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July 27, 2008


Although it has now been a half year since you lost Birdie, I am reading it for the first time today. I'm so sorry for your loss. My eyes are red and still teary, after reading your accounting of her last few days. We lost our dear "Bear" (blk lab/aussie mix) under very similar circumstances. We know the heart wrenching pain and the lingering loss of someone so extra special.
Thank you for sharing. A dog such as Birdie deserved such a eulogy after giving so much love and joy to you. You said it well.
God bless you and your work.

I just wanted to say first of all, my heart goes out to you and your wife. I truely understand your loss, and when I read this I felt the need to let you know. We had a English bulldog, just turned 4 in May and gave birth to her first and only litter one week later. We lost or dear Myrtle, almost 12 hours later, from a blood clot. Not only were we devasted and heartbroken, we had 9 of her babies to now raise without their mom. It was a very hard and long 4 months, as bulldogs require special care with their mom, let alone with out her. We tube fed them from day 1 and have now been blessed with 9 little ones to remind of us how wonderful she was. I just wanted to let you know, how much your story touched me, and how I understand your loss too.

god bless,

I am really sorry for your loss. You gave Birdie the best you could give and she knew you loved her everyday she was there with you.

Birdie, tell my animals hello at the bridge for me!

Haven't been on the site for a few days, so I was quite taken aback to read this post. I am so sorry for your loss of wonderful Birdie. Sending hugs and prayers to both of you.

We are so glad we got to meet that sweet silly girl. Your love for her and her love of being alive was so very apparent. It is hard no matter how it happens to have them pass out of our lives. Andy and I send our love.

I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that you find some comfort in the wonderful life you gave Birdie. She wouldnt have had a chance without you guys. Such a sad shock :(

SO sorry to hear about Birdie & definitely VERY unexpected. My thoughts & prayers are with you.

Oh Steve and Alayne, I'm so sorry! I've been out of town for several weeks b/c of a death in the family(in this case, human), and just got home to read the heart-wrenching news about dear Birdie and Laddie.
I first learned about RDR several years ago when Alayne visited Whitefish with love ambassador Birdie, who totally won my heart. I've been hooked ever since.
Words aren't enough. Hugs to you both and all the lucky critters you care for and love so deeply.

Debbie Burke

Birdie was a doll--a lovely sweet soul. She leaves a big hole. I am so sorry.

I discovered your ranch on accident through a web search and have been reading your blog every day since I found you. What you are doing is truly amazing. I envy you for having such a fulfilling purpose in life. But I do not envy you today as you are dealing with the loss of two wonderful animals. As a black lab owner myself, I understand what you mean about a day without Birdie not being a complete one. I am so so sorry for your loss. Words can't even begin to comfort... Take care.

Oh, my heart just breaks to read this news. Run free sweet Birdie...there are many of our fur-kids waiting for you! Steve and Alayne--bless you for all the love and devotion you give to so many lucky animals!

Birdie had a great life with you. He found a home at RDR and enjoyed his time with his buddies. He loved his people and enjoyed showing who was really the boss.

I too have read your many (unfortunately) recent blogs with eyes welling over with tears..I have lost many pets, and with every post here, the pain resurfaces. I lost my yellow Lab, Daisy, after a C-section. We were devastated but had to regroup as suddenly we had 5 pups that we raised tirelessly in her honor and memory. You both are in my thoughts and thank you for being there for these wonderful animals..if we didnt love them so much then we wouldnt feel the pain when they leave us...

It has been a tough year. This is a long post but I feel I owe it to Birdie. Alayne-Steve, in case you did not know, Birdie was my encouragement for working as a volunteer at RDR. I had first seen your newsletter at my vet clinic and was determined to help. I visited your Web site and could not keep myself together. I cried at every story I read including Birdie. There was no possible way I could volunteer. When I thought I was finally ready, RDR was at Caras Park in Missoula. I was confident, felt strong and headed to talk to someone about volunteering. Steve was busy and so I waited and walked around to visit the animals (still strong and confident). I was leaning on the ground petting and kissing on this cute, sweet dog. I asked the volunteer what her name was; she said, "This is Birdie." I immediately broke down into tears because I read and knew what this gal had been through. Tears were flooding my eyes and so my daughter had to take me by the arm back to my office. There was obviously no way I was going to ever work at RDR. The next day I was in better shape. I was upset with myself that I could not be strong for the animals. So I came up with a plan after racking my brain on how I could 'somewhat' get over this weakness. For months I made sure that just about everyday I subjected myself to reality from different Web sites including Animeals, Dogster, etc. Yes, my eyes were a swollen mess for weeks but I managed. I felt myself get stronger with every story I read, tears still poured down my face, but I could definitely pick myself back up. When I felt ready, again, I wrote this long email to Alayne and Steve trying to tell them how great I would be if they would let me volunteer but did not dare tell them this weakness of mine. Then came my big first day of volunteering. As I drove into RDR's driveway, I had to keep repeating, "You can do this-you can do this..." Oh my, here we go. Guess what? I survived without shedding one tear. When my day was done, I left with a huge grin and was truly amazed at the quality of life these animals have.

