In October of 2010, I went to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria to pick up a little dog that was up for adoption to take him on a live television segment. He was a 12.5 year old Schnauzer mix named Stanley that had lived with his family his whole life, but when the parents decided to get a divorce, they dropped him off at the shelter and never looked back. Stanley had been at the shelter for months already, and his spirit was starting to deteriorate. But when he and I locked eyes the first time, I knew that he would somehow change my life.
That day, as I brought him on air, you can see that I immediately started saying that I wasn’t sure if I would allow anyone else to bring him home.
And I didn’t. Within 48 hours, Stanley was back in my car, headed home with me. For most dogs, especially older ones, the transition into a new home takes a while. For Stanley, and my dog Papi, however, the transition took about 5 minutes of sniffing each other and taking the tour. After that, they were fast friends.
Stanley was funny. He was sweet. He was loving. And he was a treasure. He never did anything naughty while he lived with us. It was as if he thought that he needed to behave or we might drop him off at the shelter as his previous family had done. But we wouldn’t have given Stanley up without a fight. He was ours, and we loved him deeply.
He lived a life that he would’ve never expected. Within days of living with us, he was in a photo shoot. Within months, he was on a runway with a fashion icon, strutting his stuff in front of 2,000 animal lovers. He frequently accompanied me on television, and was always the ultimate gentleman. But mostly, Stanley was in my lap or at my feet. Quiet, loving, and appreciative of every bit of attention he received.
But one late Spring day in May of 2012, Stanley’s stomach became upset, so I decided that I’d take him to my animal hospital after my kids were asleep. So, around 7pm on May 14, 2012, I put him in my car and took him to the hospital. I drew blood on him, put an IV catheter in him, and ordered some additional tests. Then, for just a few extra moments, I just stood and kissed him, petted him, and loved on him. And when my technician picked him up to put him in his cage to wait for his test results, he died.
Literally, at that moment, his heart just stopped. And it never beat again, despite all of our best lifesaving attempts. And my heart shattered. My family was completely devastated. I mourned for months, and still to this day, have a difficult time talking about him without choking up. He was the gentlest soul I’ve ever had the privilege to encounter and his absence in our household was palpable.
Then one day, in December of 2012, I received a package in the mail from Ecology Shops. Inside, I found one of the most touching and thoughtful gifts that I have ever received. My Grace Notes windchime was engraved with “In Loving Memory of Stanley” on the front, and a personalized quote on the back. It read “I was blessed to spend a year and a half loving, laughing and snuggling with this little dog.”
It was so surprising to me to open this package and find this, so I immediately grabbed my phone, set it up and recorded a short video to send to the people at Ecology Shops, thanking them for the beautiful gift and telling them how much it meant to me. Memorial Gift Video
I have my windchime proudly hung on my front porch where it catches the gentle breezes almost every morning. My son says every time that it chimes that that means Stanley is thinking of us. I choose to believe this is true, too. And every time I hear the sweet sound of this beautiful gift, I smile. And my heart heals just a little bit more.
If you’re looking for a meaningful, beautiful gift that will touch the recipient’s heart, look no further. I can not recommend the Grace Notes windchimes highly enough.