Animal Friends for Education and Welfare

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Theresa Marie Cruz
December 11, 1975 - November 23, 2010


On November 23, 2010, A.F.E.W. lost a very dear friend and devoted member, Theresa Cruz.

Theresa loved animals and was a wonderful surrogate mom to many a kitten and puppy. It was remarkable how someone who was so ill herself could find the strength and compassion to care for and rescue God's creatures. She will be missed by all of us at A.F.E.W., and by many of us personally as a friend.

Going forward A.F.E.W. will be designating our annual Bless the Beasts and the Children Fundraiser in her name:

The Theresa Cruz Memorial:
Bless the Beasts and the Children Fundraiser


Animals and children were two of Theresa's passions. God Bless You Theresa, and our thoughts and prayers go out to your family.



Caleb was found wandering the streets of Princeton, NJ, in March, 2004. We brought him home, loved him, showed him how to trust us. He made a fast friend when we adopted Bridgette, our 1st Labradodle in June 04.

Unfortunately, she died in 08 of osteosarcoma. For 1 month, Caleb didn't eat right or play much. In May 08, we adopted Muffie. It only took a month for them to bond and be best friends. Caleb loved our trips to FL. Suitcases meant road trip. He found a small spot, curled up & slept from PA to FL, getting up just to relieve himself. He & Muffie were the sentinels on the sofa guarding us from all who dared walk in front of our patio.

He had attitude, and always thought he was BIG dog. He tried to be the leader, but reluctantly took his position in the pack. He played with only one toy- his frog. No other toy interested him. We bought all the frogs we could find to keep him happy.

We loved the little bugger and will miss him terribly. Thank you AFEW for letting us have Caleb (you named him Winston). It’s too quiet here right now.


Passed over the rainbow bridge in June 2015


I miss my best "Buddy"

It was June 2008 ...four months after I lost my dog...and the house had been too quiet for way too long and my heart was bursting with love for another member to be added to my family. In the past I had purchased a pet from a breeder, but something told me it was time to look for one that was homeless. My search lead me to AFEW and I had my heart set on adopting one I had seen. Marilyn wrote me and told me that particular dog was already adopted...but she held onto my application and emailed me that she thought she had one I would be interested in.

Down we drove and there he was, at that time his name was Charlie Brown. He had been so neglected that his hair was completely matted. He was afraid of everything. When he looked at me with the most magnificent set of eyes I had ever seen on a was like we saw into each others soul. I picked him up and he actually wrapped his paws around me like a koala bear. He stole my heart and became a member of my family. Lynn his foster Mom said he was a "love bug" and she was 100% correct. He became Buddy...and he certainly was..we did everything together. My son from California was coming home to meet Buddy and he jokingly said if Buddy doesn't like him, my son will have to find some place to stay. For Bud was top dog in my life. Fortunately they became best buds, and years later my son also adopted his first dog..knowing how successful our experience was. Buddy added so much joy to life. Whatever we did together he was all in. He lived the good life at the Jersey shore....sunrise and sunset walks along the water. And was loved by a large extended family. Unfortunately this Spring Buddy was diagnosed with cancer. My heart was broken. I immediately reached out to AFEW and Marilyn and Lynn steered me in the right direction for further diagnosis, but unfortunately it was inoperable and incurable. He was way too young, and we had many more miles to walk together. I am so grateful for AFEW that they gave me the opportunity to share 7 years with Buddy. I know he is waiting for me on the other side of the rainbow...and when we meet we will both be all in for what is next.

Cathy (Buddy's Mom)

Passed over the rainbow bridge on July 30, 2012


Logan passed over the bridge on Sunday after a very happy day at adoption day on Saturday, where this picture was taken. He enjoyed visiting with the A.F.E.W. family and getting a bath and playing in the pool. Logan lost his battle with epilepsy early Sunday morning. The A.F.E.W. family will miss him, especially Fran and Margaret who opened their home to him on many an occasion.

God speed, Logan.

Sadie, CGC, TDI, USDAA Agility Dog
August, 1997 - November, 2011
Born Junkyard, Trenton, New Jersey


This poem are the words that I have in my heart tor Sadie and tell the whole story. She taught me so much. Please honor her with the latest picture you have of her which was only taken this past March. She was so happy that day, she loved going there. Below are the words that I will always feel for her.

Once in every lifetime a partner comes your way - That special furry someone oh what a glorious day - From that first exciting moment, gazing into eyes of brown - you feel her pull your heartstrings and know what a treasure you have found - We call these friends our heart dogs because that is where they stay - they are really truly part of us and they never fade away - The dog who is always with you even if you are far apart - and who really understands you living forever in your heart - So here's to you my darling girl - May our partnership never end - you have my all, my heart, my soul my true forever friend.

Heart Dogs by Dana Bull

Thank you.

