Dorothy Must Finally Let Them Go: A Final Wish

five animals

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

Melanie 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 comment there and also made a new post of it just to make sure it gets the most circulation possible. Her comment is immediately below, then the original story’s text with links to the original story and updates so you can read all the wonderful comments from people all over the world.

Latest Update:

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.

Information from a recent update and the text of the original article

photo of dog on floor


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.

photo of long-haired cat under bed


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.


Here’s the original story, but please also click to that post to read all the wonderful comments…

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


Petey has been adopted, but you might like to know about him anyway. 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.

An Update on Dorothy’s Pets: A Final Wish

Chipin for Dorothy’s Pets: A Final Wish

A Final Wish

31 Comments on “Dorothy Must Finally Let Them Go: A Final Wish”

  1. […] Dorothy Must Finally Let Them Go: A Final Wish […]

  2. […] Dorothy Must Finally Let Them Go: A Final Wish […]

  3. […] Dorothy Must Finally Let Them Go: A Final Wish […]

  4. Melanie says:

    Dorothy passed away today around 2 p.m. We were on our way to Ohio to see her, but we didn’t get there in time. Her suffering is over. I hope she is at peace now.


    • animalartist says:

      Melanie, I’m glad her suffering is over. She can be with her animals and feel no pain. Thank you for keeping us updated on her, and I know we all wish you the best in continuing to find homes for the Mickey, Lillibel and Sylvester.

    • titflasher says:

      Melanie I am so sorry for your loss. You have done so much for her and I just wish I was nearer to be more help. Sending you love, strength and blessings.

  5. Melanie says:

    I would love to connect with other cat owners that have had a cat with similar allergies that Sylvester has. He’s allergic to grass, fleas, molds, and every mite they tested him for. The mites had the highest reactions. The depo medrol injection he received last didn’t seem to help him much. If anyone is still reading my comments on the blog and has experience with a cat like Sylvester, please e-mail me. I could really use as much information as possible to help him heal.


    • titflasher says:

      Hi Melanie

      I have a cat who is severly (and I mean exceptionally severely) allergic to fleas so if this is any help at all – when his allergy gets going, I treat the house at the same time as I treat him. He gets an anti-inflammatory injection and a steriod generally, which brings the allergy response down. However, it has to happen all at once, otherwise the allergy gets going again. Hope this helps.

  6. Melanie says:

    Dorothy has been moved into a short term hospice facility. Her breathing continued to get worse and on Friday she needed more help than they could provide in a home environment. She has a hard time talking on the phone now. It just makes her cough a lot. She is on high levels of morphine now and they had to increase her oxygen to help her. She’s only lucid part of the time. She’s forgetting a lot of things and doesn’t always understand what is going on around her. I called her tonight and she just kept asking when I was coming to get her and told me was scared and felt alone. She is visited at least 3 times a day by her friend that took her in, but Dorothy can’t remember. I’m hoping to travel to Ohio to see her on Saturday. One of the nice things about this hospice facility is that she can receive visits from Mickey and Lilibel.

    Her friend had a small get together at her house on Saturday evening. She told me that a couple of her friends expressed interest in Lilibel and Mickey. She’s hoping that when it’s time she will be able to get them into homes with her friends. That would be wonderful.

    Sylvester is still at Dorothy’s house. We have been trying to prepare a spot for another cat playpen in our basement, but we’ve been so busy it’s been baby steps. We take care of him every evening. He really loves the attention during our visits. He now comes out as soon as he sees us. He’s very snuggly and affectionate. He let us trim his nails tonight with no fuss. I’ve been cleaning his wounds and he doesn’t fight me at all. Sadly, the next day he has raw bleeding wounds because he continues to scratch at himself. He has a huge wound from the back of his neck all of the way down the the bottom. You can actually see muscle tissue in some areas because he’s scratched the skin away so much. I’ve been treating it as an open wound, but I’m considering wrapping his neck tomorrow. He just won’t leave it alone.

    I am having trouble getting him to eat the limited ingredient foods I purchased for him. He’d nearly rather starve. This is going to be harder than I thought. I’m used to my cats who will eat nearly anything we put in front of them.

    We still do need a permanent home for Sylvester. I know I will not be able to provide the care for him he will need. I just have too much on my plate already and I cannot take any funds away from my own pets, especially my 3 senior dogs with their medical issues.

    I have just over $500.00 in donations towards Sylvester’s care. That will get us started. The Veterinary Dermatologist estimated that his care could run into $2400.00 per year at least until his symptoms are under control. The maintenance care will be less expensive over time. The Atopica is $118.00 per month. That is a medication that is supposed to help ease his itching and lessen the self mutilation. Initial treatment would be daily, but as he improves it could be given every other day and then every 3 days.

