A Day Of Two Losses, 12-29-20

Yesterday was a sad day – I had to return Jo to the shelter and my friend Mareen lost her dog Gracie.

Because Jo was not making any progress the shelter asked me to return her which broke my heart. I did try so hard but just couldn’t reach her terrified soul. In her best interest she is being transported to a home in Wisconsin who rescued a similar dog in the past. The family dog brought Chubba out of his terror to become a well adjusted member of the family. Now that old dog has passed and they will take Jo in to follow Chubba around and convince her to join the world of happiness. I do want only what’s best for Jo but oh, it is so hard to admit defeat. Tears just spring into my eyes.

This is truly the only time I saw her happy. The rest of the time she hid her head in the dog bed. It’s not recommended that foster homes be able to follow a foster dog so I’m not likely to know what happens to Jo which makes me so depressed I can’t imagine how I will ever get over it. But I will.

Gracie, Mareen’s dog, has been pretty sick for at least two weeks and yesterday the vet discovered internal cancerous tumors in such a large number that Mareen had to let Gracie cross the Rainbow Bridge. As sad as it is to let a beloved dog leave this world, Gracie is now running free and is no longer in pain.

A Dog Lover’s Prayer by Toni Falcon

My prayer book’s unconventional,

An album scarred with age.

The dogs who shared their lives with mine

Stand out on every page.

Though some folks picture Heaven’s gates

Atop a golden stair,

The precious photos in my book

Inspire this humble prayer:

Lord, lead me to a sun-washed field,

Then send them one by one;

Let yelps of joy lead wagging tails

As to my arms they run.

This Heaven that I pray for Lord,

Where lilacs scent the air,

Is blessed with all the dogs I’ve loved

Who come to greet me there.


84 thoughts on “A Day Of Two Losses, 12-29-20

  1. Mary

    I’m so sorry it didn’t work out with Jo. I lost my Sophie on August 21st this year, was devastating. She would have been 13 on December 11th. You tried your best, hopefully this new family will complete what you started, prayers for Jo’s recovery and your broken heart.

  2. Diane from TN

    Oh, such sad news. I know you tried your best with Jo. It wasn’t due to your lack of love! Loss of our pets is always so hard to bear. They touch our hearts in so many different ways…each leaving a mark. Just reading your post makes me tear up.

  3. Judy Brennan

    Mary, I am so sorry to hear about you having to return Jo. You did an awesome job with Jo. She will never forget you, as will never forget her. I pray for peace in your heart as you go through this difficult time. I pray Jo gets the psychological help she needs. Thanks for sharing this beautiful journey with us.

    So sorry to hear about Maureen’s Gracie. It is SO hard to let our furry friends go. I imagine when I get to heaven, there will be a herd of animals, including many goldfish and hamsters that will greet me. HA HA

    Take care of you.

  4. Sue in Marion, Indiana

    I’m so sorry! Tears in my eyes but hope that Jo will be alright. I wish you could know her outcome. Hugs!

  5. Beryl BC

    I’m sorry to hear of these losses. Dogs may be somewhat like people. You don’t always know the impact you have. Even though Jo didn’t appear to progress, she may have sensed your caring attitude. Perhaps that will help her in the next home.

  6. MartyCae

    I am so sad to hear the news about the dogs. Sad for all concerned.
    As for Jo- it was not for lack of trying. You take care.

  7. Gayle in Tennessee

    I am crying along with you. So sorry. I know how hard you tried.
    So sorry for Mareen’s loss as well.

  8. Cathy D

    My tears are streaming this morning reading your blog. Just remember Mary that your kindness and love was most likely the only kindness and love that Jo ever experienced. She will remember that ❤. I’m so sorry that you won’t be able to follow her progress. God bless you for fostering these tormented souls.

  9. Diane Bauer

    I’m crying right along with you. So sad that Jo has been so traumatized. You have such a huge heart. My prayers for peace.

  10. Jan Frank-de Ois

    I’m sorry for your pain, but your efforts will undoubtedly make it easier for the adoptive family.

