Alvin sticks out his tongue when he is nervous

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ode to Cali

Although this blog is usually all about Alvin, tonight I am writing about an extra special dog, Cali who just had to be put to sleep due to a brain tumor or infection.  Her former foster mom made a very long drive to be with her adoptive mom while they put her to sleep today.

Cali came to my house with the name Cindy Bear, which I instantly changed to Minnie, for Minnie Pearl because I could picture her with a straw hat on, with a price tag dangling down.  Her front legs were a bit misshapen and so she had the cutest waddle one can imagine.  She came into my house, with another foster dog, and between the two of them and Timmie, they spent the evening running like maniacs and taking the house by storm.  There was something instantly special about Cali and I was smitten.  At the time, I was very committed to fostering only one dog and absolutely not keeping the dog.  I had two dogs for one night because the next day I was to choose which dog to foster and I was giving the other dog to another foster family.  I had to choose to let Cali go because within an hour of her being here I knew that if I kept her any longer that I would never let her go.  It was also clear to me that she was going to be "that dog" to whomever adopted her and I knew that Timmie couldn't bear it if there were more than one of "that dog" in his house.  There are certain dogs that are destined to be that extra special dog and both Timmie and Cali needed to be in homes where they were that only dog for someone.  I had her for only one night and yet, I missed her for months and kept kicking myself for not keeping her.  I almost broke down several times and asked the foster mom if I could have her back.  That would have all been very selfish but I knew that I was missing out without having her more in my life.  She was so funny and incredibly charismatic.  She was so personable that she reminded me of a quirky little lady, hence the Minnie Pearl name.  It's difficult to put into words what makes particular dogs so special but she absolutely waddled her way into my heart.

Her adoptive mom treated her like a queen and was with her nearly all the time.  She worked as a sky dive instructor and every weekend Cali got to go out to the drop zone, hang out with everyone, and wait for her mom to literally fall from the sky.  She was so treasured and loved and so now her mom's heart is breaking.  I am agonizingly familiar with the feeling and it is particularly discouraging when you know that you had "that dog" and that another like him/her isn't bound to come around again.  She only had Cali for nine months and Cali died on her mom's birthday.  It's difficult to find any good in this situation but I do know that Cali deserved to be the treasured best friend of someone and she surely found that in Lisa. 

In times like this, I feel a profound amount of gratitude to Camp Cocker Rescue for saving the extra special dogs like Timmie and Cali.  I am certain that both of them would have died in over crowded, scary shelters had it not been for Cathy Stanley at Camp Cocker.  When I reflect on dogs like Timmie, Cali, Alvin, and Stevie, I know that if it hadn't been for Camp Cocker that all four would have been forced to end their lives in the scariest way, never having been able to share their love and receive it back tenfold.  All four are the kinds of dogs that many other rescues pass up.  Cali was middle aged and had deformed front legs.  Timmie had a crushed pelvis and needed expensive orthopedic surgery.  Stevie was old, blind and deaf.  And Alvin........well, you all know that Alvin is "special" in a way that very easily would have cost him his life if it wasn't for Camp Cocker.  So many of us have found the loves of our lives because of a rescue that believes in these dogs before we have even been able to fall in love with them. 

Good bye, my Minnie and Lisa's Cali. You were extra, extra special and for those of us who knew you, we were so lucky to have had you in our lives! You were at least one in a million!  Here are three pictures of Cali during the time in her life that she was loved and treasured.


  1. This is so heartbreaking . . . I remember the first day I met Cali (whom was known as Cindy Bear when she was with Camp Cocker) and it seems like just yesterday that we first met. This is so heartbreaking, there are no words for the loss of this very very special little girl. Just no words . . . like Janet said, she was a once in a lifetime dog and I am very grateful that she found her forever home with her mommy Lisa.

  2. This is such a beautiful tribute. Thank you for the encouragement. Cali (Cindy Bear) was a gorgeous dog, inside and out. It gives me some strength as I prepare for letting go of my Buster. He is 12 and slowing tremendously. I admire the selfless love and care each special person gave to make Cali feel the precious treasure that she, herself, was.