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In Loving Memory of the Inimitable Ziggy Pope

There is no death, only a change of worlds.” —Chief Seattle

BrightHaven President and Founder Gail Pope wrote a heartwarming tribute to Ziggy:

“Dear friends,

Ziggy (named for the son of the equally incomparable Jamaican singer and musician Bob Marley) came to us in March 2018 from nonprofit Retrievers and Friends of Southern California. And as time went by, my late husband Richard and I often wondered just who rescued who, as Ziggy captivated everyone he encountered with his loving, goofy charm and exhilaration for life.

Shortly after his BrightHaven arrival Ziggy very adamantly declared his addiction to not only food, but especially sunshine and heat. We laughed to see him stretched out sunbathing on our patio, although in the early days we had no thought that this basking could eventually prove the cause of his demise five years later.

Another favorite way Ziggy loved to keep warm was to keep his body as close to another’s as possible. For example, if someone sat down in a chair, Ziggy would quickly hop up and wiggle his way on to their lap and demand to be cuddled. He would contentedly stay snuggling in that warm space for as long as possible!

Ziggy & Rosie sharing a tender moment

Only two months after Ziggy’s arrival we felt impelled to return to RFSC to add to our family. We were introduced to a frail old female golden retriever named Sweetie. She seemed very hesitant at first but quickly waddled past Richard and me and began licking Ziggy’s face amorously. Of course, Sweetie, renamed Rosie, came home with us that day to become everyone’s eternal mother.

Five beautiful and loving years sped by before Rosie’s last chapter of life ended mid-July this year, followed by Richard on September 1st. Ziggy had been ill for a while due to a large malignant growth on his leg, and the amazing homeopath Dr. Jeff Levy as well as local holisitic veterinarian Dr. Alan Power helped Ziggy remain as balanced in body, mind and spirit as possible. I guess I realized at some level then that Ziggy’s time was short and maybe his mission of sharing love and enjoying food as much as possible was nearing completion.

Purrci & his quirky tail

However, a few months before Ziggy left us he brought a new family member into our lives during a vet visit back in August, which happened to be on the same day that Rosie died. Pausing at reception as we were leaving, I noticed a furry, long but unusually kinked and rigid tail sticking up from under a blanket on the desk.

As I enquired after this phenomenon a cute little feline face popped out… At that moment Ziggy jumped to place his paws on the desk and licked Purrci’s face avidly and Purrci responded with a very affectionate head butt. I learned Purrci had been badly injured in a car accident when a youth, leaving him unable to go to the bathroom on his own and with the intriguing immovable crooked tail you see here.

Ziggy lying in state

And so, on the 18th of September 2023, Ziggy, having slept the night in my arms, requested a delightful morning walk followed by an equally pleasant breakfast, after which he lay himself down to die.

A little before 5 p.m. and with our hand-holding-paw and eye-holding-eye, Ziggy, wrapped in the arms of my daughter Kirstie, gently slipped behind the veil to new beginnings, bidding fare-thee-well to us as well as Kirstie’s husband Dave, daughter Emma and their Chihuahuas Taacka and Cassie.

In BrightHaven tradition, Ziggy then lay in state surrounded by Buddhist prayer shawls, candles, the teddy bear brigade, Buddhas, angels, the BrightHaven unicorn and dragonfly, crystals, feathers and toys.

It brings great comfort to me to feel that Ziggy, Richard and Rosie reunited, at least for a moment, as they each set off on a new adventure.”

Live your life knowing that your true being is deathless. This is a great comfort, as you can leave sorrow behind and be inspired. —Dr. Wayne Dyer

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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