Posts Tagged ‘Sasquatch’

Tonight I am writing about a dog. Actually I am writing about two dogs. Two dogs and a new friend, who is now an old friend. Sometimes when life is going by, you are more of an observer than a participant.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a faraway land, I was a singer in a chorus. I didn’t do much else in that season. I certainly wasn’t getting good grades, I was lost and adrift. I was anchored to the singing group and the friends I made. I was very lucky, and the group was the UP Concert Chorus, and the conductor was the genius and angel Rey T. Paguio.

Now that I am fifty-two, I realize that life is an ocean and waves bring treasures from the deep. People I thought were washed into the past keep rolling up onto shore like rare seashells.

Back in 2005 I got out of the hospital and was driven to get in touch with my old friends who were in the area. We began the back and forth, tossing out possible reunion houses, and dates. One of my friends who lives in Kuala Lumpur nudged me to invite Norma Ramirez.

Norma was a jazz vocalist back in the day. By the time I joined the Concert Chorus, she had moved on to singing with a great band, Bong Penera’s Batucada. She had a hit, “Samba Song”.

Back then, I was an alto two who couldn’t read music, and Norma was a goddess. When I got the nudge, I hesitated because I didn’t know what to say. Would she remember me? So I picked up the phone and called her in New Hampshire. Her warm voice filled the space and I listened.

We had a lot in common because of our hospital experience. She had a rich and interesting life. Being wheelchair bound didn’t seem to affect her joie de vivre. I had deep empathy for her situation, and we made arrangements to have the reunion at Bugaboo Creek because it had handicapped access.

On the day of the reunion, she and her trusty sidekick, Sasquatch the service dog made a grand and merry entrance. Sasquatch trotted alongside the power chair. He settled under the table for the duration of the lunch. Oh, how the time flew. Such a beautiful day it was.

Not a week after we met, I got the news that Sasquatch was afflicted with a brain tumor. The news was so devastating, and I cried because it seemed so cruel that she would have to go through this loss. The news made me catch my breath and relay it to the kids in a panic. I was so shaken with the bad news.

The UP Concert Chorus family rallied around her and raised money for treatment and saw her through Sasquatch’s treatment and apparent remission.

This this spring sorrow came and Sasquatch succumbed. The whole story is on the blog http://newdogfornorma.blogspot.com

In the painful weeks after Sasquatch’s death, a grass roots fundraising campaign was set into to motion to get a new dog for Norma. The initial hurdle was $2,000, the necessary amount to open an account at NEADS (Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans). NEADS was founded in 1976, and is a top rated charity, certified by Animal Charities in America, and Best in America Charities). Their executive board is top notch, and their reputation is stellar. They are a beautifully run, professional non-profit organization that anyone should feel honored to support.

An anonymous donor gave a large amount. UP Concert Chorus friends jumped into action. Facebook opened doors. Friends of my effervescent daughter Mercy, Bud’s high school classmates, our neighbors here, and my online classmates gave money. It added up and in no time we were at the necessary threshold of $2,000.

Then, this week, the good news came. A new dog had been found for Norma, and the match was perfect. Just like that, the sorrow has receded, and I could sense joy in my friend’s voice.

Now that NEADS has matched a dog to Norma, the fundraising will continue until the necessary $9,500 is raised. Donors can give at the site, and be assured of seamless recording of donations at this top rated charity.

Please visit Norma’s new page at NEADS and give if you are inspired to do so. In a world where so many things go wrong, it is good to know that places like NEADS thrive and match service dogs with people who have lost a lot, but who have not lost hope.

Hope has four legs and a wagging tail. Check out this wonderful organization, and donate if you can. Donations begin at $10.00. Here is Norma’s NEADS donation link http://neads.org/about_us/client_view.php?id=180

When my adventure with Norma began, I had no idea that sadness was just around the bend. I had no idea that I would be stretched and tested in my abilities to pull rabbits out of hats, to keep calm and hopeful and believe that the money would come in. We achieved our goal and then Cozy, the new dog, came along. Thanks to everyone who helped, and thanks to those who will be inspired to help in this new phase. God Bless us all!

Meet Cozy!


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Guest Blogger: Mercy Bell

Hey guys!

My mom’s dear friend Norma’s service dog Sasquatch died recently. Norma had a virus which spread to her brain and left her disabled. She lives in Manchester, NH and is a trained concert singer, but the virus has also left her without the lung capacity to sing. (Here is a recording of her singing back in the Philippines for a hit record there http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPWALYnkAQo )

If you are at all familiar with service dogs, these pups become like family/nurse for people with disabilities. So when Sasquatch lost his battle with cancer, it left Norma with the grief of losing a best friend plus the problem of needing a new service dog. Training raises the price for these canines, and Norma needs $9500 to achieve this.

I feel a lot of you probably have good networks to send this to, and this is a trustworthy cause. A) you all know me! b)Norma’s a dear family friend c) I loved Sasquatch. It is a true loss and also vital to help her.

But I think that together, dollar by dollar and the power of networking and the internet we can help her out. Let’s see how fast we can get this done!

Read her story here:

You can immediately donate through PayPal & ChipIn:

Could you pass this along to people who might be able to help?

Thanks for your help guys,


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Sasquatch, the angel dog

sasquatchI really don’t know how to begin this. It’s been a couple of days of things happening that are little earthquakes. My good husband was served by an out of state opponent. We have necessary and thoughtful work to do to protect and defend ourselves.

