adidas originals hoodie A final resting place for pets
“I divorced when my daughter was seven so it was just me and my girl and Crystal just the three of us. Our little gang. We did everything together,” says Donaldson, clutching a framed photo of her beloved Crystal.
Princess Park near the Donaldson home in Upper Lonsdale was their favourite place for a walk. Crystal would always be carrying a stuffed purple dinosaur in her mouth. The prehistoric toy was given to Donaldson’s daughter by Maurice “Rocket” Richard many years ago at a special party for sick children, and Crystal somehow got her paws on it.
Crystal was the congenial office dog at Donaldson Ropes located in a business park on West First Street near Fell Avenue. Across the way, the employees at Until We Meet Again pet memorial centre had come to know Crystal from her daily walks in the complex.
One Friday afternoon last September Crystal passed away in her sleep at the office.
“She was behind me at work, on her back,” recalls Donaldson softly.
The staff all sat on the floor with Crystal and comforted her human best friend. After a while, Donaldson, in a disoriented state, scooped up Crystal in her arms and instinctively knew where to go.
Meanwhile, Kelsey Speck happened to be looking out the window at that exact moment from her desk at the pet memorial centre. She saw Donaldson with Crystal and immediately went running outside and met them halfway.
“I could tell by her face she was crying and really sad,” recalls Speck.
Donaldson gently placed the deceased dog in the open arms of Speck, who reassured: “I’ll treat her as if she’s my own.”
It’s been six months since Crystal passed, but the grief is still fresh for Donaldson. Looking back, Speck was her saving grace in the parking lot on that day.
“I came across Kelsey. I’ve never had such a feeling. Like I swear she is an angel or something. She’s the most comforting person I’ve ever met in my whole life,” says Donaldson.
That kind of compassion could have helped Kevin Woronchak, founder of Until We Meet Again, which was borne out of a tragedy 10 years ago. Three of his pets passed away in one week.
Patches was a part of the package deal when the Woronchak family moved to a farm in Surrey. Woronchak concedes he wasn’t a cat person then, but he soon warmed up to them.
“Patches followed me around and everything I did on the farm Patches was there,” recalls Woronchak. “Then the owner said: ‘Oh, by the way I think she’s pregnant.'”
So there were kittens, named Adidas, Fila and Umbro for the sport obsessed family.
On a sunny June day Patches was killed. Woronchak suspects she got excited by the sound of a truck passing by on a quiet road. In the midst of getting ready to go to Washington state for a vacation, the family had to plan to give Patches the memorial she deserved.
Woronchak bundled up his farm buddy and took her to the local vet. When asking about cremation, what Woronchak heard from the vet was heart wrenching.
“He said you probably don’t get your (pet’s) ashes back anyways. It really bothered me.”
Woronchak turned around and walked out the door with Patches.
He thought of the incinerator at the poultry farm the family was living at. It was the only way.
Woronchak and his wife Joanna, and their boys, ages five, seven and nine at the time, said their goodbyes to Patches. The five year old put his hand on his furry friend and said: “Patches, I’m going to miss you.”
With a heavy heart Woronchak went to clean out the incinerator. He placed Patches inside.
“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my whole life.”
Woronchak’s wife was wondering where he was. She hadn’t seen him in a while.
“It took me forever because turning that dial I knew the (incinerator) would turn on, and it shook me it shook me hard. I was bawling.”
Still fresh in their grief, the family continued on with their vacation plans. A couple days in, Woronchak got a call from his nephew who was watching over the family’s remaining pets. Their bichon poodle cross Libby had been attacked by another dog and the vet was unable to save her.
“He said, ‘Kevin, more bad news.’ And I said: ‘no, no, no, no, no.’ And he said, ‘Kayla just passed away in the hallway.'”
The family’s German shepherd, Kayla, who was like a sister to Libby, died of a broken heart Woronchak is sure of that.