Art by Rachel - Original Watercolors

About "My Pack"

In Memoriam

  My Beloved Bear  

November 1996 - October 2009

This river flows from dark to light,
So I will say adieu, my friends.
If my ship sails from your sight,
It doesnít mean the journey ends,
But simply that the river bends.
(J. Enoch Powell)

Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
(Edna St. Vincent Millay)

Always in my memory, always in my heart, my most wonderful beautiful boy, you will always be loved and missed.

Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.  (Colette)

My Pack Members (clockwise, Bear, Tony, Floyd, Lulu, Nicky, Bottlebrush and Willow)

Friends at Midnight


In October 2009 I lost my dearly beloved Bear, my best friend and devoted companion for nearly thirteen years.  He was with me daily and now there is a gaping hole in my heart which cannot be filled. Bear was actually the alpha of my pack -- his keen intelligence, his handsome canine beauty, his gentle and independent nature, his old soul shining from his deep brown eyes, he was indeed the "first" of my pack and his absence has left everyone bereft and devastated.  He was always the loyal "big brother" and teacher of all things important to dogs to Lulu, who misses him immensely, and for too short a time he was the "big brother" to Hercules too, who chose to stretch out touching him whenever he could.  Even Floyd the macaw still calls for him.    The only consolation is that Bear led a long and happy life, he did not suffer at the end, and most particularly he knew that everyone loved him.

There are now six members of "My Pack" -- Lulu and Hercules, Bottlebrush, Willow and Nicky, and Floyd -- two dogs, three cats, and a macaw.  Almost nine years ago I lost another beloved pack member, Tony,  and he will always be missed.  

All my pack members have been rescues -- by providing them with a permanent home I have received so very much love and devotion in return. 

My two wonderful Belgian Shepherds, Bear and Lulu, were from the North Shore Animal League on Long Island ( on separate occasions four years apart, my beautiful Greenwing Macaw Floyd was rescued by my son from a gloomy cellar to which he had been banished when his previous owner's son became allergic (I had once mentioned in passing that I wished I had a parrot...), and my late beloved Tony, a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog mix, was taken in when he was in danger of abandonment to the streets.   For the far too short a time he was with me, he brought so much joy and pleasure.

And my three cats -- Bottlebrush, Willow, and Nicky -- were born in a doghouse in my backyard!  Bottlebrush is an adorable five year old, long-haired tuxedo (hence his name which describes his appearance, in particular his tail), a charming bad boy who knows exactly how magnificent he is.  I also have two of his littermates, Willow, a beautiful and feminine gray-brown tabby, who is just the gentlest sweetest thing, and Nicky, another lovely tuxedo who is their feisty and shy small sister! A special thanks to Mike Phillips, of the Urban Cat League (, for his assistance and advice when I was capturing and taming these feral babies.

There is my youngest pack member, Hercules, an American Staffordshire Terrier mix puppy, whom I had noticed roaming the neighborhood streets, unclaimed with only a choker collar but no ID or microchip.  I couldn't leave him to an almost certain demise in traffic or in an overcrowded city shelter.  So now the big brindle cutie is home for over a year now, attempting to give dog kisses to everyone and to climb on everyone's lap!  Thank you so much to Rene Payne, certified dog trainer of Walk This Way - Canine Behavior Therapy (, for all her help with my new puppy and his boundless puppy energy (I had considered naming him "Hurricane" or "Tornado" before deciding on "Hercules").

Waiting for the Pack Leader

If you donít have a dog--at least one--there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.  (Vincent Van Gogh)

Bear and Lulu Portraits

We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment. (George Eliot )

Hercules Portrait

If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.  (St. Francis of Assisi )


If you are considering adopting a pet, I urge you to seriously consider a rescue -- whether from an animal shelter, a rescue organization, animal control, or a stray from your neighborhood.  Any help you can give is infinitely repaid in unconditional love.  Please remember, they need you!  They may not receive another chance.



I care not for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.  (Abraham Lincoln)

Bear Portrait

A Special Note of Thanks

To  Dr. Kathy Kazmierski, oncologist at Garden State Veterinary Services, for her expertise, compassion and advice in treating my older Belgian Shepherd, my beloved Bear, for cancer when he was eight years old.   He was diagnosed with an hemangiopericytoma (a cancerous tumor) on his right rear leg, which was surgically removed, and he was then treated with radiation for 3.5 weeks.  He was cancer-free for five years before he was taken suddenly by an hemangiosarcoma, another type of cancer.  We are so grateful for those extra years with him. 

Bottlebrush Portrait (oil pastel)

As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human kind.  (Cleveland Amory)

Willow Portrait (oil pastel)

People who keep dogs ( or cats, for that matter) live longer on average than those who do not. This is not some kind of pro-canine campaigning fantasy. It is a simple medical fact that the calming influence of the company of a friendly pet animal reduces blood pressure and therefore the risk of heart attack.  (Desmond Morris)

Nicky Portrait (oil pastel)

When your cat rubs the side of its face along your leg, it's affectionately marking you with its scent, identifying you as its private property, saying, in effect, 'You belong to me'.  (Susan McDonough)


Lulu Portrait

Heaven goes by favour.  If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.   (Mark Twain)

Bear and Lulu sharing dog bed

A well-trained dog will make no attempt to share your lunch. He will just make you feel so guilty that you cannot enjoy it.  (Helen Thomson)

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals... In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.  They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.  (Harry Beston)


Bear and Lulu Portraits

 I have found that when you are deeply troubled there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source.  (Doris Day)

Dear Dogs and Cats,

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king-sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob, or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. I have been using the bathroom for years--canine or feline attendance is not mandatory.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough!

To pacify you my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door:

Rules for Non-Pet Owners Who Visit and Like to Complain About Our Pets:

    1. They live here. You don't.

    2. If you don't want hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's
    why they call it "fur"niture .)

    3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

    4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is
    short, hairy, walks on all fours, and does not speak clearly.

Remember: Dogs and cats are better than kids because they: eat less, don't ask for money all the time, are easier to train, usually come when called, never drive your car, don't hang out with drug-using friends, don't smoke or drink, don't worry about having to buy the latest fashions, don't wear your clothes, don't need a gazillion dollars for college, and if they get pregnant, you can sell their children.


My Three Cats Nicky, Bottlebrush, and Willow

Floyd Portrait

Floyd Flapping!

Floyd in his Cage

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.  (Anatole France)

Bear and Lulu Portraits

There is an Indian legend which says when a human dies there is a bridge they must cross to enter into heaven.  At the head of that bridge waits every animal that human encountered during their lifetime.  The animals, based upon what they know of this person, decide which humans may cross the bridge.... and which are turned away...  (Unknown)

My Beloved Tony

If there is no heaven for dogs,
 then I want to go where they go when I die.  (Anonymous)

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