By Sunday, September 24, 2023 4 No tags Permalink

Honoring the life of your pet is certainly a very personal decision, one that I didn’t give any thought – sorry to say – with Harley’s passing. For me, even though he/we are too public to be private between this website, social media, my job and the podcast, I grieved privately.

He was my everything, and his absence created such a hole – spending every moment living in the past – only allowing Jaxson in – was my healing wall…


more dogs in my life began to pass away. Therapy dogs who I loved as my own, furrends of Harley and now Jaxson – were racing across that damn rainbow bridge, It was emotionally crippling for me.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

I heard that phrase so many times after Harley died, I should have the strength of a Marvel Comic Superhero by now! #didnthappen

Yet I remained stoic as I visited these families with a small memorial gift thanking them for sharing their pups with so many people over the years. But with each visit – I learned something incredibly beneficial-

My grief shouldn’t have been held inside. It should have been shared –


Sydney joined the program towards the last few years of Harley’s employment and the beginning of Jaxson’s full-time gig. She was a friend to both. Docile and gentle, this blue nosed pit bull mix quickly became the ambassador for her breed…

At 14 years of age, Sydney crossed the bridge thirty seven days after Harley. The following week her “Pet-Pop” delivered 500 heart shaped cookies to the multiple facilities Sydney supported. This was his way of healing, by giving back to those who loved her.


Then there was Lulu. a precious little pug with a huge heart for humans! Lulu left here the day after Sydney. Ten days later her “Dog-Ma” sent me this invitation…

I REALLY liked the words she chose –

to honor her life and legacy

When I arrived, I loved the concept even more.

There were friends…


even a remembrance table…

But what I adored was the community, the solidarity of humans supporting this family and the abundance of love and empathy in the room. Bonnie wanted to share snippets of Lulu’s contributions to humankind, so she wrote and read a “Lulu-ology.” Here is a two minute snippet before putting my phone down and living in the moment #sorrynotsorry...

YouTube player


from ME – towards ME!

As I drove home that afternoon I began to feel as if I’d cheated Harley. But that was just a brief emotion which quickly passed as I exorcized the pity party I hosted for myself #thankthedoodle #anditwaspitiful

Spending time with Bonnie and her friends, and eating those doodle*licious cookies from Sydney’s dad, showed me just how creative one can be when it comes to honoring the legacy of your pet.

There are so many ways to memorialize your pet . Just allowing yourself the ability to create something personal, meaningful and memorable can become so self healing.

I pray YOUR time for dealing with this is light years away. But when it comes, be your best creative self when honoring your furrever friend. As for me? I was recently reminded that Harley’s legacy lives on in my writing. That made me smile, because as long as I can, I shall write – and hopefully be able to weave a paragraph or two in a story from time to time remembering my Harley-Darley. May his legacy forever live inside of me!

Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us everyday ❤️

  • Jennifer Myers Teston
    September 24, 2023

    Harley was special to so many people. He was my first love as a therapy dog. I grieved for you and Harley and miss him still. What a special guy. One of my favorite memories of Harley was when I had my afternoon snack of beef jerky in my pocket. Harley came up to me and was going nuts. I’d never seen him like that before. Then it dawned on me I had beef jerky in my pocket Another special memory I will never forget is when you brought Harley to my chemo bell ringing. So many special memories I have of you and Harley!!! Thank you for sharing him with us as well as the patients.

  • Rob Lesch
    September 24, 2023


    Thank you for your very kind remembrance of my sweet Sydney, Harley, Lulu, Sydney and all the other wonderful therapy dogs that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge before them are waiting patiently for our arrival. Thanks to you and the entire staff at SMP and the other MUSC facilities that loved and supported Sydney over the years. We had a blast! All the lessons that we lucky dog therapy volunteers learned from these special animals will never be forgotten. Thank you for allowing Sydney to share her special spirit. Please give Jaxson a big hug and kiss for me.

  • Tails Around the Ranch
    September 25, 2023

    It’s difficult to lose any beloved pet but I think when a pet therapist loses theirs, it’s even more painful. All those intense and poignant memories we share with these special animals really hits hard when they need to cross the Bridge. Please know we continue to think of your sweet boy, smile knowing he touched so many ‘pawsitively’ and grieve at his loss. Sending you digital hugs and tail wags. ❤️‍

  • Greg Reid
    September 27, 2023


    Very sorry to hear of Harley’s passing.