December 8, 2007

5th Annual Tribute to Tails Brings Hope and Healing for the Heart

Pet parents from across San Antonio gathered to pay tribute to their four-legged friends during a special memorial service in their honor.

There wasn't a dry eye in the chapel of the First Mexican Baptist Church, Tuesday, December 4, as pet owners remembered their precious animal companions with inspirational music, poems, messages of hope and a special candle lighting.

Pet parents brought photos of their fur babies and placed them both on the altar and Tribute to Tails Memorial Garden.
Tom McGoldrick, owner of Paws in Heaven Pet Crematory, Sattler, Texas, told participants about his love for God's creatures. He said, "Take a moment and think what life would be like without pets. Our pets mean a lot to us and they are part of our lives." McGoldrick also remembered his yellow Labrador Retriever Apollo, who passed away several years ago. "I usually cry when I talk about Apollo. It's been five years that I've shared my story about Apollo during Tribute to Tails and I think I can get through it this time."

LeeAnn Mitchell of San Antonio, shared a beautiful song in honor of her dog Nala. Jesse Almaraz, a local praise and worship minister, also sang an inspiring song in memory of all pets. Plus, a local band, Brothers United in Christ, played beautiful music about heaven.

Pet parents also shared very unique poems and candles were lit to memorialize family fur friends of all kinds, along with living pets, who were invited.

Refreshments were served at the end of the event.

Tribute to Tails is sponsored by SAPPY Pet Loss & Grief Support Group of San Antonio, a support group organized for pet owners who lost a pet to illness, old age, accident or displacement. The group meets every 4th Tuesday of the month. For more information about this support group, call (210) 216-0920 or send an e-mail
If you're interested in serving in the 2008 Tribute to Tails
Planning Committee, please e-mail, or call Julie at (210) 216-0920.
Special thanks to:
Tom & Sue Ann McGoldrick, Paws
in Heaven Pet Crematory, Sattler, Texas
Frank & Maureen Ballard
Jim Wiley
Jesse Almaraz
Pastor Clifford Shook
Joe & Janie Almaraz
Pastor Alfonso Flores
Brothers United in Christ Band
Lee Ann Mitchell
Carol Fink and Family
Teri Ealy and Family
Jeanette Mohr
Boni & Charlie Hall
Joel Schmitz
Ronald Rosales
Susie Salazar

October 24, 2007

SAPPY Pet Loss & Grief Support

It's all about honoring the memory of your precious pet and best fur friend. This page is dedicated to ALL those wonderful pets - dogs, cats, horses, bunny rabbits, birds, fish and all other creatures great and small. I hope this blog space helps bring some comfort and support your way as you journey through the valley of grief. Losing a pet isn't easy, nor is it always understood by society. But, the good news is that more and more people are beginning to understand the animal-human bond between pets and their people. Our pets are truly part of our "familia" and they always will be part of the family. If you need someone to talk to, as you walk through this difficult road, do not hesitate to contact our support group. You are not alone! We are here for you. Call us at (210) 216-0920.

October 22, 2007

Come Pay Tribute to Your Pet

SAVE THE DATE: Tuesday, December 4, 2007, San Antonio, Texas - It's your opportunity to pay tribute to your precious pet during a special candlelight in memory of those faithful four-legged furry friends, who left paw prints of unconditional love ALL over our hearts, FURever!

If you have any questions, please call 210-216-0920 or e-mail

October 16, 2007

Honoring our beloved pets during the holidays

The holidays are just around the corner, and for some of us, that means it's the very first holiday season (Christmas) without our fur babies. But, you know, even if it's been four or fourteen years since they've left for Heaven, we still find ourselves missing them - don't we?

Here are a few things you can do to pay tribute to your precious pet this holiday season:

1. Buy a Christmas tree and decorate it in honor of your pet.

2. Have a Christmas wreath decorated with your pet's photos all around it.

3. Have a local artist paint a portrait of your pet (provide your favorite photo of your pet).

4. Donate to a local shelter in honor of your pet.

5. Help a stray pet find a good home.

6. Help an elderly person care for his or her pet.

7. Start a scrapbook in memory of your pet.

8. Start a Christmas ornament collection with your pet's name to pay tribute to him or her.

9. Foster a pet online at a local animal shelter (like the Animal Defense League).

10. Help provide comfort and support to someone who has recently lost a precious pet.

If you have other ways of memorializing a pet companion, please e-mail me at, or leave a message on this blog Web site.

