Sunday, June 27, 2010

On Friday morning, at the end of her walk, Stella stopped just outside the entrance to our front yard, not wanting to go in yet, and looked up the street. She just stood there and looked and I thought she smelled something and so I motioned for her to go follow her nose but she did not. She just stood and looked, seeing something I could not.

On Friday night, Elizabeth told me that Stella dreamed of running.

On Saturday morning, I told my mother who was finally fully awake from her surgery the day before that the doctors had found that the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes so she would very likely have to go through chemo.

On Saturday afternoon, I watched on TV as they smashed windows and burned up our Toronto streets.

On Saturday night, Stella's heart beat like a butterfly and could not be restrained any longer but Stella did not understand. I held her when the vet injected her with the first needle and she looked at me and asked me what was happening to her. I could not give her an answer so I kissed her on her furrowed brow. Then she leaned into my arms and I lay her down.

All dogs dream of running even when they can no longer run.

My Stella is gone.

For now I am done here.

Thank you all for reading and being with us these few years. I can't express my gratitude to you enough.


Michelle said...

Oh Fred. I always read your blog on my phone before bed. When I saw this entry I had to get up out of bed and go to my computer to be able to post a message.

I'm not good at finding the words in situations like these. I don't think there's anything that I could say to make things feel any beter for you. All I can really say is that I am so, so, sorry for your loss. You are a great person and Stella was so lucky to have you... and you her. From reading your blog it seems as if you had so many great memories together... memories that you will cherish forever.

I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you and I know you don't 'know' me, per say, but let me know if there's anything that I can do for you... and know I am thinking about you... and Rocky.

Ian said...

My sincere condolences Fred.
R.I.P. Stella
Thank you Fred for this blog.

monica said...

Fred, your sweet girl will always be with you. I am so sorry for your loss - my heart goes out to you & your family.

Jo Ann said...

Oh Fred, I'm so very sorry to hear about Stella. I was hoping, as I'm sure you were, and everyone, that you would get more time with her.

I'll repeat the things that you already know, that she was lucky to have you, as you were her, that you did everything you could for her, that she was well loved. That she had a wonderful life. And I know none of this helps ease the pain right now. But ease it will and the memories will blossom.

Don't leave us though Fred. Take the time you need and come back when you are ready.

Rest well, beautiful Stella.

Jo Ann

Thε Countεss said...

I am deeply sorry, Fred. For everything that is happening, and things that happened. I hope your Mom can get better. May Stella rest in peace. I hope Toronto sees better things to come. As animals should as well.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry.

80milliontimes said...

Oh Fred, I am so, so sorry. Thinking about you.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to read about Stella. i grieve with you. RIP, Stella.

Gina said...

Hi Fred & Rocky and family,
Nicki, Sandi, Ely, Inky and I are sending our very deepest sympathies .
With understanding and good wishes, from our furry, toy filled home to yours,

Kate said...

I'm so sorry, Fred. Rest in peace, sweet Stella. Strength to your mother and to you for what you're going through.

Anonymous said...

Fred, my condolences to you, Elizabeth and Rocky on the passing of Stella. She was a beautiful girl. Sending you all strength.

House of the Discarded said...


Thank you for the privilege of allowing us to know sweet Stella. She had become part of our lives too.

I wish every dog had a life like Stella's. Thank you for loving her so much.


Sheryl said...

My heart is breaking for you, Fred. Thank you for sharing your stories and your life with us. Hopefully Stella is finally running.

Sabrina said...

Please accept my condolences, Fred. We will all meet up with our darling pets again at Rainbow Bridge.

YesBiscuit! said...

All good thoughts for you and your family...

Pibble said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Stella and your mom. And I've seen the G20 news on television. So much sadness in one day.

Stella was fortunate to have your love, as you were fortunate to have hers. Now, your mother needs your attention, which I'm sure you'll give, undivided.

I do hope you continue to blog because your writing is meaningful and has a great impact in so many ways. When you're ready, we'll be here, as always.

