So Hard to Say Goodbye

July 13th, 2012 by Doll Stanley


IDA’s Hope Animal Sanctuary has been rescuing animals in need for 20 years. In that time we’ve helped thousands of animals. Most of these animals are with us for a short time before being re-homed, but some become beloved longtime residents. I’d like to share the stories of two of these longtime friends that have recently left us.


Mikey and his sister, Spunky, came to us in 1999 after a kindhearted rescuer found them. Like so many animals that find their way to us, they were abandoned as puppies and left to fend for themselves. Despite taking them both to our adoption days, neither was ever adopted and they spent their entire lives living together here at the Sanctuary. I will never understand why these angels were passed over, but they were sure welcome here. 

Spunky passed a couple of years ago and Mikey was given the run of the property with several other dogs. He settled in nicely and spent most of his time in the laundry room as a surrogate dad for family after family of rescued puppies. Gentle, patient, and understanding, he excelled in his new position.

One recent evening Mikey was having trouble breathing and was disoriented. We called our veterinarian, Dr. Abernethy, at 1:30 a.m. in a panic for him to come check on Mikey. Sarah, our Certified Veterinary Technician, also came out to assist. Mikey had been dealing with arthritis for years, but this was very different. It was decided, with Dr. Abernethy’s guidance, to let Mikey go.  This is the toughest decision to make for someone you’ve known and loved for so long, but in this case it was the only kind choice. At 2:14 a.m. Mikey passed.

The hole he’s left will not be easily filled. We have lots of puppies at the moment and we dearly miss our favorite babysitter.

Be at peace, little Mikey.


Eighteen years ago, we received a call to help with some abandoned horses from the Picayune Mississippi Humane Society. The horses, Sarah (Dolly) and Shelby were emaciated, but the real concern was that Dolly had foundered. Euthanasia was the recommended course, but I wanted to give her a chance, so we had our very gifted farrier, Raymond, come out for bi-weekly visits to work with her. He crafted her some corrective shoes and over the course of several months she improved. 

We renamed Sarah “Dolly” because of a quality she shared with me– determination (stubbornness)! Not much for people, she very nearly convinced her daughter, Danielle, that all humans were evil. Dolly was an amazing individual – proud, sure, and commanding.

The years and our growing bond mellowed Dolly. Years ago Dolly began showing signs of Cushing’s disease. With dedicated care, she did well. The past two years she’d had chronic hoof troubles, and we knew we were on borrowed time. The inevitable is — well, inevitable. This past week Dr. Abernethy came out and we set Dolly free from her failing feet.

There’s no way to fully describe eighteen years of close companionship in the space of this little account. I’ll just speak on behalf of our team and say we loved Dolly most dearly.
We’ll never forget you, Dolly girl.

Thank you to all who help us to give another chance to all the Mikeys and Dollys who come to us with nowhere else to go. You are their true heroes. — Doll Stanley