Friends, we have sad news that has been hard to share. On January 1 of this year, we lost our beloved Gotti. The weeks that have passed since then have been hard for our team, and those who knew and loved him.
If you've ever been to the sanctuary, you probably met him. He was the first dog any new volunteer met because he was so friendly and easy going. In his younger days, Gotti got himself into some trouble and that landed him here, for life. Though we were sad that we could not return him to his, or any other, home - we did our best to make the sanctuary his home.
Gotti was the first dog here to have a TV in his room, which we referred to as the (old) man cave. He enjoyed the many, many people who would spend time with him in his room watching TV or taking him out for a walk or car ride or, in the later years, just reading to him while he drifted off into sweet dreams.
He liked to lay on his deck in the sun and he really, really liked to have free reign of the dog housing area to wander as volunteers cleaned rooms and went about the business of the day. It was not uncommon for him to explore several of the other rooms, try out their couches and perhaps steal a toy on his way back to his room.
His life here was pretty good. And while all of he above contributed to that good life, none of it compared to the friendship and bond he built with our longest volunteer - Bea Rains.
Everyone knew when Bea was about to pull up because Gotti would hear her car before we saw it and start barking to let her know that he was waiting for her. He seemed to know when she was coming and would often leave a some of his breakfast unfinished, knowing Bea would not only make it extra special with some home made chicken or treats, but she would probably hand feed it to him too.
Bea began and ended her day at the sanctuary with Gotti and though he appreciated all of his friends, we know that he loved Bea like no other. That he had such a special bond, and a person he considered his own, meant the world to him and to us. And it made this place home for Gotti.
His empty room is still painful to walk past for all of us. He was a member of this family for years and he had a presence and character that were larger than life. His absence is felt, and felt deeply. His walls will bear some of the beautiful photos shared here as a lasting tribute to our old man and his special friend.
He is buried here in a beautiful garden area near where he lived and very near to where Bea parks each day. He is still her first hello, and will probably always be one of her hardest goodbyes.
Rest easy Gotti and get into some good trouble with the Mayor, Diesel and Shadow, Jordan Wigglebutt and all of the other 4 legged heros and hooligans that awaited your arrival on the other side. Your friends here miss you and send you all of our love. ... See MoreSee Less
Thank you Jill for this beautiful write up. It is gut wrenching and the tears are flowing. I miss Gotti so much. There is a big void at the barn. He was a huge part of my day there. It just isnt the same and it will take time for me. Every night before I went home, I tucked him in, gave him a kiss and told him I loved him. Gotti definitely was my favorite hello and my toughest goodbye.
Oh, Gotti! I knew you before you arrived, and Shadows Fund was far better than your original home ever even gave thought. It is a sad day, when the best option for a dog you love is to be removed from people who don’t even pretend to care until a fine is involved. ♥️ I will never forget you and I will always remember how Shadows Fund was the only respite dedicated to a dear soul who only ever wanted to unwind and know boundaries and to have a day off of pretending to be human when the humans are not. My heart selfishly breaks while knowing you were in heaven compared to where you were, and we should all be so lucky. ♥️💕❤️
RIP Gotti🥺 We are so happy we got to meet him. We are so sorry for the loss of this beautiful soul. Thank you for loving him !
I always told Bea that Gotti not only saw her 5 mornings and 5 evenings a week, but he also heard her voice, her car, he could sense her walking thru the barn, hear her talking in the kitchen…it was like the best home because she was there almost every day and he spent his days knowing she was always around. That to me is why Gotti lived so long and so good. He was home in Bea’s other home. Such a marvelous life for him.
Another beautiful soul to whom you have given the best life <3
That was a BEAUTIFUL tribute to Gotti. I know he felt loved... Bless you for all you do.
I am so very sorry to hear about Gotti. I had so much fun with him when he was at the shelter. Thank you to all at Shadow's Fund for giving this amazing boy a wonderful life ❤
I sense how strong this loss is because your tribute is so beautifully written. Bea H Rains blessings upon you for your big, loving, tender heart. I’m sorry for the sad parts. I can sure see some happy parts in these photos.
Shadows Fund is better than the homes most of these dear dogs come from! Thank you for giving them the love, comfort, and companionship they so deserve!
