To celebrate the legacy of our awesome dog

Last year Anne and I raised some money for the Pasadena Humane Society in memory of our awesome dog, Ferris. When I wrote about it here, Anne said:

Ferris Wheaton

Just over 8 years ago, I made a right turn instead of a left out of the Home Depot parking lot. That was a turn that would change our lives forever. In the bushes next to the bus stop sat a sad little puppy. She'd obviously been dumped there with a t-shirt as a blanket, and an empty cottage cheese container that probably served as a water dish.

For the next 8 years, we would have the best addition to our family: a dog who was dumped by someone who didn't care or appreciate what a smart, loving animal they were leaving. Ferris was like a sibling to our boys, a part of the family going on vacations and getting toys in her stocking at Christmas.

Ferris knew she was lucky. She appreciated all the love and care her new family gave her. Not every dog left on the street is so lucky. Some get hit by cars or left to starve. Fortunately, the Humane Society does everything they can to rescue these homeless or lost animals by giving them food, shelter, vaccinations and a chance to be adopted.

A month ago, we lost our awesome dog Ferris to cancer. Her happy face is one I'll always remember. Doing something positive in her honor is something we can all do together.

On Sunday September 27th, we're doing the annual Wiggle Waggle Walk in Ferris' honor. This is a fundraising effort to help the Pasadena Humane Society. Please donate through our site and help us reach our goal of $8,000; a thousand dollars for every year of Ferris' life. No donation is too small. We appreciate each donation. Thank you!

People like you made small and large donations, and within a week we blew our fundraising goal away. When everything was counted up, you guys donated over $13,000 to the Pasadena Humane Society!

Your contributions were so generous and added up so quickly, the Pasadena Humane Society asked Anne and me if we would like to walk one of their shelter dogs in the Wiggle Waggle Walk, as a way of saying thank you. We love dogs, so of course we accepted their offer. On the morning of the walk, we put on our Team Ferris T-shirts, wiped a lot of tears out of our eyes, met our friends at the Rose Bowl, and after a wiping a few more tears out of our eyes, met the shelter dog we'd be walking. He didn't have a name, because he'd only been at the PHS for a week, so I named him DOG, after the giant robot who loves everyone in Half Life 2.

Here's the girst picture I ever took of him, which I posted to TwitPic with my Blackberry:

Say hello to D.O.G. He is such an awesome little guy! on Twitpic

(click to embiggen)

He was affectionate, friendly, happy, and seemed to love every person and dog we encountered. Anne leaned over to me while we were walking and said, "this dog is going to be awesome when he grows up."

Here's another picture I took with my Blackberry for Twitter:

Seriously. He's just adorable. on Twitpic


I took some pictures during the walk, like when he got tired:

Seamus was tired

And after the walk, when he made a new friend:

Seamus makes a friend

Anne and I were pretty convinced that we shouldn't get another dog until at least after the holidays, but during the five hours we were at the Wiggle Waggle Walk, we completely fell in love with DOG (who eventually was named Seamus, even though I really lobbied hard to call him Batman), and we decided that we would adopt him.

Here is the exact moment when I fell in love with this dog.

(Here is the exact moment when I fell in love with Seamus.)

I have a bunch of other pictures on Flickr, if you want to fall in love with Seamus, too. In fact, go look at them, and then come back.

I know right? Isn't he the most adorable dog in the world? Pictures don't capture his personality that well, and I hope you'll trust me when I tell you how amazing he is, and how grateful I am that he is part of our family. Ferris was such an awesome dog, and though we knew we could never replace her, Seamus has been a worthy heir to her spot at the foot of our bed, by my side when I go for a walk, and under my feet when I'm working at my desk.

We never would have met Seamus if we hadn't decided to honor Ferris' memory by raising money for the Pasadena Humane Society. We wouldn't have met Seamus if you hadn't given so many donations, large and small, and pushed us into the top few fundraisers — in less than a week, even — last year. We wouldn't have met Seamus if the Pasadena Humane Society wasn't there to save dogs and other animals like him who are abandoned by their owners, and need a safe place to live until they can find a family.

I'm going to turn this over to Anne for a minute, like I did last year, because she has something she wants to say:

In August 2009, our dog Ferris died unexpectedly from cancer. We decided to turn our grief over the loss of our family member into something positive by raising money to help the Pasadena Humane Society with their annual Wiggle Waggle Walk; a fundraiser to help with the care of homeless, stray and abandoned animals.

