EFA: Etsy For Animals Etsy For Animals: Forever, Angus is in my heart... Thank you, Friends of Pets (May's COTM)

Etsy for Animals (EFA) aka Artists Helping Animals,

is a team of independent artists, craftspeople,

vintage sellers and craft suppliers on Etsy.com

who are dedicated to providing charitable relief to animals

by donating a portion of the profits from their shops

to an animal charity of their choosing,

and/or to EFA's featured Charity of the Month.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Forever, Angus is in my heart... Thank you, Friends of Pets (May's COTM)

Forever, Angus is in my heart
A Story by Andrea
... is our May Charity of the Month
nominated by Andrea of EveryDogsDelight

Angus... means "superior/exceptional strength".

Spring of 2004... I was working at a veterinary clinic and it was the end of a long day. Michele Girault, a golden linchpin & longtime volunteer of Friends of Pets (FOP), walked in.  She said to me, “Andrea, I have a golden retriever in the back. Want to meet him?”  Oh my! My heart jumped at the opportunity!!

We walked back to the kennels and there was this incredible senior citizen; a golden retriever looking back at me with the biggest brown eyes, filled with love. Michele had come across him at Anchorage Animal Control. When she saw him, she asked him “What ARE you doing in here?”  Needless to say, he was sprung!

We got him out of the kennel and brought him up front so I could cover the phones. He immediately rolled over so I could rub his big belly. I was smitten from the instant we locked eyes. Michele knew that my heart needed a golden.  My first golden, George, had passed 18 months prior from hemangiocarcoma; a deadly cancer, just short of his 6th birthday. She said with a twinkle in her eye, “I have foster parents set up for him OR you could take him.” Needless to say, Angus went home with me that evening.  

He was 36 pounds overweight and had a hard time walking.  His front feet bent from the excessive weight. His thyroid was checked and it was normal. I knew we had work to do!  We began by walking ¼ of a mile and adding ¼ mile each day for 14 months. I adjusted his food to a senior weight control formula and he began shedding pounds. On the 14th month of our training, he was down to 99 lbs! He was a new man!  

He loved being groomed by Tracy. She had a traveling dog grooming van and came to the house. He loved spa days with her as she bathed, spoiled him with treats and lovin!  We both looked forward to those days :)

One day on our walk, we found some strawberries on the side of the road. I picked a couple and ate them. He looked at me like “Hey!  Where IS mine?”  I offered him one and the sweet old man snarfed it down! I had never seen a dog eat fruit before. After that, that was our special treat we shared. 

Strawberry Dog Collar
by CanineDesign

As we headed home, a stray dog came charging toward us.  I looked at Angus in amazement as he made a half circle in front of me, back and forth.  He was protecting me!!!  He snarled and pulled on the lead and that dog turned and hi-tailed it away! My heart swelled with love for that 4-legged.  I thanked the stars above (& Michele), for sending me this miraculous, astounding, new best friend.  

We enjoyed many, many slow walks and trips to Yukon Island where he ran off the lead; free with his golden hair blowing in the wind. He loved strolling on the beach and eating surf line “treats”. So much that, he appeared to have indigestion. I took him to the vet and we tried an anti-acid. When it continued, an x-ray showed (ruh-roh!) that he had eaten an entire pile of unknown objects!  He was scoped and then had to have his stomach opened up to remove, let’s see there was: sea grass, plastic army men, wood chunks etc.  He was truly a vacuum! He recovered slowly as he was approximately 11 at this point. I took his stomach contents to my Reserve job and played show and tell... OMG ! 

The Coast 8x10 Fine Art Photograph
by WoodsEdge

We had enjoyed a little over 2 years together. Each day, a gift and one day, I found his lymph nodes were swollen on both sides of his neck. Dread came over me like a dark storm. I had experienced this before with Bear (another canine rescue). He had fast-moving lymphoma and passed just short of his 5th birthday.

Angus went in for removal of them. He was diagnosed with a slow moving form of lymphoma. I chose no chemotherapy for him. I went with acupuncture, Vitamin B-12 injections and a weekly infusion of an anti-oxidant/free radical fighting, homeopathic IV drip. I was surprised at his increased energy level after his treatments! He was the old, spunkier Mister “A”!  