Rip Gotti!!! Sending my condolences 💐 and appreciation for all you do for the animals ❤️🥰
What a beautiful tribute. Thank you all at Shadows Fund for loving him. I'm so sorry for the loss of your beautiful Gotti😔
I I was just admiring him in the Happy Tails calendar.
Thank you so much for all that you do- and I know Bea is right there with you😍
Beautiful boy, RIP. Thank you for all you do. Beautiful tribute.
So sorry to hear this. Thank you all at Shadows Fund for giving him a special life with you all😢😢
So, so sorry for your loss...yet, he is there in spirit...thank you for a you do!
I am so grateful to have had the pleasure of meeting Gotti. I am not a fan of pitties as I was once attacked by one. Meeting Gotti was the best thing that ever happened to me. He seemed to know my uneasiness and was very gentle with our meeting. He erased my fears and became my friend. I didn't want to leave him. Thank you Gotti for helping me with my fear and letting me love you. RIP 🙏
I’m so so sorry for the loss of Gotti. Every time I read one of the stories y’all write from Shadows Fund, I cry. I cry because I know you gave him the best possible life before he went on his way. I am so sorry for you, Bea, and all the wonderful dogs at Shadows Fund. Y’all are a true inspiration and thank you for all you do for these misunderstood dogs…
Thank you for giving him a wonderful life.
We’re so sorry. You gave him so much love and a great life.
I'm so sorry for your loss....
I'm entirely too pregnant to be reading this right now.l though.
This was absolutely beautifully written and touching.
I’m so very sorry for your loss !
My iPad is covered in tears😥 I’m so very sorry Peri, but what beautiful words for a beautiful boy and his side kick Bea♥️
RIP sweet boy. 💕
Awww mannnn - such a great guy. I used to love the way that one fat ear of his felt when i got to snuggle with him. Hugs for everyone xoxoxo
I’m so sorry my friends. It may sound odd but I personally think it’s harder to lose a beloved dog than any other being…at least that has been my experience. A hug for you Bea… your heart is tender for these dogs. I wish I could come up with words that would make it not hurt so…
While we thought Lola was chewing on the wall out of anxiety, a closer look revealed the hidden corpse of her stuffed Woodstock toy. And though we had not even noticed them missing, we also found 2 deceased tennis balls buried in the wall. It was a grim day but at least we know the truth of where Woodstock disappeared to.
In all seriousness, separation anxiety is something many dog owners have faced. This particular hole was not entirely Lola's doing - it's been chipped away at by dogs who came before her and on our first free weekend we will devote several hours and a few hundred bucks at Home Depot and repair the wall. Not a big deal. What is a big deal is understanding why the dog is so anxious and how to help.
It begins by minimizing their "alone" time in the beginning. Sometimes this meant Lola tagged along with us everywhere. Running errands, she went with us. Feeding the horses, Lola would come along and hang in the ranch truck while we fed. When it was time to put her back in her room we would not simply escort her in and walk away, but would go in with her for 5 or 10 minutes, sit down and settle (maybe check our emails or catch up on text messages) so she could settle. We would turn on her TV and with in about 5 minutes she would hop up in her chair and curl up while we spent a few more minutes just being there. Not necessarily directly engaging, because the goal was for her to be ok without us, but being a comforting presence as she settled in. We would leave then but come back within a couple of hours and go for a little walk or play tug in her room for 15 minutes before settling again. Basically, with someone more than alone in the beginning and day by day adjusting that ratio until we hit the balance that worked for us and that she could easily cope with.
For the first couple of weeks, Lola would still whine and scratch and chew at the walls when we left. But we stuck to our routine and - most importantly - we did not get stressed. I mean, she was stressed enough for all of us. We went about our normal days, with a few modifications to make her days easier. We stayed calm and stayed the course. And Lola, like every other dog we've brought into our home with separation anxiety, figured it out in short order. She realized we were always coming back. She realized she never had to be alone for too long. She realized that when she was alone, her space was comfortable, enriching and safe. We choose the same TV shows (Downton Abbey is the current fave) because we like to think the familiar voices they hear day after day can also be a source of comfort. We made sure that her day included bits of outdoor, physical activity as well as indoor snuggling and play. Sometimes she had "extras" like a nice big bone or a Kong stuffed with peanut butter. Now, Lola is quite comfortable in her room and happily enjoys her routine.
