HART Memorials

They Were Loved, They Are Missed, They Will Not Be Forgotten...

As rescuers we have had to come to terms with the fact that we cannot save them all. We cannot save every dog and cat in every shelter or trapped in an abusive or neglectful situation. We do the best we can. However, there are those that we thought we had saved, but then events took a tragic turn and we were unable to give them the life we wanted for them. This page is to memorialize those dogs and cats who did not make it. We do not want them to be forgotten, because we did love them. Here are their stories:

Aldo (died May 3, 2011)
Aldo never really had a chance. Just when he was saved by HART, he developed a fatal illness. He was rushed to the vet, but nothing could be done for him. He left this world as quickly as he was brought into it. We all hope he died with the knowledge that the people of HART really cared about him and knew he was worth saving. As Aldo passes over to the bridge, he will be welcomed by our other HART buddies and will join in the wait for that great celebration when we all will meet again.

Calvin (died March 11, 2011)
Calvin came to HART when his owner sadly entered a hospice program. His foster "mom," Courtney Evans, said that he was by far the most gentle cat she's ever had the pleasure of caring for. She shared this picture of Calvin that captured his sweet, gentle, curious demeanor. He was much loved, and will be missed.

Mia (died May 21, 2009)
Sweet, happy Mia was shy at adoption events, so no one saw her true bubbly personality except her foster mom. Mia was quick, gentle, and getting used to attention. Her foster mom came home one evening to find Mia had died, from causes unknown. Mia never found her forever home, but she was happy and loved in her foster home.

Goodbye, sweet Mia, we'll see you at the bridge.


Rhap (died April 2009)
Rhap was given up by his family a few weeks before Christmas because he had a serious untreated skin condition. HART began his skin treatment, but then we noticed a lump on his side, which turned out to be a very aggressive form of cancer. But Rhap took it all in stride, just as he handled everything. Even after a bout of surgery and months of chemotherapy, Rhap was still the same gentleman we had grown to love and he loved us all right back.

Read the tribute from Rhap's foster dad.


Blake (died March 23, 2009)
We take in all kinds- big ones, little ones, perfect ones and, well, not so perfect ones. We take the time to get to know them and it starts the second we lay eyes on them. We give them the kind of unquestionable love we know they should have had to begin with. Then we fall for them, we fall in love, and some of us fall hard. We feel like we need to make up for all the ugly they have seen in man's heart. We want to pull them close, wrap them in safety and help them to know what being wanted is about. But once in a while we come into a case where we have no control. We take them in, we love them, we give a little piece of our very being to them and all too soon we lose them. Death stalks them on silent paws, waiting for the chance to deny them the calm comfort they deserve. To know the end is near makes the mind hurt first. We can adjust a tiny bit easier. But when they are gone in a flash, ripped away from the promise of a better life, there is nowhere for a hurt that deep to go. No way to rid the ravaging pain one feels deep in their core.

We met Blake. We fell in love with him. We lost him to parvo. He never got that warm comfort of a new home with a loving family. We are all denied the knowing of how his story would have turned out. And some of us hurt all the more for his passing.


Munchkin (died January 21, 2009)
We came upon our little Munchkin at a rural shelter where she had been dumped on December 30, 2008, while on a rescue mission to pick up another dog. She was virtually hairless with sarcoptic mange and covered with sheets of dead skin but she never stopped wagging her body, starting with the tail and moving all the way up. A glance at her card revealed her time was about up. Obviously, she was in the car with us when we headed north.

We immediately checked her in at one of our vets for treatment of her mange. About two weeks later, we got a call from the vet saying he had taken a chest x-ray because he had noted some rough breathing. He described what he saw on the x-ray as a "train wreck" -- extensive scarring of her lungs and thickening of the bronchial passages, possibly caused by a severe pneumonia or some other catastrophic illness. While the condition of her lungs could not be reversed, our vet was hopeful that with medications to help her make the most of her limited lung capacity, she could have a comfortable, relatively normal life. That was not to be. On January 21, after starting the day her usual happy and playful self, our baby girl was found unconscious in her pen and died a short time later in the vet tech's arms, probably from a burst blood vessel in or around her lungs.

The palpable shock and sadness at the vet's office matched our own. We take great comfort in knowing that in the last weeks of her life, Munchkin was well cared for, very happy, and greatly loved. The HART volunteer who brought her to us visited her several times at the vet's office and sensed Munchkin knew we were there for her and loved her very much. It hurts so much to lose one of our guys, no matter how little or much time we have with them, but Munchkin's sweetness in the face of her challenges reminds us why we do what we do. Have fun at the Rainbow Bridge, our darling Munchkin, we'll not forget you.


