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Bidding a Heartfelt Farewell to Our Dear, Wonderful Rosie 

I am not this hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within.”—Rumi

BrightHaven President and Founder Gail Pope shares a loving tribute to Rosie:

“Dear friends,

Rosie’s soulful eyes (Photo by Blanca Walker)

It is with love, joy, deep sadness and heartache that I write today to share the news of Rosie’s passing on Thursday 13th July at 9 a.m. Definitely a mixed bag of feelings as I say fare-thee-well to my darling girl. I also know that it was time for her to leave her ailing physical body, what I like to think of as the earth house for her perfect and radiant soul, taking my deep love with her, and to embrace her new freedom with joy.

Rosie stepped into our lives for hospice care in May of 2018. We had made the decision to welcome a new, healthy dog into our home rather than one close to end of life, and so we sought rescue. My husband Richard and I went to adopt an older golden retriever whom we thought may be a perfect match. This one was indeed a senior but extremely boisterous; he clearly was not the one. It was then suggested we meet another dog, slated for euthanasia due to heart and mobility issues. She had been an outdoor dog along with her brother who had been categorized as vicious and already sadly euthanized.

We hesitated as this was not what we had envisioned at all… but then this old lady was already hobbling towards us with an unsteady gait, front legs somewhat turned inwards, plus a huge ring of fat around her upper body. We gasped and wondered how to refuse… Then the dog simply marched straight past Richard and I, looking neither left nor right and began licking our dog Ziggy’s face all over. Needless to say, Richard went to get the car and so Ziggy brought Rosie home.

Thanks to to careful homeopathic prescribing by BrightHaven’s very own Dr. Jeff Levy plus a great new raw-meat-based diet all stirred up with lots of love and gentle walks, Rosie’s fat pad nearly disappeared and her health improved dramatically. Rosie became our devoted family mother, caring for us all and always keeping Ziggy’s face very clean. 

Rosie, who I also often called my Rose or Rose-Pose or Rosie-Posie, loved her walks. She particularly adored hearing passersby say things to her like, “And who is this sweet and beautiful angel?” Rosie would lean her head joyfully in their direction for a loving stroke. However, if another dog (only one she didn’t know though) came along, she would show the entire world what a ferocious beast she could be!

During 2022 our girl began to slow down and prefer shorter and shorter walks. Towards the end of the year she gratefully accepted the use of her new stroller, from which she could still happily greet people. Rosie would continue to enthusiastically summon her “big dog” bark if a canine she didn’t like got too close.

By November her energy and muscle mass had severely declined, along with her appetite that had become erratic, and we realized she was winding down and would soon be leaving us for the world beyond. We began to prepare emotionally and realized that Rosie was not about to lie down and die as her will to live and joie de vivre remained strong and defiant.

Six months later Rosie’s physical strength had waned even more and she took to her bed from which to conduct daily life, grateful for assistance to get outside to the bathroom grass as she would never for anything wet or soil her bed. Soon I had to carry her which, although tough as she was a large dog and now a dead weight, became my distinct pleasure.

As Rosie grew more and more frail, we realized she was approaching the end stage of life, but here we were in June 2023 moving house via a 10-hour car journey. We “knew” she would die before or during the process. She could not hold on longer, we thought but hold on she did and arrived here in Santa Rosa, CA—still smiling! And then we realized that Rosie had wanted to see us settled in the new home and would now let go… But, this girl then made it very clear that she would not leave her earthly physical house—her body—until it completely collapsed around her…

Rosie lying in state

A month later Rosie finally closed the front door of her house for good to tread her path to the afterlife, after which her precious body lay in state for three days prior to burial. In BrightHaven tradition she was wrapped in a Buddhist prayer shawl and surrounded by the teddy brigade, crystals, the dragonfly and unicorn, Buddhas and flowers, which were of course, roses.

Richard, Ziggy and I are quiet now and mourning the loss of our sweet, devoted and determined lady.”







The sweetest flower that blows, I give you as we part. For you it is a rose, for me it is my heart…  —Frederick Peterson, “The Sweetest Flower That Blows”

BrightHaven Caregiver Resources to Help Your Animal Live Well Each and Every Day!

Gail & Joey
(Photo by in joy photography)

LATEST ONLINE COURSE! BrightHaven Holistic Animal Hospice: Navigating a Terminal Diagnosis – in this self-paced module, we help you to determine the best path for you and your animal.

Carol Howe Hulse – Education Program Specialist
Carol & Silver
(Photo by Beth Shields)
  • Walking with My Dog Through (End of) Lifean intimate look at a profound life passage, from terminal diagnosis through hospice care and a peaceful, gentle natural death. (Author: Carol Howe Hulse, BrightHaven Education Program Manager)
For more resources and information to help you help your furry family member, please visit BrightHaven’s Caregiver Resources & Education and Animal Caregiver FAQ.

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