One Year

October 30, 2009 by Lisa  
Filed under Blog

Hello to all of you that have used our website and contacted me this past year.

From the time I put the website up in January to this past week, the affirmation that I have received from you all has been amazing.  I used to get 1-2 emails per month asking for resources, sharing stories or just looking for a sympathetic ear and now I get 1-2 per day.  We have over 3300 visitors to the website each month and we are #1 on google for various search terms related to canine liver disease.  Our site has become successful beyond what I could have imagined.

The good news is that the website is helping to inform, give hope and connect people who are dealing with this terrible disease.  It is becoming a premiere resource for people searching for information to help their pets and dear friends & I am SO grateful that I can be a part of making a difference, even a small one, in the lives of a family and their furry friend.

It has been 1 year on this exact day since our beloved Reiley passed away and I am reminded each day through the work I do for CLDF that her death was not in vain.  I miss her each and every day and am very sad that she was taken from me at only 9 years of age by something so terrible as liver disease.  I am angry that more is not done to help understand and eradicate this problem and I am working toward trying to make a difference in the prevention and early detection of CLD.

Thank you to all who have written to me, called and emailed, it is for you and your pets that I do what I do.  Thank you for helping me to keep Reiley’s memory alive and well each and every day, I do miss her very much and love her still.


Lisa Smith

Founder, Canine Liver Disease Foundation

Dedicated to my first “baby”, Reiley – I love you, miss you & we are making a difference!

Dog’s Last Will and Testament

October 30, 2009 by Lisa  
Filed under Blog

On the 1 year anniversary of our Reiley passing away, I thought I would post this poignant piece of writing.  May it help any of you that are going through what we went through just a year ago.  Our hearts still ache & we miss our girl everyday but know she is feeling better now. ~ Lisa

I came across this wonderful piece of writing by Eugene O’Neill, the well known American playwright and a Nobel prize recipient. He reportedly wrote this to comfort his wife when their beloved dog, Blemie, was in his last days:

” Last Will and Testament”

I, Silverdene Emblem O’Neill (familiarly known to my family, friends and acquaintances as Blemie), because the burden of my years is heavy upon me, and I realize the end of my life is near, do hereby bury my last will and testament in the mind of my Master. He will not know it is there until I am dead. Then, remembering me in his loneliness, he will suddenly know of this testament, and I ask him then to inscribe it as a memorial to me.

I have little in the way of material things to leave. Dogs are wiser than men. They do not set great store upon things. They do not waste their time hoarding property. They do not ruin their sleep worrying about objects they have, and to obtain the objects they have not. There is nothing of value I have to bequeath except my love and my faith. These I leave to those who have loved me, to my Master and Mistress, who I know will mourn me most, to Freeman who has been so good to me, to Cyn and Roy and Willie and Naomi and – but if I should list all those who have loved me it would force my Master to write a book. Perhaps it is in vain of me to boast when I am so near death, which returns all beasts and vanities to dust, but I have always been an extremely lovable dog.

I ask my Master and Mistress to remember me always, but not to grieve for me too long. In my life I have tried to be a comfort to them in time of sorrow, and a reason for added joy in their happiness. It is painful for me to think that even in death I should cause them pain. Let them remember that while no dog has ever had a happier life (and this I owe to their love and care for me), now that I have grown blind and deaf and lame, and even my sense of smell fails me so that a rabbit could be right under my nose and I might not know, my pride has sunk to a sick, bewildered humiliation. I feel life is taunting me with having over lingered my welcome. It is time I said good-by, before I become too sick a burden on myself and on those who love me.

It will be sorrow to leave them, but not a sorrow to die. Dogs do not fear death as men do. We accept it as part of life, not as something alien and terrible which destroys life. What may come after death, who knows? I would like to believe with those of my fellow Dalmatians who are devout Mohammedans, that there is a Paradise where one is always young and full-bladdered; here all the day one dillies and dallies with an amorous multitude of houris, beautifully spotted; where jack-rabbits that run fast but not too fast (like the houris) are as the sands of the desert; where each blissful hour is mealtime; where in long evenings there are a million fireplaces with logs forever burning and one curls oneself up and blinks into the flames and nods and dreams, remembering the old brave days on earth, and the love of one’s Master and Mistress.

I am afraid this is too much for even such a dog as I am to expect. But peace, at least, is certain. Peace and long rest for weary old heart and head and limbs, and eternal sleeps in the earth I have loved so well. Perhaps, after all, this is best.

