December 5, 2010

The 8th Annual Tribute to Tails Candlelight Memorial was a great success! Pet parents from across San Antonio participated in this amazing event. Pet parents from as far away as El Paso joined us as we celebrated our furry friends of yesterday! Plus, many pet parents brought their animal friends of today with them. It was a really beautiful event. Hope you can join us next year. Stay tuned for details for the 2011 event.

Check out the video produced by Robbin Cresswell, local photojournalist, who captured this event beautifully with her talented lens.

Click on the link:

Special thanks to:
Cathy Rosenthal
Animal Advocate/Author of the Pet Pundit, Pet Columnist for San Antonio Express-News

Tom McGoldrick
Paws in Heaven Crematory
Sattler, Texas

Karrie Kern
One World Conservation
San Antonio/Austin, Texas

Sarah and Gilbert Centeno
Local Artists, San Antonio, Texas

Robbin Cresswell
San Antonio, Texas

Scott Huddleston, Jacquie Baker, Michelle Autry, Jason
St. Francis Episcopal Church
San Antonio, Texas

Pastor Clifford Shook
San Antonio, Texas

Jaylin Billig
San Antonio, Texas

Trudy and Arthur Land
San Antonio, Texas

Pamela, Carol, Jim and Travis Fink
San Antonio, Texas

Dolph and Anna Tamayo
San Antonio, Texas

Terri Ealey
San Antonio, Texas

Nora Ramirez
San Antonio, Texas

All Tribute to Tails 2010 Committee Members.

June 10, 2010

SAPPY group deals with love and loss of animal friends

By Aimee Villalobos - Staff writer/Northwest Weekly

Julie Wiley will never forget her long-haired Chihuahua, Sappy, who passed away in 2003.

“It doesn't get any easier,” she said. “You love all the pets you have in your life, but with Sappy I really bonded with him through a lot, and he was the first being that I truly loved that I lost.”

After their dog's death, said Wiley, she and her husband were devastated and found themselves alone in their sadness.

“We felt like there was not a place to grieve, especially for a pet,” she said.

She decided to take action, and seven years later the S.A.P.P.Y. Pet Loss & Grief Support Group of San Antonio still meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at the English Tea Shoppe on Bandera Road. The Christian-based support group, Wiley says, pays honor to her “Sappy Wappy” with its acronym, which stands for Someone is Always Praying for Pets and You.

Wiley said many first-timers come to the group with a lot of questions.

“Is it normal that I'm grieving my pet more than, say, mom or dad?” she said. “You leave home, you grow up and start a new life and they (pets) are so much a part of your routine and life that it's okay. It's just the kind of love you had for your pet.”

Wiley said the number of members varies from month to month, but all newcomers receive a packet that includes a candle, grief and loss information as well as a rainbow ornament with the Rainbow Bridge poem, an ode to pets' place in heaven.

Wiley said many struggle with the idea of where their pets end up, something she has been through firsthand.

“I clung to my Bible and searched and asked and wrote a lot of theologians, and I believe they (pets) will see us in heaven,” she said.

Frank and Maureen Ballard have been coming to the group since 2005 when they lost Frieda, a terrier mix.

“I said, ‘We're gonna need some professional help,' Maureen Ballard said. “I burst into tears every few minutes.”

Frank Ballard said he was glad a group like this existed for him and his wife.

“Most people don't understand, and I'm thankful for this group,” he said. “How do you replace a family member? That's the way I look at it.”

Members are encouraged to share their stories and work through the grieving process together.

“The road to healing is easier if you talk about it,” Wiley said. “We're made to support one another.”

Carole Fink lost her dog Junior in 2006 and has attended meetings ever since.

“I said, ‘She's (Julie Wiley) like an angel' because nobody cares, and people think you're silly to cry over a little old dog, but she understood,” she said.

Fink said it has been a lengthy process, but she has found comfort in the group.

“Junior was like my best friend. We went everywhere together,” she said. “He was so deep in my heart. It's been three long years, but I have a new puppy.”

Wiley said people are taking a step towards healing every time they come to a meeting because they are addressing their grief.

“It's a loss. A loss is a loss,” she said. “When you lose your job, you grieve.”

Wiley said there is no timetable to healing, but it does happen.

“I'm a testament to say those million pieces (of your heart) that are crushed heal,” she said.

For more information on the S.A.P.P.Y. Pet Loss & Grief Support Group, visit

January 18, 2010

*SAPPY Pet Loss & Grief Support Group of San Antonio
(Since 2003)

2011 Schedule

The support group gathers on the 4th Tuesday of the Month

6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

The English Tea Shoppe

6877 Bandera Road, San Antonio, TX 78238 (in Leon Valley)

September 27

October 25

November 22

December 27

Tribute to Tails
Our 9th Annual Tribute to Tails Candlelight event, a unique ceremony honoring and celebrating the animal friends in our lives will be held on Saturday, December 3, 2011 at St. Francis Episcopal Church, 4242 Bluemel Road, San Antonio, TX. This event pays tribute to all furry friends who are no longer with us, and celebrates the animal companions in our lives today (pets are welcome to attend this event).

For more information about our support group or Tribute to Tails event, please call (210) 216-0920 or e-mail to or Find us on Facebook! Tribute to Tails San Antonio or SAPPY Pet Loss & Grief Support Group of San Antonio.

*The support group was named for the founder's 14-year-old Chihuahua Sappy, who passed away on August 4, 2003, after a brief battle with bladder cancer.