Friends and Family of Bill Bruchert
passed away on Friday, quite suddenly. For those of you who aren't completely
familiar with Bill, here's a little about him, and how he has affected
not just my world, but the world of Schipperkes in general...
He joined my Schipperkes list about two years ago, and he and I chatted
from time to time. When we first met, he still had the love of his life,
a sixteen year old Schipperke named Skipper. He would call me or write
to me with questions about Skipper, his health, etc., and we became quite
friendly. In addition, the "fur-family" at the Bruchert's also
consisted of two giant bunnies, and two older kitties.
When Skipper passed away, he was more than sad, he was devastated. We
talked on the phone numerous times, and when I sent photos of a little
senior Schip girl I'd rescued, named Katrina, he asked me if he could
drive down and get her on the spot. He fell in love with her, and the
fact that she was not only a senior (about 12 or 13), but also handicapped,
having a deformed foot, and I'd had to have a tumor removed from her side
as well, didn't phase him a bit. He and his wife Trish both felt that
the seniors were the most special, and he often told me that he'd fallen
for Katrina the minute he saw her photo, because all he could think of
was what if something happened to him and his wife, where would his beloved
Skipper have ended up.
So, he and his wonderful wife adopted senior Katrina, from me, a little
over a year ago. Good Schip friend Diane Johnson transported her from
a dog show down here in L. A., to Northern CA, and Bill was so anxious
to get her, I believe he met her late that night, not being able to wait
even until the next morning to get her.
Then, a few months later, there was an emergency rescue needed, of a little
male Schip from a shelter near him, and I'd just asked that he get him
from the shelter so he could be transported to me. It turned out that
this little boy, named also Skippy, had some horrible health issues, and
Bill spent several thousand dollars on his vet care for the few days he
had him, trying to save him. Skipper slept in bed with Bill and got all
the love and care he'd missed out in his lifetime, all crammed into just
a few days, as he ultimately passed away about five days after Bill saved
him, from a perforated intestine and peritonitis. Again, Bill was just
overwhelmed with grief, even though he'd only had the little guy for a
few days. He had hand fed little Skippy and Trish and Bill had become
so attached to this little fighter, even though he'd only entered their
home a short time before.
A week later, the same rescue group in Northern CA who'd told me about
Skippy, told me that the same woman who had turned Skipper in, had now
turned in a young female Schip. They said the woman was being put in a
home with mental problems, unable to care for herself or her Schips, and
that this little Schip was terrified and wouldn't let anyone handle her.
They were very doubtful of her ability to adapt to a new home, and would
only allow me to have her because I was an established rescue, who they'd
worked with in the past with success.
I told Bill about her, and we talked about it. I told him I felt that
she was Skippy's gift to him, thanking him for his wonderful last days
of love spent with Bill and Trish. I felt in my heart that this was one
of those ironic things that were just absolutely meant to be. And... as
it turns out, it was.
Bill went and got her, brought her home, frightened and unsure of herself,
and she instantly bonded to Trish. This was perfect, as now they each
had a Schip to love and Katrina already "owned" Bill, and never
let him out of her sight. They named this little tailed Schip "Wicked".
They worked very hard with her lack of social skills and she's now a very
happy and healthy little Schip, very well adjusted and socialized, and
pure trouble waiting to happen.
Ironically, I often told Bill that I felt I'd known him my entire life.
He was just one of those really super special people who touches your
heart, and had nothing but good in him, and neither of us realized until
he retired from his job at HP a couple of months ago, and purchased a
motor home that was in FL, that in fact, we'd never even met in person.
We both had never thought about it, we felt like we'd met, it was so funny
to realize we'd never had a "face to face" meeting! SO, when
Bill and Trish flew down to FL with their two girls to pick up the motor
home and drive it back cross country, we decided we HAD to meet when he
came through my area.
It turned out, they were behind schedule to make it to their camping site
for the evening, and I'd had to go get a little rescue out of San Bernardino
that morning, so we literally met "on the road" off of a freeway
off-ramp, in a grassy area next to an industrial park. I took little Amy
with me, and drove up to where they were, and we met for only about an
hour. We exchanged hugs all 'round and then we all sat down in the grass
together and played with the Schips and chatted like old friends. Then,
they were on their way, with big plans for traveling all over the U.S.
in their new Motor Home and their two girls. It's SO hard to believe we
only met the one time, and so briefly, as I had grown to feel that Bill
was one of my closest friends, and also felt I knew Trish just by association
and all the loving things Bill had said about her. We made plans for them
to come down in their motor home for the next southern CA Schip-nic, and
off they went, so excited about this new phase in their life.
