A Final Wish

five animals

Lilibel, Sylvester, Mickey, Barney and Petey are looking for homes.

In our rambles finding our forever pets, we’ve all encountered a lifelong animal rescuer, an individual so dedicated to capturing animals and making them well and whole that their life story is wrapped around with all the animals they saved. Such is Dorothy, who has saved and nurtured probably more animals than she can remember.

And in these extended families of rescued animals are always those who stayed with the rescuer because they were difficult to adopt with extreme or complicated medical needs, behavioral issues resulting from abuse or simply a personality that didn’t quite fit into another household. A rescuer like Dorothy would simply keep them on and care for them for the rest of their lives.

Dorothy has tragically developed brain cancer and is very near the end of the time she’ll be able to care for the five animals who still live with her, and as her final wish for their welfare she’d love to know they are in loving homes before she succumbs to her condition. If you can foster or adopt, or know of a rescue or shelter that has room for any of these special needs cats or dogs, Dorothy’s friend Melanie is the contact person whose information is at the bottom. Please share this as far as you can and hope that Lilibel, Mickey, Sylvester, Barney and Petey can find homes as nurturing as Dorothy’s.

From Melanie

My dear friend is nearing the end of her life due to cancer. She has 5 great pets that need re-homed soon. Dorothy would like to continue to care for her pets until she is too ill to do so. This could be a couple of weeks to another month or so. Dorothy has been a rescuer and friend to the underdog for most of her life. She is really trying to hang in there to make sure her pets find great new homes. I hope you can help make her final wish come true.

photo of white cat


This gem is Lilibel. Lilibel is approx. 11-12 years old.

photo of white cat


She was declawed by her previous owners. Lilibel tends to be a wall flower, but will come around to make herself known now and then. She is super sweet and cuddly with Dorothy, but takes her time warming up to strangers. Lilibel has an eye condition called chorioretinal scarring, but she is not blind from the condition. She also carries the feline herpes virus, but is managed well with Lysine.

photo of orange cat


This orange cutie is my absolute favorite cat! His name is Mickey. Mickey is approx. 12 years old and is just as sweet as can be. He loves cuddle. You can hold him like a baby and he’ll stay like that forever. He’s the sweetest cat I’ve ever met. Everyone loves Mickey. He’s just that cool.

photo of orange cat


When Mickey was younger he suffered from a urinary blockage. Since then he’s had a couple of surgeries to remove scar tissue from his bladder. This has caused chronic inflammation of the bladder and unfortunately does suffer from inappropriate urination. Some of this could be behavioral, but it’s mostly a medical issue. This could probably be controlled with the appropriate medications. He needs someone that is understanding and willing to work with him regarding this issue.

photo of long-haired cat under bed


This is Sylvester. He’s approx. 5 years old. Sylvester suffers from allergic dermatitis and he had severe skin wounds when he was found. He allowed Dorothy to bathe him and bandage him. He is so patient and gentle. He really trusts Dorothy and is very close to her. He is extremely sweet, but needs time to trust someone new. I pet sat for Dorothy once while she was in the hospital. Sylvester hid most of the evening, but I woke up on the couch with him sleeping on my chest. Sylvester still has skin wounds from his allergies. Sylvester was under the care of a dermatologist at PVSEC and needs to continue care with them.

photo of dog on floor


Barney is 15 and has Cushings, seizures, and cancer. He is really looking for hospice care.

photo of dog


Even though Barney has these health issues, he is still full of life. Barney loves going on walks, acts like a puppy when it’s time for “cookies”, and loves a good butt scratch. He’s a scraggle-butt cutie that still has a lot of fun left in him.

photo of dog on bed


This little guy is Petey. Petey is about 3-4 years old. He’s a Jack Russell mix so Petey will require a home that can run him and wear him out. Petey requires a lot of attention and wants to be close all of the time. Dorothy is his third home.

photo of dog


Sadly, Petey may have been abused in his past. He required hip surgery on both hips because he “fell down the steps” in his last home. Though Petey went through a lot before getting to Dorothy, he is a snuggle bug and is incredibly sweet. Petey does need an alpha owner. He is very submissive with me and my husband, but tends to be more pushy with Dorothy. Since Dorothy has become more ill and has not been able to provide Petey with the exercise outlet he requires, he has become frustrated and has be-gun to take it out on the other animals in the home even though he’s lived with them for 2 years. Dorothy is ok with having Petey re-homed sooner rather than later because she realizes that he needs more than she can provide him in her current condition.