September 3, 2007

In Memory of Kipli

In Memory of Kipli, a beautiful Doberman-mixed doggie. Her mommy Susie pays tribute to her precious girl.
Dates of life: September 9, 1993 - August 25, 2007. Kipli loved riding in her mommy's car! In the photo, you can see her excitement, as she sits joyfully in the car! You can see Kipli's smile and happiness. She looks totally content in this photo.
She was the love of her mommy's life. She brought a great deal of joy to her mommy's world. She will be greatly missed by her human family, but there's no doubt that Kipli will be watching from heaven and protecting them each and every day. She will also be able to accompany her mommy every where. There's no place on the face of this earth that she can't go, because she lives right inside of her mommy's heart, forever! Kipli is now resting in peace and enjoying eternity in heaven with God.

In Memory of Ian

In Memory of Ian, from his mommy Nanci!

One of our pet parents sent us a photo of her precious fur baby Ian. Isn't he adorable? I know how much Nanci loved her baby and someday they will be reunited. Nancy, you were a fantastic pet parent to Ian. It shows right through him in this photograph. His smile is absolutely beautiful.

Thank you for sharing your baby with the rest of us pet parents.

And, always know that he lives deep within your heart, forever!

July 31, 2007

A Tribute to My Sappy

In Loving Memory of "SAPPY"
May 17, 1989 - August 4, 2003

The SAPPY Pet Loss & Grief Support Group of San Antonio was organized in 2003, shortly after my husband Jim and I lost Sappy, our 14-year-old Chihuahua to bladder cancer.

This year will mark four years that we said, "farewell" to our fur baby boy. Jim and I will be paying tribute to his life all month long. We celebrate his life in our hearts. We have plenty of wonderful memories of our baby boy and we will never forget him...never! We will honor him by lighting memory candles and bringing out beautiful photos of our best buddy. He will forever live deep inside of our hearts and in our memories.

Jim bought me a beautiful ring with paw prints on it, as a symbol of our never-ending love for Sappy. Every time I look at the ring around my finger, I can't help but remember my precious little Sappy. Plus, I've been wearing a small charm pendant with a photo of Sappy inside of it and a special heart with a paw print in the middle of it, given to me by my support group friends. I wear the two around my neck and close to my heart. Several people have asked me, "What is that around your neck? Is it a doggie picture? Who is it?" And, of course, I begin to share about my fur baby boy. It's my way of honoring his memory and paying tribute to him everywhere I go.

I'd like to share the following song (lyrics) with you. I love this song and it will be featured in this year's Tribute to Tails candlelight event in December. My brother Jesse who is a worship leader will sing this beautiful song. Read the lyrics of this song below--It really tells about the love we all share for our fur babies. It's a song about our loved ones in heaven letting us know that they're OK. Here are the lyrics to the song:

"Wish You Were Here"

I wanted to tell you how closely I've kept the memories of you in my heart and all of the lifetimes that we've had to share live even though we're apart

But don't cry for me 'cause I'm finally free to run with the angels on streets made of gold to listen to stories of saints new and old to worship our maker that's where I'll be when you finally find me...

Now don't you be weary 'cause waiting for you are wonders that you've never known just hold on to Jesus... reach out for His hands and one day they'll welcome you home. And that's when you'll be finally free

And, all of the dreams that you treasure will soon come together and that's when your sorrow will find tomorrow and you will rise again

Sappy truly made me happy! I'll always cherish him in my heart, always!

Our pets are more than "just pets," they are truly part of our families. They are an important part of our daily lives. And, when the time comes for them to leave us, it's very difficult. That's why the SAPPY Pet loss & Grief Support Group of San Antonio, was organized---to reach out to pet parents like you who need support during a very difficult and sad moment in the history of our lives.

If you or someone you know has recently lost a precious pet to an illness, old age, accident or displacement, please know that you're not alone. Come visit our support group.We care and we're here for you. If you have any questions about the SAPPY Pet Loss & Grief Support Group of San Antonio, please contact us at (210) 216-0920 or send an e-mail to

July 18, 2007

Finding comfort in the midst of grief

Is it possible to find comfort during our grief?

It is possible to find comfort, even when we're right in the middle of our grief. How do we find this comfort? We find it in our faith!