One last request I earnestly make. I have heard my Mistress say, ‘When Blemie dies we must never have another dog. I love him so much I could never love another one.’ Now I would ask her, for love of me, to have another. It would be a poor tribute to my memory never to have a dog again. What I would like to feel is that, having once had me in the family, now she cannot live without a dog! I have never had a narrow jealous spirit. I have always held that most dogs are good (and one cat, the black one I have permitted to share the living-room rug during the evenings, whose affection I have tolerated in a kindly spirit, and in rare sentimental moods, even reciprocated a trifle). Some dogs, of course, are better than others. Dalmatians, naturally, as everyone knows, are best.

So I suggest a Dalmatian as my successor. He can hardly be as well bred, or as well mannered or as distinguished and handsome as I was in my prime. My Master and Mistress must not ask the impossible. But he will do his best, I am sure, and even his inevitable defects will help by comparison to keep my memory green. To him I bequeath my collar and leash and my overcoat and raincoat, made to order in 1929 at Hermes in Paris. He can never wear them with the distinction I did, walking around the Place Vendome, or later along Park Avenue, all eyes fixed on me in admiration; but again I am sure he will do his utmost not to appear a mere gauche provincial dog. Here on the ranch, he may prove himself quite worthy of comparison, in some respects. He will, I presume, come closer to jackrabbits than I have been able to in recent years. And, for all his faults, I hereby wish him the happiness I know will be his in my old home.

One last word of farewell, Dear Master and Mistress. Whenever you visit my grave, say to yourselves with regret but also with happiness in your hearts at the remembrance of my long happy life with you: ‘here lies one who loved us and whom we loved.’ No matter how deep my sleep I shall hear you, and not all the power of death can keep my spirit from wagging a grateful tail. “

In Memory of Karna

October 28, 2009 by Lisa  
Filed under Blog

Family and friends,

We want you to know that Karna, our 5 year old German Shepherd, was put to sleep today due to irreversible liver disease.

He was a brave and loving dog who brought warmth and affection to all he met. He will be deeply missed.


Tony and Melissa

A Touching Memorial Poem

May 27, 2009 by Lisa  
Filed under Blog

This message was posted to one of the Canine Liver Disease Yahoo Groups that I belong to and I really loved the sentiment so I thought I would post it here for everyone to read.

When I was a puppy
I was very much afraid
Then I met you
And I knew I belonged to someone who would always care

When I was a young dog
I did some things to try you
And you would sometimes get angry, but in the end
You never stopped loving me.

When I was a grown up dog
Oh, the fun we had!
I think I loved the hose no, the ball, no, agility class
Well, it all was so wonderful, to spend my happiest and best days with you.

When I was a middle aged dog
You understood when I could not do the things I once could
When I would tire on a walk
How I loved to be carried home safely in your arms

When I became an older dog
I could see my whole life in your eyes.
You were so loving and patient
And I loved nothing more than to just lie quietly with you

When I became a sick dog
Oh the sadness we both felt
But how you cared for me
Oh, that I will never forget

You’d wipe my eyes, and clean me up
And never once got angry
When I would lose control of my body
Your patience and understanding were what let me keep my dignity

When I was a dying dog
You never once left me
Although it was hard for you to watch me as my life came to an end
You did so out of a love stronger than I had ever known before

As I lay in your arms
My whole life flashed before me
And I saw that it was a good life, filled with wonderful memories to last me over the bridge…and beyond

All because you were my person, and I was your dog

In Memory of my golden girl Reiley “Monster” – I miss you still after all these months. I love you!!


Memorial Writing

February 26, 2009 by Lisa  
Filed under Blog

Someone posted this nice memorial to a Canine Liver Disease group that I belong to. I thought it was very well written and poignant

Written and © copyrighted by Terri Onorato

I know what you’re thinking. You think I’m dead. Because you cannot see me
with your human eyes, cannot feel me with your hands or hold me in your arms
you think I am gone forever. You recall how I looked when I left this earth
and you cannot remotely imagine that I am alive in another place. You are
racked and torn by the pain of our separation and it blinds you to that
which is right in front of you…me.

How many times since I left your immediate sight have you been told that I’m
dead and you should “get over it”? How many times have you cried yourself to
sleep because you feel like an outcast, believing you’re supposed to get
over me because that’s what people say is normal but somehow you can’t and
no one seems to understand? How many times have you put yourself through
such excruciating pain because you aren’t willing to consider that I am not,
by any means, dead?

