APRIL 2018
A Lesson on Loss
"Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love, they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog; it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs your heart is very big." – Erica Jong
When the time comes to say goodbye to our dog, it is no small event. Everyone in the family is affected, even the other pets. Understanding the grieving process and giving yourself the time and space to begin accepting the loss, will help you cope. Different ways to remember your pet can symbolize your love and honor the relationship.
The typical stages of grief are denial, anger, guilt, depression and acceptance. In the beginning, we are in denial , this cannot really be happening. The fact that our dog has died does not seem possible. We become angry with the vet, the situation, or ourselves. Anger can turn into guilt . Your thoughts turn to ways you could/should have done something differently. Maybe if we brought the dog to the vet sooner; checked that the gate was closed; or made sure they didn’t get into anything they should not have may churn through your mind. As one day moves into the next, you might be depressed to realize that this is the new normal. The quietness of the house when you return; why go for a walk when you don’t have a leash in your hand; finding a toy that rolled under the couch can all be daily reminders of what your life was like. The final stage of grief is acceptance . The pain is still real, but maybe not so raw. Looking at pictures might still bring tears, but the memories will bring a smile to your face.
Reading Resources
  • When Your Pet Dies: How to Cope with Your Feelings by Jamie Quackenbush
  • The Loss of a Pet: A Guide to Coping with the Grieving Process When a Pet Dies by Wallace Sife
  • The Heart That Is Loved Never Forgets: Recovery from Loss: When Humans and Animals Lose Their Companions by Kaetheryn Walker
  • When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering and Healing by Alan D. Wolfelt
Helping children through the loss of their pet will take time, patience and meeting them where they are in their understanding of the situation. Since a young child’s experience and vocabulary are limited, they draw on what they know. They may overhear something and misunderstand what is being said. It is important to take into consideration the child’s age and religious beliefs. When my daughter was 4 and our dog Viking died, she would comfort me and say, ‘Don’t worry Mommy, it’s OK, all dogs go to heaven.’ The video, All Dogs Go to Heaven was her favorite at the time. Six months later, she asked, ‘Mom, does Viking’s arms get tired being out like this all the time?’ She was standing with her arms outstretched. With the logic of a 4 year old, she knew that her dog was ‘dead’. All dogs go to heaven. Jesus was in heaven. Jesus is typically pictured on the cross. In her mind, her dog was in heaven on a cross. 
RainbowsBridge.com has a section devoted to children and gives four helpful hints for a grieving child.
  1. Give children permission to work through their grief.
  2. Never say things like ‘God took your pet’ or the pet was ‘put to sleep’.
  3. Include the child in everything that is going on.
  4. Explain the permanency of death.
Reading Resources:
  • Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant (ages 3 – 5)
  • I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm (ages 3 – 7)
  • The Rainbow Bridge – a Dog’s Story by Judith Kristen (ages 4 & up)
  • The Tenth Good Thing about Barney by Judith Viorst and Erik Bleguard (ages 6 -9)
  • Maxi’s Secrets by Lynne Plourde (ages 9 and up)
Our pets can sense change in us and in the environment. Their companion is not there and they are also feeling the loss. We can help them by continuing the routines that we once had. Give them the reassurance that they are loved. You may find that their eating and sleeping patterns are affected. Consult your vet if you feel that they are not adjusting to the new situation.

Her are several groups that can provide an outlet for your grief and people you can talk to about your loss. 

  • Facebook groups
  • Pet Loss Support Group
  • Lightning-Strike Pet Loss
  • Animal and Pet Support Group
  • Grief and Counseling Hotlines
  • ASPCA (847) 474-3310
  • Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine (508) 839-7966
  • University of Pennsylvania (215) 898-4556. 
RainbowsBridge.com can help direct you to the exact resource that you need. For example, under the Grief Support Center tab you will find forums, chat rooms, hotlines, coping suggestions, and making the decision sections.
The way you honor your pet can be unique or special, but what matters most is that it speaks to you and your family members. Some people jump into this stage immediately after a loss. Other people need time to grieve and process their loss. In time, you may be ready to honor the love you shared in a more tangible way. Here are a few interesting ways you may want to remember your pet:

  1. Using their water/food feeder as a planter for flowers.
  2. Using their collar to make an ornament or decorating a candle to light in their memory.
  3. Making a shadow box with a toy, paw print, collar or some photos.
  4. Having a photo blanket made with your favorite photos so that you can be wrapped in your memories.
  5. Having a memorial service that is as simple or elaborate as you need. The service may involve planting a tree or flower, lighting a candle, or spreading the ashes.
  6. Having a stone personalized at their favorite spot in the yard or on your desk to touch every day.
  7. Constructing a bookshelf shrine that holds the special mementos from your life together.
  8. Putting together a scrapbook of photos and lists of silly things that were unique to your dog.
  9. Making a phone cover with photos of your dog so that they are always with you.
  10. Using a wooden photo box where you can store the ashes and have photos on the outside to commemorate your pet’s life.
Whatever you do will be the exact right thing for you. There is no set period of time when you should be ‘over’ the loss of your pet. Everyone grieves in their own way and there is no right way or wrong way to move through the process. 
"Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes is certain for those who are friends." – Richard Bach
Jackson was adopted from ABR out of California in 2007. He was four when we got him. Jackson was always a good boy. He loved the water and dipped his toes in both oceans (doggie bucket list). He was the best snuggler and friend. He left us on Dec. 26 at the age of 14. He lived a wonderful adventure filled life. We miss him so much. Thank you ABR for the years we had with Jackson.
~ Angie & Mike
Rufus came into our world and into our hearts when he was 3 years old. My angel, my shadow, my love was with us for 12 years. Our goofy counter cruiser was always up for a jet ski ride or hunting fish from the paddle boat. Till we meet again lamb. ~Judie
Lady (2009 - 2017)
Lady my very, best friend is gone!
Sweet memories of her expressive eyes. The first time we met we were in love. Immediately! She read my every thought, emotion, my mirror.
Lady was an “it” girl. She had it all, beauty, brains and personality. Lady made our family, my pack complete. My heart is in shards.
Sonny (2004 - 2017)
Sonny passed over the bridge in true Sonny fashion, no fuss, calm, dignified, easy going way.
He woke up Sat. morn, pooed, peeped & refused food (a clue.)
Looking up at me, now & again, I told him, he was a good boy & it was ok to take a nap-until he did. A constant companion, charming, friendly, goofy, playful little boy, Sonny was one of a kind, a special gift to all that knew him. Missed above and beyond....

Cooper was 10 years old when we picked him up as a foster. He had lived in the same house since he was 6 weeks old and now in old age he needed to be re-homed. At 57 pounds he was the biggest Britt we ever had but also the most affectionate a sweet, cute lap dog. What started as foster ended with an adoption in a few weeks. Our biggest concern was that we would have him for a short time, but he gave us a lifetime of love in 3 short years. He joined our other rescues at the rainbow bridge and taking another piece of our heart with him. 
Willow Dakota Sioux Stager
Her hobbies included: hunting, cuddling, running, staring at squirrels and bunnies, laying on her back and scratching it on the carpet, licking my car windows, running, grunting, begging for treats, shedding, hogging the bed...and did I mention running? She was my first child - and is sorely missed.
~Tiffani and Andrew
The letter that started the conversation of dealing with the loss of a pet.
My Dearest Lucy,
There are very many things I never told you, because you’re a dog and English isn’t your first language. But now, maybe, wherever you are, you’ve been given higher cognitive capability to understand, so I’d like to tell you all the things I thought every time I looked at you, and what I meant all those times I called you a good dog.

You made me laugh every day you were alive. Some of it was inadvertent; I know you thought you looked like a million bucks with dirt all over your nose and some soggy, freshly-excavated rawhide bone in your mouth, but you looked ridiculous. And you looked so proud of yourself, I kept it to myself that I suspected you had happened upon that rawhide by chance and not through any particular archaeological effort. Not to mention all those finds in less organic material-- the sticks of butter in laundry baskets, Lindor truffles in shoes, cheese sticks in suitcases, bones in house plants-- that you hid around the home for us to find. I don’t know if you left them for you or for us, but I admired your diligence and industry.

I don’t know how you figured out so fast how irresistible you looked with your little chin rested on things-- or maybe I do, given how fat you were. In any case, I don’t regret all the bites of bagel and pizza crusts I tossed your way, or the vegetables I offered just because I thought it was funny when you spit them out. If anything, I regret all those times I didn’t fill up your Kong for you, even when you’d already had three.

I know you didn’t know exactly why I laughed at you, but I know it made you happy. Your stubby little tail betrayed you. More than anything I laughed because I loved how you knew it was a happy sound. I loved watching your tail wag, sometimes with a mind of its own, when you knew you were being naughty and kept on being naughty. I loved when your joy was such that that little stump couldn’t wag enough to express it, so you wiggled your whole butt as you presented it to me for scratches, turning into a bouncy little C-shaped dog because you wanted to see me and get butt scratches at the same time.