If you ask me how I found comfort, I'll tell you I found it in God. Having faith and knowing in your heart that God truly cares about your grief...about your loss, makes a difference. It really does!

And, sharing your feelings of sadness and loss with others is like finding a treasure. This support group helps put things into perspective. The people who come have one thing in commmon, they're hurting just like you are hurting, and for the same reason. No one has to feel embarrassed or ashamed to grief over a precious pet because everyone at the group gatherings share those feelings.

Come as you are! Leave supported. We're here for you!!!! Call for location information, (210) 216-0920.

Hope to see you there!

NOTE: If you would like for our group to hold you in prayer, please send us your prayer request and we will add you to our prayer list on Tuesday nights.

July 8, 2007

Our pets are more than "just pets," they are truly part of our families. They are an important part of our daily lives.

If you or someone you know has recently lost a precious pet to an illness, old age, accident or displacement, you're not alone! Come visit our support group.

We care and we're here for you. If you have any questions about the SAPPY Pet Loss & Grief Support Group of San Antonio, please contact us at (210) 216-0920 or e-mail to

And, remember, you're not alone! We're here for you!

Our pets are part of our lives! They walk beside us and they bring so much comfort to our souls. They aren't just pets; they are part of our families too.

If you've recently had to say farewell to your faithful four-legged animal companion, please know that you're not alone! The SAPPY Pet Loss & Grief Support Group is here for you.

Please call for more information, (210) 216-0920 or e-mail us at

From your pet lover friends at SAPPY Support Group.
In Memory of Our Pets! May they rest in God's loving kingdom and let us remember that they are with the best....they are with God. Amen.

A Pet Candlelight Tribute In Memory of Your Precious Pet. The following is a beautiful poem in honor of our fur babies:

"Lend Me a Pet"
Author Unknown

I will lend to you for awhile
a pet, God said,
For you to love him while he lives
and to mourn for him when he is gone.
Maybe for twelve or fourteen years,
or maybe for two or three
But will you, till I call him back
take care of him for me?

He’ll bring his charms to gladden you
and (should his stay be brief)
you’ll always have his memories
as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise that he will stay,
since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught below
I want this pet to learn.

I’ve looked the whole world over
in search of teachers true
And from the folk that crowd life’s land
I have chosen YOU.
Now will you give him all your love
Nor think the labor vain
Nor hate me when I come to take my pet back again.

I fancied that I heard them say
"Dear Lord Thy Will Be Done,"
For all the joys this pet will bring,
the risk of grief you’ll run.
Will you shelter him with tenderness
Will you love him while you may
And for the happiness you’ll know forever grateful stay.

But should I call him back
much sooner than you’ve planned
Please brave the bitter grief that comes
and try to understand.
If, by your love, you’ve managed
my wishes to achieve,
In memory of him that you’ve loved,
cherish every moment with your faithful bundle,
and know he loved you too.

In Memory of Your Beloved Pet

Lighting a candle has helped many pet parents who’ve lost a precious pet. Safely place a candle votive on a secure candle holder or plate, then light your candle next to a photo of your beloved pet and pay tribute to his or her memory.

Your wonderful pet will live on in your hearts forever!

June 24, 2007

Our Pets Live On In Our Hearts!

Your pet hasn't left you, he or she only moved closer to heart. Come be part of the SAPPY Pet Loss Support Group of San Antonio. We meet on Tuesdays, on the fourth Tuesday of each month, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. E-mail me at for locations.

A Time to Mourn

For most of us, visiting a support group is something that we never imagined we would do, right?

At least I never thought I'd ever find myself visiting a support group, much less a support group addressing pet loss. But after my precious little Sappy passed away in 2003, I needed to talk to someone about all of the little broken pieces of sorrow left in my heart. I needed to tell someone about my feelings of emptiness and that heavy pain pressing against my soul.
You Don't Have to Grieve Alone!

Aside from my sweet husband Jim and family, I didn't have anyone. Yes! I had God in my life, but I needed to see God in someone else who also cared. I'm a woman of faith and I cling to hope in Christ, but I still needed for Him to show Himself through someone. And, He did!

He led me to begin a pet loss support group for people like me who need support during such a difficult time. He led me to all of the right people who showed compassion and support. He sent pastor Eddie. He sent a friend Blanca. And, He sent my brother Jesse. And, He sent several people who needed support too. This validated the importance of a support group like this one. So, that's how SAPPY started. And, that's how I became part of a support group. I never imagined myself sitting in a support group sharing my heavy burdens with strangers. But, the truth is, they aren't strangers. We have more in common than we realize. We are all pet parents who've lost their best friends. We are responsible pet parents who know the love and bond that a human can have with a pet companion.