    I still have my appointment with a holistic vet on the 6th. I’m hoping he can provide us with more affordable and safer alternatives for treatment.

    I visited Petey this past Saturday. He was so happy to see us. It was really sad to leave him behind. He went to his new home today. I didn’t get to meet his new owners, but his foster mom told me she would give them my information and ask them to let me know how he’s doing. I hope they do.

    I spoke with Barney’s new mom this weekend too. Barney is doing great in his new home. She said he seems very happy there.

    Thanks again everyone.


    • animalartist says:


      I’m actually kind of glad Dorothy is declining so quickly. This is the most painful and confusing part of her illness and I hope she isn’t in pain for very long, morphine or not.

      I’m glad the dogs are doing well! That is such good news for both of them. At least that worked out well.

      And I hope Lillibel and Mickey do get to go home with a trusted friend.

      I also hope the holistic vet can give you some other options. I’ve heard that acupuncture can be very helpful with an allergic reaction that’s gone this far. The limited-ingredient foods just don’t taste very good, but you could try one of the premium grain-free foods, or even cook chicken and give that to him for one meal. I’ll put the word out for more information about a condition like Sylvester’s.

      Good luck, and thanks for the updates!

  7. Melanie says:

    Dorothy has continued to decline in her health. I am hoping to get to see her at least 1 more time before it’s time for her to leave this earth.

    Sylvester is doing better. I finally got him to come out from hiding the other night by turning on the TV really loud like Dorothy always had it. He came out looking for her, but found me instead. He let me pet him and he seemed quite content to let me spend time with him. He’s still scared, but he came out last night without me turning on the TV. He’s purring now and even flopped and rolled around a bit while I was giving him scratches. He’s still scratching quite a bit and has a huge wound on his neck. I tried to clean it up some last night and he let me.

    I am currently still caring for the ferals. There’s only a couple left. I am trying to get the cat loving neighbors involved to help care for them. I will continue to care for them until I know they have a regular feeder and appropriate shelter. I have a few of them at my house since I was removing friendly cats and kittens over the last couple of years. I was never able to find the owners for the friendly cats even though I tried. My goal has been to find them homes, but no adopters have come forward for most of them. I had a mother and daughter that looked like long haired siamese cats from there. They were adopted quickly. Three are solid black and one is a long haired gray tabby and this weekend we will be adding Sylvester. Sometimes I think that if I would have never met Dorothy I wouldn’t have so many darn cats! LOL

    That last day for the chip in is January 31st if anyone would still like to make a donation.

    Thanks so much.


    • Kelly Wilson says:

      Melanie, are you on facebook. Please email me asap, I prepared a general pet pardon for the last of Dorothy’s pets and I’m going to help you home them if possible. I am redundant as I offered before Christmas and it got so crazy it slipped my mind. Please see my fb page if you are so we can connect immediately

    • animalartist says:

      Kelly, thanks! I think Melanie is busy during the day Saturday but we may hear from her later. I’m not sure she is on FB, but we certainly appreciate your help! I will e-mail her directly in case she didn’t sign up for comments here.

  8. Melanie says:

    Dorothy has been moved to Ohio today and has been reunited with Mickey and Lilibel. She has a room set up for her with a hospital bed, oxygen, etc. She will also have a visiting nurse. Her doctor doesn’t feel it will be much longer now.

    Dorothy is very happy with her new arrangement. Even though she was getting hospice care a few times a week, plus regular visits from me and her neighbors, she was alone more than she felt safe with. Her breathing was just too labored.

    Now she will have someone with her 24/7 and I think that makes her feel more secure that when she needs help it will be there immediately.

    The house felt so empty tonight. We cleaned out the fridge and it felt so final even though she’s not gone. It all feels very wrong. It was hard.

    I took care of Sylvester and fed the ferals. Sylvester is in so much pain and won’t let us near him. He keeps hissing at us if we try to touch him. He is just hiding all of the time. Plus I’m sure it has been extremely stressful with so many changes over the last few days and now he’s all by himself. No dogs, not other cats, no Dorothy. My heart is breaking for him.

    I wasn’t able to get a vet appointment until February 6th. I’m so frustrated. I want to help him so bad but feel so limited in what I can do due to finances and because these specialty vets only work during business hours when I work. We are going to try to bring him to my home this weekend and set him up in a cage in our basement where he won’t have as much exposure to his biggest allergen, dust mites. I started mixing the allergen free food with his regular food to switch him over. I also started him on Omega 3 fatty acids. So far he won’t touch his food. I have to keep an eye on that.