Download the flyer and send it in e-mail

Melanie made up a flyer to distribute so you can share it as an e-mail attachment or print it out and post it.

Contact Melanie

These guys currently live in Baden, PA. If you are interested in adopting one of these cool critters, Melanie will take them to the vet to receive an exam and if necessary update their vaccines prior to adoption. You can e-mail Melanie.

71 Comments on “A Final Wish”

  1. […] A Final Wish Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  2. titflasher says:

    Hi there, is there any update on these lovely animals?

  3. […] A Final Wish Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  4. […] A Final Wish Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  5. […] posted a detailed update on Dorothy’s pets on the original story, A Final Wish, and Dorothy must give up her pets and likely leave home for the hospital. I’ve left the […]

  6. Melanie says:

    Sadly, Dorothy has started on a very fast downward spiral. Her breathing has been very labored. I have been doing my best to keep up with her needs and the needs of her pets. I just received an emergency call from Dorothy’s POA. Dorothy cannot breathe today and will possibly be on her way to the hospital. Dorothy cannot care for the pets any more and has finally asked for them to be removed from the home. The POA (asked that her name not be mentioned) has asked me to remove Barney tonight and the cats by this weekend. I will be contacting Barney’s potential adopter to see if she can take Barney right away. I really need homes or foster homes for the cats as soon as possible. If anyone can help I would really appreciate it.

    Thank you.

  7. […] posted a detailed update on Dorothy’s pets on the original story, A Final Wish. I’ve left the comment there and also made a new post of it just to make sure it gets the […]

  8. Melanie says:

    Latest Update:
    Petey was about to be taken to a shelter today, but just in time, an incredible foster home came through. Petey is now listed with Animal Advocates and is the featured dog on their web site.

    I want to thank Patty Murphy and the wonderful people that offered to foster Petey until a permanent home can be found. If anyone is interested in Petey or know of someone that can provide the loving and disciplined home Petey needs his postings can be located here:


    Barney is starting to show his age more. I think it’s possible that he may not be with us long enough to see a new home. His potential adopter is very understanding and patient regarding the situation.

    To date we don’t have any adopters for any of the cats.

    Dorothy is still hanging in there. Her short term memory continues to get worse as well as her breathing. I think everyone is surprised though at how she is still really fighting this cancer as it has spread through her lungs, brain, and now liver. She’s truly sticking around to make sure her pets are found great homes.

    To date we have raised $370.00 through the Chip In site. I would really like to be able to get Sylvester’s medical care taken care of so we could really use more traffic to the Chip In site.


    Right now Sylvester has a very large wound on his neck from scratching and his poor bum area is raw from him biting at it. I need to get him more comfortable, but I cannot afford his care and Dorothy’s funds are currently wrapped up in paying for her hospice care and medical treatment. Any help would really be incredible. Also I would love to see Animal Advocates get some donations for really stepping up and going out of their way to help us with Petey. I’m going to make a donation to them once I have Dorothy’s pets settled and their medical expenses taken care of.

    The word about Dorothy’s pets spread quickly and nationally. I want to thank everyone who forwarded my plea and donated to the Chip In. It’s been wonderful to receive so much support. Things have really died down and I still need homes for the Lilibel, Mickey,and Sylvester. If anyone has any suggestions to help me get the cats into loving homes, please let me know. I have sent many e-mails and left many voice mails with cat groups that I am comfortable working with, but so far I have not received any responses.

    Once again, thank you to all that have helped so far. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.


