A local woman is trying to raise money for D.C. animal charities in memory of her popular Capitol Hill beagle.
Pat Leitner is encouraging locals to donate to Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, People Animals Love and other animal charities in remembrance of her dog, Sandy, who died last Monday. The dog was believed to be about 14 years old.
Over the past two years, Sandy could be spotted at many local parades, sporting events and neighborhood sidewalks. She was also a certified therapy dog with People Animals Love and a Hill Pet of the Week.
“I am grateful for every minute I was able to spend with her, even the last one,” Leitner said in an email.
Leitner’s college friend, Michael Rudolf, wrote an obituary for Sandy. He said he visited her and Sandy a few times each year.
Sandy came from North Carolina, where it is believed she was orphaned by Hurricane Sandy (hence her name) and struggled to survive among the rubble for weeks. Eventually she was taken in by a small, overcrowded shelter — dehydrated, underweight, anemic and suffering from a hernia. Homeward Trails Animal Rescue brought Sandy to the Washington area, giving her a much better chance of being adopted. There she met Pat, and a bond was formed instantly.
With Pat’s help and dedication, Sandy went from being a frail little animal who could barely move, to a robust, lively dog who loved to run and play. Once she was healthy enough, Sandy began her training to be a certified therapy dog with People Animals Love. She completed her training just under a year after she was adopted, and celebrated with a party joined by many of her canine and human friends.
In the months that followed, those friends became more numerous, extending throughout the Hill. Sandy could be found helping patients at Specialty Hospital of Washington, visiting with children in Stanton Park, enjoying a treat at Eastern Market or shopping along Barracks Row. (She especially loved going to Howl To The Chief and Metro Mutts!) She befriended the Marines guarding the barracks, the restaurateurs and shopkeepers and everyone she met along the street.
Sandy was also a Washington Nationals fan, attending as many “Pups in the Park” games as she could. From her seat in right field, she would watch the action, enjoy a box of Cracker Jack and socialize with other fans.
Rudolf said Leitner like will host a memorial for Sandy, but plans have not yet been made.
“Not having Sandy on the Hill will be a loss noticed by many,” Rudolf said. “But no lives are emptier because she is no longer with us. Rather, they are fuller because she shared with us a short bit of her time on Earth.”
Photos courtesy of Michael Rudolf and Pat Leitner