Thank you, Alayne and Steve, for this wonderful opportunity to help. Laura, thanks for teaching me 'the ropes'.

Our dearest Birdie, thank you my sweet pea for giving me something I never knew I had and much more. We will miss and always remember you.

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Birdie. My heart goes out to all of you at RDR.

Hugs to all from Arlington, WA

Special animals like Birdie live with such joy, it makes saying good-bye all the more difficult. Our hearts are with you.

Oh dear, such a terrible shock. What a special, dear soul she was, a true symbol of the Ranch. I am so terribly sorry for your loss, which really is a loss for all of us. Perhaps she will wave a toy at Oscar now, to get a game started, and all the other departed Ranch residents will join in.

What a blessing you were given in that beautiful dog Birdie over the years. We are so sorry for your loss & we will keep you and the rest of the RDR family in our prayers.

Steve and Alayne,
Birdie was so fortunate to have a second chance at life and what a WONDERFUL second chance that was for her at RDR! My heart breaks along with everyone else for the two of you. My co-worker from Germany has told me that legend goes in her homeland that when we humans cross over to the other side, the animals we have helped in our lives help light our way to God. It will be CRAZY BRIGHT for you and Alayne when that time comes and I am sure after you two meet with God there will be an unbelievable reunion with the four legged friends-all of then you've helped and those you two haven't even met yet. Please know there are many, many hugs from near and far for you and Alayne-today and always.

I'm so sorry to hear about both of your recent losses. I can't say enough about how lucky all of your animals are to be able to come live with you. I hope you both are doing well even though your hearts are aching. Take care!

I lost a Jack to a blood clot after a C-section surgery. I was devestated. The only good that came out of it was 7 healthy beautiful pups and they all survived. I too cried for hours and I am crying with you now. I am so sorry to hear about your Birdie girl. She is in heaven now with all of her buddies that went before her. God Bless you Biscuit Birdie. We will miss you.

Oh how my heart aches for you for the loss of Birdie. I just cried reading your news. I can feel your anguish. There never seem to be the right words to convey to someone grieving as you and Alayne are... all I can say is your love for animals is immense and the joy you experience you will continue to do, even though the pain can be so hard when you lose them. But, I know you wouldn't trade the joy becuase of the pain. It is all part of loving the animals. I leave you with a favorite quote that I found a few months ago and now send to others when they lose a pet:
"There Is No Death, Only A Change Of Worlds." -Chief Seattle
I am so, so sorry for your loss.

I am so deeply sorry for your sudden and heart breaking loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you both.

HUGS to both of you! You are in my thoughts.

Steve, Alayne & RDR Family,
It's all been said... but simply know we all care and have loved Birdie from afar. Please take comfort that she was in the best of hands and experienced heaven on earth with you. It's no real consolation for your loss, but I'm glad she did not have to suffer... take care.

It's amazing isn't it that no matter how surrounded you are by fur friends, when you lose one there's such a big hole they leave in your life. For whatever it's worth, many of us cry with you and you know Birdie died easily. My best to you at this awfully sad time.

You two, and the animals, will be in my thoughts. I am so sorry for your loss. She was truly a special girl.

Well, once again Steve and Alayne you have admiration and love and support from afar - I live in Knoxville, TN and read your wonderful blog every day and always get a truly special lift from seeing pictures and hearing about these beautiful and courageous animals. I have no doibt Birdie knew you adored her and the first thought I always have when reading about one of your special animals that has passed on is that they already knew about heaven so they won't be scared in their new home. Keep on keepin' on - you are the best.

Steve & Alayne, I'm sorry to hear of the loss of Birdie. She sounds like a truly special girl. We lost a dog to a thromboembolic accident, too. It's sudden and heartbreaking, especially when you don't get to say goodbye. As it is with the others who've passed, she knows you loved her and gave her all you could. Keep all the wonderful memories of her in your heart.

As I woke up this morning I thought of Birdie and her wonderful seal bark. Please be extra kind to yourselves in the wake of this sudden and devastating loss.

Alayne and Steve, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss of Birdie. She was such a special dog and this is such a sad shock for you both. Please know that you are all in my thoughts. Losing a special soul such as birdie is always incredibly painful. I just wish I could do something to help with the hurt.

I'm so sorry for this heartbreaking loss. She died happy and pain-free, but death is hardest on those left behind. I hope everyone at the Ranch feels better soon. My words are so inadequate.

Oh Birdie!! She was one of my favorites when I visited RDR. You will be missed, you pretty lab!

Gosh - so sorry to hear about Birdie. From the outside, the only thing I can say is that you both seem to have been meant to pursue this course in your lives and the animals are so lucky to have you fighting and caring for them. Birdie was given a chance at life and was extraordinarily lucky to have a life at RDR - full of love and life with all the other animals. I often think that most animals don't enjoy lives as fullfilling as those at RDR - every day playing in the fields with their friends and being loved - each one being loved - so much. God bless you and god bless Birdie - may she be somewhere looking down upon all of us.

