Dedicated to the protection of English Springer Spaniels


5/31/10 - Scout


Mini tribute to Scout
originally written June 2009 for the Health Dept “Love in the Lobby” Display

What can you say about Scout? The difficulty is not saying enough. There is so much about this little snip of a dog that entered our lives less than 2 years ago with a “shout”! I think of a song from Sound of Music that has the phrase “how can you catch a cloud and pin it down?” That was Scout, . ...busy...moving all the time, light on her feet and hard to keep in one place. The minute you think you had her...oops she was gone. She declared her presence with joy and panache. She let the Pet Therapy world know that she was here whether they liked it or not...and never let them forget. I was told by a hospital staff member that Scout brought a different “energy” than my other dogs had. That was not necessarily a bad thing. She wanted to make sure that everyone was awake and listening! Hey she was here for them! Everyone had to come to see who or what was making all this commotion! At that point she had them and they never left. Her Sunday School kids had so much fun with her they didn't even know they were learning. What a strategy!

Scout loved to have fun and you could not be with her without out it. Her earnest desire upon waking each new day was to find new ways of having some. And what fun we had...I don't care if it was simply throwing tennis balls, or digging holes or swimming or meeting a new person she did it with gusto! A true doggie “A” type personality if there ever was one. I have never had a dog that made me laugh so. She loved to dress up and show off. She was a bit of a “princess” if you know what I mean, but that was all part of her charm.

She knew the benefit of a cheerful heart and she passed that along to all she met. Everyone involved in Pet Therapy knew when Scout arrived. As the door opened she would automatically tell them ” I'm here!!” and announce that the fun had begun! Never did she ever fail to make someone smile & laugh. What a gift she had. It never failed that someone would declare, “That dog is having way too much fun!” Message received loud and clear!

Scout is perhaps now declaring her presence to all in heaven with a joyful shout! I'm sure she has been given the job of announcing each new entrant at the Gate. Enjoy Scoutie! Your time with us was short but the impression on our lives will be everlasting. We couldn't pin you down for long...your cloud had to keep moving...I'll think of you often as I look up to the sky...there you will be, still in motion and having a time for yourself. And on a hot summer afternoon with each clap of thunder, I'll hear your name.
Almost one year later....I miss her...I will always miss her. The way she made me laugh and then later cry...but I'll never ever forget her. As a young girl, I always wanted a dog to name Scout. Well God gave me one. Thank you.

Submitted by Cynthia Vanaudenhove

5/11/10 Abigail Memorial


Gone almost one year – Never forgotten – Always loved

Abigail - What’s in a name?
Her name means, “ fountain of joy” or “her Father’s joy”.
Abbie was certainly a “fountain of joy” that sprang freely from her heart to hearts in need. Her “waters” were sweet and refreshing to those that drank it. The book of Matthew speaks of giving a cup of cold water to those who thirst, is as giving it unto The Lord himself. I hope that the Father, who’s joy Abbie is, is saying to her tonight, “Well done thou good and faithful servant enter now into thy rest.” Abbie was good through and through. Abbie was faithful to giving us her best. There is a lesson here somewhere. So, what’s in a name? Apparently quite a lot! I’m so glad I you let me drink from your fountain. Abbie, you are my joy too!
On Wednesday, June 17, 2009, there passed from this life, one that touched countless lives through her excellent life lived. Abbie led a tremendous life. Like many of us not coming into her full purpose until later along. In 2004, having been given up by her first loving family in her best interest, she became part of our family. There was much in store ahead for her. No one could have imagined that one unselfish, sacrificial act, by people who loved her so, could eventually impact the lives of so many others that Abbie would touch. At 9, with the first signs of grey appearing around her brows, Abbie entered the DJ Professional Pet Assisted Therapy University Course. She energetically achieved her certificate along with her new and older sister Fallon. Both examples that age is never an excuse to not start something new.