  11. DeeDee McDonald

    I’m so sorry this didn’t work out… it’s certainly not from your lack of effort or love. The poor thing is just so traumatized ….. you let her go because you loved and cared for her. Please take care….

  12. Kimberly Lusin

    Mary, I’m so very sorry. I send prayers for you and Jo, and I know that Jo felt your love for her.

  13. Joan West

    Mary your love will follow Jo all her life & hopefully this new chance to live a happy life will continue where you left off with her.
    My sympathy to Mareen, crying along with her & you.

  14. Sue in Oregon

    Oh, Mary. Shivers ran up and down my spine when I read that wonderful prayer. It made me remember all of our beloved dogs over a 62 year-long span. Thank you for the lovely memories.
    I am so sorry about Jo. You tried so hard. If she makes it through her sadness and terror, it will be worth it, though. I hope you will think of it that way.
    Also sorry about Gracie. Give your friend a hug.

  15. Dorothy Weibel

    Oh so sorry for You and Jo. It was out of your hands the next step in her life. May God bless her and help her to be happy on her new venture. Mary, you are the best, wish I was your neighbor. Would love to be in your company alot. HPPY NEW YEAR!

  16. Launa

    You did your best, Mary. Sending prayers for Jo and you, too!
    Know Gracie is missed, but not suffering now.

  17. Lois Ann Johnson

    Thinking of you–knowing how sad you must be feeling right now. I hope Jo will find some peace in her new home and I pray that you will also be at peace, knowing she is in good hands. I loved the poem you posted. It touched my heart. Today is a “snow day” here in Humboldt County. A good day to stay inside where it is warm. Bailey has the right idea–she is taking a nap! Be still!

  18. Margie from Ohio

    Hi Mary, you gave Jo the best. She now knows she isn’t going to be hurt by anyone. This will be her foundation for her new family and she can build from there. So sorry for Maureen. May the new year bring healing for everyone. Take care.

  19. Margaret in North Texas

    Mary, you were not defeated in your effort to help Jo. You just provided a chapter in her life to try to help her. She did make some progress with you –think of it that way. Be at peace with yourself.

  20. Debbie A

    You gave Jo a new start. She has seen that there are kind people with tender touches. Now the new people will have a better starting point. Sometimes we just have to let go and let God take over.
    I think the things you do are amazing and you should give yourself more credit.
    Be still and just breathe.
    Debbie A

  21. Susan K in Texas

    I’m so sorry Mary. I think your readers are almost as upset as you are. We know you did your best and we are all pulling for Jo. May she find her spirit back.

    And I’m sorry to hear about Maureen’s dog too.


  22. Judi L.

    My tears are for you and Jo , as well. I know how terribly sad this is for you and I feel your pain. We feel we can fix everything and it is so disheartening when we can’t. I’m sorry you are unable to follow Jo’s progress. I would also want to know how she’s doing if given the opportunity. I know you tried your very best and everyone was pulling for you and Jo to succeed. I hope she does find her forever home in Wisconsin and she’s happy ever after.

  23. Becki

    Hi Mary. My heart aches for Jo and what in the world she must have experienced. I am sure it is hard to let her go and not know how things turn out for Jo.
    Mary , you have a tender heart for animals💕❤️. Wishing you the best in 2021.

  24. Elizabeth

    You deserve a big pat on the back for trying so hard with Jo … what more could you have done for her? Hopefully what you did for her will prepare her for this next family, and whatever magic their dog has will work for Jo, too. Imagine if she had been in a cold cage somewhere all this time, instead of with you? Deep down in her soul she knew you cared about her!

  25. Jeanie S, Central Illinois

    Oh Mary, so sad to hear this! You gave your all to Jo, and your love went with her. Take care. 🥰

  26. Sheila

    Hugs to you Mary. Somewhere in Jo’s little heart she will remember the love and kindness you showed her.

    My best to Maureen, it is always hard to say goodbye.

    I wish you both peace.

  27. Elaine Kopischke-Trejo

    Thank you for opening your heart and home to Jo. You offered shelter and love and even though she couldn’t seem to accept it I am sure she felt it. You did not release her in defeat Mary….she is on a journey that included you and your home for a while, but not forever. She hopefully be able to adapt to her new place and find joy. You did your part in her journey.