We were overwhelmed by the emotional and financial support we received to help the Pasadena Humane Society. When we arrived at the walk last year, we were asked to walk one of their shelter dogs to bring awareness to adoption. It was both an honor and a crushing reminder that we were there because Ferris had died. We agreed to walk a dog and met Seamus.

Seamus was a 7 month old puppy, found running around the streets of Pasadena. He had been in the shelter for a week. No one claimed him and no one asked to adopt him. But thanks to the Pasadena Humane Society, he was safe, fed and protected until he found the right home. Support from people like you makes it possible for the PHS to maintain this care for all of their animals while they wait for their new family.

Please help us reach our goal by making a tax-deductible donation and support a wonderful cause.

This Sunday, Anne will take Seamus back to the Rose Bowl (I can't go, because I'll be flying home from Eureka) to celebrate not only Ferris' memory, but her legacy. We hope you'll join us again, just like you did last year, so that the Pasadena Humane Society can continue to care for animals, and provide a safe place for dogs like Seamus to find people like us.

Here's Seamus one last time:

Seamus Wheaton  

I get to see this face every day, and know that I am unconditionally loved by this little guy, because people like you helped us support the Pasadena Humane Society.

Please make whatever contribution you can via our Wiggle Waggle Walk page. If just 1% of you who read this make a $5 contribution, we'll raise five figures. That possibility just blows me away.

110 thoughts on “To celebrate the legacy of our awesome dog”

  1. My respect for you has gone up just a bit more since my whole family have been memebers or rescuers for as long as I can remember :) Cudos to you for keeping up with one of my favorite charities! I add a link for this blog to mine, so please don’t think I’m spamming or anything, I just know a lot of your fans here in FL, many of which love your love of animals and would like to read this. If your intrested, here is the Blog I linked you to:
    if not then that is fine also. Keep up the good work hun :)

  2. Wow, Seamus is the cutest dog ever.
    Between books and tuition this semester my wallet is still recovering its mana, but I was able to donate $5. I know it is a really small drop in the bucket, but I wanted to give the support I could to this awesome cause.

  3. Happy to help, Wil, small though it was. I’m so sad, in a way, when I see all of the gorgeous breeds who live around me. Everyone here has a purebred dog, while five minutes away the Seattle Animal Shelter has more unwanted animals than they can handle. Mutts are such awesome dogs, and they deserve a chance like Seamus and Ferris. I think you and Anne are awesome people for opening your home and helping.
    HUGS about Ferris. Losing a family member unexpectedly, and so early, is so hard. I’m remembering my cute Custard cat, stupid and fuzzy and friendly, who died suddenly seven months and 18 days ago. How wonderful that you’re turning Ferris’ memory into something so helpful for other animals.

  4. Hi Wil – Many thanks to you and Annie. We at the Pasadena Humane Society are so incredibly grateful to you both for doing this, and to all of those who are making a gift. You are all helping to save lives! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Kym Pietsch, VP of Financial Development, Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA

  5. Fantastic story Wil. My daughter and I adopted a cat from our local humane society here is Wisconsin. These people deserve all the credit in the world for what they do for our animal friends.
    It can be easy to always wonder where the next donation is coming from for smaller rural Humane Societies like ours. Way to raise awareness!

  6. I wasn’t able to give last year, Wil. But this year, we were able to adopt two shelter dogs. The first, my son named Commander Cody. They fell in love at first sight. The second, arrived when the shelter called and said they couldn’t find a home for a 10 month old yellow lab. Cody and this lab met at the shelter and became fast friends. My son named the big guy Commander Riker, in keeping with the “commander” theme.
    These two have changed my son’s life, and are such an important part of our family. I wouldn’t change a thing.

  7. So sorry to hear about your loss of Ferris. Cancer is such a terrible disease for both humans and our four legged children. Our best friend was an orphan as well, losing his master to terminal cancer last year. We have had him ever since and I wouldn’t trade him for the world. It is stories like this that give me hope that the world isn’t such a bad place.

  8. Hehe, going to the Humane Society for me is like going to the grocery store when you are hungry (I’ve adopted three cats)!
    Wil I applaud you and your wife Anne for saving Seamus, as my dog also scummed to cancer (he was an 8 year old German Shepard), an as it hit his spine, in a matter of days he couldn’t even stand. It was the hardest day of my life picking him up and taking him to the vet for the last time.
    Sad thing is with the upside down economy we are dealing with, more and more beloved pets are going to be dropped off at the Humane Society, or worse, abandoned as their owners are unable to find work, and or have to move to places that don’t allow pets, and have no other choice.
    As I’m one of those on the unemployment line, a cannot donate any money, but I try to volunteer some time to the shelters when I can.
    I hope your movement gains momentum and we don’t have to euthanize all these lost family members.