I want to remind you of all the things I hoped you’d appreciate when I made you watch those ASPCA commercials, because I hope you’re experiencing the best of them now. Human furniture you were allowed on and a chair that was indisputably yours. Scraps from the table (whether they were offered to you or not, you little counter cruiser). A big green yard in which to chase bunnies-- I hope they’re a little slower where you are now, with cheese instead of tapeworms. All the love you put into the world and more.

I will never be able to tell you how truly sorry I am, little Lucy, that I wasn’t there for you. I never meant to abandon you, but I know how little that came to matter. But every time I look at my phone, or glance at one of the many photos in my room, I think about you. Your nametag on my keys reminds me of you. I would give up all that I have here to hold hands with you one more time. I’ll never understand why it made you so happy to put your paw in my hand, but it always tickled me so much that it did.

Whatever happened, I know you lived a life full of love. I know you know you’re the goodest of good dogs (tied with Gracie) and the cutest thing in the entire universe (again, tied with Gracie). I know you know how much you were loved by everyone who knew you. And I hope you know how truly grateful I am to have been your family, to have been under the watchful eye of Nurse Lucy when I was sick, to have been looked to when strangers came to remodel the kitchen, to have a piece of my heart forever stamped on your forehead. I will forever carry you with me, little goober, little chub scout, little angel. I will forever try to be the person you believed I am. I will never forget how whole your simple, unconditional, and thoroughly requited love made me feel. I loved you beyond words your whole life, and I will love you beyond words for the rest of mine.

And, just in case this entire letter went over your furry little head, you’re a good dog. A good, good, girl. I love you forever. And as soon as I get back to you, let’s go for a walk.
~Love Rachel
YEAR OF THE DOG Continues -
One Overseas Partner
In our previous issue we discussed the horrific abuse many stray dogs suffer around the world. This month, we acknowledge some of the people that save the lives of these dogs. Natasha Trillo, ABR’s partner in Spain, is one of these women. 

“I rescue any dog who needs help,” she says. “Mastiffs, little dogs, Bretons (Brittanys), Setters…any poor soul.”

In addition to teaming up with ABR, Natasha works with a number of other groups, particularly those in the UK who rescue sporting dogs like our Brittanys. She joined ABR’s mission after meeting Mary Willis, a volunteer with Above and Beyond English Setter Rescue , through a Facebook post. Then, thanks to Mary, she got in contact with ABR board member Tina Leone and ABR International Rescue Program Director Nancy Hensley. 

Because hunting is so widespread in Spain, sporting dogs fare poorly there and thus prove the most vulnerable. Nancy receives notifications about various Brittanys in need four to six times per day, every single day. And that is just our Brittanys.  

“We are many who are ashamed of what happens in our country with dogs,” Natasha says. “Hunters are very cruel to them. They use them. If the dog is not able to hunt, they kill or abandon them.”

Natasha rescues dogs from the streets, ill-maintained shelters, and most importantly, Spain's notorious kill stations. Once a dog is safe, she tends to it's immediate physical needs, then contacts veterinarians for any needed medical help, as well as testing and vaccinations. Then she and other folks focus on the common goal of securing deserving homes.    

As far as ABR goes, after the dogs are certified to be in good health, it’s a matter of sheer luck which ones will make it back to a foster home in the US. Each dog vetted through ABR is issued a Certificate for International Movement and a passport listing details of medical tests. The passport also includes a description of the dog, as well as a notation of a ‘marking’ which is a tattooed number, usually placed on the inside of the ear.  

In addition to working directly with various rescue groups, Natasha has created her own Facebook page dedicated to finding homes for dogs across Spain and beyond. In Forever Home, she posts compelling and heart-rendering pleas on behalf of many of these dogs. She also encourages other people and organizations to post there as well. 

One recent description reads in part “…look at those little eyes that only ask for a little peace and love in his life. It breaks our soul to see him stuck by the fence, waiting for that door to open…the door that will give him freedom and provide love.”  Natasha remains determined to open the door to love for that dog and many more. 

"Rescuing one dog will not change the world... But for that dog the world will be forever changed."