  28. Sherrill

    Oh my gosh, that is so sad..so sorry for you as you did try SO HARD!! And it’s also sad that they won’t allow you to know if the next family is successful in helping Jo. Hopefully they are and maybe they will let you know something down the road. And sorry for your friend’s loss of her beloved dog. I had my 17 1/2 boy (Fang) put down 1 year ago and I vowed then that I would never put myself in that position again. One of the hardest things ever.

  29. Susy Boyer

    I’m so sorry about Jo, Mary. You did your best and you have the beautiful picture of her in remembrance. She was such a pretty dog. I hope she finds happiness with her new family. It hurts. Sweet girl.
    You brought her a long way.
    Peace to your heart,

  30. Kathy Hanson

    Oh, Mary, I have to fall in line with the other blog readers who have tears in their eyes! I know how hard you worked with Jo to help her became a happy, healthy dog again. YOU did so much for her and know that it will stay with her. Hopefully this new home with be able to to add to what you have already done and get her ‘over the hump’ and get her going again. I feel so badly for you as I know how much it meant to you. Then to have a friend’s dog have to die too! Too much!! Know that you are loved by so many and give Hazel some big hugs and Telly too! They love and need you!

  31. Kris in Naperville

    Oh Mary — I know you are heartbroken but you planted seeds of kindness that will blossom when Jo realizes that there are more good people in the world… foster parents are amazing people… you are amazing… take heart Jo is on the road to recovery because of you!!!!

  32. LaNan Eldridge

    How sad for you and your friend. Our pets fill our hearts so quickly. Perhaps jo didn’t show her true self to you but I bet if she could she would say thank you for your love and attention.

  33. Mrs. Goodneedle

    I am so deeply sorry for your loss and for your friend’s. I am praying for peace and comfort for you both through this pain. You know in your heart that you did all that you could for Jo; I am also praying for blessings for her and her new home. Sending hugs~

  34. Sue

    My heart breaks for you that you had to return Jo. I’m so sorry she is having such a difficult time learning to be happy again. I pray the new home will be a good fit for her.

  35. Deb Harrison

    Mary, as you said, you did your best for Jo. I firmly believe that someday, when she comes out into the sunshine of a full life, she will look back at her time with you as the first glimmer of hope in her new life. I also believe that one day when you cross the Rainbow Bridge to Heaven, she will be among the hundreds of animals you have cared for and loved, all clamoring to greet you firstest. I know Jake will be there to greet you too. Be at peace with all you did to start her on her journey to the sunshine.

    My deepest condolences to your friend, Mareen, as we all know her pain and wish her better days.

  36. B sutton

    Everyday I would say a little prayer for Jo and you…hoping she would emerge from her shell. You gave her comfort and quiet space and that will help open her to new possibilities.
    Bobby in Md.

  37. Jan from TN

    Mary, there’s not much I can add to all the comments you’ve already received. I can only reinforce the sentiment that you tried hard, much harder than many people would have, to bring Jo out of her shell. I pray she’ll do well in WI where the people have already dealt with such a dog. Too bad you couldn’t have those people help you with Jo by phone but maybe it isn’t that easy. I had tears rolling down my face as I read your post and all the comments before mine. I can only say that I do feel your pain. I, too, would be heartbroken if I tried EVERYTHING to help a dog come out of its shell for as long as you did. It’s not your fault–it’s Jo’s. I also feel sadness for your friend who had to say goodbye to her dog. Always soooo hard!
    Loved the poem you shared but I still like the Rainbow Bridge the best. 😢🙏🙌🙏🐾🐾😢

  38. Kathy in western NY

    This was so hard to read with tears in my eyes. I pray Jo finds peace some day in her precious life cause none of her trauma is her fault. As scared as she was she just hid her head and that makes me so angry her life has been broken.
    You gave her so much attention. Such a sad time for many and also your friend.