  9. […] If you don’t know the story yet, please read below, and visit the original post to read the volume of comments from people all over the […]

  10. Kat says:

    I hope everyone will consider donating to the Chip In account that Melanie has set up for Dorothy’s pets (to help handle possible transport, medical needs, and/or donations to an appropriate rescue group). Even five dollars–or one dollar!–will help. I have also posted the Chip In link to my social networks. Happy Holidays, all, and I hope we can make this a special holiday for Dorothy and her little ones.


  11. Melanie says:

    I was contacted by someone that wanted to make a donation towards Dorothy’s pets. I had no way to accept donations so she suggested I use Chip In. I’m new to this so I hope I have this all set up correctly.

    If you would like to make a donation towards Dorothy’s pets you can do it here.

    Thank you.


  12. Melanie says:

    Just wanted to provide a quick update. I believe we have a great placement for Barney. I just need to complete the home visit and we need to introduce Barney to her current senior dog to make sure they will get along. If all of that checks out, Barney will have a home to go to when it is time.

    I have had no local interest in Dorothy’s other pets at this time. I have received an e-mail for Petey and one for Sylvester or Lilibel from out of state. I have explained that we are still trying to place locally, but asked them to complete my application so that we can consider them if we need to move towards out of state adoptions. So far no one has expressed interest in Mickey. It’s a shame, because he really is an awesome cat.

    The reason we are trying to place locally is so that I can perform reference checks, home visits and follow ups. Also if an adoption did not work out I need to be able to intervene to look for new placement. Basically it is so I can keep as much control over their placement as possible to make sure the adoptions are going to work out, especially if there are other pets in the home. We cannot guarantee all animals will get along. If we were to transport Petey out of state into a home with other pets and they did not work out, I’m not sure how to manage that. If we do choose to go out of state, I will need assistance with home visits, follow ups, and transport. I need to know that someone can assist with out of state adoptions and can help if an adoption did not work out.

    I have received many e-mails regarding other rescue groups to look into. Dorothy really does not want the pets to go into shelters or caged situations, but we also know that we will need to research these groups to have as a back up plan. I have started a list to begin to contact.

    At one point in time I received over 100 responses in one day. Many more e-mails made it into my spam filter. I did my best to go through every one of them and respond to as many as I could. If anyone was interested in adopting and you did not receive a response, please contact me again.

    Since then I am receiving about 2 – 5 responses daily so it will be easier to keep up with now.

    To clear up any confusion on Best Friends. Dorothy made it clear that if her pets had to go to a rescue group, the only one she trusted was Best Friends. Yes, she did make significant donations to them over the years. They were contacted regarding the dogs and cats. They stated that are unable to help with any of the pets and were unable to provide assistance of any sort to the pets.

    I was not surprised by this and here’s why http://home.comcast.net/~petrescue/blackie.html.

    I am currently very sick with bronchitis and I have asthma which is making it much worse. I still need to go to work so I am trying to sleep when I get home. If I am delayed at responding I apologize. I also have 17 of my own pets to manage when I do get home and I am doing my best to keep up with everything. Luckily my husband is doing a great job at helping manage our own critter kingdom while I try to get better.

    Thanks so much for all of the well wishes and referrals to other groups. I need all the help I can get. This has proven to be a very overwhelming task.

    Thanks again.

    • animalartist says:

      Melanie, you are an absolute saint for handling this! I’ve done this twice through the years and I know how it is. I’m still personally appealing to individuals who I know have the skills and experience–and of course they already have their own households. It’s great news about Barney and I do hope we can start finding other homes soon.