My hugs and prayers go out to you and your furkids on this heartbreaking loss. Please always remember that you gave her a wonderful life-something she would not have had if you hadn't taken this special girl in. She has also given you some special memories and smiles ans will always be with you.

I'm so sorry to read about Birdie's death. She sounds like she was a very special girl--and very well loved. As sad as I am for her death, and your loss, is as glad as I am that she knew she was loved and cherished every day she was with you. Even on sad days like this one, I appreciate reading about the truly amazing care you are giving these extraordinary animals.

I hope you can find some comfort in knowing how happy Birdie was on RDR...and in that comfort you can know what a truly wonderful job you all do at RDR. It fills all our hearts with joy when we read of the animals you have saved...and with grief when one passes on...Bless all you do!

I am so sorry to hear of Birdie's sudden passing; I feel your sadness come through your writing.
She was special indeed and you were so lucky to have her and her you. We, your supports and admirers, give you comfort and love during this fragile and sad time of loss. Birdie is still surrounded by love and care beyond as she was on earth.
Healing hugs sent to you and Alayne.

Dear Steve & Alayne, we are so sorry about Birdie. I pray you will once again be comforted with prayers & love from everyone& God will hold you in the palm of his hand & get you through this tough time.

Dear Alayne and Steve--I'm so sorry about Birdie. You two obviously have soooo many fans like me and we all wish we could ease your pain. Maybe in time happy memories will do that.

Today on Good Morning America, in regards to the death of Randy Pausch who just died, someone wrote in that for the first time in their life they wept for someone they didn't even know. I weep for the loss of every one of your precious friends even though I haven't been lucky enough to get to meet them and spend time with them. And for all the animals the world over who suffer and die without ever knowing the love and happiness that the fortunate ones that come to the Ranch experience with all of you. The work that you do is so important and special as are all of you. As always, my heart is with you in the loss of Birdie. I pray that God will give you strength and comfort. He has Birdie in his arms now, just waiting to be reunited with you.

I am very sorry - there are no words. Please take care of yourselves.

Happy creatures, such as Birdie teach & give us so much, that when they are taken away, it is devestating! I am so sorry for the sadness in your hearts of losing this sweet girl. You gave her so much love in the time that she was at the RDR & in return she gave you entertainment with gratitude. She knew she was loved for everyday it was proven again & again.
Special hugs to you both,
ginger, Tobias & Tlingit

Dear Alayne and Steve

There's a new Spirit Birdie Constellation up in the sky, and Lalla is taking very good care of her.

My thoughts are with you

Once again, tears are running down my face, as my heart goes out to you. How on earth you can cope with all this heartbreak, I'll never know...

Even though you weren't with her when she died, I'm positive Birdie knew exactly how much you adored her and how deeply you're going to miss her.

I'm also sure Birdie is now the life of the party in heaven, making God smile with her entertaining antics.

You and Birdie are in my thoughts and prayers.

Oh the tears and heartache. I am so sorry for your losses, Laddie and now Birdie. Birdie was my all time favorite and I've always wished I could have adopted her from the first time I met her. Thank you for your beautiful stories of her life with you and Alayne. What a life you gave her. I'll miss her so much. Goodbye, Birdie. Rest in peace, dear sweet, girl. My prayers are with you all. LuAnn

i am crying while typing this.

i am so sorry for your loss of beautiful birdie.
she will always know how much both of you loved her.

I am truly heartbroken to read of Birdies sudden death. And again, the tears rolling down my face, are for your continued grief in losing another precious life too soon. We remember Birdie so well as she reminded us of our beloved lab mix, Jettson. And how, on our 1st visit to RDR, she and Allie came to greet us in the front yard of Widgets house, and how Birdie saved me from certain body impact with an adorable "running/wobbling" Allie by deflecting her to the side (maybe to get ALL of my attention focused on her?). It was so cute and so funny. We laughed then, and now I cry knowing she won't be there when we next visit. She had the VERY best life with yous guys."Goodbye" with our beloved animals is just "Until We're Together Again" really.....and that kind of love transcends physical presence. She KNEW you were with her, in love, spirit, heart and soul. She runs freely with the Angels now, with a perfect body. Our deepest sympathy to all at the Ranch.

I'M SO SORRY! What an awful shock. Please excuse me because I do not have any words that could ease your loss or pain....I only have tears along with you both.

Dearest Steve & Alayne & Animal family, my heart just breaks for you. My thoughts & prayers are with all of you. We never get over the loss we only learn to live with it. May each day bring you comfort. Thank you for the wonderful life you gave her & please be comforted in knowing she was very aware of how much you loved her so even though you didn't get to say good-bye she left this earth knowing she was loved. She is playing & waiting at Rainbow Bridge!

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