Archive for June, 2015

STELLA!!!! Against the Odds



Against the Odds
A Tribute to the Best Cuddler-Ever, Ever, Ever

Stella was a dog that survived-against many many odds.
Stella lived in a field for 4 months. Jenny P., a college student home on winter break, persuaded Stella to come into their back yard. Stella had massive mammary tumors. Jenny’s family took Stella to the vet and the x-rays in December 2011 showed the malignant cancer had already spread into Stella’s lungs. Her prognosis was 3-6 months. Bob J. asked me to go pick up Stella. She had already passed the temperament test with flying colors and now needed a foster home until she could find her forever home for whatever time Stella had left. The local animal control had decided to put Stella to sleep as soon as they caught her.
Stella dodged that bullet-against the odds.

Stella Comes Home
I was originally charged with transporting Stella. Having lost my 13 year old Casador in July 2011 and my other 13 year old, Chancellor in July 2009, I was committed to getting a Thulani doggie. I had the honor to escort my two biggie boys in their final days and saw what a sweet, tender time it was. My intention was to repeat that honor with another older biggie boy; but then I saw Stella. An obvious GSD mix, Stella was a pocket shepherd size at about 45 pounds with doe eyes that just draw you in. Stella came to my home January 19, 2012. I had no intention of letting this dog go anywhere else, our chemistry was immediate and I decided to keep her. If she only had a few months, I wanted to be with her for those months and not shuttle her to still another home. Knowing my dog Ashley may not welcome another female, Stella was gradually introduced to, and became an integral part of the pack with Ashley and 6 month-old Wolfie.
Stella became an integral part of a 2 female 3-pack, against the odds.

Stella’s First Surgery
Stella’s mammary tumors grew and bled, they seemed to grow overnight. Stella had a short prognosis, yet the Thulani Program had her massive tumors removed at Adobe Animal Hospital. The staff at Adobe was grateful Stella was in our Thulani Program, and so was I.
Stella survived the massive surgery-against the odds.

Stella at Wags to Riches 2012 sitting 545580_374991765913912_1602191305_n (1)Stella is Shameless
Stella knew she was beautiful and used her beauty to get what she wanted. She batted her eyes at male dogs and strutted by them flirtatiously. Stella had play dates with a regal, senior Thulani dog, Zane. Zane immediately was attracted to Stella and would chase her around the house. The regal, senior Zane would rest from the exhaustion of chasing Stella miles inside the house. He was in a bit of a frenzy to catch her and Stella acted like she didn’t like being chased. Zane rested a bit and then Stella would go put her butt in Zane’s face and revive him, and the chase was on again.
Stella was a shameless flirt reviving a senior dogs “interests”-against the odds

Stella’s Second Surgery
Stella recovered from surgery and became a Thulani ambassadog. Her pocket shepherd size and her big doe eyes made many want to adopt her. She was the vast exception to the typical Thulani dog; young, healthy looking, no mobility issues. Stella attended Bark in the Park in September 2012 and the dogs just gravitated to her too, and for a good reason, Stella was in heat! September 2012 put Stella far past her 3-6 month prognosis given in December 2011. Stella was spayed in October 2012.
Stella survived still another surgery-against the odds.

Stella Fits In
Stella settled into a routine with Ashley & Wolfie and me. She was such a contradiction; a young, healthy looking Thulani dog. A pocket shepherd that could back up her much bigger, younger brother, Wolfie. A feisty pocket shepherd that would prevent me from getting any unsolicited hugs by bolting to me and barking the person away. Stella was feisty with other dogs and a major, constant cuddle bug with me. Stella loved her pack and adored me, and I adored her.
Stella thrived and enjoyed life to the fullest-against the odds.

Stella’s New Normal
Stella at Wags to Riches 2012 close up 229814_374991749247247_357650054_nMost who knew me on a personal basis also knew Stella. I took her to lots of GSRNC events and Thulani events. Stella paid it forward for many, many Thulani dogs so the public saw a gorgeous Thulani dog and asked about them and heard her story and heard what the Thulani Program does.
Stella advertised the Thulani Program and helped others dogs get saved-against the odds.

Stella continued to have a fabulous life. Stella cuddled with me many times, every day. Relaxing in the bedroom, Stella jumped on the bed and wouldn’t get off. Stella took her half of the bed in the middle. I called Stella my hemorrhoid dog because she was always near my butt.
Stella had been undersocialized and gave affection with enthusiasm-against the odds.

Most would think a dog who lived in a field for 4 months wouldn’t be able to connect with dogs or people. Stella was so attached to me, that she would stay in the bedroom when I ran errands and refused to go outside to go potty with her other dogs. As soon as I came home, Stella came out of the bedroom and would go potty.
Stella had lived by herself in a field and adored her pack-against the odds.

Stella’s Third Surgery
Another mammary tumor started to grow. I wondered if she would survive still another surgery, if she would still be the same feisty Stella, and hoped my tough little Stella could handle still another recovery. Stella’s tumor was extremely slow growing and in December 2014, yes 2014, the tumor was removed. It was major surgery and it took Stella a full month to completely recover.
Stella survived still another surgery-against the odds.