K said...

Fred, I am so incredibly sorry.

Please know this blog has helped countless dogs find homes, and Stella helped in that, as many of us came here to read about her (and you and Rocky), and stayed and found a dog of their own.

Lil'Mac (Crystal Tomusiak) said...

Oh Fred, I am so sorry to hear about all of this. Please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of your dear Stella, and my best wishes for a speedy recovery for your mother. I recently lost my Lilly, and I miss her everyday. Please take comfort in the fact that you gave Stella the most extraordinary life and she never had to feel alone. She passed from this world feeling safe and loved, in the arms of someone who adored her. That is the greatest gift that any living creature could ask for. I also thank you for sharing Stella's story with us. I feel like I know her and feel sadness at her loss, as it is very clear that she was a very special girl. Please take good care of yourself in this difficult time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Fred.

I am sorry your Stella is gone on. Many thanks for the inspiration and the wonderful, wonderful writing.

And, of course, all those lucky dogs thank you for your great portraits and outings that helped them get a place in the world.

You have a great talents and I you continue in some form or another.

And of course Petey thanks you for introducing us to TAS, it's likely he wouldn't be on my lap now without you.

Sarah said...

So sorry to hear about Stella, and your mom. Stella was a beautiful girl and so loved.

Take good care of yourself.

Social Mange said...

Oh, Fred. I'm sitting here crying, I am so very, very sorry about Stella and about your mum.

Thank you so much for staying with Stella as she passed over.

My hopes and prayers will be with your mum.

Come back soon.

Rachelle said...

Fred, I'm so sorry for all that you're going through and for the loss of Stella. My heart breaks for you... hang in there. **HUGS**

p.s. thank you for your wonderful blog; it has helped so many animals, and not to mention people. hope that when you're ready, you'll come back to it. in the meantime, take care xo

susan said...

So sorry to read this Fred. I'm sure knowing this was going to happen didn't make it any easier. Hope to see you again somewhere along the way. Maybe Stella will help you think of some great stories you haven't written yet. Take care.

deakat said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Fred.

Luisa said...

[through tears] Oh, Fred -- my heart aches to read this.

As others have said, you and Stella were blessed to have each other. You and your loved ones are in my thoughts -- and thank you so much for the wonderful and important blog.

Erin said...

Fred, I am so sorry. For your Mom, I wish her smooth and successful treatments. For your loss of Stella, I want to share words that I received when our Moka passed:

We are all creatures of this great earth, interconnected in ways beyond understanding.

Take elephants.
So big.
So strong.
And yet, when a member of the herd passes, even elephants mourn.
They gather around, extend their trunks and gently touch the tusks of their fallen friend.
It is their ritual.
It is how they heal.
And it is sad,
And it is beautiful.

So maybe what we're trying to say is that the world doesn't expect you to be fine with this.
Be how you need to be.
Mourn how you need to mourn.
And know that you're thought of with love.

Lynn said...

I can't think of a better way to leave this world, but in the arms of the person who loved me the most. I know your beautiful Stella thanks you for being with her to the end.

I am so sad about all of it. Selfishly, I wish I had found your blog years ago, instead of just recently. You have given so much to so many.

Peace to you and your family. My thoughts are with your mother and all of you as you go through this difficult time in life. All words now seem shallow, but just keep going.


Brooke said...

Fred, please know how sorry I am, and know that some virtual stranger in FL reads your blog daily, and knows how good of a dog dad you are. I am so sorry for your pain, not only with Stella but also your mom's troubles too. My heart is breaking for you.

Anonymous said...

aww Fred I really am so sorry. I am thinking of you.


Amy said...

Fred, I am so very sorry for your loss. Stella was such a beautiful girl and so well loved; she was as lucky to have you as you were to have her. I will keep you and Rocky in my thoughts and prayers, as I know this is such a difficult time.

I am also sorry to hear about your mom. She will be in my thoughts and prayers as well.