Bill hasn't only touched my life either, he's been the secret benefactor
of a number of Schips in need. Over the past year, he has tried to donate
money to me, as he is SO supportive of the rescue I do, and he wanted
so badly to "give" to the Schips who needed help. Because I'm
not a non-profit organization, and didn't feel right taking money or donations
since they're not tax deductible, etc., I told him that if he had such
a strong desire to donate money to help Schips, to donate it to an "official
rescue", like the SCA rescue or Sandy's Rimrock,
He wasn't happy about this, and in fact, had also told his family that
instead of giving him a gift for his birthday or Christmas last year,
to instead send me a donation. When they contacted me to abide by his
wishes, I again referred them to Sandy's Rimrock and the SCA rescue fund.
Not happy with just doing that though, Bill, unbeknownst to anyone, has
quietly helped out several people over this past year, who have had sick
Schips, or needed help with vet bills, etc. He only told me about this
about a month ago, we were talking about what "charity" means
to us, and how we all choose our own types of charity, and he told me
that he'd decided his "charity" were Schipperkes, and he was
going to go on anonymously helping out Schips in need, as this was where
his love lay. He was determined to continue on doing this for as long
as he lived. He told me that he had all he would ever need, and even though
he wasn't super rich, he was very comfortable, and again, he had loved
his little Skipper dog so much, and now Katrina who was the light in his
day, that he wanted to make sure that no Schip, especially a senior Schip,
would have to go without help if he had anything to say about it.
He loved his "girls" SO much, he would often call me to just
tell me that Katrina was lying by his side, four feet in the air, with
a smile on her face, getting belly rubs, or to tell me about some new
horrible mischief that little Ms. Wicked had been up to.
I'm sorry to make this so long, but being able to write this all down
is giving me a little bit of closure, as he was such a wonderful man,
and I'm still in shock over the phone call I had an hour ago.
Bill's daughter and son have come to CA, town and they are making arrangements
for a small, simple memorial ceremony to be held in his honor on Thursday,
at his home in Los Gatos, CA. I am planning on driving up there for it,
as long as my poor old Miata is game for the trip.
I was so jolted by his daughter Heather's phone call, and here, she had
lost her beloved dad, and she was comforting ME! I can tell she is cut
from the same cloth as Bill. She dropped a second bombshell on me after
she told me of Bill's passing. In lieu of flowers, they are asking that
donations be made to my rescue, as that was what she felt her father would
have wanted. Even though I'm not "officially" a non-profit organization,
she doesn't care, she is asking all friends and family members to do this,
and begged me to allow them to do so.
Anyone who knows me at all, knows I don't take charity, and turn down
donations all the time. But this is something special, and in fact, is
motivating me to do some organizational things I should have done a long
time ago. I have agreed to take the donations, and plan to use "Bill's
money" to get things in order to take the next step in rescue, and
to make sure that Bill won't have to worry about any Senior Schips going
without help when they need it.
In addition, I plan to contact an attorney and have the paperwork drawn
up for non-profit status for Angelsgate, and also, secondarily, I hope
to establish a fund, in Bill's honor, for Senior Schipperkes who need
help with medical bills, etc.
This will take a long time to finalize, but maybe by next year this time,
this will all be on the way to become a reality.
I have one huge favor to ask all of you who enjoyed Bill's posts about
his "girls" and his wonderful photos of a smiling Katrina and
happy Wicked and his giant bunnies and kitties, and last but certainly
not least, his lovely wife Trish. Please send me emails to forward on
to his family, so they will see how important he was to all of us. I told
her how he'd touched many more Schip people than just myself, and I'd
like to be able to show her how much we're all going to miss him.
I'm very very sorry to go on for so long, but what I've said about Bill
above, is just the tip of the iceberg. This sweet, gentle man truly loved
his family and his fur kids, and he wasn't ashamed or embarrassed to show
anyone or openly demonstrate his love for all of them.
I'm attaching the montage of photos that brought Bill to fall in love
with little Katrina and adopt her into the best Schippy home ever. I lost
all my retained files about a month ago when AOL had problems, so I don't
have any of the photos that Bill sent to us of Katrina and Wicked. If
anyone has these, I'd really appreciate it if you could send them to me
so I can share them with his daughter and wife.
I have many more "Bill stories" of charitable things he's done,
but have already said more than enough, I'm sure you'll all, in our little
Schippy family, understand.
Thanks so much for indulging me, and hugs to all of you, hug each other,
and especially, hug your Schips!
you would like to make a donation to help the schipperkes and all the
other animals in desperate need, please make your checks out to:
P.O. Box 92283
Long Beach, CA 90809
Dogs for Special People for Over 30 Years!