Candy 1 (died September 12, 2008)
Dear Candy had to be put to sleep because she was in pain from liver cancer. Thanks to Debbie for caring for and comforting her in her last week of life. Earlier this year, Candy was abandoned at the shelter when her owner died. HART took her in and found her a loving home for several months this summer. Candy had to come back to HART through no fault of her own and it was then that we finally figured out that she was very sick. She was a sweetheart and many people were concerned about her welfare. She will be missed but not forgotten.


JoeBob (died May 9, 2008)
We all cried when we heard JoeBob’s cancer diagnosis. The prognosis was not good, but Chris, one of our fabulous adopters and JoeBob’s foster, decided that the rest of his life would make him forget all the bad things that had marked his past. She spoiled him good and made his last months probably the happiest ones of his life. Goodbye, sweet "JoeBoy" - we'll meet again at the bridge.

Read the moving tribute from JoeBob's foster mom.


Prince George (died February 24, 2008)
Prince George was about 10 months old when it was decided to euthanize him on February 24, 2008. His body succumbed to Feline Infectious Peritontis, dry (non-effusive) form. The ailments we dealt with didn't inhibit his wonderful personality. Even though he was still a kitten, he preferred being held and petted instead of playing. He was very friendly and loved everybody he met. His body might have left us but his spirit remains. We won't forget you, little buddy.


Maggie (died December 20, 2007)
Sweet Maggie died suddenly from a ruptured spleen mass. She was one of the sweetest, most gentle dogs we have ever known and we will miss seeing her every day. She was loved by everyone at HART who knew her and by her foster family who gave her a home (not once but twice) when her owners couldn't deal with her separation anxiety. She will always be remembered and missed, especially by her special friend Matthew, whose side she never left until the very end.


Jake II (died October 26, 2007)
Today Jake decided that he has lived in this world long enough and went to the Rainbow Bridge. His last few months were spent with as much love as he had received for years, but I think he just missed being with his family. Jake was an older gentleman who had depleted his strength and was fighting a battle that would have been long and unwinnable. We were not willing to give up yet, but perhaps Jake knew better. Jake will be missed for his beauty and gentle grace and for his acceptance of all our frailties. See you at the bridge, Jake.


Cameron (died September 20, 2007)
Cameron came to HART as one of several inbred kittens. He and his brother Dexter, who was his best buddy, had incurable and progressive heart disease from kittenhood on. He faithfully took six pills a day, morning and night, but nothing was ever enough to stop the progression of his illness, though until not long before the end his days were good and happy. Finally, shortly after his second birthday, came time to say goodbye, and he passed to the Rainbow Bridge in his foster mother's arms and is now playing King of the Mountain with Dexter once more. He is forever loved.


Monkey (died August 27, 2007)
Today my heart was broken because my precious Monkey was taken away. I have rarely known a dog so sweet and loving, so patient and kind, so misunderstood. In an ideal world, I would never have known Monkey because she would have been with her people for her whole life. In the real world, I came to know her because of the thoughtlessness of people. She was given up to HART because they no longer had time for her. In the few months that Monkey was with HART, I grew as close to her as a have been to any dog I have ever known, and truly loved her. But I, too, failed her because I just couldn't find her a home. She was too big; she was a bad breed; she was too old; she was many things; but all she needed was a chance to show her heart and her character -- if only. Monkey, I truly hope to see you at the bridge.


Grace (died August 23, 2007)
Nearly 2 years after her rescue, Grace, our last Katrina foster kitty, has lost her battle with thyroid disease, diabetes and old age. She was Ed's special foster kitty that he personally selected from the many hurricane survivors in a makeshift shelter in New Orleans. HART thanks Patricia and Ed for giving this sweet senior kitty a loving foster home.



Nola (died August 17, 2007)
Nola, who lost her only family and was taken in by a bigger family in HART, passed away on August 17, 2007, of an apparent protein leaking disease that affects the kidneys and intestines.

Nola had a deep love for her human friends and she knew her love was returned. She always knew when it was time for her Saturday morning ride to adoption events and anxiously looked out the window of her foster home waiting for her ride. One of her special friends at HART reminisced of her uncanny warning of impending motorcycles and balloons. We will always remember and miss you, Nola Granola, and we will meet again on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.