So, if you're thinking about visiting our support group, come share the experience. I believe that you'll be glad you did. It's the first step in healing for many of us.

Hope to see you at one of our support group gatherings. Call for locations, (210) 216-0920, or e-mail me at

June 22, 2007

Helpful Resources

The following are some helpful resources, as you begin the journey called, "Grief." I hope these online resources will help you, as much as they helped me. God bless you!

In the beginning, it's very difficult to read books that may help you better understand your grief. It's difficult for some of us, because as you grieve, you do not have the energy to sit and invest in reading. But when you feel that you're ready to review books and other resources made available especially for pet parents like us, these books are excellent resources. I really learned a lot about animal afterlife after reading these books. Our pets will be in heaven. They are part of God's amazing plan.

Books to read:
  • Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates, by Gary Kurtz
  • There is Eternal Life for Animals, by Niki Behrikis-Shanahan
  • The Rainbow Bridge: Pet Loss is Heaven's Gain, by Niki Behrikis-Shanahan
  • Animal Prayer Guide, by Niki Behrikis-Shanahan
  • Will I See Fido in Heaven, by Mary Buddemeyer-Porter
  • Will My Pet go to Heaven? by Steve Wohlberg
  • A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis
  • Grieving the Death of a Pet, by Betty J. Carmack

Web sites to visit:

It's another summer without Sappy

It's summertime! For many, it's a time to take a vacation. For some, it's summer school, and for others, it's spending more time outdoors doing fun things like swimming, biking or walking the pets! For me, it's a reminder of the summer that I had to say farewell to my precious little Sappy. This year (2007), it'll mark four years since my fur baby passed away. Sappy would be 18 years old this year. In June of 2003, Sappy was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I still remember the day I received this horrible news from the vet. My whole world caved in on me. I was devastated. I thought to myself, "What? Cancer? No way!" I was in total shock. Never in a million years did I think Sappy would have cancer. I'd heard about others who lost their pets to cancer, but no, not me! This couldn't be happening to us. It was as if I had a bad dream or someone was playing a cruel joke on me. I remember holding Sappy in my arms in the waiting room, just outside of the vet's exam room, when the vet came out and said, "It's cancer. Sappy has cancer." My entire body was numb. I immediately looked at Sappy and he looked at me, as if he understood. I believe he did understand. His eyes became glossy, as he saw mine fill with tears. I can't even begin to tell you what I felt. I was in disbelief.

"Looking back now, I can tell you that my season of grief kicked in."
My husband looked at us and said, "Let's go home. We need a second opinion. It's probably not cancer." We paid our bill, got into our car and drove home. I cried the entire way home, telling my husband, "This can't be! It's can't be!" As tears rolled down my face, and Sappy sitting on my lap. I caressed his little face and kissed him. I told him, "Sappy, it's going to be OK. You do not have cancer. You are healed and Jesus is going to help us. He's going to help us!" My baby boy fell asleep in my arms, knowing that it would be OK. The journey had just begun! The next morning, I took him in for a second opinion. The results were the same. I took him for a third opinion. The results remained the same. I prayed so hard for God to heal him of cancer. I prayed daily with all of my heart, soul, and mind. I prayed constantly. But, I also prayed for God's will.
"And, God's will was to heal Sappy in heaven, not here. God answered my prayer in
a deeper way."
God delivered my precious little dogie of cancer in heaven. I trust that God always knows best and there's always a reason for what happens here on earth. God had a plan! And, my Sappy is no longer physically with me here on earth, but he remains faithfully in my heart for eternity. He's in heaven with God and someday I will be reunited with him. What a day that will be. What an awesome reunion. And, because of his death, the SAPPY Pet Loss & Grief Support Group of San Antonio, got started. This group was organized with every single pet parent who is or has experienced the loss of a precious pet in mind.