    As much as I want to help Sylvester I am starting to wonder if it is humane to keep him going in the condition he is in. He has wounds all over his body with secondary skin infections. He just scratches and bites at himself. He doesn’t have fleas since he is regularly treated. I just don’t want to give up on him. I bought those soft nail caps to try to put on, but I need to be about to touch him without hurting him first. This is really so sad.

    I was told that when Dorothy was leaving today she said good-bye to Sylvester and told him she hopes he has a good life wherever he goes. It killed me.

    So this is my latest update. I’m so sorry it is not more positive. These days are harder now and I’m just trying to keep moving forward as much as I can. I never thought that 3 years ago when I helped Dorothy TNR her feral colony I would develop such a close friendship with someone so much older than me. I always told her she was the best Grandma I ever had. I think I’m having a harder time now than I did when my own Grandmother died of cancer a few years ago.

    Thanks again for everything.


    • animalartist says:

      Melanie, it’s kind of the curse of a kind and loving person like yourself that you also feel the pain of loss so deeply. I’m glad Dorothy has more appropriate care, and also that you no longer have her and a household to care for; it can be frightening to have all those lives in your care, but you’ve done an incredible job.

      It’s also too bad you can’t work with Sylvester a little more easily. It sounds like he needs a heck of a lot of help emotionally and physically. I hope you can get him into your home sometime soon so he’s easier to care for, and perhaps he’ll calm down from all the stress factors around him.

      What will happen to the feral colony now that Dorothy is no longer there?

      Good luck with it all. I hope someone can take on one or two of the cats. The friends I know who might already have their hands full.

      Glad you found another grandma for a while.


    • titflasher says:

      Melanie it sounds like Sylvester just needs some steroids to calm the allergy down. One of my cats gets this and it just takes one flea to set it all off. The allergy won’t go away with the steroids but once he has them it should start to hep straight away. How awful you can’t get to see a vet til the 6 february!! :-((. thinking of you, Dorothy and the animals and just wishing I wasn’t an ocean away.

    • titflasher says:

      Re Sylvester – that is good news x

  9. Melanie says:

    Dorothy was taken to the hospital today. Her lungs have filled with fluid. She is being monitored closely and will likely have a drainage tube inserted. She is not allowed to return home because she now requires daily care. When she is released from the hospital, she will be moving in with her friend and power of attorney in Ohio. Her friend works from home and will be able to provide daily care for here there. She will also still be receiving hospice nursing care while there. It is about 2 hours away so I am hoping I will be able to see her on the weekends.

    Lilibel and Mickey will be living with Dorothy in Ohio while I continue to look for homes for them. Sylvester is being left in Dorothy’s home for me to care for. I will be scheduling his appointment with the holistic vet this week to see what else I can do for him. I will be leaving him at Dorothy’s home for now and care for him every evening until we figure out how to proceed with him and his special needs.

    The people that visited with Petey in his foster home loved him and are proceeding with his adoption. I am hoping to see him this weekend before he leaves his foster home to move in with his new owners.

    Barney is continuing to come around in his new home. He is still doing some growling at the resident dogs, but it sounds like there is improvement. Overall he’s doing much better than I expected due to his age and how we had to remove him so quickly.

    I will be pulling the donations from the Chip In account to start Sylvester’s medical treatment, but also hope to be able to provide a donation to Animal Advocates and Barney’s new owner. I also want to get a nice gift card for the awesome couple that helped me yesterday with the vet bill for Mickey and Lilibel.

    Thank you all for keeping us in your thoughts and thank you Bernadette for allowing me to continue to post updates to this blog.


    • animalartist says:

      Melanie, it must be so hard to watch Dorothy decline. I’m glad Lilibel and Mickey have a clean bill of health and they can go with her while we still look for homes. I’m sure a solution for Sylvester can be found as well.

      And the news about Petey and Barney is wonderful, especially Barney. What a surprise that he’s done so well with leaving Dorothy and going to a new home at this point in his illness.

      Please keep us updated, and now we can focus on the three cats.

  10. Melanie says:

    Lilibel and Mickey were seen by the vet today. They had full exams and there vaccines were updated. I am happy to say that they are in perfect health for their ages and are doing great. A wonderful young lady and her husband met us there and, even though the vet bill was much higher than I expected, they paid for it. I am so appreciative of their help.