Orion (died July 29, 2007)
Orion, who was faithfully devoted to his brother Logan and a great friend to a number of HART volunteers, passed away July 29, 2007. We believe Orion passed away from bloat, brought on by the stress of losing his brother. He will always be remembered and missed by everyone who knew him. He had a great heart and simply loved all who came near him. We loved you back.



Christine (died June 15, 2007)
Christine was adopted by a family six years ago and gave them the best she had. In return, the family decided they no longer had time for her and so they gave her back. Christine was a magnificent dog with manners befitting a queen. She was no longer as active as she once was, but age did not dim her eyes nor lessen the love she shared freely with everyone. She waited hopefully for a new home to call her own. Unfortunately our lovely Christine never got that chance; she died of bloat last night. Christine's only flaw was that she loved her humans too much. We will miss this sweet soul, and wish her peace and good rest until we all meet again.


Wiley (died April 18, 2007)
Today HART lost one of our own, Wiley. Wiley will long be remembered for the unbridled joy he brought into many of our lives. We respected Wiley because he seemed totally oblivious of the fact that he had only three legs. He never asked for sympathy, just for a hug, a pat on the head, maybe a brief walk, and, most of all, for people just to love him back. Wiley was beautiful, but far beyond that he had the most lovely and admirable personality you could wish for in a friend. Good-bye buddy, we’ll see you at the Bridge.


Max (died February 5, 2007)
Max was a young Yorkshire Terrier who had been hit by a car and sustained extensive injuries. Despite his extremely painful injuries, Max still was reaching out to give kisses. Surgery revealed that Max's injuries were even more serious than originally thought, but Max fought bravely for 9 days before his tiny body gave out. Max was much loved by all who met him during his short time with us, and we will never forget his spirit.


Brook (died December 27, 2006)
Brook was left at a shelter to die. We saved her from that sad fate. Unfortunately, Brook had degenerative heart disease and other health issues, and she passed away before she found her forever home. But she was in a wonderful, loving foster home and, thanks to the generosity of numerous sponsors, she received the best medical care. Certainly a better ending than what she might have had. Brook was with us a long time and we will never forget her.


Sterling (died July 30, 2006)
Sweet-faced Sterling came to HART from a rural shelter where she faced certain death. She had had a hard life, and came to us with numerous medical problems, including heartworms. She was placed at a vet's clinic and was undergoing treatment. Everyone who met Sterling loved her! But, despite our efforts, she couldn't overcome her medical problems and passed away Sunday night, July 30, 2006. At least in her last days, Sterling experienced love and comfort, things she probably never saw in her prior life. We are saddened by her loss, especially after so much effort went in to saving her, and we had such hopes for her. She would have been a wonderful companion.


Houston (died October 29, 2005)
Houston came to HART several weeks ago from Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He was taken directly from his rescuer by HART volunteers, covered in a thick black tar substance. As soon as Houston arrived in Northern Virginia, he began treatment for an extremely advanced case of heartworms.

During the last 12 days, Houston was under the constant care of Dr. Rhymes at Parkway Veterinary Clinic, who consulted with specialists (cardiologist, internist, and vet school faculty) to ensure that everything possible was being done for him. On several occasions, including last night, Dr. Rhymes spent the night watching over Houston. Houston seemed to be rallying over the past week.

We are very sad to tell you that this morning, notwithstanding these efforts, Houston collapsed and could not be resuscitated.

Those of us who were lucky enough to know Houston saw in him an extraordinary spirit. One of HART's volunteers spoke for many of us in commenting that in all her years in rescue, she had never met a dog who pulled at her heart more than Houston. He was gentle and sweet and regal and wise and had a way of looking at you that pierced your heart. To say that we lost a dog today does not begin to impart the grievousness of our loss of Houston or the heartbreak we are feeling.

Patricia and Carmen, thank you for bringing Houston from New Orleans to HART. Unlike many of the tens of thousands of dogs and cats who perished in Louisiana and Mississippi, or the tens of thousands who die every day across this country in shelters, Houston did not die alone.

We have to believe he knew how much he was loved. We will always carry him in our hearts and wonder what might have been.


Callie (died July 2005)
Thanks to her rescuer, Sharon Bradberry, HART and a wonderful adopter, Callie knew love for a few short months in her much too short life. This beautiful girl spent much of her puppyhood being used as a target by some idiot in her rural neighborhood. Despite her rough beginning Callie was all heart. She would run into your arms to tell you she loved you -- and she loved everyone! You could see Callie's intelligence and curiousity shine through her beautiful amber eyes. Just when the life she should have had -- a loving home with gentle people -- was beginning, her life was ended by exposure to parvo virus, source unknown, an extremely contagious disease that is almost always fatal in young dogs. In her short time here, Callie's joy and loving spirit touched many of us. She will never be forgotten.


