For the Love of Hanna
November 1, 2008-Happy Birthday Squirt-you are so missed !Hanna's site has inspired a work-in-progress title. Wish me luck when the time for submitting to publishers arrives!
Hanna & the Claus ( A story about a Christmas experience with Hanna)appeared in
the "Passages" section of the December January issue, 2009, of Animal Wellness Magazine. We are honored to be
published in this publication!
Nov 1, 2010 Thank you to everyone who has visited this site and especially
those who have written me about your visit and/or your own personal stories. My intention in creating this site was to offer
others an opportunity to reflect on their own precious ones who have passed and hopefully spark a good memory, and of course
to recognize the grief we all share. Many of you have honored us by doing just that during your visits here-THANK
YOU! Hanna's book is in the editing process and hopefully soon will be seeking a publisher. Another story/memory below,
in celebration of her birthday, Nov 1.
Read about Hanna, Trevar, Kearsey, & Darby in my latest children's book, The Smith
Family's New Puppy-Helping Children Cope w/ a New Family Member. (scroll down)
Nov 1, 2011 What Money Can't Buy (below)...pet food crisis 2007, pets dying, a class action settlement,
doesn't make it all any easier
November 1, 2012 Connections-
Another Hanna Story (below)
November 1, 2013 Happy Birthday My
New Stories: Suddenly
Sick added 7/20/07, Pg. 4; The Overwhelming Silence of Dinner, added 8/2/07, Pg. 5; The Missing Piece,
added 8/9/07, Pg. 3; Reflections of Happy Birthdays, added Nov. 1, 2007, Pg2.; Happy Birthday Jesus-You
Took My Dog, added 12/21/07, Pg.5; Hard to Say, added 5/9/08, Pg.5,
May 9, 2009 Two years ago today, our sweet Hanna
departed this life. It Never Goes Away, added 5/9/09,
scroll down, Nov 1, 2010, A Smile...and a Twinge, added below
On August 20, 2007, our beloved cat Kearsey joined Hanna. We lost her due to toxic pet food. Her story Pg,
5-Did I Poison My Cat?
A memorial tribute to a very special friend
11/1/94 - 5/9/07
|Hanna, our precious friend
|She would brighten any moment
As you can see,
on the upper right corner, Hanna was a tiny little pup. Although small in size,
her personality was huge. From the first day I met her, at the kennel where she
was born, she always to seemed to ask, “Hey what about me?” This
little white fur ball looked up at me from her pen and eloquently but demonstratively insisted I notice her. Well…I
did. Thank you Hanna, for making me see you, and for enriching my life with your
Yes she was a tiny
little girl, but she had a natural born drive and curiosity that surpassed her small stature.
Curious, intelligent, quick to learn, a strong desire to learn and interact, and always bright, alert, and outwardly
affectionate-she was a bright spot in any day!
|One of the many expressions
|of Hanna (she loved the camera)
with me through the green grass,
the dew moisten our feet,
with me over the hills and rocks,
our lives complete.
with me through the trees and leaves,
as I playfully dodge and dart,
call me back again,
me run into your arms and heart.
with me scratch my neck,
the warmth of my soul,
me snuggly beneath your arms,
to me as I grow old.
with me songs of life,
it is living I enjoyed the most,
me gallop with tail held high,
me smiling as I prance and you boast.
with me by your side,
me till I feel no pain,
the spark and twinkle of my eyes,
I taught you that life was a game.
my head turn as you speak,
wonder and curiosity,
how I looked at you,
how you smiled each time you saw me.
those memories in your heart,
them in your mind,
you’re sad maybe missing me,
memories of a special kind.
not to grieve too much for me,
wait at a very special place,
know when you have arrived there,
see the spark of my little white face.
be the one sitting in front,
my tail to and fro’,
be waiting with all the others,
share joy in knowing, we’re all home.
copyright D. Smith-Mansell
2006 (written for Hanna)
|Expressive Hanna (left)
|With camera shy Darby
|This pup is way too cool!
I hope you will spend some time visiting and learning about our very
special friend. You will see in her photos and learn through her stories, all about her delightful outlook on life.