Deb Sawyer
(Sadie's Mom)

Gidget: 1998-2011


Although I only had Gidget for a very short time she found a place in my heart immediately. She was such a loving and peaceful dog that anyone who adopted her would have been thrilled. In the beginning she was a little skittish around her new sisters, but before long they were all sleeping on the loveseat or bed together. Gidget was very well behaved and was just a pleasure to have around. It was hard to believe anyone could give her up. She loved everybody that she met and was always ready to jump into any empty lap she could find.

Although Gidget was already a senior when she was adopted and slept more than her sisters, she non- the less enjoyed her daily walks and running around the backyard. People do not often realized the joy adopting a senior dog can bring to both the dog and the adoptive parent. Senior dogs are usually housebroken, trained and just in need of a loving home. They give you back unconditional love, and you have the joy of knowing that you are making their remaining lives better. People often look only for the young dogs or the ones they feel are the cutest, but there is no greater joy then giving a senior who may have no other opportunities a loving home. This is written was sadness at losing Gidget, but also with joy at the memories she has left behind.

Gidget's Mom Rose

When I was asked to take Gidget I wasn't too excited about having another dog in the house but the person who asked me for help did so very rarely. I said Ok and Gidget came to live with me and my 2 dogs. I sort of thought she looked rather different but cute...and she was very sweet and quiet. It took almost no time for me to fall in love with her. She wanted no more than a little attention. She would look for an opportunity to jump up on the couch and sit next to me. I'm easy. It worked. Really...she just wanted me to know she was there and looked for a gesture of caring...a touch...a pet...a little hug...she won me over in a short time. I'm easy but usually not that easy! So we lived together for a few weeks and then an email came in asking me to bring her to meet someone who was interested in adopting her. Frankly, I almost said "no, I want her." But one of my dogs was not happy she was here and I didn't want Gidget to be at all afraid. I took Gidget to Rose's and Gidget met what would be her future "sisters', two of the cutest girls in town. lt took only a day or two for Rose to call and say she'd like to adopt Gidget and give her a good home. Two things happened for me:

First, I was so happy because I knew Gidget would be moving to a wonderful home. Second, I knew her leaving would break my heart. That's the experience often of a foster mom. We learn to think first about how the dog would benefit by the move; not about what we want. And so, Gidget left me. It really made me feel so sad FOR ME, but I knew Gidget was so much better off. Her sisters welcomed her and her new mom was immediately in love with her. That's what it's all about. I know Gidget had a good life for the most part. Her last year turned out to be special. Having had the opportunity to be her foster mom makes this entire process so worth it. God bless Gidget. She will make a wonderful doggie angel!

Gidget's foster mom, Judy

A little something about Wookie:
Passed over the Rainbow Bridge on August 29th, 2010


AFEW asked if I would take in another foster I thought since it was a small dog - and living in a condo it was a perfect fit. So I headed down to the shelter to pick up TAZ. For many months people past over TAZ since he had one ferocious attitude a crazy set of large canine teeth for a small dog. The teeth looked like they belonged in a dog the size of a great dane and the attitude and bark was the genesis of the name (Tasmanian Devil had nothing on TAZ). My first thought this is going to be a wild ride to the adoption day.

As soon as TAZ came out of the shelter run he was a different dog - he had a little skip in his step and no attitude. A quick trip home for breakfast before adoption day so TAZ could meet my husband. At first sight all my husband could do was giggle with those teeth coming out of his mouth like a Halloween set - he was a bit funny looking. With the teeth and red fur he looked more like Chewy from Starwars then the Tasmanian Devil from Looney toons - so Wookie was reborn.

For the next 5 years he provided nothing but love and companionship for me and my husband. As we prepared for the birth of his human sister my husband asked what were some things that we could talk about or I could focus on during labor that would relax me. Most people would respond by saying watching the sunset at the beach or looking lovingly into their partners eyes but not me - my first response was Wookie - rubbing my hands in his fur.

He was truly part of the Anderson family. As we made the difficult decision and said our goodbyes, I asked Wookie to watch over his new human sister, Amelia.

Passed over the Rainbow Bridge on February 25th, 2009


About nine years ago we found our pug Posh at A.F.E.W. There were a number of pugs for adoption from the same household. I believe about 5 of them. We made an appointment to come see the pugs, but somehow went the wrong way in New Jersey and were about 2 hours late. The last pug standing of that group was POSH. I remember when we pulled into the driveway she was being held by a gentleman at the door. The woman who had to give up these pugs was there as well. I believe she wanted to meet us to make sure we would be good adoptive parents. Apparently Posh had a hard time at a home who adopted her and was returned.