I want you to do me a favour and go back in time with me. Remember the
glorious day you brought me home – was I not the most intriguing creature
you’d ever met? Did I not make you laugh and giggle? Did I not look at you
with such adoration that you wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of
your life with me? I wanted this too.

Remember the days when I was in my prime and we did many things together.
You were so proud of me! I was a good friend and I took care of you when you
cried, were angry or felt down and unhappy. When you didn’t have a lot of
time for me because of your obligations, I waited patiently for you. I was
always there when you needed me. Did I not look at you with such acceptance
and patience that perhaps at times you felt a bit unworthy? You were never
unworthy in my eyes.

Remember when age crept up on me, my bones became stiff and my movements
slower. Still I met you when you came home and followed you around. We’d
been together for so long, I was your very best friend regardless of what
you were doing, saying and thinking. Did I not look at you with such
kindness and understanding that you felt overwhelmed? I couldn’t get enough
of you.

Remember the last time we saw each other with earthly eyes. You tried to be
brave but I knew you were crying…I know you so well, better than anyone
else in the world. Did I not look at you with such pure trust and love that
you yearned only to hold me close and keep me with you always? Did you not
promise that you would love me forever? I believed you.

If this is so then why have you let me go by thinking I no longer exist?
Remember the depth of love in my eyes when I looked at you.
I am no longer an earthly figure, this is true. My
body was only part of who I really am and it would have been but a mere
shell on earth if it were not filled to overflowing with my soul, my spirit
and my loving light. When we met you thought I was cute, pretty and adorable
What kind of relationship would we have had if this were all that I’d been?
How could you have loved me if I’d had no spiritual substance?

We are all made up of energy that resides far deep down inside of us, it is
our core and our soul, spirit and loving light. It is the energy that is all
of life…it has no beginning, it has no end. It simply is and always will
be and without it there is no life. You can’t see it with the naked eye nor
can you hold it in your hand, it is simply a certain knowing that this
energy does exist. It’s a knowing just as you know that our love existed on
earth – you couldn’t see our love in a solid sense, you couldn’t gather it
all up and confine it to one place. But you *knew* it existed. There was no
doubt in your mind.

There are those who demand you get over me, insisting that I’m dead and you
ll never see me again because animals don’t go to Heaven. Oh really? I’m
here to tell you different. You were as worthy of my love and undying
devotion on earth as I was of yours. Do you really believe this love would
be snatched from us *forever* simply because I wasn’t
human? Was I not a living, breathing creation with personality? How could I
have been so if I didn’t possess the energy of soul, spirit and loving
light? And if this energy is and always will be, then how can it be that I
am dead? If my core is not the energy that is all of life then I was never
alive to begin with. But you know better.

You cry because you miss me, this I understand. I miss you too – I miss the
belly rubs, hugs and kisses that we shared. But life does go on beyond these
wonderful, fulfilling physical connections. I came to this place to continue
on in a new life, not because I didn’t love you anymore or because I wanted
something better. I came here because it was time for me to go to the next
phase of my existence, something all living creatures must do eventually. It
is the normal progression of life. I was not taken away from you because you
cannot take away that which was never owned. My presence in your life was
and is a gift to be cherished and honored just as I cherish and honor you.
Life is not simply about being born into a body, living a certain number of
years and then dying. Energy cannot die. We are blessed with time in a body
so that we can learn, share and grow. It prepares us for the next phase of
our eternal life. The body holds within it the true life force of our
existence…our soul, spirit and loving light. Without these our bodies
would be empty, blank, void of feeling and expression. Without our energy we
would indeed be dead and could never have experienced our love for each

You say that all you have left are memories but this is not so. You see,
when I took leave of my earthly body I left a little something behind for
you. You can’t touch it, hold it or examine it, for what I left behind is
far too uninhibited for confinement. I left in your tender care a piece of
my soul. I placed it right next to your own which is quite fitting as we
were always side by side in our earthly life together. I love you too much
to have left you with nothing but memories that tend to fade and grow cloudy
as the years go by. I love you too much to have vanished without a trace.
How selfish it would be of me to remove love and light from your life.

