Friday, August 07, 2020

Blaze: In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Blaze_cancerMy wonderful friend Terry Cerisoles (President of American Fox Terrier Rescue) tells me that many of you continue to wonder and ask about Blaze, our Miracle Girl, and that I must do this now – and I know it’s time.

My heart breaks to have to tell you that, to my great sorrow, we lost our Blazie on April 10th. Please forgive me for not announcing this earlier. So many of you followed her story, donated money for her care and sent gifts, love and prayers. The truth is that Blazie’s passing was just the final stroke on a horrendous three months for me last winter. I simply could not talk about any of it or respond to any messages until now.


I lost my precious girl Nancy (14) after a long battle with cancer and then kidney failure on December 3rd. She was so tough, so valiant and so loving, but after two years of remission, she lost the long battle. Chipmunk chaser, cookie monster, boss of the boys, giver of gentle kisses, sweetest face, smartest of them all. She is terribly missed.

In another awful blow barely three weeks later, I lost my beloved Moosie (also 14) on December 30th, after only recently discovering he had a large tumor on the artery to his heart. He had spent the weekend in emergency care after fainting repeatedly -- they sent him home on a Sunday afternoon. He woke up from his nap wagging and smiling as he always did, walked into the kitchen and collapsed on his dog bed. He died in my arms a few minutes later. I have no words to describe how much I miss him and how broken hearted I have been. He was my singular joy, my clown in a dog suit, the one soul who could always make me laugh and feel better no matter what. He adored Blaze and she adored him, following him everywhere. His love and attention to her in her early days here were pivotal to her re-socialization and her understanding that she was loved, safe and secure in our hearts and our household.

While all this was happening, Blazie had become ill with a stomach problem which was suspected to be cancer, but she responded amazingly well to treatment and was managing it with her usual tenacity. However, the stress of her illness and the loss of her Moosie, who was her guide and constant companion, exacerbated the neurological problems that she had when rescued, a condition resulting from living in that tiny bathroom for so many years previous to her rescue. It exhibited in a pacing and circling behavior, sometimes not at all, sometimes barely noticeable, sometimes, when she was stressed or ill, much worse. I am grateful that for most of the two years Blazie was home with us, she was happy and active and comfortable with little if any of the symptoms, eating and sleeping as part of her pack, loving running in the yard, owning her place on my bed and being a completely normal terrier. It was only near the end after her illness and the loss of two of her two beloved pack mates that this neurological issue gradually became much worse.

Eventually, she could not sleep without being drugged. She refused food unless I hand fed her. We went on for a few weeks until I was forced to accept that there was nothing I could do to hold on to her and could see that she was finally ready to rest. We had several visits with our wonderful vet, Dr. Melissa Brandley, who was so patient and so loving, but in the end could really do nothing. We cried and celebrated her life. Everyone at Ansley Clinic who had taken such devoted and loving care of Blazie throughout her rescue recovery came in and said goodbye to her and shed tears with me. On the morning of April 10th, she went to sleep in my arms looking into my face with such love and contentment. It felt like she was trying to comfort me that everything would be okay. It was one of the most beautiful yet awful moments of my life. She fought so hard, endured such pain and difficult recovery after her rescue with such stoicism and determination, and finally lived her healthy new life here with such joy and enthusiasm. I grieve that I could not have had her longer, that she knew so many years of misery before I got her. And I miss her funny little self every single day. She had big personality, our little Blazie.

I have not announced her death because, very frankly, I could not deal with all the attention I knew it would bring, however well intended. Having lost both my other seniors, whom I had from young ages, and then Blazie just a short time later has really just been more than I could manage publicly. I still grieve all of them terribly. It’s just not a thing you get over in a few months – well not a thing I can get over, anyway.

I am now working on a video tribute for Blaze with a great producer from Turner who is himself a rescue advocate. It will be a while before it's finished but with this loving piece I hope to be able to properly thank and acknowledge the hundreds of people who were so important to Blaze's rescue in so many ways, and to share her message: that hope is always possible and that grief does not always win. That is the way Blazie lived – hopeful, eager, determined, tenacious -- and my goal with her video tribute is to honor one special little dog who was so magnificent and so brave. The last two years of her life were lived in health, security, comfort and happiness and I am so very grateful to have been the person she lived with, trusted, and loved.

Queen Elizabeth II said in a speech once, “Grief is the price we pay for love.” This is the truest thing I know. There is no way to describe how horrible it was to lose all three of my beloved seniors within three months. Please forgive me for the delay in telling you of Blaze’s passing. Even as I struggle with my own grief, I know that I was not the only one who loved her.
Hoping to have her video tribute ready soon. Thank you, thank you, to all of you for your love and support during our beloved Blaze’s rescue and restoration to health. She was so worth it all.


American Fox Terrier Rescue would like to thank all of our wonderful supporters for your involvement and support of rescue efforts for dogs like Blaze.  Because of all of you and your donations and emotional support, and Holly's unwavering committment, we were able to give Blaze the help she needed.  We were able to assist in the successful prosecution of those that abused this beautiful soul so terribly. And we were able to be a part of the joy she knew in the last few years of her life.  Please know that we could not have done this without the financial support from so many of you. 

We will be starting a Blaze Memorial Fund to celebrate this beautiful dog and to be sure that if another dog like Blaze, or any fox terrier, that needs extraordinary help, that we will be positioned to help again.  Please click the "Donate" button below to donate via Paypal.  Or click the link to find out where you can mail your donations. 

Our hearts are all broken over the loss of Blaze, but we celebrate the love and health and good life she had for the last years of her life.  Thank you, Holly.  There are no words to express the depth of gratitude we all feel for you.

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AFTR, Inc. is a 501-(c)3 charitable non-profit organization. Thank you for your kind donation!

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