Tyler, Tyler’s family, hundreds of Charlie fans and friends and his foster home trainer family, Judy & Steve Michurski family.
Holly, a Helping Paws career change dog, passed away in October, 2015. She hit the jackpot on her career change as she got to live on a farm. She loved to play with sticks, chase the horses, and snuggle with her pal, Steve. She is missed by Steve Crownover and her foster home trainers Pete Markham & Carina Rew.
In January, 2016, we said goodbye to Angie Jesme’s service dog, Dozer. Dozer, a sweet, soft dog was perfect for Angie. Dozer was with Angie as she married Mike, moved to a new home, and took public transportation to Angie’s work in downtown Minneapolis every day. Angie works downtown for Gray Plant Mooty law firm and Dozer was adored by all of the lawyers in the firm. He had special walkers and an “I want to be a Dozer walker” waiting list. We always called Dozer the “George Clooney” of the Golden Retrievers, he was a good looking dog! Dozer is deeply missed by Angie and Mike Jesme, family, friends and his foster home trainers, Marie & Dave Heikkila.
People and dogs, we miss you all—you enrich our lives. Thanks for the memories.