Laura HP said...

My sincere condolences, Fred. What a saddening weekend you've had. I wish your mom the best. Rest in peace, Stella.

Anne said...

I am standing on the seashore-

A ship spreads her white sails in the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean-

She is an object of beauty and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky meet to mingle with each other-

Then someone at my side says, "There! She's Gone!"

Gone where? Gone from my sight that's all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my sight, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of her destination-

Her diminished size is in me-
not her-

And just at that moment when someone at my side says, "There! She's Gone!" there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices take up the glad shout, "There she comes!"

And that is dying.

Swift Sailing, Sweet Stella.
Peace to you and yours, Fred

GoodDog said...

My sincerest condolences Fred. Sweet, sweet Stella may you rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing moments of your life, Fred. Please be well, take a breath, tomorrow is another day. RIP dear Stella. All my best for you and your family.

Urban canines said...

I am sorry Fred for your loss of your beloved Stella.

andrea said...

absolutely all I can offer

(and both empathy and sympathy)

Dee said...

So sorry Fred for you loss. May Stella run as free as her heart wouldn't let her.

Thank you Fred for all you insight over these last few years. I have truly enjoyed this blog. I wish the best for you and Rocky through these unsettling times.

Jamie said...

Fred, I don't truly know you or Stella but I am crying right now for the both of you. I guess I am also crying for myself and my recent loss. I have loved your blog posts and loved hearing about your lovely Stella and Rocky.

It never gets easier but it is all so worth it to experience that love. You are in my thoughts.

Miz Minka said...

Oh. No. I was afraid of this post, even though I knew it was coming soon, sooner than you or any of your readers wanted. I'm so very sorry for your loss, Fred. Thank you for sharing your beautiful Stella with all of us, including those last, difficult times. May you receive some comfort from memories of happy times, and of knowing that other dog lovers are shedding tears for you and for Stella tonight. Prayers are being said for you and your family too, especially your mom. When it rains, it pours.

martha said...

oh dear.
oh dear.
I didn't expect this tonight & was going to ask how the dog walker visits were going.
Sweet Stella.
You took perfect care of her
-may that comfort you.
Come back to us when you are ready.

debra said...

Fred, I'm so, so sorry...even though we all knew this was coming, I hoped it would be much later so you could have more time with the beautiful Stella. So sorry to hear about your mom, too...I hope her treatments go well.
Like others on here, I went through the same thing not long ago so I know what it's like to hold your best friend in your arms, have them look up at you with that question in their eyes and not have an answer. What answer is there?
Why does such a sweet, gentle, innocent, loving soul who never harmed anybody or anything only get to spend a few short years on this earth when we all know there are humans who have done nothing but cause misery to others and they get to live (relatively) long lives? I don't ask myself that question just drives me crazy.
Obviously, I don't know if you've seen it, but if you haven't, might I suggest watching the movie "Passengers"...not to give too much away, but it helped me to think that someday I might see my friend again and he would be there to guide me.
Give Rocky a hug for me...I know he misses Stella, too.

Angele said...

Fred, my deepest condolensces to you and your family. Stella seemed like such a sweet dog and obviously very special to you. Stella was so lucky to have you and you her. I am sure that Rocky will miss her so much as will you and your family.

So sorry to hear about your mom as well. I hope she has a quick recovery.

I too, hope that someday you come back to writing. You are such an inspiration and you are the reason that I began to volunteer for a dog rescue about 6 months ago. It is such a rewarding feeling. You are such a great animal advocate and you have helped so many in so many ways.

I can only imagine how hard it is to lose one of your best friends. We all hope that our furry friends will be with us forever.

We do understand your decision at this very difficult time but selfishly hope to see you back some day.

Take care Fred and thank you for all of the wonderful insight you have provided.


DogsDeserveFreedom said...

Fred. I'm very sorry for your loss.

Thank you for writing about her in your blog. Through your blog, we were able to get to know Stella. Most of us never would have any other way. Stella was special.