  39. Angie from Baltimore

    You did fine Mary you didn’t FAIL! The person that did that to Jo failed BIG TIME. You gave her trust and love and she wasn’t put down and will be with people who have had this sad situation before but you have her started on the right track. She now knows that happiness is a possibility after your care and her new family has a real good head start.
    So get the idea out of your head, dry your eyes because many of us are shedding tears for you. We love you and want you to know it and did something most of us would’ve passed on. Happy New Year and it will be a much better year!

  40. Paula Philpot

    I have tears in my eyes too. I am so sad for Jo cause you would be so good to him. I hope at some time you can check with the shelter about Jo to see if he found happiness again. Sorry about the other dog too. So sad. Paula in kY

  41. Ann in PA

    I’m also in puddles after reading about Jo and your friend, Maureen’s loss. Some days are just very difficult. Please don’t be too hard on yourself. Poor Jo needed love and you gave it to her. She just didn’t know how to trust. You were an important stepping stone in her healing. I do wish that the rescue organization would keep you up to date on her progress. I guess they know best. I’m sure there are a lot of us who care about her and would also love to know how she is doing. All we can do is to continue praying that Jo will learn to trust and accept love. (Saint Francis help her!)
    Poor Maureen….any of us who have loved and lost a furry family member can relate.
    Keep that photo of Jo’s smile in your heart.

  42. Jean

    Mary my heart is so sad for Jo. I can’t stop crying for that poor soul. What on earth her human did to her must be unspeakable! I wish with all my might that we could learn about her progress. I’m trying not to have hateful thoughts about the people who did this to her. God bless you for trying.

  43. Jo in Wyoming

    Sadness and joy.
    Sad she had to leave you. We all felt you were the best match for bring her back to happiness, feeling safe and peaceful.
    Joy, she will be going to a family with experience dealing with her trauma. Perhaps she needs more than love, caring and time.

    I’m heartbroken too, she is a beautiful dog. You have worked so hard with her, I wish you could be informed when she is adopted.
    I’m giving you a big hug and rubbing her ears thru my tears.

  44. Amy M

    I am so sorry to hear about Gracie and Jo. Maybe it all happened on the same day so Gracie can watch over Jo as she goes to her new home. You went above and beyond, and you only want what is best for any animal. So if this family can maybe get her to a point that she is able to go to a forever home, you will be happy, just believe that will be the outcome. I have no doubt you will have a new foster in a short time. I saw on the news in FL they are using student pilots to transport dogs from over crowded shelters to shelters that have willing families to adopt. The student pilots get in their flying hours while helping the dogs. Such a great idea! Be thankful for your happy & healthy “crew“ and soon a new dog will need your kindness.

  45. Gayle Shumaker

    Mary I’m so sorry it did not work out with Jo. I had a thought the other day. I’m wondering if Jo is not just scared but has some brain damage from previous abuse. The fact she wouldn’t stand and had to be carried was what tipped me off. You tried your best it’s not a failure for you but a failure with Jo for whatever reason. I have been concerned about you caring her around. Please take a deep breath, recharge yourself and remember things happen for a reason, one we any not know about or be able to understand.
    Hey what’s your word for 2021? After the year I had in 2020 I’m thinking about mine.

  46. Carolyn Meadows

    You did make progress with Jo. I can’t imagine what happened to her before you gave her your love. I do hope all goes well in her new home. I think they should let you know how she does. You are a special person with a huge heart and a lot of love. God bless you.

  47. Marsha from Kansas

    Mary, I also have tears reading this. I agree with Elaine and many others, you were a stepping stone along Jo’s recovery. You showed her there are kind people. As we found with our Cara Mia, some dogs bond with other dogs easier than with people. Hopefully the other dog in the new family can help her heal. Sure wish we could all know “the rest of the story”.

    My sympathy to your friend on losing her dog. Yesterday our daughter had to make the same decision for her rescue kitty. She got him as an 8-year-old from the Humane Society. You know what his fate would have been had she not recued him. His owner had died and he was terrified. He lived under my daughter’s bed for two months only coming out to eat and use the litter box. We know he had been loved, but he was just terrified to be in new surroundings. He eventually came around and truly loved our daughter. My husband and I were “intruders” in his life, but he tolerated us. Last summer it was discovered he had lymphoma which started in his bowels as he was losing weight. His body basically shut down over the weekend. Of course, a long holiday weekend, and yesterday she had to decide to let him go.