Every dog with separation anxiety is unique and certainly if you work outside of the home full time you will need to be more creative. But the point is, separation anxiety can be worked through. The single most important factor is your state of mind. If you get stressed, frustrated, annoyed, discouraged you can count on the fact that you just amplified your dog's anxiety. They are tuned in to your emotional state and probably more aware of it, and more impacted by it, than even you are. So relax. "Things" can be replaced and repaired. Your dog's emotional health matters more and working through it together will not only strengthen your bond and build your dog's confidence, but will help you problem solve calmly, constructively and successfully. ... See MoreSee Less
Great post! Thank you for sharing those strategies and ideas. And for reminding us about how our own emotional state affects our dogs!
We have a senior dog that now has separation anxiety due to early onset of canine cognitive function (aka doggie dementia). Thankfully, all she does right now is periodically pee when we are gone. Human incontinence bed pads are on the floors in the rooms the dogs are in while we are gone. Her senior brother is fine at this time. They have snuffle mats, toys, windows, beds, a radio on in each room (same station) and dog DVDs playing if we turn the TV on. There is a gate in the hallway so they stay in their area.
Thank you so much for taking such good care of my friend--I'm so glad she's in such good hands, and doing so well. Yay Lola!!!
So interesting - she might have thought it a game to find her Woodstock (and perhaps puzzling why her safe space for Woodstock disappeared) because she knew where he was. Thank you for your explanation about addressing her separation anxiety.
Another 2021 story that we never shared was the arrival of Violet and Frankie. These 2 potbelly pigs were left behind when their owner passed away. A good sam reached out to us and we agreed to offer them a home with our 2 existing potbellies, Maggie and Simon.
Their arrival begged the question of whether we should consider expanding "Potbelly Provence" to accommodate its population increase. However, the only area in which expansion was possible crossed the borders into "Hamletshire" (where a pig named Hamlet reigns supreme). While Hamlet almost never visits that area of his domain, and thus would likely not protest any boundary change, there is a young (but growing) pomegranate tree just inside the border that Oscar and Elvis have been diligently watching, in hopes of it one day bearing fruit.
Well, that day has come. The first pomegranate has appeared making the expansion of Potbelly Provence into Hamletshire a controversial endeavor. This ongoing dispute is now the subject of the first annual P6 conference - in which 6 pigs meet at the border and negotiate. The conference representatives include the 4 residents of Potbelly Provence and 2 delegates from Hamletshire. The numbers are not even but that matters not. In piggie territories weight and might, not democracy, generally rule the day (with the exception of tiniest pig, Elder pig Maggie who is 15, surly and not deterred by pigs that outweigh her).
We will keep you posted as the conference unfolds. It seems thus far that Violet and Frankie have had positive talks with Elvis. Simon has been silent and Maggie would prefer to forego the talks and just usurp the land. Hopefully Oscar can inject a more tempered voice and peace between Potbelly Provence and Hamletshire will remain. ... See MoreSee Less
My money is on Maggie and usurpage. Whilst I hold out hope for neighborly negotiations in these most delicate of deliberations, little Mags is a force to be reckoned with! And if memory serves me, there have been past usurpages ... didn't the subgroup formerly known as the smaller red pigs make multiple stealth incursions into the big pig pasture to avail themselves of the mud pools? Oh I think so!
Too funny 😂 can’t wait to see how the story unfolds 🐷
Friends, Semaj needs our help (and quickly). His family is experiencing some significant life upheaval and will be moving out of their home on Feb 1. They cannot take Semaj with them and we are asking for everyone's help to find him a new and loving home before then.
Semaj is a 6 yr old mixed breed dog (he was guessed to be a pittie/border collie mix, but without a DNA test that is truly just a guess). He is about 60lbs and friendly to everyone he meets. He likes other dogs, kids and even cats (though we're told they don't always appreciate his puppy like play style).
Semaj has one area that he continues to struggle with (only 1, which puts him far ahead of me) and that is separation anxiety. He has it and therefore needs a home where folks are home more than they are not. He doesn't share his home with another dog right now, but often that can do wonders for helping a dog with separation anxiety do ok when the humans have to be away. So a home with a very friendly and welcoming other dog might be really nice for him as well.
