In Memory of Tess

Roxy Therapy Dog Tess

Roxy Therapy Dog Tess

Roxy will miss our amazing and always smiling canine volunteer, Tess, who passed away suddenly last week. To know Tess was to love her. She had a calm and gentle spirit that allowed her to be in tune with the people around her. Her smile made people happy wherever she went!  

Please see the lovely tribute below from her handler, Mary Zucal.

To all my fellow Roxy Therapy Dog Volunteers,

Tess, my sweetie girl, was in the last liter of Woodsman Clumber Spaniels; a long line of show, hunting, and therapy dogs. She flew from Oregon to the Philadelphia Airport in August 2011. As we entered the holding area we realized everyone wanted to meet the precious pup waiting patiently in her crate. To say we fell in love immediately is no exaggeration. She peaked her head out, walked right over to me, and melted my heart. I knew then we would be a good team.

We trained a lot the first year; she earned her AKC Star Puppy certificate, finished a novice class and a canine good citizen class, and passed the AKC CGC test in October 2012. In February 2013, she passed the Therapy Dogs International test and immediately started visits at nursing homes including Pine Run Health Center. I came to realize we were both best visiting with families of the residents, adults and children. So in December 2014 we joined the Animal Assisted Therapy group at Doylestown Hospital where Tess flourished. She had a way of slowing down as people walked by just in case they’d catch her eye and stop to say hello. Tess had beautiful, caring, almost human eyes.

I noticed more and more how she was drawn to children so when the pediatrics unit opened at the hospital, we took the Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs test and joined Roxy Therapy Dogs. Roxy opened up a whole new world of children for Tess to meet and love. She was calm, patient, and her fur was oh so soft, that even children cautious around dogs and adults who weren’t dog people commented about how perfect she was for her job. She made countless people happy and I’m so grateful to have been her mom.

It’s hard to understand why any dog’s life is cut short but when it’s one so special, doing such good work, it’s that much more heartbreaking. But she didn’t suffer. And she truly enjoyed her life; from rides in the car with her nose peeking out the window to swims in the pool “hunting” for frogs, eating snow in the winter and raw green beans fresh from the garden in the summer, and of course carrots, all day, every day, fresh from the fridge.

Tess also liked to hunt and earned the first leg of her junior hunter title in April 2016. In January 2017, she also earned her AKC Therapy Dog title. I can’t imagine I’ll ever be lucky enough to have another dog as special as Tess. But that’s okay, because I had her. I hope she was greeted by her Uncle Cooper and her Mimi who so loved her company, and that they have lots and lots of carrots over the rainbow bridge.