    • mary says:

      Melanie read your story so sad poor blackie so sorry but the babie I know they do good work but I went threw a simaliar thing with a english bull dog they told me they could not help me because he was aggressive to other dogs but i was luck lone star bull dog took him and he has a home know wish blackie could og gotten that to I have been talking with Dorren Jeurink she is the Community Animal Assistance Specialist doreenj@bestfriends.org
      435-644-2001 x4890 but if they to accept stewie i have to find transport to get him there they don’t help with that I don’t know what to do or who to trust with him all i know he has been at the vets to long and him being fiv it is hard to get a good home for him but i am trying well good luck and could you send me an email on who still needs a home and who goes to there new home and i will see who i have in pa to help out thank you for all you do she is lucky to have a friend like you it is hard to find good friends

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ok because I have a rescue cat that has been at the vets for two months trying to heal and we are filling out the papers for them to see if he is a canidit for them he came around my house and I started to feed him but then one day he showed up with two holes on his side o couldn’t get them to heal but he is doing ok so best friend won’t take the animals thatshe has is that what you are saying and if so that is wrongi am in contact with dorren over there does dorothy want them togo there if so I can get you her info let me know for me I thought that they would be better place for my stewie that is what I call him he is also fiv so let me know take care

    • animalartist says:

      Apparently she did contact them, at least for Barney, but they could neither take them nor offer any assistance. I don’t know the details but it’s awfully far for Barney now.

      Hope Stewie turns out okay!

  14. mary says:

    I have shared with all my rescue friends but there is one place i would like you to know about so these babies do not go there it is a bad place it is in new jersey and it is called angels gate hospic they are not what they seem i have seen videos of this place and peta is trying to shut it down the animal suffer there and they take donations andthe animals don’t get the care so please if these people contact you tell them no we will try to get them loving home for her . for what i have read dorothy you are an angel for what you have done for all the fur babies you have saved we need more angels like you . my prays are with you

    • animalartist says:

      Thank you for the warning Mary! Dorothy is truly an angel and has certainly earned her wings already.

    • Carol E McCormick says:

      Anything that PETA approves re: companion animals means you should do the opposite.

      • animalartist says:

        Carol, that is sad to hear about Best Friends. We just never know where to turn at times like this, and animal hospice is so new many people don’t even know it exists. I fully agree with you about PETA too, and for the most part, I’ve been supporting more local organizations instead of the big national ones.

    • Carol E McCormick says:

      The animal hospice I volunteer at recommended GreyMuzzle.org. They help others in other states who help senior dogs. They have a facebook site and if you go to their website, and go to PA, you will see an org in PA who helps senior dogs. Hope it works.
      We need to establish some more animal hospices in the US. There is a huge need. ❤

    • Anonymous says:

      So is there something wrong with beat friends

      • animalartist says:

        No, Best Friends does fine work, but they used to take in animals from all over and now they don’t. Not that donations should put one animal ahead of another, but Dorothy was a big donor to Best Friends because she, too, was taking in last chance animals.

  15. Ruth says:

    I too am in the Uk and wish there was something that I could do to help.What a sad situation,my deepest thoughts are with Dorothy and these babies and I hope they all get re-homed.xxx

  16. titflasher says:

    Am in the UK but am sharing on my blog in the hope it will help. I wish Dorothy an easy passing and I hope with all of my heart that you find homes for her beloved animals.

  17. Teresa Javid says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. I will do the very best I can and repost and share. God Bless you Miss Dorothy, I don’t know you but sure wish I did, if you need a friend I’m here ❤ thank you Melanie, bless your heart.

  18. Melanie says:

    Thanks so much everyone. I may finally have someone interested in providing Barney with a hospice home until he passes. She uses the same vet that Dorothy does and after speaking with her today it seems that she really would provide a very loving home for him. I have sent her my application and will also follow up with a home visit. After that is complete I will speak with Dorothy and see if she is ready to start meeting potential adopters and having the pets meet to make sure it is a good match. We will be keeping Dorothy’s pets with her until either she is ready to let go or her health decides for her, whichever comes first. Potential adopters need to understand that her pets are keeping her alive at this time and we want to keep them with her as long as possible.

    We are trying to place everyone locally at this time because Dorothy wants me to perform a home visit. However, we also understand that we may reach out to other locations and possibly request help from local rescue groups in other areas to help screen potential adopters and then set up transport if necessary. Our goal is to avoid the animals having to go to a shelter.