021Stella Seemed Different
Stella recovered physically from her third surgery just fine. X-rays done with her December 2014 tumor removal showed the malignant cancer had spread even more to her lungs and all throughout her torso. Soon after her surgery though I noticed she no longer ran out the sliding door with the rest of the pack, the way horses bolt out the gate. Stella tried to avoid the other dogs outside and inside. Stella had to be coaxed to go outside when the other dogs were out. She would eventually go out, but it seemed obvious she was worried and not enthused to be among her fur buddies. This was a huge change from the Stella that had dripped with attitude in her dog-pack before and had to be in the thick of any fun to be had. Stella’s closeness and cuddling me never wavered or decreased. Often while cuddling, Stella would squirm her way closer. Those doe eyes would stare into mine, and love was everywhere.
Stella loved unconditionally, even when she didn’t feel well-against the odds.

You May Get Another 3-6 Months
All the dogs were getting ready to go outside one evening and one of the other dogs bumped into Stella and she screamed; a very loud, bad injury type scream. Stella couldn’t walk on her front left leg. I took Stella to the emergency vet and the x-rays showed Stella had a fractured humerus. Just that minor bump from her buddy doggie had fractured her bone. That vet said one option was to amputate her leg and maybe get another 3-6 months out of her. In obvious pain, Stella was determined to go home and jumped in her Jeep to go home. Stella finally let me push some heavy meds in her and her whimpering subsided a bit. Stella was in such pain. One thought repeatedly going through my mind was that if the cancer had weakened one leg, realistically it was spread all over her, especially after more than 3 years. How could she have a leg amputated, shift her weight to compensate for the amputation, and only possibly do well, then have another inevitable bone break. Stella’s regular vet described it as termites eating wood over a very long time. Her December 2011 x-ray showed the cancer had metastasized, and it was June 2015, far beyond her original 3-6 month prognosis. Stella’s bones were brittle, she didn’t want to play with her fur siblings and tough, tough Stella was in extreme pain.

I kept hearing in my mind that I could possibly “get another 3-6 months out of her”. The question was, at what price? What if she had her leg amputated and then another bone broke while she was still recovering, or soon after? I didn’t want to “get another” anything out of her. I didn’t want to wring the last bit of life out of her to get more time with Stella. That was not what was best for Stella.
Stella would do anything I asked her, and too painful to be touched, she limped and whimpered to the Jeep and hopped in with a broken arm, as I asked.
Stella did anything her mom asked, even when it was extremely painful-against the odds.

Stella at Wags to Riches 2012 standing 603328_374991685913920_19807204_n (1)Stella Lives On
Our regular vet had to carry Stella from the Jeep.
I asked Stella to hop on the low-sitting table in the vets office. Of course Stella did what I asked and it was a bit less painful thanks to her meds.
I made the difficult decision not to possibly have another 3-6 precarious months with my baby girl. It’s all a guess about how Stella would do, and what if Stella is miserable. How possible is it to regret wringing a bit more time out of her; again, at what price?
Stella was welcomed at the Rainbow Bridge by her predecessor GSDs: Jordan, Casador, Chancellor, Shiva and Mikey.
Stella learned to answer to:
Stella Bella
Baby Girl
Mama Girl

Stella survived and thrived and lived and loved every day-against the odds.

There truly are no words to describe how much I love my Sterro.

Thank you Sterro for doing all you did-against the odds.

Celebration of Nemo’s Life


Join us in celebration of life in honor of Nemo

“A bright spot in the universe”


Sunday August 2nd 10am-4pm

 “Nemo came to us at 10 weeks. I was intending to “find him a home” because I knew that as a pituitary dwarf he would likely have lifelong health problems. When I saw his adorable little face and “Big Dog” attitude, I was smitten. My friend Beth who often came to visit shared a special bond with him, and one day when he was six years old, he jumped into the back of her car and declared he was going to live with her. He had a special knack for always knowing when people needed some soul-soothing, and visited in rest homes, churches and in general was an ambassador for the GSD breed. Under Beth’s special care he remained quite healthy into old age. All the books say dwarves do not live past 5 or 6 years, but Nemo never read the book. We finally helped him over the Rainbow Bridge at age 16 1/2. He was surrounded by the people he loved and given gentle care and as much comfort as possible. His passing was peaceful, and although our tears were many, our hearts were at peace because we knew he had the best life a dog could have. When I thought of the disgraceful way in which some people discarded their ill or older dogs to die alone and frightened in shelters or worse, and the wonderful work that Thulani volunteers do to give them comfort and care instead, I knew the spirit of Nemo needed to come and help. He is our inspiration and we hope we can raise awareness and aid for these deserving senior dogs.”

Good Food, Good Friends, Dog Demonstrations, Meet Some Thulani dogs—Bring Your Dogs (On Leash).

A BBQ will be served to all

Check out the doggie demos:

10:15 Rally/Obedience: presented by Nicole Charles of Focused Canine Academy

11:00 Schutzhund: by Cherie Flores of Gold Country Pet Resort/Training

11:45 Agility: presented by Jessica Clough of Precision Chaos

Bring your dog and practice an obedience run through ($5.00 donation fee)


A great day in the shade graciously hosted by

Nemo’s family, Julia Priest and Beth Shea.





 Location: Micke Grove Park / Stanislaus Shelter

   111793 N. Micke Grove Rd., Lodi Ca. 95240


     Please RSVP by July 25th to Celia Driscoll @

(Please let me know people and dog count…..)

We look forward to everyone attending and celebrating Nemo’s life.
If unable to attend please consider supporting the Thulani Dogs in Nemo’s honor at:
Micke Grove Park has a $6 parking fee.
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