Posh was a bit underweight, only 11 pounds. She howled like a wolf the entire way home. She had to be re-potty trained. We think she may have been around 6 years old. She had a number of litters and was not yet spayed. She was also an assertive little thing. We had two other dogs, one pug and a mix about 45 pounds who she promptly put in their place ~! She also insisted on sleeping with us from the very first night......and she remained at night with us for nine years.

She was a feisty little gal and we loved her very much. She recently passed away at home after an illness. We loved her very much. We called her our Jersey Girl. We estimate her age may have been as much as 14 but we really don't know. However are grateful to have found her.

We are very grateful that you gave us the opportunity to love our Posh. R.I.P.

Passed over the Rainbow Bridge on July 15th, 2008


Mr. IMax was very much loved by his family and they miss him terribly. He was adopted by Lee and Jay and spent many years on the farm enjoying life. He loved playing with his buddy, Tucker, who passed before him, now they are together again running in the fields at the Rainbow Bridge. IMax was a handsome, elegant kind of guy.

Meatball � "My Handsome" "My Angel"
Passed over the Rainbow Bridge on May 30, 2008


My dear angel Meatball, while here you made so many friends They all truly cared, and loved you �till the end - I had to let you go my friend, although it made me cry you were at the point of missing that special twinkle in your eye - I know you�ll be okay now, you won�t be lonely where you go Over the bridge they�re waiting, friends that you know - There�s Dak and Millie and Sammy too, oh the list of names is long They�ll welcome you and show you around, you�ll be family � you�ll belong - You�ll play and romp and lay in the sun, all throughout the day With no cares or worries and trouble free, in peace at night you�ll lay - I hope to see you in my dreams, with that great big alligator smile From over the rainbow bridge you�ll run, we�ll walk and play awhile - I�m honored to have shared your life with you, you taught me so many things I hope you find it peaceful there, and take flight with your new wings - Meatball � your soul is so sweet, gentle and loving. You will be missed forever!!

(Meatball was a resident of the Hamilton Animal Shelter and taken under A.F.E.W.�s wing. A.F.E.W. volunteer, Dina, was working with him to find him a home. Unfortunately when he went to the vet for his workup he was diagnosed to be in kidney failure. Dina loved Meatie and adopted him into her home with her dog Delilah. Meatie lived the good life until the end. He was a special dog to Dina and A.F.E.W.)

My Dakota
Passed over the Rainbow Bridge March 9, 2008


The fact was, the second you turned and looked at me at adoption day I loved you. Even when I handled your adoption, I loved you. When you were returned, I didn�t feel badly because I would foster you. I tried my hardest not to fall in love with you. I called you every name but your own so you wouldn�t get attached and I kept telling you not to look at me with those big goofy eyes or even toward me with that big blockhead and those huge velvet triangle ears. But, it was no use.

In your four years with me, my Dakadoodles, you... Ate almost an entire 40lb bag of kibble the first week I had you in foster care. Ate numerous trouser socks; but only the black and navy ones. You learned how to open the washing machine so you could stick your head in and steal those socks to eat. Stole pounds upon pounds of kibble from the kibble bins. Ate a pound of birdseed, "let it all go" in the backyard, causing a remake of "The Birds" when I went to let you out thereafter. Ate a box of foil wrapped granola bars, causing me to inject you via turkey baster with peroxide until you vomited them all up (thanks for the help, Marilyn). Broke into the refrigerator and ate a weeks worth of medication wrapped in peanut butter. Attempted to mate with Old Miss Millie several times a day after being rejected several times a day. Pick-pocketed a wallet from a woman's purse while working a booth at the Pet Expo. Was sponsored by a Girl Scout troop his first year with A.F.E.W. Visited an elementary school with A.F.E.W. to teach children about animal humane education. Barked like a chicken. Played with squeaky toys, of which a 2 ft caterpillar and a Blues Clues dog were your favorites. Would wag just the tip of your tail if I looked your way. Liked your tushy scratched. Were mischievous. Were adorable. Were silly. Stole my heart and made me smile.

I miss you terribly, my big bad boy. The house is quiet without you and my heart is heavy.

(Dakota was an owner surrender to A.F.E.W. After being adopted then returned due to a surgical need, Lynne (A.F.E.W.) fostered then adopted Dakota.)

Passed over the Rainbow Bridge on April 2, 2008


We adopted "Princess" (whom we renamed Gwen) as a young married couple, just starting my studies at Princeton Seminary. She was a beloved and faithful member of our family for almost 13 years, good-naturedly helping us welcome two kids into the "pack," and putting up with moves from New Jersey to Tennessee to North Dakota. After surviving one cancer operation in 2005, Gwen was finally done in by a recurrence of the disease this spring. We miss her, of course, but we wouldn't trade the good years she gave us for the world.

Please accept our deepest thanks for the wonderful work that you do, and for what it meant to us in connecting us with Gwennie. You make a big difference in the lies of pets and owners alike.

D. Matthew Stith