Pet loss - recent happenings

Carmel_sleeping My blogging friend, Yvonne DiVita, told me the sad news that her dog and companion Carmel passed away last week. Yvonne guest blogged about Carmel amongst her other pets as part of my Me, My Pet, and I series.

Carmel came down with bloat, also known as gastric tortion, that was just too far gone to recover from.Yvonne blogged about Carmie's death here - it's a very touching read.

From all of us here at Embrace, we send Yvonne and her family many hugs and heartfelt thoughts and prayers through this difficult time.

[Tomorrow, I'll continue on the theme of pet loss and how you can support your friends and family who have lost a dear one]

Guest Blogger: Donna Lynes-Miller, Gourmet Station

Another instalment in the Me, My Pet and I blog series where I ask bloggers to reveal their pet-loving side.

Toby Bloomberg of Diva Marketing referred me to Donna, saying "Max's best friend [Toby's dog] is her dog Alex.  I know her story will be wonderful!" And she was right...

Angelinwindowe Every life should have at least one passion. You know what I mean….some aspect of the arts, raising children, religion. In my case the passion was unmistakably animals and I knew it from a very early age. I was blessed to have a show pony named Red Bird when I was pre-teens. She was our pride and joy always took “blue.” My first canine friend was a Chihuahua named Michelle (after the Beatles song of the same name). We adored each other – a mutual admiration society of two.

One Sunday morning in the early 1980’s I awoke with a burning desire to adopt a puppy. The breed must be a Borzoi I proclaimed to a friend. Oddly enough I did not really know what a Borzoi was – so I looked it up in the encyclopedia (no Google in those days). There was a picture – Borzoi - all the glory of a long-haired royal sight hound wrapped into about 100 pounds of pure beauty. I lived in a 2 bedroom condo at the time, but no mind. This was going to work – it was my fate and I knew it. That afternoon I adopted my first of fourteen Borzoi, Dmitri.

Simba_mom_2 I could write a chapter on all fourteen of our Borzoi and someday I might. But today I’ll write about Simba, one of my “heart dogs.” I often felt guilty for loving him so much and then I realized something. I loved Simba no more or less than the others. The difference with a “heart dog” is that they allow us inside. They allow us to get so close that all the walls of separation melt away and we’re left with pure love. It’s a rare experience and one I wish for all dog lovers.

Simba delighted us as a puppy. He was all boy….curious, playful, innocent…all the things we adore in puppies. As he matured he developed a presence that was a bit paradoxical. At 130 pounds of pure muscle, he had a commanding presence and a goofy sense of humor at the same time. Did I mention how beautiful he was? Simba had the full package and we cherished 9 wonderful years with him. Then in August 2003 he suddenly broke a leg while romping in the yard – the cause was bone cancer and the emergency vets recommended euthanasia. Little did I know the aggressive nature of his cancer, but it did not matter. We had to try everything possible to beat the cancer. Simba endured amputation followed by a series of immune support treatments and for 6 months we were hopeful that we were winning. Then he lost the use of his other back leg as the cancer spread. That did not stop Simba. We purchased a canine cart and our boy was the hit of the neighborhood as we took our morning stroll. During this entire ordeal I learned more about courage from Simba that I could have imagined. Oh Simba had a few depressed days, but for the most part he was full of life through the whole ordeal, ready to ride in his van at the drop of a hat, and he never lost his quirky sense of humor. When the vets would get uptight, Simba just gave them his “chill out” look & they knew everything was going to be fine.

Simba_mom_wheelsjpg_2 Shortly after losing Simba, my husband and I started to work with the National Borzoi Rescue Foundation. The experience with Simba, my love for the breed…all led to our adopting several more Borzoi and today we are happy to have Mesha, Alex, China Doll, Zena and Katie as part of our family. Our support of the Foundation grew in 2006 as our company, GourmetStation (online merchant for upscale prepared food gifts) started a campaign for dog lovers called the “Dog House” program. By entering a code at checkout, customers donate $10 of their purchase to the NBRF plus they receive $10 off. It’s a win-win and the Foundation is able to use the cash for many causes like rescue vet expenses, transporting and supporting foster dogs. Getting involved with the Foundation is one of the best associations of our lives and it started one Sunday morning in 1984 when I declared, “today I must adopt a Borzoi.” If you wake up one morning and have a similar inclination, I have two words to say to you “do it!”

Donna Lynes-Miller is a foodservice veteran with 28 years in the foodservice industry. She has served as President of Arcop, the national purchasing cooperative for the Arby's system as well as Sr. VP of AFC Enterprises, the franchisor for Popeyes & Churchs. In 1999 she launched a new online brand, GourmetStation, providing upscale gourmet food gifts nationally.