That unpleasantness, was eclipsed by the sad news of the night before. That was the news that Sasquatch, our dear friend’s Ram’s service dog, had died. I wrote about Sasquatch here, a few years ago.

Let me set the scene. After my stroke and ventilator pneumonia hospitalization, I felt an urgency to connect with my old UP Concert Chorus friends. We had a little reunion not six weeks later in January of 2006. Ram and Sasquatch came.

Not three days after the reunion did we get the news that Sasquatch had a brain tumor. That was a little more than three years ago. He made it this long, and had a swift decline over the past month.

We learned close to midnight of April 1st, that he had left his earthly life. The next day, yesterday, April 2nd was Bud’s birthday. All through the day, while essentially celebrating around this sad news, we could not but think of Ram and what she was going through.

Today I called her. It is all very sad. He did so much for her. Sasquatch amazed me with what he could do. He also amazed me with what loving animals can do and be for their human companions.

So while we as friends, feel the immense loss of Sasquatch, I remember that it is just a tiny bit of the loss Ram must feel.

Back in the past when the days seemed sunny and long, and the wind blew in off Manila Bay, Ram was a singer. She sang with a band called Bong Penera and the Batucada. Bong Penera is a genius, and Ram had a hit song called, “Samba Song”. You can listen to it here.

In the weeks to come, we, her friends, are going to band together to fundraise for her necessary new service dog. A service dog is key to Ram’s continued independent life.

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I love my dog, as I know, you all love yours. Oftentimes we attribute superhuman qualities to our pets, my kids are always speaking in the voices of their pets, like voice overs. I attribute certain emotions and ideas to our beloved dog…but certainly some of this is a projection of my imagination. It’s a benign and humorous pastime that makes our dog’s life seem more interesting than her progression of days barking at the postman, going for a run in the park across the street, howling when she thinks she is alone in the house, sleeping like Goldilocks on the esteemed guest’s bed. It’s a dog’s life, and a good one. That’s my doggie’s life.

And then there is a dog named Sasquatch, this is his picture. He is the working assistance dog of my friend Norma Ramirez and they live in Manchester, New Hampshire. I met Ram, as she is fondly called, through my beloved University of the Philippines Concert Chorus world. She was a batch ahead of me, and when I joined, she was a samba singer for Manila’s hottest, hippest band, Bong Peñera’s Batucada.

Years pass, fate has its way with life and cards unknown are dealt to us all. Ram was stricken with a virus that wiped out a lot of her brain function. Listening to her recount it, it sounded like a fever with the results of a stroke. She had to relearn everything, how to speak, how to walk.

For a girl who had travelled the world and had achieved artistic nirvana, this was a tumble. But she was not vanquished.

This is the part of the story where Sasquatch, a rescued dog from the NEADS prgram was assigned to Ram as her assistance dog.

A couple of years ago, at our UPCC reunion at Bugaboo Creek (which we chose because it was wheelchair accessible), we met Ram and Sasquatch in person.

To meet this dynamic duo was a treasure. Sasquatch does a multitude of tasks for Ram, from getting her a water bottle, carrying things for her, to waking her up if he senses something wrong with her oxygen flow, or senses anything amiss medically.

It’s really remarkable. After meeting Sasquatch, I looked at my own dear dog and shook my head. Those of us who simply love their pups and exercise them are really not aware of what these creatures are capable of.

Soon after our reunion, I got an email from Ram saying that Sasquatch had a brain tumour. This news was instantly devastating to me and I burst into tears at my desk. I couldn’t believe that this had happened to this friend and her beloved dog-companion. I couldn’t imagine the pain she was going through.

NEADS put up a fundraising page, and the goal for that treatment was achieved. We waited on pins and needles as Sasquatch went through his treatment with good cheer. Last year, my family went to New Hampshire to sit with Ram while Sasquatch had an MRI. While it was great to catch up with her, and have a travelling memory and catch up session, there was a heart stopping moment when the vet came out and said that Sasquatch wasn’t responding well to the anesthesia.

In the end, every went fine, thanks be to God.

Now, Sasquatch has to undergo a bit more surgery, to remove benign cysts from his eye area. You can read all about it here.


Any amount will help. You can pay via credit card and there is no minimum. Please send this blog post along to all pet lovers you know. I know that the economy isn’t what it was last year, and we are facing a world of intense tension and uncertainty.

Sometimes though, a small act of generosity, lifts one’s spirit. Know that every penny you contribute will go to this specific work of mercy. I wish all of you could meet this wonderful dog, who is the eyes, ears, arms and heart of my friend Ram.

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If you click this link you’ll see the successful progression of fundraising for our favorite dog patient, Sasquatch. For those of you checking in, we met Sasquatch , the adorable giant, at a UP Concert Chorus reunion in February. Shortly thereafter, Ram, his owner (though that word falls so short of reality) told me about his newly observed disability.

Word got out, and people responded, as they usually do, with kindness and generosity. The first fundraising target was met in a short time. Sasquatch’s story got aired on TV and was covered by the news. This is the part of the story where one just marvels at how interconnected we all remain with our old friends. That Concert Chorus group is especially marvelous as people seem to have aged toward the Lord than away from him, which makes for concentric circles of grace and love billowing out from the prayer and the request for help.

So we keep praying and hoping and thanking as we watch His Work in action.

All best wishes and prayers this week for our friend Sasquatch, as he goes into his big week of tests!

God Bless you Ram! Stay strong and positive and know we are all here.


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