My heart has been shattered with the loss of Hope Love on April 5, 2022.
Hope survived physical abuse, starvation, attack wounds and abandonment before arriving at Chicago Animal Care and Control on February 5, 2016.
Hope became our first transfer from CACC on March 4, 2016. Our dear friend, Donna, the founder of All Life Is Valuable rescue had pointed her out and suggested we start in rescue with Hope. There was a question if the dog named “Happy” by the volunteers was dog social or not, and we were prepared to get her all the help needed to place balance in her life.
Hope spent a month in the hospital recovering, stealing all that she met hearts, she was such a cuddler despite all the wrongs done to her. Following her release from the hospital through behavioral evaluations and testing we discovered that Hope was not dog social. In fact, she didn’t want a dog within 20 feet of her. We couldn’t really blame her and accepted that she preferred not having doggie friends and siblings.
Hope spent a lot of time in vet boarding due to the lack of “only dog” foster homes and those who fell for her already had dogs in the home. During her time in boarding, she was provided the best care and lots of love from the kennel staff and vet staff. I visited her daily to go on field trips or hang out in the grass in the sunshine. Promised her that she would never be forgotten. We attended training classes, she was a two-time obedience class graduate.
Hope then hit the jackpot, a dad without other dogs, who didn’t want other dogs and who needed to be rescued by a dog such as Hope. He needed a dog who would be there for him, cuddle, hang out and give him a reason to live while battling PTSD. They hit it off immediately. Over the next 4 years, she fought off a first round of cancer and lived a quiet life with her dad. He kept in touch, and when she needed medical care or anything else, he knew to contact me.
In May of 2021, I received a call that Hope’s dad had died in the home, and she had been there with him awaiting help when the police broke in the door. His family didn’t know what to do with her and they left her alone in the home while they cleared it out to be sold.
I received a call asking if I could take a Pitbull in whose owner died. I realized immediately from the name that this was my own Hope Love. The family was trying to give her away to various rescues calling around place to place. Finally admitting to having the information he provided insisting I be called if anything happened to him but were looking for a quick out. Thank you, Doug, for looking out for her even after you were gone. I arranged for Hope to return to me.
Hope was in bad shape, she was depressed, not eating, head down and unsure. She returned to her old kennel at the hospital, and we began the process of healing. Lots of cuddles, patience and sitting together in the quiet of my vehicle, taking long naps while the radio played softly. My baby girl was returning to herself, her butt was wiggly again and she was full of kisses.
Soon she was living in Chicago in a garden apartment of a dear friend, summertime in the city suited her and she loved having different volunteer roommates visit for a stay. She enjoyed walks around the block in the early mornings, sitting on the porch in the afternoon barking at the trucks passing by the front of the house and sitting in her favorite chair sunbathing through the glass of the front window.
Following a month of living the single life in her garden apartment, she had to relocate due to incoming relatives who needed the space. On the day I picked her up, we had a vet appointment to exam swelling on her last left side nipple. It was within the next couple days we discovered Hope had breast cancer and would need to have the last two breasts removed.
She underwent the surgery, thank you Live Like Roo Foundation, and then one day while we were sleeping in the Jeep with a cool breeze coming in the window, a call came in on my cellphone. A young woman wanted to know if she could foster for us. Her family had recently lost their dog to illness, and they weren’t ready to adopt, but wanted to help.
We spoke about Hope, and she agreed to come meet her at the hospital. Hope went home with them 4 days later to finish her recovery and begin a new journey. Hope was her endearing loving self and yet at times she showed signs of aggravation and aggression. Never harming anyone, but she was not happy in that particular moment and then retreated to be by herself. We were concerned over what the effects of having to battle cancer had on her neurologically and was it attacking elsewhere in her body.
Over the months she had days of not wanting to eat or even drink water, of being lethargic and withdrawn and then the old Hope would return for a day or two. The little warrior who had fought through so many challenges, her body broken and battered, going up against a cancer that we knew would be back, but where and when it would strike could not be predicted.
We walked through the muddy grass chasing deer, climbed the benches at the park and took in all mother natured offered in that moment. When she tired, I carried her back to the Jeep, her white fur mudded and my sneakers squishy from the water.
We stopped in at The Home Depot where I would take her to socialize with the employees and customers alike during days too cold to be outside. Hope hated the cold weather. She loved people of all sizes and had a touching moment with a toddler before we left the store. The girl had seen us down the aisle and begin yelling, “Dog”. Her father called out asking for me to stop walking. I did and he came over and asked if she could pet Hope. I asked Hope to lay down by me on the floor and the young toddler and Dad gave her pets as tears rolled down my face. Hope was special.
Then that day at 6:15pm, I held my baby girl with the beautiful blue eyes, wiggly body and soul filled with love as she drew her last breath with her foster parents, scratch that, her parents by our side outside in my Jeep with the hatch open and the fresh air flowing inward. I must have kissed her dozens of times and whispered in her ear how much she was loved, and I would see her on the other side.
Run angel, the pain, suffering and evil that touched your life is no more and you are forever set free.
6 years, 1 month and 1 day of endless love from a dog I affectionately named Hope Love. For where there is Hope, there is always Love.~ Cynthia, Founder/Executive Director of K9EI, Hope’s Rescue Mama
A Word From Her Great Love~Dad
“I’ve always found Pitbull’s to be the sweetest of dogs, and Hope was no exception. She took some time warming up to us and our home, but watching her personality slowly come out was a joy to see. She wanted to be wherever we were and was my wife’s shadow most of the time. Sometimes she would divert from shadow duty and come say hi to me at my desk. Hearing her feet on the tile, I would turn to greet her before she came around the corner and she would light up to find me in my expected spot. If I was busy and didn’t turn to pet her she would sit down next to my chair and lick my elbow until I gave her my full attention. We shared a mutual hatred of cold weather and spent a lot of time in front of the fireplace, but if the sun was shining we would get outside for a lunchtime walk. After my wife’s knee surgery, it was just the two of us for a while. One day we were working our way around the edge of the park and I decided we should cut through the field to avoid the corner house with a particularly loud dog. We had walked through the field before, but on this day Hope lit up and started to excitedly bop around. She ran a few feet then plopped down, rolled over the lead, and looked at me. She loved rolling around in the grass. I ran up to her and rolled her back over, she then jumped up, ran another ten feet, and did it again. It was the first time I saw her let go of anxiety and be playful outside. It is my fondest memory of her.” Hope Love’s Dad, Todd