Guest Blogger: Toby Bloomberg, Diva Marketing blog

Now the holidays are over, let's get back to the good stuff - an entry for the Me, My Pet and I blog series where I ask bloggers to reveal their pet-loving side.

I've been reading Toby's blog for many years now and we finally bumped into each other over at Facebook through friends of friends late last year. Here's Toby's guest post on her dog Max.

Max A Birthday Wish Come True

Christmas_max_2007 Once upon a time there was a little girl who every birthday when she closed her eyes to blow out the candles wished for a puppy. None ever came. At least not until she was all grown-up with a house of her own. And then she almost didn’t recognize that the little white Westie with the big brown eyes and black button nose was the dog that she had been wanting for so many years.

Yes, that little girl was me. Max came into my life five years ago when a client rescued a White West Highland Terrier and offered the pup to me. Although I did want a dog of my very own (I had shared another Westie, Moppett, with a roommate) the timing seemed off. I was traveling; working was taking up more time and I was concerned if I would have time to take care of a dog.

I wish I could tell you that I immediately fell in love with the puppy, who was about a year and a half, and knew right away we were suppose to be together. But Alf knew (my client). He was persistent and insistent that I take this raggy little guy home “just to see.” Seven-year old Katie knew. “Now you won’t be alone,” she said to me when I asked her if I should keep Max. So I kept Max for a few days which turned into a few weeks which turned into a few years. Yes, I did fall in love with Max who turned out is the sweetest, smartest, funniest most wonderful puppy ever. The vet calls Max the most un-alpha Terrier she’s ever met he is that gentle.

Max_and_tab Max does more than just wag his tail, bark and do a few doggy tricks. Max finds his way into my blog, Diva Marketing, where he not only adds some fun to my posts but helps demonstrate marketing examples and social media lessons learned.

Maxie’s escape from the backyard was the catalyst for a post about customer loyalty.

His friendship with the kitty in our neighborhood inspired the post “Everyone Needs A Best Friend” and an experimental YouTube video. The video has been viewed over 8500 times.

I’ve been told that Max has his own fan club of bloggers. I don’t know if that is true; however, I do know that Max does have one big fan …me! He also is proof that if you wish on birthday candles your dream may just come true.

Toby_bloomberg_2 Bio: Toby Bloomberg, is president of Atlanta-based Bloomberg Marketing, a social media marketing consultancy. She helps organizations first understand and then build programs that leverage social media tactics such as blogs, YouTube, podcasts, photo sharing, etc. to gain deeper relationships with their customers.

She has been quoted about social media in the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and INC magazine. Her blog, Diva Marketing is (usually) the 2nd highest ranked female written blog in Ad Age's Power 150 global blog listing. She is a Yankee from Boston living in the South with her Westie pup Max who also finds his way into social media through blogs and videos.

I Heart Barnes

Barnes_making_me_smile I stayed home today as I was feeling very much under the weather and I have a work trip coming up that I have to be well for.

After I took the girls off to daycare, I came home, took care of some email and then crawled into bed. As I was dozing off, I heard this scuffling noise next to me and I saw through half opened eyes Barnes crawling his way under the duvet to cuddle up beside me.

I felt so much better after that...

Guest Blogger: Celeste Lindell, Average Jane blog

A continuation of the guest blogger series, Me, My Pet, and I, where I ask bloggers to reveal their pet-loving side... This entry is from Celeste Lindell behind the Average Jane blog.

I met Celeste at th Blogher conference just as I was leaving and remembered afterwards that Yvonne, over at Scratchings and Sniffings and recent guest blogger, had suggested I get in touch with Celeste. So I got in touch and here we are, guest blog entry in hand.

Velcro_2 From the time I was a small child, I have absolutely adored cats. I grew up in a semi-rural area with dogs, barn cats, horses, chickens, peacocks and other miscellaneous pets, but I always loved the cats the most.

After college when I moved out on my own, I had a 6-month-old cat named Kato and quickly added 6-week-old Friday to my household. They lived to be 17 and 16 years old, respectively, and were my companions through many residences, boyfriends, jobs and other milestones in life. Both of them died early this year, and my husband and I still miss them.

Velcro Our current crop of felines includes 15-year-old Velcro, a pastel calico who originally belonged to my late mother. When Velcro was a kitten, she was found tied into a pillowcase in a Salvation Army donation bin. Velcro was prone to nipping when she was younger, but she's mellowed considerably with age. She had a mastectomy due to breast cancer earlier this year (it's been a bad year for cats at our house), but she seems to have recovered nicely.