She rarely was down, and was always ready for a new adventure. Hanna was a loving companion and friend, and all who knew her,
saw her zest for living. Her passing has left a huge gap in our hearts and lives-we miss her every day and in every
way. She was and IS a blessing to our hearts. Hanna will always remain a part of all of us. With tears our
sweet friend...until we meet again.
|on the bottle
It Never Goes Away 2009
9, two years ago, we lost our precious Hanna. She fought the valiant fight against
poisons and kidney disease. Her vivacious spirit lives on in our hearts. We can watch her movies and catch the spark of her eyes in photos, but we can’t
hold her or play with her.
Even though two
years have passed there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her, mostly with smiles, at her antics,
her spunk, and her outward affection. But I still shed a tear and my heart becomes
heavy at times-she was such a great friend and it is hard not to have her here. When
I visit her site or read her stories my heart is filled with her spirit but is also empty from her loss. Death is a part of life, but when one’s life seems to be lost unjustly; it makes the grief more intense,
and perhaps making it linger a bit longer. I'm often filled with “what
ifs” yet knowing, that won’t help or bring her back. It is the nature
of love that makes us question, want, need, and hope. If we didn’t care,
nothing would matter and the world would be a cold place.
I am lucky…I
can feel the love of a dear friend and mourn the loss of that love and companionship. I can fill my heart (and her book) with
her stories, memories, and pictures. I’ll always have that, and her. No one can ever take away my Hanna from my heart.
Until we meet again…my little squirt!
|ready to play
My Blessings, My Dogs
Brown eyes sparkle with playful hearts,
Compact bodies so strong and smart.
Inquisitive always, curious at will,
Ready to play, or just be still.
Reaching my hand, I always find,
Nothing that compares, to humankind.
Faithful and loving, devoted friends,
Ready to play, eager to defend.
My dogs are with me no matter where,
In times of fun, or loss or despair.
A treasured gift from God above,
To show us all the meaning of love.
© D. Smith-Mansell 2005
|One of the Many Adorable Expressions of
Birthday, Nov 2009
year gone by and a reminder is here once again…November 1st, a very special “Hanna day.” Today would have been her 15th birthday.
Secretly I always thought she’d make it this far, but whether at the hand of an uncaring pet food company or
through nature itself, she isn’t. It is a day filled with tears and smiles
as Hanna always loved her birthdays. She knew it was her day and she took ever
opportunity to let me know she was ready for the cake and presents at any time. She’d
follow me around (more than usual), and make attempts to gain my eye contact. If
I reminded her of the special day, she’d often spin into a 360 degree turn, and trot around me. She could barely wait for the presents.
so in tune with the world and celebrations, nothing passed her by! She truly
enjoyed every moment and demonstrated great anticipation at “things to come.”
a bittersweet day for us in 2008 as this day, Hanna’s birthday, was the day we picked up Lil’ Maddie to join our
family. Not surprising, she seems to have a lot of Hanna’s traits. Some times I have to look twice, and many times, I have called Maddie, Hanna. But there are many differences, just as there are differences in humans, siblings,
and other pets. However, I do reserve the right to think and see my precious
Hanna in Maddie. I’d like to think that a piece of Hanna returned in Maddie,
just as a part of Fallon seemed to have returned in Rori. The circle of life
these feelings and thoughts are truths or concepts I want to believe, is of no great consequence, for I hold tight to the
knowledge that one day, we ALL will be together, forever. And we will see the
pureness of God in our all our relationships.
|Hanna camera ready as always
|This was her last Christmas
What Money Can’t Buy November 1, 2011
Hanna’s birthday, always brings bittersweet emotions. I still long to see her prance about my feet as her “birthday” was announced,
but my heart breaks when I remember the way she died. While reality tells me
it would be unlikely that she would still be here today (she’d be 17), I still believe her life was cut shorter due
to toxic pet food. How many other innocents died because of this?
The Pet Food Class Action law suit was finally settled,
and we received minuscule amounts in comparison to how these poor animals suffered, all because they ate! The ironic part
here is that while the pet food company readily admitted the cat food my Kearsey ingested had problems, they NEVER admitted
to Hanna’s special food having issues. Time after time I called the company
with my concerns as to certain ingredients and each time I was met with a scripted response and denial of any issues with
the products. My thoughts always being, if a pet who already had compromised
kidneys ingested even a small amount of any toxin, it would be fatal, and it was in Hanna’s case.