  9. Made a donation in my daughter’s name to “the doggy” (she thinks Seamus is really pretty and she wants to pet him.) Today is her 3rd birthday and I thought this would be another good opportunity to teach her about helping others instead of just focusing on her presents. Thank you for organizing a great fundraiser and providing a great teachable moment for me and my little girl.

  10. That was really touching, Wil, thanks for sharing. It’s hard for me to donate as much as I’d like, but this sort of thing is what I always choose when I can. Animals need us to be their voice, their champions. Thanks for working to raise awareness for them. – Kelly

  11. Dave@NASA here. I am so in on this. We lost our beloved Moose, the chocolate lab, two weeks before Christmas last year, also to cancer, and we were shattered. We are only now finally getting able to consider getting another dog.
    Dogs FTW!!! I’m proud to support you Wil.

  12. That last pic of Seamus (where he’s sleeping with his head in the doorway) needs to be a nice, black-&-white print hanging on your wall. Both that pic and Seamus are beautiful. Congrats to you all!

  13. I donated last year to honor Ferris and my own dog who had passed the previous January. Like you I was sure I would wait until after the Holidays to even think about another dog. Then I got in touch with an old friend who runs lab rescue locally and she sent me a picture of a lab pup who had been picked up running near a highway. She was following a group of people on horseback looking for a friend.
    So this year it is in honor of old friends and new ones. And Cordy sends best wishes from her favorite spot under the dogwood.

  14. I very much like how this was completely not a surprise ending. :) Even a new reader could tell from the photos that Batman Seamus would be a Wheaton before long!

  15. Wil:
    Although I’m not surprised that Seamus/DOG ended up joining your family, it was a great outcome all the same. And as for the scumbags who abandoned Ferris as a pup, they frankly did him a favor – as she clearly wound up in a much, much better living situation.
    Regarding Seamus’ name, I think you went with a good one.
    There’s a Maltese named “Batman” who lives across the street from me, and believe you me, that name simply doesn’t work in most cases.

  16. Made a donation to honor my cat Worf, who I lost to cancer in March at the age of 16. It was horrible having to put her down, but she was suffering and I knew it was the right thing to do for her. I am lucky that this summer another furry friend came into my life. I adopted a kitten from a local rescue group and named him Wally. He is so funny and affectionate, and while I still miss Worf a lot, Wally makes me smile everyday.

  17. Hi Wil,
    Not sure if you remember me, “Mr. Miller” from Lutheran School of the Foothills. You were in a couple of my classes when you were in 4th (or was it 5th) grade. I’m now the Mobile Outreach Coordinator for the Pasadena Humane Society and just wanted to let you know we appreciate your dedication! Too bad you won’t make it to the Wiggle Waggle Walk so we could talk. (I suspect you’ve changed a bit over the years.) Best Wishes!

  18. Hey Wil,
    I like the post for two reasons:
    1) You got a new dog (cute dog)
    2) Just for the variety and change of pace.
    Having read your site for over 5 years I think you cover these well:
    1) Acting – TV and Movies
    2) Video Games
    3) Card Games and Role Playing (RPGs)
    4) Poker
    5) Family Life & Every day experiences
    If you lean too heavily on one you might lose some of your audience (not permanently I meant attention wise) that enjoy the other ones.

  19. Often, when I read your blog, you bring a tear to my eyes. Thanks for doing it again!!! Thats just about the cutest dog ever. I would so have adopted him. My dog has brought nothing but joy to my life, with her unconditional love. I’m glad Seamus found a loving home with the Wheaton’s.

  20. Do you happen to know what kind of dog Seamus is? We adopted a shelter dog who looks almost identical, but he was a stray so we have no idea what he is (and people are always asking) other than super cute!

  21. What a sweet boy!! Rescues always have so much love to give! My husband & I fell for our Abbey, also an AmStaff, the moment we first saw her too. This breed is such a joy!! I’m glad you gave Seamus/Batman the chance that so many members of so-called “bully breeds” (Pits, Rottweilers, Dobies, AmStaffs, etc.) don’t get. We found Abbey at the San Gabriel Humane Society when she was 3 months old. Now she’s 4 and a big part of our lives.