This support group is Christian-based. We pray before and after every single gathering. We read bible scripture, and we share the love of Christ in this inner-circle of friends. The reason it's a Christian-based group, is because I'm a Christian woman whose faith and hope is in Jesus Christ. You see, I could have never overcome this great loss in my life, if I didn't have a relationship with Christ. The loss was too big for me to overcome alone. I had to rely on the one who gave me strength, love, mercy, compassion, faith and most of all, the hope I needed to believe that I will see Sappy again. Until then, God has a long list of things for me to do here on earth. And, you're included. I will continue to support pet parents who are grieving, like I once did. I'm here for you! I love you and please know, that you aren't alone. See you at the next support group gathering.

June 18, 2007

The Seasons in Our Lives

There's always a new season that comes! Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. But, have you ever thought about the seasons that come into our own lives? We have seasons of celebration; seaons of sorrow & grief; seasons of illness; and seasons of good health. As we walk through this journey called life, we will experience various circumstances in our lives and in the lives of those we love. When we said, "good-bye" to our precious four-legged friends, we entered in a season of grief. We were numb. We were in shock at the thought that our pets had to die. But, the truth is that our pets have not died. They are in heaven with their creator - with our creator. They are with God. And, one day we will be reunited because of the grace of God sending His son Jesus Christ. He paved the way for you and me.

The good news is our seasons of grief will become seasons of joy and happiness. The season will pass, just like Winter, Summer, Spring and Fall pass us by. It's only for a season. But, through your season of grief, give yourself permission to cry when you need to and honor your furbaby. And, remember, your season will pass, but the memories of your beloved pet will never pass. He or she will live within your heart, forever! May God richly bless you. See you at our next support group gathering.

May 21, 2007

Our Fur Children

Our fur children are special. The minute they come into our lives; our lives are changed forever! Adopting a pet is a "big" responsibility. It means you've made a commitment to this creature. In good times and in hard times, we choose to love them and protect them. We are called to be good stewarts of God's creation, and our pets are no exception. They need us. They depend on us. They are entrusted to us by the Lord God Almighty. So, take good care of your fur babies, because God is depending on you to be a good and faithful steward.

May 20, 2007

Salute the Dogs Who Salute Our Wounded Soldiers Benefit

Losing a precious pet isn't easy! I know because I lost my precious little dog on August 4, 2003. This year, it'll be four years that our precious Sappy went to Heaven with God. Sappy touched my life in a big way. God used him to teach me unconditional love and patience. I believe that God gives certain dogs, like people, the gift of comfort and mercy. He uses people and doggies to bring comfort to the hurting.

Have you every heard of therapy dogs? If so, you know that these canines are very special. They are trained and certified dogs who visit the elderly in nursing homes; they also visit children in hospitals and shelters; and they visit our wounded soldiers.

On June 27, a special fundraiser event is scheduled to benefit the Penny's From Heaven Foundation. This pet therapy ministry reaches out to our wonded soldiers. These highly trained dogs provide comfort, mercy and lots of love to our United States service men and women. It's a very good cause. Hope to see you there. (See attached invitation) --

Our Monthly Gatherings: Reaching our pet parent community!

The SAPPY Pet Loss & Grief Support Group will now hold its monthly gatherings at various locations to reach more pet parents in need of support. We will continue to gather once a month, on the 4th Tuesday of each month, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. This schedule is expected to change from once a month to twice a month, as needed. We will monitor the need, as we receive calls and e-mails from our pet parent community. Stay tuned.

Support Group Schedule 2007:
April 24
May 22
June 26
July 24
August 28
September 25
October 23
November 27
December 25 *
*(Will meet at 10:30 a.m. on Christmas Day)
Thank you and may God richly bless you.

All Creatures- Great and Small!

The other day I was looking into the eyes of my precious doggie Scooter, and realized that he's precious in the eyes of God. Scooter's innocense and purity are because of God. He's God's little creature and everything that God creates is good. So, your little dog, cat, or whatever creature you have at home as a pet is precious to God. It's amazing how God creates every single creature on the face of this earth differently. There is no creature that is exactly the same. God creates them with their own uniqueness and beauty. I believe God created them because He wanted for us to see His splendor and majesty; and He desires for us to respect what He has created, especially our pets. We are called to be good stewards of all things on earth, and that certainly includes the animals. God entrusted you with the pet in your home. I believe that's the reason we grieve so much when they pass away. We take the best care of them and we miss them. They become part of our daily lives. But, there's hope in every tear you shed. There's hope in Christ. God gives us the strength to press-on and He gives us the strength to live the next day without them in our homes. Our pets aren't gone, they've just moved closer into our hearts!