While the company denied any problems with the special
food Hanna was eating due to her kidney issues, I received a settlement for her. What
does that say? Fortunately, I had kept exemplary medical records and documentation,
and when it came time to file for the class action, I included Hanna’s information as well as Kearsey’s. I filed a claim for her even though I was told it would probably not receive any attention. Well, the notice of settlement came out earlier this summer and I received two, one
for poor Kearsey, and one for Hanna. My heart broke all over again at the recognition
of these two precious pets dying at the hands of someone else, it all became a reality once again.
When the settlement checks arrived a few months later,
I cried. My precious friends were taken and suffered and I held two checks in
my hand meant to compensate for their suffering and their lives. It didn’t
even cover the cost of those emotions, let alone the suffering they endured. Shame
on those pet food companies who weren’t more vigilant in protecting their consumers!
We donated their “blood money” to a local shelter,
along with a plaque in their honor
that reads: Given in Loving memory of two cherished friends
taken by the pet food crisis of 2007. May the price they paid help others. Hearts broken, lives lost, sadly missed…
It didn’t need to be!
So I say…
Happy Birthday my sweet Hanna-know that you live on in
our hearts. We love you!
Sending our hugs and love to those who are with you; Darby,
Fallon, Kearsey, Brin, Shanna, Jad, Jace, Pete, Shane, Mandy, Skampy, Skippy, Pepper, Brandy-we miss you all!
|Hanna at Christmas
Happy Birthday My Precious Friend
Nov 1, 2013
Traditionally I write a Hanna memory
every year on her birthday. I like to remember her with positive thoughts on
her special as she so loved celebrations –birthdays, Christmas, parties, etc.
Hanna had a keen awareness and understanding of people and language and
would often respond to questions or conversations. Her responses ranged from
an alert head turn, running to the speaker standing up on her hind legs and looking them straight in the eye, or excitedly
spinning in front of one who had garnered her interest. Hanna lived and loved
life with vibrancy and carried a spark in her terrier eyes.
Hanna diagnosed with kidney
disease as a maturing puppy, rarely showed signs of her illness until her adult years.
While she was a young pup, after months of trying to discover what was going on with her-acupuncture, specialists all
over the state of PA, holistic doctors, biopsies, we (her regular vet and acupuncturist) discovered all of her symptoms appeared
AFTER her lyme vaccine. And so we knew albeit too late for Hanna, no more lyme
vaccines for my dogs.
Now granted this was when the vaccine
first appeared on the market several years ago, but my research then lead to more conclusions about the kidney damage, and
it was a risk in my mind, that I didn’t want to impose on any other. With no other choices, I moved forward in researching
kidney disease and what I learned was invaluable…for Hanna.( More of this information is in her book awaiting edits
For today I remember a spunky little
perfectly squared white terrier whose spontaneity and zest fill my heart to this day.
Never a moment did she miss as she was always up and ready for the next adventure.
I cannot remember one thing (well maybe a blood or urine test-she had so many) that she didn’t approach with
her classic Hanna style-she smiled with her eyes! I can still years later see
her spark and I smile! Taken from me too soon my heart still aches for how she struggled to live and to show me she was trying. Hanna did not want to give up, it wasn’t in her nature. She was and still is my rock when things go awry. I look to
a little dog to offer me courage, strength, and comfort. Because as most animal lovers know….their love is unconditional,
no judgment, much forgiveness, and they are prime examples of do what you can and don’t look back, they persevere no
So my girl, I so wish
you could be here to celebrate your day. If only I could hold you once more,
or see you dance and spin with excitement. Not to be for now, but one day I pray, we will all be together again, forever. Happy Birthday Squirt!
Friends forever-Hanna, Shanna, Brin,
Shane, Fallon, Trevar, Darby, Pete, Jace, Jad, Brandy, Pussycat, Murph, Mandy, Scampy, Pepper, Skippy, King, Sparky
|Ready as always
Websites with quality information on small dogs.
|All of us in our MUCH younger days!
|Darby, me, and Little Hanna
A Smile…and a Twinge (Nov 2010)
Today, Nov 1, 2010 would have been Hanna’s 16th birthday.