Crystal (died 9/8/2004)






Wesley (died 3/28/2003)
Wesley came to us appearing to be the cutest, friendliest terrier around. However, Wesley was not the healthiest. A few days after arriving we took Wesley in for his vacinations and neutering. We had noticed a bit of lethargy that morning so the vet decided to test him for parvo. He tested positive. Wesley also had a very bad case of worms. Treatment began immediately, but Wesley was weakened by the worms and did not have the strength to survive. A simple vaccination would have prevented this and allowed Wesley to live past puppyhood.


Nikki (died 3/21/2003)
Nikki came into our lives almost 2 years ago to the day. We saw her tied to a tree and promised her that day we would take her away from her awful home and take care of her until we found her a new home. Unfortunately, even with HART’s help, that day never happened. Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus took Nikki from us. But she clearly knew she was loved and adored by us. She was a very special dog.

She absolutely loved car rides and giving kisses for treats. Her favorite spot in the car was riding with her head right next to Drew’s, wind in her face at the window. She loved to run in the creek when we would take her walking and loved to go hiking. She seemed to bloom each time she saw us and was more loving as the years went by.

Nikki was our heart, our soul, our baby, our stinky-dog. We will miss her more than anyone will ever know. She brought a smile to our faces every time we saw her. Her picture sits on my desk at work and I’ve thought about her every day since we rescued her. Even though she was a “HART dog”, in my heart she was really our dog.

Goodbye Nikker-Stink – You are Forever in our Hearts

Love Kris and Drew


Rambler (died 3/11/2003)
Rambler came to us after losing his family, his friend and ending up in a rural shelter. When he arrived, he brought with him a bad attitude. Within a short time we realized there was a reason for his attitude. Rambler was not feeling well. In fact a visit to the vet told us that Rambler had a huge tumor in his stomach. The cancer had taken its toll. Rambler was going downhill fast. We made the decision to end his pain and were with him when the time came. We are saddened that we could not do more for him and will always remember fondly our cute, little beagle with a bad attitude.


Bailey (died 1/8/2003)
Bailey died suddenly of a problem that is frightening to any owner of a large breed dog. He developed Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (bloat) and his stomach twisted. When bloat strikes it can kill very quickly. Unfortunately, we were unable to save Bailey.



Terri (died 11/8/2002)
Terri was a sweet, somewhat needy dog. We had noticed that she was not acting quite like herself. Her death was very sudden and unexpected. We will forever miss this lovely girl.


Copper (died 9/29/2002)
Copper was a sweet, loving dog. He had been waiting patiently for just the right home, one where someone was home all of the time. Copper never liked to be alone. One day we noticed a lump on his right shoulder. He still seemed to be feeling OK, so when had planned to make an appointment for him for the next day. What we did not know was that Copper had been bitten by something. It may have been a poisonous spider or a snake. Snake bites can happen very quickly and are often hard to detect until it is too late. Copper died sometime that night.


Oreo (died 9/10/2002)
Oreo came to us as a true orphan after her first owner had died. She was left to a roommate who was unable to care for her. He took her to the vet to be euthanized. But then HART stepped in and took Oreo. She was a sweet loving dog. A favorite of many. Oreo had a strong fear of storms. One night when she was out in the exercise yard, heat lightning started out of nowhere. Before we could get to her, Oreo had climbed the fence and was gone. She was found days later, the victim of a car. We will miss Oreo forever.


Reagan (died 7/30/2002)
We really thought that we had saved Reagan from certain death at the rural shelter. It was a long trip for her and her sister to HART but they arrived seemingly healthy and happy. What we did not know is that she had been exposed to parvo, a deadly puppy disease. When she became ill, we quickly rushed her to the vet. They tried everything in their power to save her. But she just could not fight off the deadly virus. Reagan only had a brief opportunity to know the love of a home and family through her HART foster home. Our only comfort is that she did not die in the shelter, but knew love even if it was brief.


Tyson (died 7/30/2002)
Tyson came to us original after surviving a horrible attack from another dog. He was a sweet dog. However, after awhile we realized that he was suffering from an incurable disease. We had to make the agonizing decision to let him go. We only hope that he now knows peace.



Kitty (died 7/19/2002)
Kitty was diagnosed with a Thyroid tumor. We found her a foster home and began treating her. She seemed to be doing well. Then she started having circulation problems. Her left paws and left ear got extremely swollen and she got very congested. It could have been a reaction to the thyroid medicine that she was on, but at that point there was nothing left we could do for her.