Xena_vet Our youngest cat is 11-month-old Xena. She has sleek, shiny black fur and crazy yellow eyes to match her kittenish disposition. Her hobbies include ferret-like stealing of anything she can carry in her mouth (she's particularly fond of my makeup brushes), Xena_4mo knocking breakables to the ground, and snuggling up adorably when scolded. She has my husband wrapped around her little dewclaw.

The most recent addition to our household was Velvet, an adult cat from a nearby animal shelter. We got her as a bridge cat between grumpy old Velcro and exuberant Velvet Xena and she's fulfilling that role well. Velvet's original owners got a dog and decided they didn't want a cat anymore. Eventually they moved away and just left her behind. She roamed around trying to get into people's houses until a kind-hearted neighbor brought her to the shelter. It's difficult to believe that someone would so mistreat such a sweet-tempered cat.

Velvet_velcro_xena Three is my personal cat limit, so we're stopping there. We had four for a while and discovered that it's one too many for our small house. My husband always says I'll turn into a crazy cat lady when he dies, but really we both agree that this is the perfect number.

The cats add so much joy to my life, I can't imagine living without them.

Average_jane Bio: Celeste Lindell blogs at Average Jane and divides the rest of her free time between singing with her band, Dark Crucible, and volunteering with Soroptimist International and various animal charities. In real life she's a senior copywriter for the interactive division of an advertising agency.

Guest Blogger: Brad Feld, Feld Thoughts

I'm delighted to have Brad Feld guest blogging for my blogging series Me, My Pet, and I.

I've been reading Brad's blog now for well over 2 years and find his perspective on VC investing, angel investing, running marathons, and being happily married a very interesting combination. Whenever I have questions about investing or running a board or just keeping my feet on the ground, Brad's blog is usually the first place I go.

Here's his post.

When I was a kid, I tolerated the dogs we had.  As a teenager, we had a large airdale named Addison that I always found annoying.  In retrospect, I think it was channeling my mom (it was her dog after all) and I was having a normal teenage reaction to it.

Denali_let_me_in_im_cold After my wife Amy and I moved to Boulder 12 years ago, we decided to get a dog.  Our neighbor at the time had two beautiful golden retrievers so we decided to get one from his breeder.  Kenai_yes Our first dog – Denali – was a life changer.  He was a kind, fun, playful, smart dog that we immediately fell in love with.  We grew with him, and by the time his was six, we decided to get a second golden to keep him company.  This resulted in Kenai, who also was extremely smart and playful, but a little more mischievous than Denali.

Amy and I don’t have kids so our dogs are a central part of our life.  We were out of town last year at Christmas when Denali suddenly got sick.  24 hours later he was in surgery – it turned out that he had a large liver tumor.  We decided not to wake him up and were devastated.  We knew that his last memories were happy prior to the surgery, so that gave us some peace, but it was incredibly difficult to lose our first dog.

Brooks_when_the_ball_is_bigger_than A few months later we started talking about getting a new puppy.  Three weeks ago we got Brooks.  He’s amazingly cute, very smart, and much more stubborn than either Denali or Kenai.  Kenai is happy to have a new friend and we are being kept busy by the new fluffball in our life.

Dogs rock.

Brad_feld_vc_extraordinaireI am a managing director at Foundry Group and Mobius Venture Capital. I live in Boulder, Colorado, Keystone, Colorado and Homer, Alaska.

Following is my standard bio:
Brad Feld is a Managing Director at Foundry Group and Mobius Venture Capital. Prior to Mobius, Brad founded Feld Technologies, which was sold to AmeriData Technologies in 1993, where he became Chief Technology Officer.

Brad currently serves on the boards of a number of private companies, including ePartners, Gold Systems, Judy's Book, NewsGator, Rally Software, and StillSecure. In addition, he is on the board of The National Center for Women & Information Technology, The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County, and The Colorado Conservation Trust.

Brad has previously been a member of the board of directors of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization and founded the Boston and Colorado chapters. He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

I love to read, am an avid marathoner, believe computers are my friend, am happily married to an amazing person, have one gigantic golden retriever named Kenai, (and now Brooks) and try to enjoy myself every day as I subscribe to the “you only get one chance” view of life.

Guest Blogger: Yvonne Divita, Lipsticking, Scratchings and Sniffings blogs, among others

A continuation of the guest blogger series, Me, My Pet, and I, where I ask bloggers to reveal their pet-loving side... This entry is from Yvonne Divita.