I know it’s a stretch but she might have made it this far if it hadn’t been for other issues, like kidney disease
and toxic pet food. I try very hard not to focus on those things but admittedly,
it can be difficult some times. Most times however, I can now (FINALLY) remember
the wonderful days with this precious little pup. Oh how she filled my life and
heart with her spirit, her spunk, and her drive to enjoy! I can still see her
quickly glance in my direction with a spark in her eye, just waiting for the next adventure.
She was so in to life-it takes my breath away when I visualize her.
This year has been a difficult once again, as in April
we lost our precious Darby, Hanna’s “mother.” Now Darby wasn’t
really Hanna’s mother, but they did come from the same breeder and Darby was a mother hen to little Hanna. Darby was almost two when she was brought home while Hanna was just a pup.
So needless to say they were pretty inseparable-very different personalities, but very similar too.
Darby was very quiet, and viewed the world with wide eyes
and caution at times. She loved everyone and everything but she was very much
reserved, unless there was a squirrel in the yard. Hanna on the other hand, was
“let me see,” “I have to look,” and “Hey what about
me?” No matter their differences, they loved and respected each other. One always looked for the other, and as Darby began to slow on our walks, Hanna would
always turn around and some times go back to her, just to make sure she was okay and still coming. They slept together, and played and ate together. I know Darby
felt lost when Hanna passed, she’d just look and look for her, and if one happened to mention her name, her ears always
Darby was a very gentle soul, whose greatest joys were
lying in the sun on the cool green grass, harvesting and snacking on pears from the tree, getting a belly rub, and eating. She liked all the other things most dogs do too but, the above were her favorites.
Even though she was 17, it was still hard when she passed,
because it was not expected. Not to say that we thought she’d live forever,
we knew her time was growing precious, but it all happened too suddenly….and then she was gone. And now Hanna and Darby are together again.
I was looking in the mirror the other day and I glanced
behind me, and there sat Hanna. Actually…it was Maddie. For a split second I had an instant rush of good and bad emotions flood my being, sending a twinge of pain/hurt
to my stomach. Once recovered, in a matter of seconds…I smiled. I thought of Hanna and how she would often sit behind me almost making sure I could see her in the mirror.
She always seemed to search my face for eye contact. Hanna always wanted to “see” what I was thinking.
I miss her stretching across the floor in happiness and
I miss her stretching up her front paws to be picked up. But most of all I miss
holding her and just having her here, and Darby too.
So from her web page hopefully to her heart-Happy Birthday
Squirt! And Darby…we miss you!
|Hanna, Trevar, Darby, Rori
Connections November 1, 2012
Another year and today…another Hanna
birthday without Hanna. She would be 18.
While it is a far stretching concept to think that she might still be here, this day still brings tears to my eyes
and a smile to my heart, for Hanna truly loved her birthdays. Actually she loved
everybody’s birthday as she new celebrations brought presents, and goodies and photos-everyone was happy and that was
Hanna always…Happy! When one would announce that “Happy Hanna” was here, she would proudly prance about
the room seemingly smiling and looking at any one who might notice her.
This year we suffered another loss of a great
and dear friend-Trevar our Scottie left this earth tragically in August. The
pain of his loss is still raw and I often find myself breaking down without obvious provocation, except a thought or a realization-he
isn’t coming home. This happened just this past week. We were away for a few days; the dogs were boarded at their favorite “spa.” When we arrived home and I looked forward to the following morning when I would pick up my canine crew,
it hit me. Trevar would not be among the troops.
Through the years, as pet owners often do,
we have lost some precious friends. In reflection I enjoy remembering each one’s
special character, their talents, and their individual way of showing their affection.
Each one filled my heart with their life and love, and left a hole when they passed away. It hurts to consider the times of loss, but I try to focus on those many years of great fun, laughter,
and closeness. It is kind of hard not to think of missing all that, but I guess
it is an adjustment that we face for our life time, until it is our time to go.