  22. After living with Seamus for nearly a year, and meeting so many other bully breed dogs, I have concluded that the reputation they have is totally undeserved, the result of hysteria and ignorance. Without fail, the bully breed dogs who are aggressive have been mistreated by their owners, and taught to be aggressive; I just don't see any evidence to support the suggestion that they are somehow inherently mean or vicious. I have never had a sweeter, gentler, happier, more loving dog than Seamus, and I say that after living with Ferris, who was the best dog ever, for eight years. I think the best thing we who own bully breeds (or mixes, in my case) can do to combat this perception is to just live by example, love our dogs, and talk to other people about how great our dogs are.
    Give Abby a snuggle for us, okay?

  23. So you got me here with the UniPegKit bribe, but all it took was one look at that Seamus-face to convince me that I could fore go my grande Americanos at the coffee shop for a week and instead put the money towards allowing more people to find their dogs. Because we all need at least one dog in our lives.

  24. Exactly. Ignorance is something responsible bully breed dog owners like us need to battle almost daily. When I run into people who look at my dog in fear I ask them if they’ve ever seen an episode of The Little Rascals. Petey was a pit! Pits & AmStaffs were family dogs back then, and beloved as they should be. And you’re absolutely right. We need to lead by example so people can see how smart, loving, & affectionate bully breeds really are. Hopefully one day the myth of viciousness will be gone.

  25. Thanks for posting Wil. I seriously can’t believe it’s been a year since you posted about Ferris passing. I had seen you mention Seamus a few times, but this is the first time I saw him and realized that he’s a bully breed. Bravo!
    Here is my princess, Maya (she was named Drizella by the rescue, but she’s no Ugly Stepsister!) She kind of resembles Seamus, except brindle instead of black. We got her around 4-5 months old – she was bred by a backyard breeder, and when the puppies didn’t sell he was starving them to death. Only her and her sister made it out alive. She is the sweetest cuddlebug you could ever imagine. Worst guard-dog evar, but she could possibly kill an intruder with hugs.

  26. OMG Maya is beautiful. Does she have the huge and terrifying voice? Seamus barks when someone comes to the door, but he's wagging his tail the entire time. It's pretty funny to see the look on strangers' faces when I open the door and he's standing there, obviously happy and not aggressive at all.
    I hope that backyard breeder spent some time in jail for animal cruelty, too. That just sickens me.

  27. Yes, she likes to say hello. Pretty sure the pizzamen in our area all speak of her in hushed tones, but she just sits there wagging away. She also does this half-bark, half-wheeze thing when she’s dreaming, paws-twitching, that makes me laugh like a madman every time.
    She is a vicious despot when it comes to squeak toys though. Thankfully, she hasn’t shown a propensity for destroying furniture or anything, but we haven’t met a toy yet that can survive more than 24 hours (usually 24 minutes) with The Terror.

  28. When Seamus is asleep, he does this high-picthed whining thing while he kicks his feet and chases birds in his dreams. Occasionally, his muzzle will quiver and twitch while he does it, and it's just hilarious.
    He is also known as The Destroyer of Indestructible Toys, and he only tears up stuff that isn't his when he is *really* bored, which isn't very often.

  29. Tell me about it. My wife bought a pair of toys from a TV infomercial advertised as indestructible (/facepalm). I think they lasted less than the $1 Big Lots specials. The only toy in our arsenal that has survived any length of time is the black “extreme” Kong [ The downside is she only likes to play with that when something om-nom-nommy like peanut butter is put inside of it. Then she spends the rest of the day smacking her lips and trying to get the peanut putter off the roof of her mouth though.

  30. She’s actually disturbingly cat-like. When she wants attention (or there’s a thunderstorm) all 65 pounds of her will attempt to sit in my lap… but when she’s done, she just goes off by herself. We also nicknamed her our ‘supermodel’ because she’s beautiful… but kinda dumb. But we love her just the same. 😀

  31. I will be participating in the Washington (DC) Humane Society’s annual Walk for Animals tomorrow but also made a small contribution for your local walk. Congrats on exceeding your goal!

  32. I heartily respect what you’re doing. Made me decide to do a walk for my Humane Society too, in honor of my Alice. She came to me at 7 months of age also, and she too was found wandering the streets. She looks *exactly* like Seumas. Down to the belly spots, nose freckles and sickle tail. He is gorgeous – thanks for the inspiration to help the place that brought me Alice. x

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