Reading through the comments from everyone above, it is obvious that you and Stella have touched the hearts of many people and that Stella was much loved.

Thank you for sharing her with us. My condolences.

martha said...

I would like to add one more comment.
May there be strength and courage for your mum. I am saddened hearing of her news
This too? too much all at one time. What is this thing we call life? where is this black ball that swings at our head one too many times? (take it away)

for future reading when you have healed from Stella's passing(or now for a few readers) try the book by Garth Stein- "The art of Racing in the Rain".

The edges where your chest has been ripped open in sadness will slowly ease back together and in there you will hold all the best of Stella-in your heart but it takes time.

Anonymous said...

Fred, I also wanted to acknowlege your mom's struggle at this time and am hoping that she can beat the cancer.

I know your grief is deep and very fresh but I do hope that when you are ready that you will continue with this blog and feature future dogs in need of a loving home. It would be a wonderful tribute to Stella.

Brent said...

Run Stella Run.

I am sad to read the news Fred. Sad to read of the heartbreak with Stella (I tear up just thinking about this day with my own) and am sad that the wisdom and prose from this blog will be gone too.

Shannon said...

So sad for this news. My heart is with you during this difficult time. Rest peacefully Stella.

Dani said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Best thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

Falen said...

We have a secret, you and I,
That no one else shall know,
For who, but I can see you lie,
Each night, in fireglow?
And who but I can reach my hand
Before we go to bed,
And feel the living warmth of you
And touch your silken head?
And only I walk woodland paths,
And see, ahead of me,
Your small form racing with the wind,
So young again, and free.
And only I can see you swim
In every brook I pass...
And, when I call, no one but I
Can see the bending grass.

Godspeed, Stella.
Peace for you and your family Fred.

Wenchy said...

Time will never heal this wound. Time will only provide you the means to deal with the pain. There are no words.

RIP Stella.

9 months 4 days and the entrapment of the soul in hell still engulfs the mind. be careful Fred

Anonymous said...

Oh Fred, I'm so sorry. Stella was a wonderful dog and she touched so many lives thanks to your wonderful stories. Julie

Meaghan Edwards said...

Fred, you have my most sincerest condolences. I lost my Scottish Terrier, Hamish, when he was ten years old on October 22nd, 2007. Not a day goes by where I don't think of him.

I have no doubts that Hamish is showing Stella around the Rainbow Bridge.

Bella's Mom said...

I am so sorry. I have so enjoyed reading your blog for quite some time now and seeing your pictures.

Anonymous said...

Fred, Hugs from Orlando, Fl
May you find peace and comfort.

Holly Cole " Make It Go Away"

Make it go away or make it better
Isnt that what love is supposed to do?
Make it go away or make it better
Cause I would do either one for you

This is not the way you should see me
This is not the face I recognize
Could I lay my head down here for a moment?
Would you sing to me like Im your child?

Cause Im not angry Im not crying
Im just in over my head
You could be the angel that stayed on my shoulder
When all of the other angels left

Make it go away
Cause I am weak and
This is more than one should have to take
If you do this for me then I will promise
Ill make it go away for you someday

There are reasons with silver linings
There are lessons but I dont care
Cause I just need a hand that I can hold onto
When its darker than death out there

Oh, and Im so cold
And so far away from my home
But tonight youre
Youre where I belong
Youre everything right
When Im everything wrong

So make it go away or make it better
Isnt that what loves supposed to do?
Just make it go away or make it better
Cause I would do either one for you

Make it go away or make it better
Isnt that what loves supposed to do?
Just make it go away or make it better
Cause I would do either one for you

Lauren said...

Oh, I am so sorry for your loss. Cherish her memory and good times; do not mourn her death but celebrate her life.
This story helped put things in perspective for me when I lost my Sophie. RIP sweet Stella

A Dog's Purpose (from a 6-year-old)

by a veterinarian. .....

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the Family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The e next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.

Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, 'I know why.' Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, 'People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life --like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?' The six-year-old continued, 'Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.'

Anonymous said...

Lay down
Your sweet and weary head
Night is falling
You’ve come to journey’s end
Sleep now
And dream of the ones who came before
They are calling
From across the distant shore

Godspeed, Stella, precious soul.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful Stella. When I lost my dog a couple of months ago, a friend of mine told me, "She will take a piece of your heart, and you will let her... because there is nobody else more deserving of it than her". It kinda made the pain feel more bearable. Thinking of you.

Gail Burton said...

R.I.P sweet girl, run free at the bridge with all your friends. x

Kara said...

I'm so sorry. Hardest thing in the world is letting a pup go...

So very sorry for your loss.

Marcie said...

Fred I’m so sorry for the loss of your beautiful girl.

I want you to know that I am proud to call you my friend & I am grateful to you for all the work that you do. I can only imagine all the animals that have found forever homes because of your beautiful photographs & because of this blog. Just last weekend you saved a dogs life on death row by caring enough to reach out for help.

You’re amazing.

Rocky, your mom & Elizabeth need you now but I hope to see you back someday. Your words; like your Stella have become a part of our lives & will be missed. (((HUGS)))

Lee said...


I am so sorry. There are no words. My heart is with you... and Stella.

Joanne said...

I love this...whenever I lose a little friend, I print it out and put it in with their they know they are special...

I Loved You Best
Copyright © Jim Willis 2002, all rights reserved

So this is where we part, My Friend, and you'll run on, around the bend, gone from sight, but not from mind, new pleasures there you'll surely find.

I will go on, I'll find the strength, life measures quality, not its length.

One long embrace before you leave,
share one last look, before I grieve.

There are others, that much is true, but they be they, and they aren't you.

And I, fair, impartial, or so I thought, will remember well all you've taught.

Your place I'll hold, you will be missed,the fur I stroked, the nose I kissed.

And as you journey to your final rest, take with you this...I loved you best.

Lynda said...

I'm so very and utterly sorry, Fred. May Stella rest in peace - she happened to pass on the same day as my cousin - so hopefully they're hanging out together. He loved Danes too.

Lisa said...

Oh Fred.

I am so sorry, I don't know what to say, except that I hope you and your whole family find peace and happiness again soon.

And when you think of Stella, please remind yourself that your heart is breaking because you loved her, and know that she knew that. The hurt you're feeling now is in proportion to the joy and love you gave her.

I'm going to miss you, Fred.

borderjack said...

I'm so very sorry. I don't have the words right now, so I'll simply offer my deepest sorrow and wish you strength going forward.

Elle said...

My heart is breaking for you...sending you much love..I am so sorry...R.I.P. Stella

Eileen said...

I'm so sorry, Fred. Thank you for your wonderful blog.

Amy said...

Thinking of you, Fred, and hoping that you are doing okay today...

Smartypants said...

Condolences Fred. Your stories about Stella have been read-aloud favourites at our place. Thanks to both of you. Wishing you strength.

Sunny Reuter said...

Thank you Fred for sharing Stella and Rocky with us. I am so sorry for your loss. I adopted a dog from TAS because of your photos. God Bless you and your family.

Michelle said...

Harlem_Star said...

Hello Fred,
I wanted to thank you for all your hard work and dedication to abandoned dogs. It broke my heart when I read that Stella was gone.I know that you loved her and she you.And through that loved you helped so many other homeless pets find their families. I can attest to that,almost 2 years ago I started reading your blog and it convinced me that adoption was the way. I adopted 2 dogs from the TAS North and it has changed MY LIFE!
Thank you and my best wishes to you and your family in this hard times. Speedy recovery to your Mother and to you!


Julia, Harlem and Coltrane!

FrogDogz said...

Fred, I'm so sorry. There are no other words, as I well know.

Anonymous said...