    We have reached out to Best Friends. Over the years Dorothy has made substantial donations to Best Friends in Utah. However, they were unable to help in this situation. They were not able to provide any type of assistance.

    I thank everyone for their help. This is so important to Dorothy and I want her to pass knowing that each of them are going to permanent and loving homes.


    • Kat says:

      Melanie–As I am in WA state, I can’t help directly with this wish other than sharing the story with anyone I know who is even remotely near PA, but…

      I can’t help but think that this is the kind of story that local news organizations would like to hear, especially given Dorothy’s selflessness over the years, and the fact that it’s the holiday season. Have you contacted any of them? A short human-interest story is often what local news looks for, and it would get the word out quickly to potential help in your own area.

      Just an idea, but if I can help in any way from this distance, I will do whatever I can. We’re all pulling for Dorothy and her special ones. (I have 10, and 7 of them are special needs–I get it, truly, I understand.)


    • Kat says:

      As an addendum to my other post, if you do contact news organizations, play this as a human interest story, not necessarily a pet story. (This from experience–they want people stuff, not so much pet stuff.) For example: Long Time Pet Friend and Rescuer Has One Final Christmas Wish, etc. I truly hope all this helps.


    • Carol E McCormick says:

      Best Friends sadly has changed and no longer takes your animals if you have contributed huge sums to them. It doesn’t sound like her animals are meant for a communal life like Best Friends would provide anyway.
      I am a big supporter of hospice. My family consists only of my husband and I and our rescues. We are down to just 3 dogs as my husband and I are now both disabled. No matter how much money we are willing to pay, we cannot find anyone we trust to take our dogs should we die before them. On facebook I am constantly heartbroken to try to place a dog of someone who has left money and their dying wish that their son or some relative take the dog and use the money and then the son will dump the senior dog at a kill shelter. We are hoping to out live our current dogs, but what if we are suddenly killed in a car crash? We are so upset about this. A wise and rich org should step up and take this over. ❤

  19. I admire her last thoughts are of her babies.I have five right now of my own,cats. I have been thinking of getting a dog,waiting for God to give me a sign.I think Petey is the one He is used to being around cats and they would not let him get away with too much.One small hitch I live in Columbia,South Carolina.If we could figure out a way to get him down here that would be great.

    • animalartist says:

      Louisa, that’s wonderful news! If we could arrange transportation in shifts–I could get someone to drive partway to another person and then to you for instance–would you be able to drive somewhat north of where you are?

    • Melanie says:

      Petey is really a great dog, but he does come with requirements. He is very high strung and high energy. He needs an assertive owner that will be able to meet his exercise needs and keep his behavior in check. Lately Petey is not having his needs met and is very frustrated. He has begun to attack Barney and he’s gone after the cats a few times. If my husband can go over and run him for a couple of miles this behavior improves for a day or two. He has not injured the other pets, but he is now being kept separated from the other pets. If you think you could meet his needs, please let me know and we can discuss more in detail.


  20. bronx56 says:

    I also am a rescuer, I have 4 elderly and sick dogs and 1 cat.(she’s healthy and young) also, I live in N.M. so I am not able to take any of them. I will however more than gladly post and repost until some one steps up. Just please promise that these people will be checked out. I have heard and read of people taking in animals only to neglect and or abandon them later. I wish Dorothy a painless end and that she goes knowing that her fur babies are in good hands. Thanks for posting this.

  21. animalartist says:

    Thanks to everyone for reading, for sharing and for sending loving thoughts to Dorothy and her animals. Not just anyone could take special needs animals, but the more we get the word out, the more likely it is that someone or some rescue can adopt them. Keep sharing, and if there’s any update I’ll post it immediately.

  22. Cheryl Hoyles says:

    Ok just re read and see they are in PA… not too far…

    • animalartist says:

      Cheryl, yes we are in western Pennsylvania but we may be able to find the means to transport Lilibel your way. She was living in a home with other cats and dogs, and Melanie only mentioned her being shy with people. Do you want to use the link to Melanie’s e-mail at the end of the article and ask? Melanie commented earlier today and I’m sure she’d be thrilled to hear someone is interested in Lilibel! Thank you!

