In Memory of Smokey


Our Beloved Smokey passed away on October 26, 2010.  We are full of grief.   We will carry Smokey in our hearts always.  He taught us so much about hope and joy for life, no matter how harsh or unfair things can be.  We knew Smokey for three years, and he was central to our lives and our family.  We wanted to pour love and belongingness into his spirit after a neglected life of living outside, alone, on a short chain, with little food and care.  Smokey’s life will live on through those who have loved him and offered care and compassion for him.  We wish to acknowledge and thank all those who assisted us in this beautiful journey with this amazing being.  There are many, many people and veterinarians who helped us.  Although we intend to include them all here now, we are sure to miss a few. Please know we send our gratitude to ALL who have compassion to help neglected, abused, lost, or suffering animals, and especially those who help with dogs in our community.

 With full hearts and deep gratitude for all your LOVE for Smokey, we thank each and every one of you.



Anna Marie, for her brave rescuing of Smokey;

In Defense of Animals, Matt Rossell, Connie Durkee – for helping Anna Shiman with Smokey, and for posting Smokey for adoption;

Eric Phelps, for stepping in on short notice to take care of Smokey, and Skippy, so we could go to Chicago last January to be with family when my sister died;

Karen Rake, for her patient, careful grooming of Smokey.  You are an inspiring and genuine animal advocate, Karen.  We are forever grateful to you;

Rubi Sullivan, Heal Northwest Massage for Dogs, for Rubi’s gentle massage therapy treatments for Smokey;

North Portland Veterinary Hospital, for helping us with our initial veterinary care for Smokey;

Laurelhurst Veterinary Hospital, for consistent quality care and support, and for the BEAUTIFUL bouquet of flowers sent in sympathy of our loss;

Dr. Robert Mack at Northwest Veterinary Specialists, for his help in understanding Smokey’s arthritic spine and hips, and advice on Smokey’s paralyzed larynx;

Dr. Aimee Witherspoon, for Smokey’s acupuncture treatments and excellent advice;

Dr. Terese Demanuelle, for her excellent ear surgery on Smokey, and for helping us understand how to care for Smokey’s ears;

Dr. Heidi Shafford, for her special anesthesia care of Smokey during his surgeries;

Dr. Christopher Johnson, for his excellent care and surgical removal of Smokey’s tail tumor, and for so generously communicating details of Smokey’s health;

Dr. Valori Johnson, for her hope and compassion, and support;

VCA Southeast Portland, for all the care, and late-night emergency support;

Dr. Amy Randall, for her excellent allergy and ear care, for removing Smokey’s skin tumors, and for the laser therapy treatments that eased some of Smokey’s arthritic pain.  Your staff is wonderful and we thank everyone there with all our hearts!

 And, of course, we thank our girl, Skippy, our dear black labby mix, who was companion to Smokey, and helped Smokey hear, despite his deafness.  Smokey loved Skippy, and Skippy has been a good “big sister” for Smokey.

When Smokey died, we had an outpouring of love and support from neighbors, friends, and family.  We were showered with comfort, by receiving flowers, dinners, soups, desserts, and thoughtful cards.  Smokey touched so many lives.  His spirit was so much bigger than his fragile body could hold, and many thought him to be more of a puppy than an ailing dog.  Our daily walks through the neighborhood connected Smokey to a community of good people, and a kinder side of humanity than he had known before.  Although personal thanks will be shared with all of those who made such generous gestures, it is so important to acknowledge this community of support and care here now.  Thank you.


Finally, we wish to express our gratitude to Dr. Lori Gibson and Dr. Elaine Stephens at Compassionate Care Home Pet Euthanasia and Aftercare Service.  Participation in the euthanasia of a family member is a most intimate and spiritual experience.  Dr. Stephens’ quiet presence and respectful energy made the sad mystery of Smokey’s death rich with compassion and dignity.  After a night of struggle and pain, Smokey slept deeply and quietly from 5 am until Dr. Stephens’ arrival at 10 am.  He awoke briefly, and we got to say good-bye, read a poem, and sing him a song.  He was tired, ready to rest and let go of this life, and he made that clear to us.  We poured our aching hearts upon him, and he blissfully rested, full of love, on one of his soft beds, never again needing to struggle to get up or walk with his painful hips and spine again.  This was a gift to Smokey, and we can never express the fullness of our gratitude. 

Smokey lived to be approximately 12 years old.

A special “thank you” goes out to Dignified Pet Services, for their professional care and use of their peaceful space, and for cremating his remains for us.

It is a great comfort to know so many caring people are there to help.  May you all know how deeply you have touched our lives by your care for our Smokey.

We Love You, Dear Smokey

Thank you for being in our family, for teaching us about HOPE and how to be TENACIOUS for things you really want and need, how to be clear when you say “NO,” without being mean or carrying a grudge, how to ACCEPT what is NOW, and then be open to new moments, new joy.  Thank you for teaching us how to be so very happy with such simple pleasures, like eating and taking a nap on a soft bed; how to be soulful and wise and still be puppy-like.  Thank you for teaching Jane how to LOVE and BE WITH you, how to carve deeper spaces into her heart, how to put more effort into being patient; for giving Jane structure and purpose to every day, and for giving all of us so many nice, slow, meditative walks.  Thank you for being a good companion for Skippy.

You are forever in our family. 

For Memorial Donations in Honor of Smokey: 

Fences For Fido:

Oregon Humane Society:

Smokey in his favorite bed.

Smokey’s Memorial

We filled his empty, favorite bed with the flowers and cards, and with

Smokey’s special toys, blankets, and treats.

Neighbors, friends, and family

gave us comfort at this time of loss, filling the empty space with support

and love.

– Jane Bicquette and John Vandenberg, Portland, OR