I understand your tears, each one you shed is testament to your love for me
and I am honored and humbled. But don’t forget the good things we shared -
remember and smile. This is an honor for me as well. When you need me I will
be here. Close your eyes, relax, take slow, deep breaths and picture me in
your mind. Shut off the world and your notions of what you think death is
and give me a chance. Look for the subtle signs I send you. Don’t stop being
proud of me, I am a friend to be proud of, I am still your friend and soul
mate. Don’t memorialize the death of my body but instead honor and celebrate
my never-ending life for it is eternal and forever as is my love for you.
Until we meet again…

Lassie Forever in Our Hearts

February 26, 2009 by Lisa  
Filed under Blog

Lassie Forever in our Hearts
September 10, 2004 – February 22, 2009
4 years 5 months and 12 days

My Dear Friends,

It’s a beautiful day in heaven at the rainbow bridge and all the angels are feeling very happy. They have a new companion to play with and of course adore. Lassie crossed over to the rainbow bridge at 12:20pm Dogster time (PST) on February 22, 2009.

I am happy that she is with the angels and Jesus is watching over her as always. I am happy to be Lassie’s mommy as she made me proud even in her very last moment.

We had taken Lassie to the vet in morning yesterday as she was increasingly getting weak and was having trouble walking. She was not eating nor drinking. When we reach the clinic the normal occurrence is that she can’t wait for the car door to be opened. But this day was different. She could barely move. We had to call the nurse to help us carry her into the clinic. The vet advised us to let her go but I guess that was not a very easy decision for us to make.

The vet however agreed to give us a couple of days for observing Lassie and said after that Lassie will be needed to be put to sleep if she doesn’t get better. She administered antibiotics and fluids and said that it would be a good idea for Lassie to be at home. As we were getting out of the vet clinic Lassie saw the black cat that usually hangs around the clinic. She immediately tried to pull on the leash and chase the cat. This was really great in a way because she seemed to be full of energy and vigor.

Back at home Lassie was still not consuming any food or drink and finding it oh so very difficult to walk. Lassie is a fighter and she tried very hard to move around the house, resting at all her favorite spots. But evidently it was taking a great toll on her. But not once did she whimper or cry. She was very uncomfortable, but she didn’t show it. We were positive that she will fight on. At one point she tried to pull on her Dada’s socks but she can’t reached it no more. This made me really happy as she was trying to be mischievous and heartbroken.

But come evening nothing really changed much. Lassie’s dada and I decided to take her to the vet in the morning so that she could receive some fluids. Dada tried to administer some meds to Lassie but without any success. Even water was not appealing to Lassie. We decided to pray for her. So we sat beside her on her bed. She hugged me and rested oh so sweetly on my chest. I wish that moment will last forever. I lay her down on her bed and we began to pray asking Jesus for a miracle and also to help Lassie.

In the middle of our prayer Lassie gave out a loud sigh and it was the beginning of the end. She tried to grasp for air, but her long fight had taken its toll on her. Dada immediately called the vet to let her know what was happening, I on the other hand couldn’t control my emotions any more. The tears rolled down and the anxiety increased. In a few moments she was so very quiet and had breathed her very last breath. It was all over. And just like that Lassie was gone from this world. We couldn’t believe it. We refused to believe it. The reality of the whole thing was so intense that it just knocked us off our feet.

A few moments passed and we still hoped for a tail wag or her eyes to open. But that was not to happen. Dada called the vet again to make arrangements for her final journey. We then cleaned her up.
We took Lassie to the vet and left her there so that she could be taken to the crematorium in the morning. She was so peaceful laying there. The last good bye was truly overwhelming.

We kissed her and said our goodbyes. She looked so beautiful; it was as if she was asleep blissfully. This morning we went to the crematorium. The drive seemed very long and never ending. We left her there. It is still so unbelievable. She was so young and had so many more years in her. But Jesus had other plans.

Our baby is gone, our special baby is gone, but she will be forever in our hearts, in our minds and will be part of our soul. In the short time Lassie was with us, she gave us lots of joy, love and happiness. Every part of home, every site outdoors reminds us of her. The emptiness is unbearable but I know with time we will be able to cope with it.

Lassie is blessed and I know that Jesus wanted her with him. I know she is happy with him and some day we will be united again. Lassie was a very bright girl. She knew that it would be hard for us to take the decision to put her down if the time comes, so she gave us the easy way out. She answered the call of Jesus herself and now she is watching over us at the rainbow bridge.

We thank you all for all your love, support, goodwill, prayers, guidance, special gifts, paw-mails, emails, rosettes, angel wings, stars, cards, candles and Lassie’s strolls . Only time and love will help us bear this loss. Lassie will forever be missed and forever in our hearts.

Rest in peace my pretty little Angel.

Love always,
Madeline( Lassie’s mom)