  23. Cheryl Hoyles says:

    where are these pets located.. I live in NYC……. I love white cats.. so Lilibel would be a welcome addition to my home.. Does she get along with other cats and dogs.. or at least not get upset around them.. It has always been a fear of mine to get terminally sick and not know where all my animals would go… Please let me know if there is any way I can help… Dorothy must have piece of mind knowing they are all safe before she goes…

    • Melanie says:

      Lilibel tends to be aloof and stays in the background and watches everything going on around her. She is used to living with a lot of animals. Dorothy has had many more in her home over the years, but Lilibel has not been very accepting of Sylvester. She will swat at him if he walks to close to her. She is fine with Mickey, but she has lived with him for many years. She just ignores the dogs. We would need to discuss in more detail if you were interested. Right now we are trying to keep adoptions local so that I can screen and do a home visit. Obviously I realize that we may need to expand our search in order to find good homes for these guys.


  24. Stacy Orr says:

    My prayers are with Dorothy and these beautiful babies, unfortunately with my own medical issues I wouldn’t have the money to care properly for them, but I am in contact with rescues as I do foster. I will share this with everyone in NE Ohio and beyond. If you find a rescue but need a foster for awhile I can do that for any of these babies.

  25. Hoping,—so hoping that homes can be found for these special needs pets ! I wish I could take one. But,—I have my share of cats and dogs. Still,—I’ll continue to post and share this thread. Bless you, sweet Dorothy…

  26. Marie says:

    Another thought – and you may have already considered it – contact Best Friends in Kanab Utah. Special needs animals are their specialty and they have all the wonderful caretakers and facilities any pet could ever want. It’s a truly wonderful place.

  27. jennie says:

    I have a friend in NY who has always had special needs kitty’s and just lost one to cancer. It may be too soon for her but I sent her a copy of this.

  28. Melanie says:

    I want to thank you for posting my plea for Dorothy’s pets on your blog. So far we have only received well wishes, but no potential adopters. I will post if any adopters come forward.

    Thank you.

  29. Louise says:

    What a sad story, I pray for a miricle to make this last wish come true in good time. X

  30. My heart bleeds reading this… I wish I can help directly but I live in Indonesia. But I’ll share this on my facebook wall regularly and hope that somebody will do something about them.

    • animalartist says:

      Jeffrey, you’re off the hook all the way in Indonesia. I know that many cats in that country need homes too. But just the act of sharing the story means more people will see it, and the chances of finding homes is that much better. Thank you for commenting and for sharing the story.

  31. Glenys Hutchinson says:

    Your friend is truly like ‘Mrs Malone’ in the poem of that name by Eleanor Farjeon – she is assured of her place in heaven – it is a wonderful poem and reminds me of all the wonderful animal rescuers everywhere. I am in UK but am hoping her wishes come true and wonderful homes are found for her fur family xx

    • animalartist says:

      Glenys, the title of the poem sounds familiar, but I’m going to have to look it up! Surely Dorothy will be met at the bridge by many, many happy animals, and I think she’s already earned her wings. Wishes from anywhere are welcome. Thanks for reading her story.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I live in central PA and so wish I could help, but we also have 5, so I will share on my wall. We recently adopted 2 from Animal House Rescue in Mechanicsburg, PA. Perhaps you could contact them directly. They say they like taking in the difficult to place dogs, they don’t do the kitties tho, Good luck to all!

  33. Dianda says:

    Lilibel and Micky, if I could, I would take them in.

  34. Denise says:

    Dorothy is an angel. And her 4 legged darlings
    need to find new angels. They deserve love
    and care in forever homes. Dorothy deserves to
    know that.
    Bless them all.

  35. Marg says:

    Oh Gosh, that is what I am so afraid of when it is time for me to leave. I will put this link on my posts on my blog and on Facebook. I sure hope they all find a nice home. Thanks for letting us know.

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