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8, 2004 proved to be a very sad day. My
Mom came running over to the house to tell me that Munchkin had died. She became sick on Tuesday evening; lethargic, a little
vomiting and diarrhea. Sam had went
to look at her, and was relieved her gums were pink (Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia
had struck Munchkin on 2 other occasions, ending her career in the program).
It was decided that Sam would bring some fluids home after work on
Wednesday evening, and in the meantime, Munchkin began an antibiotic, and a
medicine to help diarrhea and vomiting. My
parents thought that Munchkin felt a little better on Wednesday morning, but
realized she was still sick. They
left to go Christmas Shopping, and when they arrived at home a few hours later,
Munchkin had died.
is a HUGE loss to our group, as Munchkin was the inspiration for this program.
I can only imagine what it is like for my parents, who loved and cared
for her everyday. When we lost
Munchkin this week, no doubt we lost an angel on earth.
We used to always joke with my Dad that no one was going to visit with
Munchkin because no one would pay any attention to any of the other dogs, and
that was true. We would joke that
we were all going home to make wheelchairs for our dogs so they could get some
attention. My Dad would eat this
up…knowing full well he had a very special dog.
A dog that had the ability to reach beyond the social stigmas and ranks
of misfits and simply love everyone. Munchkin
had a special gift to give to people. A
gift of even more understanding than our other animals can give to some of our
patients. She was in a wheel-chair.
She knew trials and tribulations of life.
She accepted them, moved on, and even thrived in her situation. She stood up and told the world “What is normal?
We are all only limited by our own attitudes and ideas.”
And Munchkin didn’t realize she was handicapped.
She didn’t lay around, she persevered.
She didn’t feel sorry for herself, she continued on doing what she did
best. She lived a full happy life.
care was more involved than
most animals. I
recall when my parents picked Munchkin up.
Just a few weeks prior, my parents lost their little black poodle named
Chester. He had been a 3 legged
dog, and my parents loved the fact that they were able to help a dog that
probably wouldn’t have found a home any other way.
When Chester died, my parents were devastated.
They didn’t want to leave the house, they just sat for days on end in
the kitchen reminiscing about him. It
was horrible. Finally I met
Munchkin at Animal Charity, compliments of my friend Peggy Headrick.
My parents went to look at her, and brought her home.
I remember me and both of my brothers waiting at home for them to bring
Munchkin home that day. My parents
came back to life, and loved that little dog so much.
Munchkin healed a part of my parents, just as she would prove to do with
so many through the next years. Munchkin
had been visiting at nursing homes while living at Animal Charity.
Part of the contract my parents signed when adopting her promised to
continue visits to nursing homes and hospitals. Stories were everywhere about how Munchkin had inspired
people to talk that hadn't spoken in years.
It was inspiring to me to realize the power of animals, and so, K-9’s
for Compassion was born.
realize that our inspiration for this program has died is a profoundly sad,
upsetting fact for me. Certainly
she will be missed. Certainly she
will be remembered forever, and has earned her place in K-9’s hall of fame.
It will be frequently that I tell her story, and may all of us tell the
story of how we came to be…and how Munchkin was the shining light that will
continue to watch down upon us, and encourage us to continue our visiting.
She will be encouraging our animals to heal and inspire.
wish in this sad hour is that each of us go to our facility this next week with
our animals, and don’t rush, but relax and enjoy.
Listen to the stories, even if you have heard them a million times.
Reach for the emotion that is there.
Hear people when they smile, when they thank us.
Realize with every room that we are making a difference.
That time is ticking, and our animals and the people that we are visiting
are gifts from God. May we all
realize that we are blessed with wonderful animals who have a gift, and that we
find the courage to give freely of that gift.
May we all remember Munchkin in our hearts forever.
December 9, 2004
I sit in the kitchen drinking my coffee, I glance at the French door with the
glass that goes all the way to the floor. I
am instantly reminded of when we brought Munchkin home.
She was so full of life; she would drag herself after my wife, Kathy,
while she was running the sweeper. She
would run as fast as she could to the door whenever someone came to the house.
One day we noticed that she was looking out the back French doors at a
stray cat that made a home on our back porch.
We named him P.C. for Porch Cat. One
day the cat was walking across the back yard, so I put Munchkins wheelchair on
and set her on the ground outside of the back door.
She was gone like a flash, running as fast as she could go.
When I called her name she would stop and come back to the house.
After doing this a number of times, P.C. just stopped running.
Munchkin ran to him, they smelled one another for a little while and
Munchkin turned and walked back to the house.
P.C. followed a couple of steps behind.
We came to find out that while Munchkin was at Animal Charity for 3
years, she had made friends with a cat there and they stayed with one another
all the time. This is one of the
stories that I would tell when we would visit.
She was such a gentle soul. I remember the way she would push back against the person she was having a bed visit with. Almost as if to say “Thank you for letting me near you.” As I struggle to find the words to say how I feel about this little dog that was run over and left for dead on a Youngstown freeway, a visit to Tod Children’s hospital comes to mind. After visiting the hospital for a while Munchkin and I were ask to visit the Spina Bifida Clinic. I remember we were nervous because we were the only team asked to go. As we walked into the waiting room on the first day, the children were all saying things to and about Munchkin. As we walked towards them Munch was pulling on the leash, and you could hear one voice over all of the rest: “Oh Mom!” At the same time Munchkin pulled past the rest of the children and stopped in front of this little girls’ wheelchair. This was a 10 or 11 year old girl who had never walked in her life. She said “Mom, can I pet her?” As I picked her up so the little girl could pet her, I heard her say “It’s OK. I’m special too”. I think that is the way to say it, Munchkin you were very special!!!
closing let me thank the Lord for choosing me to be the one to hold her leash on
an incredible journey. Munchkin, I love you. Dad.
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