Fred, I am truly sorry to have read about Stella’s passing. I have been enjoying your blog for quite some time and had been hoping for more time for Stella to be with you. Losing a fur-baby is never anything short of tormenting.

I have hesitated to contact you because I have an unusual opinion of how cancers should be fought and I wish that more people were made aware of their options. I am truly sorry to hear that yet another is suffering from this unbelievable disease and I wish your mother a full recovery. But I also hope that you will consider some alternative therapies before jumping into chemotherapy. Chemo cannot be undone and it does not know the difference between healthy cells and cancer cells. It destroys everything and brings a person as close to death as possible. The people I have lost most recently to their cancers regretted nothing more than choosing chemotherapy. I urge your mom to explore her options if she has the time. I know nothing about her situation or of how advanced her cancer is, but if there is time, please look into it. Diet can change so much and I highly recommend raw foods, no sugar/high chlorophyll (ph balanced) diets. Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida, while it is very expensive, has cured so many people of their cancers, in all stages.
In 1986, McGill Cancer Center in Montreal, one of the largest and most esteemed cancer treatment centers in the world, surveyed 64 oncologists to see how they would personally respond to a diagnosis of cancer. Of the 64 oncologists surveyed, 58 said that “all chemotherapy programs were unacceptable to them and their family members due to the fact that the drugs don’t work and are toxic.”
A simple way to understand the impact of sugar on a cancerous body is to look at the PET scan procedure for finding cancer. Radioactive sugar is injected into the body, where it immediately gets consumed by the cancer cells. Cancer lives off of sugars and thrives in an acidic environment. A body’s ph is altered with food.
Doctors are still not connecting the link between cancer, diet and cures, but I do not doubt that it is there.
I do not wish for you to post my comment, I just wanted to reach you and offer my opinion. I do not mean to intrude or to step on any toes and I understand if my advice is not wanted. I believe everyone should be aware of all their options. There are many places to find alternative therapies in Toronto and even if chemo is the route your mom takes, strengthening her body through diet will do her nothing but good. Again, there is no need to post my comment, I know how touchy the subject of cancer is.

I wish you, your mother and Rocky all well. I hope that time can heal all of your wounds.

Anonymous said...

To Fred,

My deepest sympathy at this most difficult time.

I agree with the previous poster and I hope your mother can look into her options, perhaps with your help.

When all is said and done, in the end, all that really matters is love. You loved Stella and she loved you. Although now she is not with you physically, I'm sure she is around you spiritually. If you allow it to happen, she may even come to you in a dream in the next little while. I hope she does.

My love and thoughts.

Gina said...

Hi Fred and all,
I check back every now & again to read the comments.It is hard to believe -both that Stella is gone & that a new set of photos of dogs looking for good homes- isn't waiting . I hope all is going as well as can be expected.
Upon reading the July 4th Anonymous comment regarding sugar I wanted to write but held off. It is such a difficult subject to touch upon and my work as artist-in-residence in cancer centers has given me the patient's perspective so I too have heard about sugar but I actually have a hard time saying much more than that since I lack personal or medical experience.
And then I met a young woman this evening-sitting on the sidewalk with a clearly sick, old stray cat. She was mulling over taking the cat in and as I spoke with her and pet the cat , of course I thought of you and Stella and your mom.
And then I thought of this:
There is a wonderful magazine called CURE.
Link to their site is here:
They offer free subscriptions here:
And their article on sugar can be found here:
And perhaps there is a program like the one I work for where you are.
CURE's article on us is here:
Best wishes,

Heather B said...

I feel your pain and share you grief, Fred.
We dog people have been in this place before . It never gets easier.
Please know you are loved by your readers and pray you find the strength to come back to us when you are ready.
Stella is running free of pain and will be in your heart forever.
Prayers for you mother in her battle to survive the evils of cancer.

martha said...

Fred how are you?

Vida said...

Oh Fred. I am just so sorry.

Anita Robeson said...

My deepest condolences, Fred. I am so sorry for your loss. Rest in peace, Stella.