veterinary wisdom

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Tammi Sullivan is part of our Veterinary Wisdom® team and chose to share this story with all of you.  It’s a reminder to take comfort in the fact that you have done your best for your beloved companion animal in the name of love.


Photo courtesy of Tammi Sullivan

“This is a story about a young stud colt named Jasper.  He was born in September of 2012 to a bay mare named Sweet Pea and a white stud named Burel.  As beginnings go his was uneventful, until it wasn’t.

“One November morning as I arrived to feed everyone breakfast, I discovered that his mother, Sweet Pea has passed away in the night.  Sweet Pea’s death was sad enough, but Jasper was only six weeks old; that is too young for this young colt to be without mother’s milk and there were no other mares that were even remotely close to lactating.

Unsure of how to proceed, we made several phone calls to horse authorities about what options we had to care for this young fella, who was suddenly without his mother.  We purchased a powdered milk mixture and ‘infant’ grain to ensure that he received all the nutrients that he would need to survive.  This was beginning to become way more than I expected; trying to get Jasper to drink the milk, feeding him more frequently than everyone else, not to mention that it was getting extremely cold.  But you do what you do; this guy didn’t sign up for any of this and deserved every opportunity to not only survive, but thrive.

“Following a couple of weeks of fighting with him, trying to get him to drink the milk and eat the grain, it became increasingly clear that I didn’t have the know-how, financial means or time to give Jasper the best chance to make it:  This was a sobering realization as I had grown extraordinarily attached to him.  It begs the question, what would love do?

“After a lot of thought and prayer (and tears, cuz I knew), came more phone calls, we were fortunate enough to find a mother and daughter who were willing to come get Jasper, take him to their home where they had two weanlings just a couple of months older than him.  They said they had been through this with horses that were even younger than Jasper; in fact they had one that was 30 years old!  I knew that this was the only fair and compassionate solution for Jasper; as much as I wanted to be the one to ‘save’ him, teach him stuff and watch him grow, I lacked what it would take.  So, sadly, we loaded him into a trailer and watched him be taken to experience the next chapter in his, already exciting life.  I guess this experience has taught me that sometimes even the best, most honorable intentions are not ‘right’ for some situations.  As human beings we want what we want and we want it now, but once in a while we are thrown a curve ball that allows us to see and experience the bigger picture and act in a way that is best for every soul involved.”


Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, Tammi!


Beringer: A Lesson in Planning Ahead


Last winter, Marty Tousley and her family were delivered some devastating news.  They discovered that their Tibetan Terrier, Beringer was dying and he didn’t have much time left.  As a bereavement counselor, Marty knows how delicate and important decisions made during these times can be.  So she led her family in preparing for the loss of their beloved pet.

Beringer’s ClayPaws Print and other cherished mementos.

“Knowing that our beloved Tibetan Terrier, Beringer, wouldn’t be with us much longer, we made a ClayPaws Print of his foot last winter.  He died in August, and now we’re so grateful to have it, as it is one of our most cherished reminders of him.”

–Marty Tousely, CNS-BC, FT, DCC

There are many ways to help you prepare for the loss of a pet.  Planning ahead helps!  It reduces the stress you and your loved ones deal with during such a difficult time.  Follow this link  for a list of things  you might want to consider.


Shannon and Daniel Swanson made a ClayPaws Print of their black lab, Loki, when they first got him as a two month old puppy.  A fact they were very grateful for when they suddenly lost Loki two years ago.  Below is Shannon’s heartfelt tribute to their beloved Loki.  It is Veterinary Wisdom’s hope that in sharing stories like these, others who are grieving the loss of their pets will know that they are not alone and that what they are feeling is very normal.

“In Memory of Loki Swanson:

It is with much sadness and tears that I write this note.  The sudden death of our “dog-faced child” Loki.

Loki Joki Swanson
9/15/2004 – 6/25/10
Photo by Jenny Tchida, June 2010

Affectionately called Loker, Loki-Doki, Goki (by Tobin).  Loki lived a happy life, though way too short.  He would have been six years old this fall.  That’s more than half our married life that Daniel and I shared with him and two years that Tobin [our son] did.  We got Loki at two months old, the Thanksgiving after Daniel came home from Iraq in 2004.  He brought so much joy to us.