It came to me just how connected my dogs
through the years are not only to me but to one another. As a young adult I found
my first dog, my own-I picked her (more like she picked me). That dog was Shanna,
a Westie. She was a wonderful friend-loved everyone and everything. Shanna came to live with us and our older Scottie named Shane (he was my sister’s dog-he didn’t
do well with apartment living so he came to live with us). Shanna loved Shane, but then Shane died. She was heartbroken. I eventually got her a companion, a Scottie named Brin. They became the best of friends! They went everywhere with
me and always looked out for one another. When Shanna passed away at almost 14,
Brin mourned terribly. The neighbors heard her crying during the day-something
a Scottie would never do. She was as heartbroken as I. While I myself could hardly bear the pain of loss, I felt for Brin in her loneliness and rescued a two
year old westie, Darby. But then of course I also saw a puppy which came to join our family as well. That puppy was Hanna. Tragically six months after Shanna died and one month after I brought Brin her friends,
she passed away.
So for a few years if was just Hanna and
Darby. But then I missed having a Scottie, so Fallon joined our family-we were
complete once again! I called this crew my reverse oreo cookie dogs-Hanna (white),
Fallon (black), Darby (white). We had many travels and lots of fun together and
then loss hit again. Fallon, at
the tender age of two and half lost her life after a surgical procedure-shock and dismay ensued. More heartbreak!
It would be three years until I was emotionally
able to add another Scottie. Trevar joined Hanna and Darby and our family. We were once again complete! Places to
go and people to meet!
A few years later Rori, another Westie joined
our family-the dynamics of the group blossomed. We shared a great life and many good years but as always life doesn’t
go on forever. With anger and great
disillusionment I watched Hanna lose her life from poisoned pet food. I
Darby, Trevar, and Rori were great companions
and enjoyed playing with each other. They too went many places and met many people. All dogs were certified therapy dogs and loved meeting people!
With Hanna gone, I couldn’t help feeling something was missing. I needed that fourth dog vision.
Reluctantly (because the loss is so hard to handle), Maddie another Westie came to live with us. Everybody loved Maddie,
and all Maddie wanted was to be loved-so it all fit well!
Two years later Darby passed away at the
age of 17. Since was a rescue and I got her when she was two, I always told her
she owed me at least two more years. I think she did well! She was the gentlest, sweetest dog, and she actually tended and raised all the youngsters who came through
I vowed no more dogs as the pain of their
loss was just too great for me. However….Logan joined our family over a
year later. She is truly the baby of the crew and absolutely loved snuggling
with Trevar, and of course romping in the yard with everyone.
And this year…we lost Trevar. Oh yet another hearbreak! So now it it
Rori, Maddie, and Logan…sadly, no Scottie.
My point in this reflection in honor of Hanna’s
birthday is that it has occurred to me, just how each “group” of dogs that have graced my home, have touched each
other’s lives, and been a part of a group that continues to this day. There has always been one dog that has “joined”
the next group, and welcomed the new members. Shane with Shanna, then Shanna
with Brin. Brin with Darby & Hanna, and Darby & Hanna with Fallon. Darby & Hanna with Trevar, and Darby, Hanna, & Trevar with Rori. Darby, Trevar, & Rori with Maddie, and Trevar, Rori, Maddie, with Logan. And now…Rori, Maddie,and Logan.
They shared their lives with each other and
in turn passed a piece of themselves on to the group that continues to this day. Remaining
ones remember those that passed from their group at the mere mention of a name. So
a part of each dog stayed in the group and when one leaves, a small piece goes, but the memory stays alive as we remember,
look at videos, photos, and close our eyes and dream.
I have been blessed with many things in my
life, but my dogs (all my pets) are my heart. God chose them to be with me. I am lucky.
So for this day, a special Hanna day…with
tears and smiles…I say Happy Birthday Squirt! Miss you always! Take good care of your buddies, especially Trevar right now! Know
how much you are all missed…until we’re together again! Smooches!
Darby, Hanna, Trevar, and Kearsey not only live on in my heart but they live
on the pages of my children’s book, The Smith Family’s New Puppy-Helping Children Cope with a New Family Member.