I've been a pet lover since I was a child. I think most pet lovers start at an early age. But, I adopted pets (at least in my imagination, my Mom wasn't really into a whole house full of pets, just one cat and dog at a time, thank you) because I was lonely. We moved a lot when I was very young, and I always felt a bit out of place whenever we ended up someplace new. It seemed that the cat and dog were the only ones who cared.

As time went on, I received a dog of my very own, as opposed to being the 'family' pet, when I was 12. For 10 years she went everywhere with me. I do mean everywhere (except school). People knew that if they invited me over, I'd have the dog with me.

Carmel_sleeping Today, I have a delightful Tabby cat named Wabby Wibby (that's short for baby kitty), and a warm, hugable German Shepard mix, named Carmel. They are my constant companions - around the house, anyway. I have to admit that the cat is an indoor cat. She does not go outside at all (though she pokes her nose out the back when we leave the screen open to call Carmel in). And Carmel only goes out with us on a leash. Which is daily, or twice a day. I cannot allow her to go with me 'everywhere' as I did the dog of my youth. Since starting my own business, I am out quite a bit - and Carmel would not like the office buildings, coffee shops, and such that I do business in.

Or, maybe she would! I guess I won't know, as I seldom take her in the car. She gets car sick!!!

Pandora_napping Both Wabby and Carmel are 'elderly' now. They have their aches and pains (like I do!) and I give them vitamins and attention and special food. I expect them to be around for many more years, as long as I care for them just as I would care for my kids. Except, my kids are all gone and on their own, now. The dog and cat (and my sweet hubby-to-be, Tom) are all I have left. My son has asked me, "What will you do when... they're gone?" As if he thinks it could happen any day now.

Well, I don't like to go there. I don't have a clue... cause I don't imagine them gone, ever. They've been with me for over 12 years, both of them. They're fixtures in our household. They're more than companions - they're little parts of me. I cannot imagine losing them. So, I don't. They also provide a lot of fodder for my newest venture, a petblog I write for Purina, over at But, of course!

Divita Small business and marketing expert Yvonne DiVita is the author of Dickless Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online (AuthorHouse, 2004), as well as president and founder of, an author services company that helps authors write, produce, print and market books using print-on-demand technology. She maintains a company blog, a blog focusing on marketing to women, and pet lovers blog . She is the president of the Rochester Professional Consultants Network, vice president of sponsorship at RAMA (the Rochester chapter of the American Marketing Association), and is a member of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners), NAFE (National Association of Female Executives) and RWN (Rochester Women's Network). A frequent public speaker, Yvonne has been interviewed on (a division of, ABC, and on business blogs and Web sites. She is a strong advocate for women, entrepreneurs, and network-building via the Web.

Guest Blogger: Anita Campbell, Small Business Trends

Working Cats Clock In

Kingtut_3After years working long days in the corporate world, I now have the luxury of running my own business from home.  My husband also runs his business from home.

Queenofsheba_4 Because we are at home most of the day, our two fuzzy little pet children, Sparky and Sheba – are closer to us than any of our pets before.  Sparky and are siblings.  Sparky is a red cream Himalayan and Sheba is a blue Himalayan.  Himalayans have gentle and loving personalities and become very attached to their human parents.

Sparky and are “working” cats.  My husband has a large desk and they spend most of the day hanging out on a corner of the desk while he works.  We even have a term for it – we say that they have “clocked in” for work. 

During the winter the two of them huddle next to our network router, because it is warm.  We call it fine-tuning the network.

Sparky_and_sheba_on_coffee_break_4 Throughout the day I occasionally go back and peek in to see the three of them at work.  OK, I do more than peek in – sometimes I hang out with them for a while, too.  It makes work more fun and less stressful.

Sometimes they need to take a short break from their duties, too.  That’s when they go hang out in the foyer for a while.  These pictures show them on their “coffee break.”

After all this time with the four of us “working” at home, I doubt that I could ever go back to regularly leaving the house for 10 hours each day to go work someplace else again. 

Anita_campbell Anita Campbell
CEO Small Business Trends

New series: Me, My Pet, and I

There are a number of upstanding and respected bloggers and business people who we know through their captivating articulation of their subject matter expertise - whether that be marketing, entrepreneurship, venture capital, or politics. Whatever your interest, it's out there.

But, behind the scenes when they go home, they are pet parents through and through, rolling around on the floor with their dogs licking their faces or write their blog articles with their cats purring on their laps (or shoulders as the case may be). They are besotted with their pets and that's something we don't get to see all that often.

So, I thought it would be interesting to let these human beings show their pet loving sides in the safe confines of the Embrace blog in this series.

Let me know if you have any suggestions for people you want to hear from - we love friends of friends. Send me an email or add a comment.

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