    So besides there ages, Lilibel and Mickey are quite adoptable and have a lot of years left in them.

    I need to start working on filling out the paperwork to put them on Animal Friends’ waiting list.

    Barney’s new owner brought him in to the vet as well. He is doing better in his new home and the vet feels he is also doing well for his age! The lump that Dorothy stated was cancer is actually just a benign old dog tumor!!!

    Petey had an adopter come to see him today in his foster home. I haven’t received an update yet on how that went, but will post when I know more.

    I think we have the dogs all settled. We are still need adopters for the cats. So far we do not have any potential adopters for the cats, but I am still holding out hope.


  11. Melanie says:

    Tonight was the most heartbreaking thing I’ve had to do so far. When we got to Dorothy’s house she told me that she thought she was going to die today. She said she wished she would because she doesn’t want to suffer like this. I can’t even begin to tell you how hard that was to hear. She gathered all of Barney’s things and said her good-byes. She was crying when we left. So was I.

    Barney may still need a place to live. The resident dog in the new home, though 16 years old, was a bit dominant with Barney and Barney was growling back. I’ve never heard that before. We’re going to see how things go over the next few days. One thing has been made very clear to me. Barney cannot go back home to Dorothy even if things do not work out in this new home. I guess we’ll just wait and see how things go.

    Today was definitely the hardest day so far. I’ll continue to post updates as I have time.

  12. Melanie says:

    Dorothy is home and did not end up going to the hospital. Her hospice care nurse was able to get Dorothy stabilized at home. She is still having a hard time breathing, but the hospice social worker stated that this is sadly going to continue as she declines. They stated this is truly the beginning of the end. I’m heartbroken.

    Things are moving very quickly now in so many ways my head is spinning. With the deadline to finding homes so close now, I’m in panic mode.

    I’m taking Barney to his new home tonight and hopefully it will work out. I am still taking him to the vet on Saturday for an exam and I am also taking Lilibel and Mickey to have them checked over and have their vaccines updated.

    I talked to the Veterinary Dermatologist today for Sylvester. The news is not good. She does consider him to be a severe allergy case and his self mutilation is causing a lot of damage. He is in constant discomfort. She felt that if someone could not be be fully committed to him financially and with the time to care for him, that it may be more kind to euthanize him. Dorothy, even though I love her dearly, has not followed through with anything the vet has recommended. She still let Sylvester outside even though he’s allergic to fleas and grass and she refused to feed him the recommended diet because “he didn’t like it”. Since that’s the case, I want to see how he does on this special diet with regular flea treatment and being kept indoors only. Also, I’m going to take him to a holistic vet to get their opinion on if we can help Sylvester using alternative therapies that may be less expensive. I am not yet willing to give up on him.

    People have continued to donate the the Chip In account and I have decided to use that towards Sylvester to see if we can start getting him more comfortable.

    Thank you all once again for your support. Thank you Bernadette to continue to post my updates. You’ve been a tremendous help. And thank everyone that has donated.

    I will continue to update as things progress.

    • animalartist says:

      Melanie, I wondered that about Sylvester, and I’m glad you’re taking it under control. It’s such an easy thing to solve and then he’s a completely different cat and really has no compromising condition that requires excessive care, just be careful about fleas and diet.

      I’m glad Dorothy can stay home for a while longer, but I’m sure it’s not nice to watch.

      I hope Barney works out where he’s going, and I really whish I could take one but my current house doesn’t permit.

      Dorothy and the cats’ stories will be on Life With tomorrow. That brought in a lot of support and interest for Skeeter, I hope it will do the same for these three.

      Good luck, Melanie, just let us know what happens.

    • Melanie says:

      Can you provide me with a link to the life with video about Dorothy’s pets? I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to look it up.


      • animalartist says:

        Melanie, they haven’t posted it yet and I didn’t get a chance to check with them and see if there was something they needed. I’ll e-mail and let you know. I actually think it’s good that Lilibel and Mickey have been to the vet and we can report their excellent health, and we can report that you have an appointment with him for a holistic vet.

        I will let you know what I hear and you let me know as well. LifeWithCats will be using all the information from the blog posts, including your comments, so add whatever you think is appropriate.

  13. Peg says:

    I just ‘shared’ the story — hoping maybe someone from Ambridge will see it.

  14. sharon says:

    I wish I could take them. Heartbreaking.

    • animalartist says:

      Sharon, I know, it’s been the hardest thing all this time not to say, “Oh, just give me Lilibel,” or something. I truly feel for Dorothy having to let them go, and Melanie trying to take care of it all.

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