In Memoriam

We think of Grateful Dogs Rescue as an extended family made up of our dedicated volunteers, our wonderful adopters, and of course our beloved canine companions. We celebrate together, and we mourn together. On this page we honor the lives of the dogs we have loved and lost.

To memorialize your dog, please send a story and picture to info@gratefuldogsrescue.org  Stories may be edited for length.

This page is dedicated to Archie and Decca.

Penny: I'll Never Get Over Her


"I adopted Penny in April of 2006 when she was about seven years old. Penny was shy and stand-offish, having been abandoned and not liking it a bit. We bonded quickly and tightly, going everywhere together. She was my main squeeze and support when my partner passed away in 2008. For a quiet dog, Penny had a very impressive presence. Something about her was not only cute and sweet to me but to so many others! Her ears were very soft and people would coo over her, and many MANY times, people would photograph her, often people pulling over in cars to do so! I walked her around Stow Lake for about a year daily. I told all of the other Stow Lake walkers that I was moving and
when my and Penny's last day would be. People showed up with video cameras to capture her unique and sweet saunter. Penny asked for so little and gave so much. I had to put Penny to sleep last week, a hard decision to make, but the best for her quality of life. A huge hole is in my life with her gone.  
I'll never get over her."


From A Grateful Dogs Rescue Adopter

Ollie became our dog on June 13th, 1996. His description stated that Ollie was "terrified, withdrawn and aggressive". Ollie had been an abandoned dog slated for euthanasia until he was rescued by Michelle Parris. The first few weeks were very difficult for him as we tried to draw him out of his shell and encourage him to trust us. We were so proud of the way he overcame his fears and became a fiercely loyal and obedient dog. We often referred to Ollie as our "velcro dog" became he never left our sides even when off leash in a park. Ollie had the biggest smile of my three dogs and he smiled often.  His happy bark was so powerful that his front paws would fly off the ground with each WOOF. Ollie was very sensitive and we were always so careful not to scold him unless he really screwed up as he took his scoldings to heart and would downcast and guilt ridden for hours afterwards. Ollie added so much to our lives. We did not realize what a strong stranglehold he would take on our hearts in the 18 years he lived with us.
On Friday night, August 10, 2012, Ollie suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed on his right side. His head was pulled slightly to the right as well. He had become blind and a bit deaf 2 years earlier. We spent the weekend carrying him everywhere and holding him for hours and letting him know how much we loved him. On Monday, August 13th, we took him to the vet to be put to sleep. We promised ourselves years ago that when any of our dogs' quality of life went down and life was no longer fun and joyous for them, we would not let them suffer needlessly.
Good bye, my sweet Ollie. We had a great run together. We will honor your memory by always adopting hard-to-place dogs. 

Dear Grateful Dogs Rescue,

I don't know if you remember her, but I adopted Tess from you in August of 1994.  Tess and I loved one another for 16+ years, and I wanted to thank you for saving her life, so long ago.

We put Tess down on Tuesday, October 5, 2010.  Given that she was fully grown when I adopted her, she is estimated to have been at least 17 years old.  I have never known a dog with so much zest for life.  When I adopted her from you, I had another rescue dog, Guinness.  Guinness was a large dog, perhaps a Springer and Golden Retriever mix (black and white, long hair, docked tail).  Guinness and Tess became fast friends, and I attribute to Tess the fact that Guinness (who had gotten sedate far too early) got a new lease on life, after Tess came in to the family.  I often took them to Fort Funston, which, incidentally, was where I met you and Tess the first time.

You told me that you had visited Tess at the SF ACC, and then returned the following day to adopt her (hours before she was to be put down).  You said that what decided you, was the fact that, as sick as Tess was (she had sarcoptic mange, a fever, and diarrhea), Tess was pressed up against the front of the enclosure to greet you, wagging her tail.  (That was so very like her, I came to know.)

In 1999, our family expanded again to include my human sweetie, and, in 2000, we all moved to Berkeley.  Sadly, we put Guinness down in 2004, but have enjoyed a lovely single-dog relationship with Tess, since.  While we've decided not to adopt another dog, just yet -- we'd like to get some unencumbered traveling in -- we are, nonetheless, experiencing a huge hole where Tess was.  She was, as a friend put it, a feisty-sweet love, and her extreme athleticism, boldness, enthusiasm, terrier-based incorrigibility, and joie-de-vivre are fond memories for us.  She was much loved, and is much missed.

Thank you, so much, for saving her from premature euthanasia, and for the good work that you do for so many dogs.

Rhodes L. Bruns


Karma was 8 ½ when she was rescued by Grateful Dogs from the streets of Northern California. She was road stained, thirsty, hungry, with heartworm (twice), black goop impacted ears, tips of her ears chewed by bugs, and 80% toothless, and had just had another litter.

Read more about Karma and the fundraising artwork created in her memory.



Sailor was born on a farm in Fallon, NV. He comes from 6 generations of pure breed Yorkshire Terriers. At 2-3/4 pounds and 7 weeks old I brought him home. He quickly adapted to city life where he lived to be 8-1/2 years old.

Sailor was a big dog trapped in a little dog's body. He had no idea he was only 5 pounds. He loved people, playing ball, tug of war with the daily growl, his stuffed dogs of all varieties (he had a special bond with his gray poodle). He chewed his bully sticks for hours and much appreciated it if you'd hold one end for him for better leverage. He knew sit, stay, roll over, down and play dead. He was a believer that anyone who came to our house was there for him. He was the center of attention.