My "A" Book, vintage book
available at innerchildbooks

He slowly began to lose control of his rear end. He told me with his eyes when he was ready. I decided to have a fabulous “Going Away” party for Angus. Tracy came over and gave him his last spa treatment. I invited friends and family to join us. The house was decorated festively and balloons were out front. I made chocolate dipped strawberries and fudge brownies for him. He literally gained 5 lbs that evening as he ate his heart out with abandon.  For the first time I saw him look at me and go, “I am stuffed!”

My vet came to the house to help him pass over. His passing was so gentle. We had a wonderful 3-1/2 years together. Every spring, when the strawberries bloomed, Angus was by my side eating strawberries. Forever, Angus is in my heart.

Pierced Heart Copper Ring
by CopperMare



  1. What a touching story Andrea; and what a wonderful blessing that spur-of-the-moment adoption turned out to be :o)

    Kudos to you for having the courage to do the right thing for your Angus. I loved the idea of a going away party to celebrate his life; a lovely gesture for a very special boy.

  2. LOVE your story, Andrea.

    You are a FAB, generous, & unselfish dog mama and what a party it must have been. Its all so difficult emotionally tho and i agree with Jen- what courage it took to 'keep on' with a brave face in the adversity of loss.

    You rock and so do organizations like Friends of Pets !

  3. The most beautiful and loving story I have ever read. Your words touched my heart. Thank you for sharing Angus's story with us.

  4. What a wonderful, wonderful story! You gave Angus such a lot of happiness in his later days.

    What a handsome boy he was, too!

  5. Wow, what an awesome story! I am fighting tears back as I right this. It clearly illustrates what wonderful things we can do for animals AND what wonderful things they do for us!

  6. Andrea, I can so relate to your loss of Angus with what I experienced with my Rockie who passed at 15 and what we do to make their last days just full of comfort and love. Angus was SO lucky to have you in his final days! Give me a senior dog any day! We rescued Mana Belle (another heeler) at 8 years she is 10 now and I dread the day that we will have to goodbye, but in the mean time everyday is a gift of love!

  7. Andrea wishes to express Humble THANKS to all of you !

  8. Heartwarming and touching story Andrea. Angus was truly blessed the day his eyes locked on to you at the Vet Clinic and he "claimed you" and vise-versa. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story.

  9. Sheesh, I had this long reply typed in and when I logged in to Google it disappeared..... eesh. All I will say is what a wonderful story Andrea. I am so glad that you and Angus "found" each other and were able to share the best years of his life.

  10. What a beautiful story Andrea. I had tears in my eyes long before it was finished. You are a truly special person and have made such a difference in not only Angus' life but the lives of many other wonderful dogs and cats. You are a true gem.
    Love Susan

  11. What a beautiful story A. I had tears in my eyes long before it was finished. How lucky Angus was to have made it into your care for his final days. And special thanks to Michele Girault of Friends of Pets for making it happen!
    I know Angus isn't the only animal you've taken in when they had no place else to go. You and the wonderful women at Friends of Pets in Anchorage have been true guardian angels to many dogs and cats through the years and I for one thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    You girls rock!!

  12. thanks for sharing it was so touching I am crying.. never gets easier when it's their time, but you made him a party and that was a beautiful way to make the memory a sweet one.I know how much you do for animals and I so appreciate the things you've done to make their lives better, you are a stellar example for all to see!

  13. What a wonderful story, so touching, so beautiful, and so inspiring. Those of us who love our pets and other animals amongst us know what it is to lose one, and yes, they are forever with us. I'm so very glad that Angus had you for the last years of his life. What a blessing for BOTH of you.

    And I love the layout of this post as well... complete with the other featured listings that fit so well.

    Thanks to everyone involved in putting this together and sharing it with us!

  14. What a wonderful story, so touching, so beautifully written, so inspiring. Those of us who love our pets and other animals amongst us know what it is to lose one, but they do remain with us, in spirit and in other animal companions that come along after. I'm truly glad that Angus shared his last years in such a wonderful way, with someone who loved and respected him. What a blessing for BOTH of you!

    I love the way this post was put together, with the other team member listings that fit so well here. Thanks to all involved in getting this post together and in sharing it with us!


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