Today, he died in the arms of his favorite hiking partner, Daniel.  Loki, Freya and Daniel went hiking at Devil’s Backbone in Loveland, [CO].  Daniel said he was doing great, but not drinking water.  He started getting slower about half way back.  Daniel brought him to a stream, where Loki laid down…in the muddy water, which is just like Loki!  He didn’t get back up.  He slowly left us, while Daniel held him, pet him, talked with him, and Freya stood by her companion’s side through it all.

He is being cremated and we will scatter his ashes…some at home, some on the trail.  He will be greatly missed.  There are so many memories we have shared as a family.

We love you, Loki!  R.I.P. in doggy heaven.

P.S. Freya is going to finish your rawhide that you left in the middle of the floor this morning.”

-Shannon Swanson

Update:  The Swanson’s recently welcomed a yellow lab named Odin into their home by making a ClayPaws Print to put with Loki and Freya’s.  (See picture below)

(Left to Right) Freya, Odin, and Loki ClayPaws Prints


Dear Veterinary Wisdom,

“We received a ClayPaws memorial when we lost our beautiful 11 year-old, blue Australian Cattle Dog girl, Scout.  She got sick very suddenly (huge mass on her liver).  We took her to Blue Pearl Emergency Veterinary and they made a ClayPaws [Print] of her paw print for us.  It was such a sweet thing to do.  It was such a sad time for my husband and I…she was such a wonderful girl…so much fun.  She made us laugh every day and gave us so much love.  We miss her terribly, as does her breeder.  She had 27 puppies in three litters, so she was such a wonderful mommy.

Scout’s ClayPaws Print.

I inserted this photo of her ClayPaws [Print] and attached her memorial.  You can read Scout’s memorial here. As you can see, she was a pretty girl with beautiful black eyes.  I painted it myself and placed it within a stepping stone we created to go on her grave.”

Linda and Dale Field

Wesley Chapel, FL

Note: While we don’t usually recommend placing our clay outdoors, it sounds like the Fields did their research and used materials that should seal it against the elements.  World by the Tail, Inc. suggests that if you want to put a ClayPaws Print outdoors that you consider purchasing our CopyKit.  With it, you can make a mold of your original print, and from that mold make a copy print to use outdoors.  This way, you have more than one ClayPaws Print should something happen to the one outside.  For more helpful hints like this, visit our website at

The Original “Buddy”

Sam was my dog.  Sure, he was the “family dog” …but he was really mine.

We didn’t mean to get four dogs.  It was never the plan.  It just worked out that each of us had our own buddy.  Here’s the picture to prove it.  (Sam and I are on the far left)

I am very proud of my dog, Sam.  He was quite the star.  Sam appears on an episode of ABC television’s “20/20” program and in many of World by the Tail, Inc.’s early marketing pieces.  But, what I love most is that his ClayPaws Print has been seen by hundreds, if not thousands of people.

When you order from World by the Tail, Inc. for the first time as a veterinary practice, we include a Demo ClayPaws Print.  This print is meant to show what a finished product might look like.  What most people don’t know is that it was my dog’s paw that made the original mold to create these demo prints.  I told you he was talented.

Most people didn’t know my dog, Sam, but so many people have been touched and inspired by his little paw print…his legacy.

When we lost Sam, I was halfway across the country in my first semester in college.  Already incredibly homesick, losing him while I was away made for a hard and guilty grieving experience.  Eventually, I came to terms with not being there with him when he died.  Knowing Sam the way I did, I knew that he forgave me.

I had his picture, and I had his ClayPaws Print that we made for me to take to school.  They became some of my most cherished possessions.  I still have his print with me today, even after graduating from college and moving to New York City and starting to think about getting a new dog of my very own to go along with my new life–I still have Sammy’s print.

What’s fun to think about is that so many of you have also seen, or held or may even still have, as an example, Sam’s paw print.  He’s famous, but I’ll tell you, he never let it go to his head.

I miss you, “Buddy,”


Bryn Lagoni is the Assistant Editor at World by the Tail, Inc.