Over the years he had several traumatic accidents. He broke his leg at 9 months old when a bunch of puppies got on top of him when he was hoarding all the balls in doggy daycare, a friend's cat ripped open his thigh. The worst was when my cousin's dog bit his right eye out. It was awful. However, it did not keep him down. He was always full of life, spirit and over time he was able to accept some dogs back in his life.

When we lost him in October to a belly disease we knew we'd always love and remember him. Knowing we could not replace him and were not ready to have another dog, we joined Grateful Dogs Rescue in November to help other dogs who needed homes. Three days into fostering Thomas a big chihuahua mix we decided to adopt him. It's the best thing we could have done for us and for Thomas. We continue to volunteer with GDR as every dog deserves a loving forever home.


1999 – August 2, 2009
Jean Kind 

Archie was born in 1999, but his life really began in May 2004 when he was adopted from San Francisco Animal Care and Control by Jean Kind.

Archie was a stray who waited for months at the shelter for someone to give him a home. But he was always overlooked for smaller, cuter, fluffier dogs. On that special day in May, Jean decided that if Archie still hadn’t found his forever home, she would adopt him. Luckily for them both, he was still there.

Archie loved his daily walks at the local parks. He loved people and made friends with everyone. He was adored by other dogs and was a gentle presence wherever he went. In June 2009, Archie was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive cancer. He died two months later on Sunday, August 2, 2009. Archie will be missed, loved and remembered forever.

In Archie’s memory, Grateful Dogs Rescue has created Archie’s Fund to benefit our special needs and sanctuary dogs. Archie was a unique, wonderful dog. But his story of being lost, abandoned and possibly abused is all too common. Despite his difficult beginnings, Archie was devoted to Jean; he loved her above all and they shared a special bond. Archie’s Fund is dedicated to caring for dogs who are the most in need and honoring their special, unique lives.

1993 – October 24, 2009
Maria Da Costa

The San Francisco Hearing Dog School adopted Decca from a shelter in Visalia in early 1994 when she was about 7 months old, but after a few months it was clear that loud noises scared her too much for her to be a hearing dog.  Deemed unadoptable by the SF SPCA, I adopted her directly from the School that August.

Decca was mostly a perfect girl, and with her wise border collie eyes she seemed to understand everything that was said to her.  She loved running and playing in dog parks, and especially loved playing with puppies we met on our walks.

For about 7 years she volunteered as an animal therapist with the SPCA.  When her companion Chihuahua died, we adopted a new buddy for her from GDR and started fostering for them a couple of years later.  By then Decca was already in her teens and didn’t play much with the dogs that came through the house, but she always set a good example for them and many learned to use the dog door by following her on her trips to the yard.  One even would sneak past Decca’s guard to sleep curled up next to her which Decca pretended she didn’t like.

Decca died on October 24th, 2009 a little after her 16th birthday.  For me my little dog is my pet, but Decca was always more my friend

2004 - January 2006
Mahoney Family

Ripley was a member of our family from the time his foster mom, Jean Kind, brought him to our home. He became a loyal pal to Molly, our other rescue dog, as he was her wing man and protector. He loved people, dogs and long walks along Crissy Field. We took him out until he couldn't go anymore. He enjoyed greeting people and showing off his handsome self - our family was the envy of the neighborhood having such a rock star dog! He never needed much training because he was so smart and wanted to please so much. He also seemed grateful (as these rescues seem to be) for a chance to be truly loved and taken care of.

It's hard to believe we only had him for 6 months when he was succumbed to leukemia. Despite his short time in a happy dog life, he made a huge impact on our family and we will always remember him. His ashes are buried on our property in Sonoma where he loved swimming in the pond and romping amongst the oaks with Molly ~ probably reminded him of his country roots!



Pogo was a sweet, innocent pit bull puppy who had an infectious smile and exuded joy. He
was a healthy, happy dog who didn’t seem to notice that one of back legs didn’t work. He trusted everyone and loved to play chase with his canine buddies, especially at the beach. His brindle coat made the white blaze on his chest stand out almost as much as the white around his nose and on his front paws. At 7 months old, he was 40 lbs of unconditional love to one and all.

Grateful Dogs Rescue pulled Pogo from the San Francisco city shelter in the Spring of 2008. Volunteers raised funds for the surgery to amputate his defective hind leg and put him on course for a happily-ever-after fairy tale ending. He had made a full recovery and was expected to live a long, healthy, happy life.

Tragically, that’s not what happened. In July 2008, Pogo was brutally stabbed to death and his killer(s) are still at large. He was at Ocean Beach with this foster parent enjoying a game of chase with a canine buddy and sporting a red collar. The dogs ran up and over a sand dune together and that was the last time that anyone saw Pogo alive. Seven days
later, his gravely wounded body was found across town in a desolate area of the Bayview District.

Grateful Dogs Rescue will never give up hope that those responsible for this horrific crime
will be brought to justice. Anyone with information about Pogo’s death – or information on Pogo being taken from Ocean Beach - should call SF Animal Care & Control at (415) 554-9400. Even a vague recollection could provide the link to a solid lead.

Pogo’s joyous spirit lives on in each of us. Grateful Dogs Rescue honors
Pogo by continuing its work with San Francisco Animal Care and Control to save dogs that would otherwise be euthanized and finding them loving homes.