By Amber Kizer


Sweetie lived in technicolor rainbows and invited those around her to play in the joyful pot of gold. She was larger than life in all the best ways. Whether she was cuddling or hiking a boulder from one end of the yard to the other, Sweetie did it with all her heart.




She collected lonely rocks and made them into a family of granite puppies. She saved drowning driftwood from certain death in the shipping lane between Whidbey and Port Townsend. Given half a chance she’d have swum her black and white body to a pod of orcas to frolic and kibbitz. She would have fit in as if born a whale.






Sweetie enjoyed dangerous trust fall antics—leaning against us one moment and blanketing our laps the next. Like a puppet with cut strings, she’d splat across her humans, usually landing with her elbow in a bladder or head conveniently in a plate of food. And always with an expression of, “What? I’m getting comfortable.” Then she’d snore. She could sleep without warning like a doll who closes its eyes when laid down. And snore with gusto.


Christmas seemed to ring extra bells for her. She had two holiday seasons with us we made as magical as possible. Treats and toys stretched throughout the day. Soft latex squeak toys were her favorite—I’ll never look at a pig again without thinking of her first few plastic adoptions. She’d carry them from the bedroom to living room and back again each night, curling around them to sleep. Sweetie didn’t have teeth (except for a back molar) and so we didn’t have to worry about her chewing or ingesting any of her “babies.” And by the time she passed, we had a whole farm of pigs, plus the rest of the barnyard (all rehomed with very happy canine friends who may or may not have chewed them by now).



Sessions of Reiki and Acutonics with dear friend Dana Linn had Sweetie twirling like jewelry box ballerina. Even when Sweetie wouldn’t tolerate anyone touching her for medical purposes (bucking bronco, anyone?) Sweetie would bring a toy or rock over, lie down, and present her “problem” areas for relief. These gifts of light and sound kept Sweetie limbered up for her championship boulder rolling and driftwood rescuing.




Sweetie adored the ODH Walk in July of 2019, finding the plastic pools and bacon pup-cakes the highlight. She marched along with a new Dachshund buddy as if they’d made previous plans to meet up.  Her very own wading pool joined our backyard soon after—the rocks got baths frequently or maybe those were swimming lessons (hard to tell). Last fall we began messing with scent work and she was a natural. The game was casual, but she adored searching out the treats in new environments. Boy, that girl could get her bellows going!



Sweetie came to us on July 3, 2018 with a large abdominal mass. It was inoperable in the shelter environment. Without the Miranda Fund Sweetie might have died in that shelter and would never have gotten the chance to live another lifetime. We knew that this might be a truly short stay with us because growths that advanced have usually spread cancer throughout the body. However, Sweetie looked clear and the cells biopsied were non-cancerous. The tumor weighed over 2.5 lbs.; the surgery gave her freedom to blossom. In mid-March 2020, cancer roared back to life as Covid grew in strength. We had two weeks from diagnosis to when her joy diminished. The hole she left was only amplified by quarantine.

Trying to quantify what a donation to the Maranda Fund means to Sweetie and other dogs like her is difficult—because of each donation Sweetie had more than 650 days as part of our family, thousands of cookies, dozens of pigs, countless pyramids of rocks, two holiday seasons, and months of being a sixty-pound blanket.

The world has changed so much since March and the grief of her loss hasn’t begun to recede. As her foster I can’t do justice to what a gift her life was to us and those who knew her.

I know that we aren’t alone—other fosters feel the same way about the unexpected gifts their ODH dogs bring. We need all the technicolor rainbows now more than ever. Please consider making a donation to the Maranda Fund. As our gift to you for your generous support, the 2021 Old Dog Haven calendar is available for your donation of $40 or more. Click here to make your gift.

Thank you for supporting the Maranda Fund!

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