Our shelter family experienced the sudden loss of one of our young volunteers this past week. Lauren was only 13 when she died, but she lived a life that was full of love, laughter, kindness and joy. She always came to the shelter with a smile on her face and a heart full of love to give to the animals that were in our care.
Involvement in MLDHS was a family affair: Lauren’s mother is a board member and volunteer, and the family has taken serveral dogs into their home to foster, some of which were adopted by grandparents and uncles. She and her sister came up with some pretty great names for dogs and cats, and formed some unbreakable bonds with them. When Lauren’s favorite former foster dog Hobbes was adopted, I asked her to make sure she told her family that he found his home. She said so poignantly “I am really sad, because he was my best friend here.”
She was an animal advocate through and through. She participated in 4-H obedience training with her beloved dog Bella and loved the teachings of Caesar Milan. Some of our volunteers were able to share the experience of seeing his seminar in Saskatoon with her, which was very special. She and her family attended our fundraisers and volunteer functions and were always willing to help out wherever they could. Our shelter family only knew Lauren for a short time, but what a difference she has made in our lives…
We bid farewell to this beautiful young lady yesterday. It was moving to hear the stories and memories from her family, and get to know this beautiful girl that we had the opportunity to know in the last year of her life. She has left a profound impact on the world and will live on in the hearts of the people and animals that had the good fortune of knowing her.
On behalf of the animals in our shelter, Jeff and I wrote the following poem for Lauren. We had all of the shelter dogs and some cats sign it with their painted paws, had it framed and presented it to her family as a reminder of the lasting impact her kindness has left on the animals that she knew and loved.
We Miss You So Much
Because you liked us the moment we arrived
And because you always cared
You made sure we had what we needed
And kept us calm when we were scared.
You taught us love, kindness, compassion
And we found a best friend in you
A piece of you lives on in all of us
That we’ll carry our whole lives through.
You had such kind words and patience
You brightened our day with a smile
A tummy rub and a scratch behind the ears
You walked us for miles and miles.
We could only show how it meant so much
With wagging tails and loud, content purrs
But if you only knew the difference you made
And how far that love went beyond these words.
Just because we couldn’t talk back and forth
Made no difference to what we have shared
We’ll keep your memory alive in our hearts
Because you helped us, loved us, and you cared.
(Lauren with her Dog Bella & 4-H Achievement Day 2011)
Lauren, Thank you for reminding us to be kind to others, live in the moment, love with all of our hearts, and find joy and laughter in every day. You will truly be missed.
(Wreath made for Lauren on Behalf of MLDHS Volunteers)