    We are looking forward to a better 2021!

  48. Linda

    I’m so sorry you had to let Jo go, but do hope she will be a happy baby some day
    Virtual hugs, Linda

  49. Teresa

    I’m sorry you’re feeling so much sadness, Mary. It’s good you have all of your friends here who know you and understand the loss you’re feeling. Hoping Jo will find a soft landing place in Wisconsin.

  50. Mareen Nedved

    Thank you so much Mary – she always loved coming out to the farm. Oh how I wish I could have kept her forever – she was such a blessing to me and everyone. She so enjoyed her role at the Care Center as a Therapy Dog and just in general loved everyone! We will be together again I have no doubt.

  51. MaureenHP

    Oh Mary, I am so sorry about Jo. You did all you could, but her trauma was just too deep. It’s hard but at least you can know that Jo is going to someone who has experience in helping dogs like her. I only wish you could know when Jo is placed in a forever home.
    Mareen, I am sorry for your loss as well. Gracie sounds like she was a very special and loved dog.

  52. Charlotte Barnard

    Mary, you DID NOT fail with Jo. You got her ready for the next stage of her recovery. I think the key was that morning where you came in, wearing church clothes, and she howled. In a crazy coincidence, sounds like your appearance reminder her of someone in her past, and she couldn’t get past that. But she had a positive loving experience with you, and she will take that to her next place as her recovery continues. Be comforted by Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” That means Jo AND you. xoxo

  53. Beverly

    It must have been so very hard for you to return Jo. I am so sorry, you did your best with a great big heart to help her. I just don’t think I it’s right that you can’t someday know how it all turns out for Jo, after all the love and care you’ve given her. I think someday you will know. Tears here too cause I know how bad it hurts to give her up. I hope time helps to heal this hurt for you, a wonderful person. God bless your heart in the days ahead.

  54. Ellie

    Mary I’m so sorry you had to return Jo but it may be for the best! You gave her all you could but perhaps she needs another do to teach her how to be a dog. You gave her a start to see that people can be kind and trusted but she may need another dog to show her how to respond to kindness. I’m sorry you won’t know how things turn out but take comfort in knowing you gave her a start and now someone else will work on the next step for her.

    So sorry your friend has lost her faithful friend.

  55. Donna

    Oh Mary my heart breaks for you. Jo knows love because of you and hopefully that will be a springboard
    to her being happy some day. I can’t believe how much she must have suffered to be so scared. I know you gave it your best and that’s all you can do. Please don’t beat yourself up. It wasn’t what you did but what was doe before you got her. I do wish you could get a word every now and then about how she’s doing but maybe it’s best this way. Praying for healing for both of you.

  56. Diane and Squeak in Central Ohio

    Oh so sad, Mary. Please know you did everything you could. I will hold that picture of smiling Jo in my heart with the hope she can get back to that. PTSD is very difficult to overcome. I pray she will be able to and I pray that you know you helped her. I am sorry for Maureen’s loss of grace. It is never easy. Be still❤️

  57. Linda Lewis

    Mary you tried everything, I’m sure you could have broken through with time. Hugs and blessings

  58. Linda in So Cal

    There is no defeat. You gave Jo a safe & loving home. Sometimes things just don’t “fit”. Just like with people, we don’t “fit” with everyone we meet. Life is so complicated. I have cried too, but I believe life will get better for Jo & you played a large part in her young life. I recently lost my 35 yr old cockatoo from kidney failure. He’s been with me half my life. His passing leaves a big hole but life is so much better because he was part of my life. A new year is around the corner & there will be other dogs that will need your kindness & love. Have a beer, sit back & relax & enjoy the new year.

  59. Frances E

    So sorry about Jo. I know it’s hard to let her go, but maybe the new family can help her. It sounds like they’ve done that in the past. We’re hopeful for Jo.