These wonderful Brittanys are currently available for adoption. Click on their picture for more information, and if you think your family is a good fit, please complete an adoption application here.
"Compact and agile" Pablo is a small Brittany with an urge to play, since he is a young Brittany. He is timid and requires some time to warm up, so the ideal family would have older children and a good role model dog to show Pablo the ropes around the house. Pablo would love to be the newest addition to your family.
Another one under three! Choco is one of our International Rescues and he has had a hard life, so his foster family wants to make sure he is in the perfect forever home. Check out his ideal home on our website, because you may be the perfect match for this "amazingly beautiful boy with a heart full of love."
ABR 2018 Stats at a Glance
American Brittany Rescue is hard at work, but sometimes without details it is hard to understand the scale. Throughout 2018, the enewsletter will highlight the above statistics regarding dogs that are taken into rescue and dogs that are adopted in an effort to provide you with a brief glance at the work you make possible.
Congratulations to these Brittanys who have found their forever home!
Bama, FL
Clyde, MI
Duke, IL
Granger, IL
Gus, NE
Lucy, NE
Mary, GA
Molly, IL
Odie, IL
Penny, VA
Raj, FL
Remington, MN
Scooby, FL
Squirt, WI
Tucker, WI
Whisper, PA
ABR Calendar of Events
DATE: May 19, 2018
TIME: 10am to 2pm
CITY and STATE: Pittsburgh, PA
LOCATION: Healthy Pet Products at 9805 McKnight Road

ABR-PA is excited to be participating in Healthy Pet Day North Hills along with other local rescues and pet-related vendors. Come out and take a chance on one of the many raffle baskets or check out the seminars and demos. Healthy Pet Products is a great place to shop for your furry friends and they will be offering many of their products at fantastic sale prices the day of the event. So leash up your four-legged friend and come visit our booth. For more information, please visit: http://www.healthypetproducts.net/hppevent/healthy-pet-day/

DATE: May 19, 2018
TIME: 10am to 2pm
CITY and STATE: McMurray, PA
LOCATION: Healthy Pet Products at 3043 Washington Road

Please join ABR-PA at Healthy Pet Day South Hills. This fun event will feature many rescues, pet-related vendors, raffle baskets, and much more. So spend the day with us and bring along your four-legged friend too! For more information, please visit: http://www.healthypetproducts.net/hppevent/healthy-pet-day/

SUPPORT ABR – Tributes, Memorial Funds, and Planned Giving
Your gifts of support to American Brittany Rescue gives ABR the opportunity to directly help dogs in need of health care, shelter, and a loving atmosphere. When you are grieving for an individual or a beloved pet, please consider making a gift in honor of that person or pet at www.americanbrittanyrescue.org. If you wish, your tribute or gift of honor will be published within our “Notes from Supporters” on our website.

If you are interested in making a large gift, you may want to consider creating a Memorial Fund, if there is an area of need not currently met with our dedicated donation funds. Below is an example of a Memorial Fund for a beloved Brittany:
The Napoleon Challenge Fund for Senior (CA):  Napoleon was fortunate and much blessed to live to his ripe old age of 17.3 yrs. without sickness, disease or handicaps. His owner recognized that seniors who come into rescue are often not as fortunate as Napoleon. The purpose of this fund is to help these senior dogs to stay alive in foster homes or Sr. Retreat (when one is available) until their death so they don't need to be prematurely and unnecessarily euthanized. Napoleon spent his life in Northern California and this fund specifically assists seniors in that state.
If you would like to set up a Memorial Fund, please contact the Board of Directors. 
Finally, if you would like to participate in our Planned Giving Society – leaving all or a portion of your assets to American Brittany Rescue in your personal will – THIS LINK will provide useful information to ensure that your wishes are fulfilled. 
A tribute gift, memorial fund, or a planned gift can truly change the life of a Brittany in our rescue and that person or pet’s memory will live on by giving a “second chance” to our rescued Brittanys.
If you would like to give to American Brittany directly, please click on the button below to make your gift and help a dog in need.

American Brittany Rescue, Inc. is an organization that was formed in 1991 as a cooperative effort of Brittany owners, breeders, trainers, and fanciers who ABR believes have a responsibility not only for their own dogs and the dogs they produce, but for the breed as a whole.


ABR's mission is to provide the leadership and expertise via a network of trained volunteers to take in stray, abandoned, surrendered and/or impounded purebred Brittanys, provide them with foster care, health and temperament screening, an opportunity for any necessary rehabilitation and to assure their health and placement into new homes. In order to fulfill this mission, ABR's volunteers remain flexible and adaptable to current and future business environments and they remain dedicated to the organization.  

Terry Mixdorf, President
Tina Leone, Vice-President/Co-Treasurer
Michelle Falkinburg, Secretary
Diana Doiron, Co-Treasurer
Robin Egan, Chair
Tiffany Dexter
Terrie Johnson
Nancy Hensley
Monica Rutt
Maria Smith
Lisa Bagwell
Brittany Boler
Jeannine Connors
Judie Cutting
Autumn Fenton
Lori Gartenhaus
Patricia Gillogly
Melissa Tapply
Rachel Schollaert
Maria Smith
American Brittany Rescue, Inc. | 866.274.8911 |  Visit Our Website