Mila's Puppy (died 5/16/2002)
This puppy escaped death once in his life. His mother was scheduled to be euthanized at the shelter when she was very pregnant with him and his brothers. She was rescued in the nick of time. The puppies were born at the vet's office. They grew to be happy, healthy and adorable. When they were old enough all were put up for adoption. This puppy found a home immediately. When his owners picked him up, he seemed a bit lethargic. The next day they rushed him back to the vet. He became very sick, very fast. After several days of being treated by the vet and the emergency vet, he died. We are still not sure what the cause was. The puppy had waged an uphill battle to find a home of its own, only to be taken away from it. It is so sad, when a life is taken at such an early age.


Gingerbread (died 4/11/2002)
Tyson came to us original after surviving a horrible attack from another dog. He was a sweet dog. However, after awhile we realized that he was suffering from an incurable disease. We had to make the agonizing decision to let him go. We only hope that he now knows peace.


Angus (died 1/29/2002)
Angus came to us very, very fearful. He was found as a stray and was afraid of everyone. We took Angus in and worked to help him regain his confidence in people. We found him a nice foster home where he could learn what it means to be part of a family. However, one day Angus was in the fenced yard playing with his family when something startled him. He was so frightened that he jumped the fenced and ran out into the street where he was hit by a car.


Charlie (died 1/23/2002)
Charlie was one of those dogs that seems to touch everyone he meets. He was just so laid-back and 'cool'. He appeared dignified and goofy at the same time. HART rescued Charlie from a rural shelter. He had so much potential to be a great addition to any family. Charlie was thin from the beginning. Coonhounds are often thin due to a high metabolism. We were not too worried. We figured a little food and love and he would be fine. But Charlie kept losing weight. We took him to the vet and they gave him a thorough examination. They did not see anything in the x-rays that showed a problem. After some fluid he perked up a bit. But after a week at the vet, he had lost more weight. We decided to have exploratory surgery performed. A wonderful couple offered to pay for all of Charlie's medical expenses. We had several offers from people who wanted to foster him. Everyone was pulling for Charlie. During the surgery, the doctors found an intestinal blockage. Charlie had ingested some rope. The damage to his intestines was significant and Charlie was very, very weak. Within a few days we realized that Charlie was not going to recover. His death was mourned by many in HART and outside of HART. Charlie will never be forgotten.


Missy (died 11/2001)
Poor Missy. Her original owner had to go in to a nursing home and could no longer take care of her. A family member took in Missy temporarily with the hope of finding her a great home. Missy went blind suddenly, shortly after losing her mother. We tried to find that new home, but because she was ten years old, no one seemed to want her. HART loved her. Tragically Missy went in for routine dental work and never came out of the anesthesia.


Bentley (died 10/2001)
Bentley was a handsome black chow/retriever mix. We had high hopes for him. He was sweet, calm and a great dog. He would stand up on his hind legs and hop joyfully when he saw someone coming to see him. But then Bentley became ill. He was found to be suffering terminal cancer. Poor Bentley was very ill and uncomfortable. We had to make the heart-wrenching decision to end his pain. Bentley may have had to live his life alone, but he did not have to end his life alone. A HART representative was with him until the end.


Tyler came to us thin and sickly. We thought that all he needed was some nutritious food and a little love. We supplied both, but Tyler did not seem to bounce back to the healthy dog we expected. We found him a loving foster home where we hoped he would regain his strength over time. Although Tyler was thin, he still had lots of love to give. He would stand in front of you to be petted or bury his head in your lap for attention. Tyler also loved walks and being with his foster brother and sisters. Tyler collapsed and died suddenly at his foster home (it was suspected to be cancer, but never confirmed). We take comfort in the thought that Tyler did not die alone. He died in a home where he knew love.


Lady (died 9/2001)
Lady’s death was another mystery. She was active and healthy one day and gone the next. We never found the cause. She was less than two years old and looking forward to a home of her own. We were not able to find that home.


Gabby and Sadie (died 8/2001)
Gabby and Sadie were rescued as puppies. They were both adopted out to a nice family. However, as they grew, the family realized that they were too active for their lifestyle and returned them to HART. They appeared to be healthy and happy. Within a week of each other both had died. We do not know what caused their untimely death. It could have been a genetic problem or a toxin. We were very saddened by their loss. They were both less than a year old with a long life ahead of them. But their last hours were spent alone in a cage.


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