  60. Rosalie

    So sad for you but when you’re had a few days maybe you’ll feel better. You did your best and were so patient but it seems that Jo needs intensive therapy. Thankfully there are more caring people who will take the next part of her recovery.
    Continue to pray for you and Jo.

  61. Diane in Maryland

    You did do your best and you did not fail. You gave Jo a warm bed, good food, toys, love and a beginning to a new and wonderful life for her. All is true but we still have tears for you. I love the picture of her that you posted and that is the one I will keep in my head. Jo is going to be okay and we know her new family will love her.

  62. Montana Kathy

    So, so sorry to hear the news of both Jo’s leaving and Maureen losing her Gracie. My heart aches for all of you. So very sad. Take care of yourself, and know you did your very best.

  63. Donna

    So sorry to hear that Jo has been moved. You tried your hardest! Too bad they can’t give you updates on Jo’s progress. Bless you Mary for all your efforts.

  64. Wendy T.

    Knowing how you feel about Jo I know that some day down the road you will find out how she is doing. You are an important part of her life as the beginning of her journey to healing. Who knows how long it will take. Just know it will happen and you love her. The saddest part is that she was treated so badly as to become the way she is. I just cannot imagine mistreating an animal. Stay strong Mary – you did and gave your best to Jo – that is for sure.

  65. Lorraine McGeough

    I think that all of the above statements said it all. I am sorry you had to let Jo go but let’s just hope and pray that her new home will finish what you started. You had so much love, patience and kindness for Jo and it just wasn’t meant to be. Sorry to hear you can’t get updates about Jo.
    Yesterday was a 2 year anniversary that we had to put down our little poodle and we still cry. We loved her for 16 years and it was time to let go. We were hanging on to her as long as we could but we realized it was our selfishness and decided not to have her suffer any longer.
    Bless you and sorry to hear of your friend losing her fur baby too.

  66. Linda from Oconomowoc

    So very sorry you and Jo. God knows you tried. You have so much love in your heart and you gave it to Jo. How sad that she was abused so bad that she doesn’t trust anybody. I hope the new place can get through to her. My heart breaks for you.

  67. Kate

    Okay, I’m crying with you now. I remember every dog I’ve had and I miss them all. Getting a dog kind of sets you up for heartache one day, but they are worth it. I’m sure you did your very best with your rescue baby, but she will be okay and they will work to get her a place where she will be happy.

  68. Donna (Mn)

    Mary my heart aches along with you. You did what you could with/for Jo and I’m sure it will be that much easier at her next home. Just know you did all you could with love and patience. I’m sorry you won’t know how it turns out but just know you helped bring her out of her terror. I love the pic of her smiling & just know that you’ll be reunited with all those animals you loved and cared one day. (I certainly hope I’ll be rejoined with my two fur children -I still cry for them so often) Thanks for sharing her story & all your posts. I look forward to reading them every time they land in my email.
    Happy New Year 🎊 to you Mary. Let’s hope 2021 is a much better year.

  69. Pat Anderson

    Don’t feel bad about Jo…I think it is so admirable that you tried. We rescued a very damaged (emotionally) miniature schnauzer years ago…she was about six years old they think when we got her. She had been a puppy mill breeder until she stopped having good puppies. She had evidently been thrown and kicked. We literally had to pry her out of that crate when we first got her and, if not for our other schnauzer, I don’t know what we would have done. She wouldn’t go past us to go out the door so we would stand behind the door while Toby led her out. He taught her how to be a dog. She never got over her fear. The only place she felt good was in our bed…we thought because she had never slept in a bed before. Every noise made her jump and she was fearful all the time. It was so sad to watch but we felt like we gave her loads of love and she was such a sweet tempered little girl. She never even growled at us. So in 6 1/2 years, she never “got over” her abuse. She was loved though and that counts for something! So know that you made a difference in her life. Hopefully, the new foster home will have better luck with her. I think their other dog may be the ticket. Hazel didn’t seem to do the trick but maybe their dog will. Congrats on having such a big heart, but big hearts hurt more!

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