Since then, Abbie served with much joy and enthusiasm, the residents of both Zambarano Hospital, for more than 5 years, and the patients Fatima Hospital, for over 2. Abbie loved and encouraged them all. She began an internship program at Mt St Rita in Cumberland. She was a guest speaker in the DJ PPAT class. She was a Therapy Dog ambassador at countless outreaches throughout Rhode Island. Yet, her proudest accomplishment was teaching the children of New Hope Baptist Church in Burrillville in the program named for her, ”Abigail’s Bible Tails”. Additionally, she kicked off a Library Program for children this past January at the Jesse Smith Library, also in Burrillville, which has been continued throughout the state.

Abbie’s natural exuberance and always wagging tail would propel her into Therapy Dog stratosphere. Springer Spaniels have a zest for life. Abbie was no exception; it just bubbled out of her. Abbie’s “fountain of joy”. Her quest was to pass a bit of that along to others. In doing so she soothed souls, raised spirits, encouraged and motivated people with her friendship and ability to quickly bond. Her insight for those in greatest need was inspiring. Multi-talented, she loved to “sing” to her audience with a repertoire of sounds and songs that could not help but endear her to those for whom she performed. Her listeners would invariably smile & laugh…her reward. One memorable day, one of her “patrons”, a very introverted gentleman, motivated by Abbie presence, sat on the floor with her and reciprocated by singing a wonderful rendition of West Side Story’s, “Maria”, as Abbie sat in his lap. Only one of the countless amazing days spent with Abigail.
Despite all of her ground breaking work and all of her abilities and with the pressing of her busy schedule her most important and satisfying pleasure was that of my beloved pet and joyous companion. Here is where she was the happiest. As was I. Our relationship was first and foremost. It was perhaps from this bond, that this Springer’s way with others sprung. And with all that we can claim regarding her list of life’s accomplishments, nothing compares to the joy she has given me. It will spring up in my heart like a fountain always.
6/09 Cynthia Vanaudenhove

Addendum 5/5/10

And so now almost one year later, Abbie's Joy is still with me. I think of her almost every day. Especially as I look into the eye's of my now 11 month old pup, Guinevere. Did I tell you? As Abbie was passing away on 6/17 in another part of New England a large litter of pups was being born on the exact same day. And one of them, later to be named Guinevere, would find her way home to me. I would not realise till much later that her birthday was the same day as my last with Abigail. Although very much her own dog, I defiatley see glimpses of “my girl” in her. What a gift.

What I did not include in my original story above because I intended it a tribute to Abbie, is that almost uunimaginably, I lost my beloved, happy little Scout, another of my rescued Springers, only 6 days after Abbie. Scout was a stunning shock.. Again I couldn't have known it would happen. And yet, “Guinnie” was being “fashioned in secret” by God's hand for such a time as this. You see, Guinnie looks much like Abbie. Long, lanky, freckled. But her personality is overwhelming like Scout's. Uber-energetic and bouncy. And loves tennis balls just like Scout did. So, she is a double gift.

After Abbie and Scout's loss, I thought to begin to hold them a little bit looser. Not so close and tight. They don't stay long and the hurt might be less deep. In reality that has not happened. I can not keep them afar. I'm not built that way. Nor are they. They must be close these Springers. Right now both Tucker (Tuck has been with me through the loss of both Abbie & Scout. His story is way too long to tell you now. Another time for sure) & Guin are asleep on my feet as I type. I can feel each of them warm and breathing peacefully. As close as they are...strangely they seem closer after they are gone....after all, how is it possible to get any closer than in one's heart. And they they will all stay!

Cynthia Vanaudenhove lives is Burrillville with her present Rescued Springers, Tucker a Windwalker credentialed therapy dog and now Guinevere a therapy dog hopeful. Cynthia oversees Pet Therapy Programs at Zambarano, Eleanor Slater in Cranston and Fatima. As well Sunday Schools program with Tucker at New Hope Baptist Church in Pascoag. She is also current President of Windwalker Humane Coaltion. She writes about her dogs and her pet therapy experiences quite often