Memorial Tributes

Ruby – the stuffed toy collector

We had a black cocker spaniel named Magic who lived to be 10, was hit by a car and died in my arms. Two years later we decided to get another cocker but ended up with 2 sisters from the same litter-Ruby Sue and Sophie Mae.  Our daughter and my wife’s 3rdgrade class named them. Sophie loved to play ball, sit in my lap while I was driving and be outside in Maine when I was snowblowing the driveway, no matter what the temperature. Even though she was the healthier of the two, she died at age 8.

Ruby, on the other hand, hated to play ball, insisted in sitting in the back seat, and loved to “mow” (chew softly) on her collection of stuffed toys we kept in a wicker basket. It was always fun to see her rummage thru the basket to pick out a different toy almost every day. We never figured out how she would make her choice. They were together day and night 24/7. When Ruby was a baby she had seizures and spent a week at Tufts Animal Clinic in Southboro, MA, (for $3,000!) and never had another one. She was very susceptible to ear infections and moles, and as you know, died of lip cancer. So even though her sister was the healthier of the 2, she outlived her by 6 years!

We took 3 weeks to drive cross country from Maine to Arizona when we moved here permanently and she loved every minute of the trip. She was my constant companion. I’ve had a few issues over the last 10-12 years and she was with me every step of the way. By that I mean she helped see me thru colon cancer, open heart surgery and PTSD issues later in life (I’m a Vietnam veteran…). Once out here she got to spend a lot of time with our grand children, ages 5  years and 9 months, and even though she had no previous experience with kids, was very gentle and patient with them, even when they’d pull her ears.

Even though she had this lip cancer that was s-o-o aggressive and huge, raw and bleeding, she never complained, continued to eat well and do her “business”, even on the day we had to put her down. The fact she was so healthy for her age, other than the lip cancer (that had also spread to her chest), is what we wrestled with every day and made the decision to put her down so awfully difficult.

Dave Gould, Phoenix AZ


Chewey’s story

patient of Southwest Veterinary OncologyThank you for your expert care, dedication, and compassion in treating my girl Chewey’s lymphoma.  Were it not for your expertise, Chewey would not have had the two near normal additional years after her diagnosis.  Up until the last couple of weeks, she was her playful normal self.  I also appreciate your return calls, on the occasions that I called on the weekend, as well as your consultation, this weekend, with Dr. Ball from the Emergency Animal Clinic.   I would also like to thank the veterinary techs and the front office ladies for their help and care of Chewey.  They were always upbeat and cheerful, as were you, whenever I brought Chewey in.

There will always be a special place in my heart for you as Chewy’s extraordinarily gifted, dedicated, and compassionate doctor.  I am sure you will continue to help many more Chewey’s lead a “quality life” while living with cancer.  I can’t thank you enough for all your help!

Frank Vaia


Sierra Corry – the therapy dog

So, what can we say about such a beautiful little creature. It’s not been too long since our little one passed into the next life after her complications in recovering from her Hemangiosarcoma. It was a journey that I would not wish on the worst people I have known.

She was 12 & 3/4 years old when she passed.

 How does one condense the impact of a precious companion of almost of 14 years into a short story? Sierra was a beloved companion, a best friend, a furry face and wet tongue, always available for kisses and hugs; a bright spot for sick kids and the love of my life.

Sierra was a happy, friendly, outgoing yellow lab – always ready with a wagging tail, a smile and up beat anticipation of the fun about to happen. She kept this incredible spirit through radiation and chemo and even in her last hours with a kiss for those trying to help her.

I only wish I had the enormous capacity for trust and love that she did. Sierra’s trust in me was breathtaking to behold and I vowed throughout her life to live up to her expectations of me.

 Sierra was a Delta Society therapy dog for 8 years and volunteered as my partner at Phoenix Children’s Hospital for 7 years. She was so excited when our ‘work’ gear came out – the volunteer scarf she wore, my fanny pack and volunteer apron. She knew fun and affection and treats were just around the corner and enjoyed every minute of her time with the kids. She participated in other volunteer activities, like Vet Day at McDowell Mountain Ranch elementary school, Swing Fore Kids Golf and Dine with Your Dog fund raising activities.

She was game for any adventure we undertook together, as long as we were together.

I miss her terribly, the hole she left in my life cannot be filled but I am grateful for the many happy and healthy years she had and all the unconditional love she gave me. A friend of mine once told me that each of us has a ‘heart’ dog – one who connects with us in a way that cannot be explained or understood by others, unless you have experienced this yourself. Sierra was and always will be my heart

Diana Corry