He currently lives with a 5 yr old and is very respectful of her and we're told he tries to comfort her when she is upset.
For a dog with separation anxiety, losing his home and family will be tough enough. Let's help him land softly! Shadow's Fund will work with his adopter to set up a successful and low stress transition. But we need to find that home now to allow time for a visit or 2 before he moves in. If you are even thinking about it, reach out and let's just chat. No pressure - just a chat to see if you might be right for each other and if a meet and greet should be done. If you are not able to, please share widely. Thank you! Let's get this boy settled into his new home to start his happily ever after.
He is currently in Paso Robles, CA but we can make anywhere on the Central Coast work. ... See MoreSee Less
I’ll talk to Josh and see if we could possibly foster him for a little while since I’m not working and at home. It would be good timing since Jackie and Sean are traveling. Kalia is a bit grumpy with anyone but Kai, but Kai would love a buddy.
I am ready and willing to take him asap. Please DM if he’s still available
Please contact these 3 rescues to see if they help.
Last year we posted about 4 little pitties that would get out of their yard every day and one day took themselves on an adventure to the Lompoc Library. They were picked up by animal control and spent a couple of months in our local shelter. We posted them in the hopes they would find a home and leave shelter life behind. Unfortunately none of them were adopted.
One of the dogs was struggling in the shelter and we were asked to consider taking him. This posed a dilemma for us as we knew that he was likely struggling (in part) because he was separated from his pack. How could we take him and leave the others behind?
Well, as you may have guessed, we couldn't. So we pulled all 4 dogs in an act of faith or lunacy (still deciding). 1 of the 4 (Bella) had already been separated from her friends for 2 months and was adopted immediately after we pulled her (you might remember the story of Danny and Bella).
The other 3 would need to come here. We did not have a free space for them so we needed to construct something quickly. And since we had to build a structure we thought - why not make it a library!? Work is not complete yet, but their home has all of the essentials - 4 walls, a roof, windows, light and heat and a decent sized little yard around it. All that is missing is the installation of the beautiful wall of book shelves custom built for them by Josh Green.
We will definitely share photos of their "library" once it is truly complete. It has been such a fun project. Our volunteers have donated old books and even went to the used book stores to pick up the classics - hard cover of course. We cannot wait to sit and read Dickens to them by their faux fire place. Though, now that we have gotten to know them, "Where The Wild Things Are" is a bit more appropriate. They are best described as a herd of wild hippos. Until then, they are here, safe and all of their adventures now include human chaperones!
Oh and since they did not respond to their names whatsoever, they are now called Atticus, Jem and Scout. Like his namesake, Atticus is very much the caretaker of Jem and Scout and he keeps a watchful eye on where they are and what they are doing. He is the one that had been struggling in the shelter, and we now know he was just stressed with worry. If he can't see Jem and Scout, he gets quite worried and is nearly inconsolable. They are together again here at the sanctuary. We don't know what their future looks like yet as we need to get to know them a bit more so they can tell us what they want and need to live happily ever after.
Thank to you everyone who donated to make their home possible. Betty Ziegler, CAPA, Lisa Reed, Josh Green, Cynthia Post, Pari Goetz, Holly Lorusso, Dan and Julie Crutcher, Amy and Eric Black, Jim and Jenny Steis, and Tom Rehder. ... See MoreSee Less
Here is Bella wondering why I disturbed her evening nap. She definitely knows her name, but does not respond to it until she is good and ready.
I remember them being at the shelter and had wondered what happened to them, even sent an email asking about them recently. I took Scout, formerly Blanca, to the play yard a couple of times and she is certainly fun and puppy like. Thank you for saving them ❤❤❤
I love these 3! They are so funny and already looking forward to the next time I get to see them.
Received your calendar yesterday! Great Pictures & stories. Even had some tears. Keep up the great work for a fur friends and the rest of your guests. Thanks
I love this! Also, I kinda want to live in the library with them. Dogs and books are two of my essentials for life.
Looks like they are moving on up with deluxe accommodations 🥰 will library 📚 cards be required 🤓 what a great story can’t wait till the next chapter
Thank you so much for being their heroes! ❤️
Can’t wait for further updates on the Library 3!
Diane Mansell this is the rescue I thought you would like to follow ❤️🐾❤️🐾❤️