In memory of Chad: a friend of animals

Have you ever met someone who had an undeniable, unspoken bond with animals? If not, you’re about to.

Ever since Chad was a child, he had this precious view of all living things. He loved birds, fish, cats, dogs – any animal you can think of. Chad had the rare gift of being able to see life through an animal’s eyes. Chad’s family believes this connection began with Chad’s childhood cat, Mandy. One of his first memories with Mandy is bringing the young kitten to his kindergarten’s show-and-tell to show off his devoted companion.

Chad and his kitten Mandy

Mandy was happiest curled up next to Chad throughout his childhood until she passed when Chad was in college. Chad could truly feel what an animal felt, so much so that years later, you could find his wife, Sharon, gently holding him back from rescuing a fish from a Seagull.

Sharon, also an animal lover, had a dog named Rocco. A little West Highland Terrier that thoroughly vetted every single person in Sharon’s life. As you might imagine, Rocco didn’t think anyone was good enough for his mom.

Can you tell where this story is going?

Rocco was loyal, spunky, and had a fierce dedication to his mom. At 9-weeks-old, Sharon’s vet told her that Rocco was indeed sassy and true to his terrier breed. She also warned her to, “be careful, he’ll steal the keys to your car and take it for a joy ride.” Sharon was in for a wild ride with both Rocco and Chad.

rocco sitting on a bar stool with chad

Not many would have the patience to coax an animal to like them, especially when you first start dating. And not many animals are too keen on sharing their humans. But Rocco saw something different with Chad.

Chad had this electric energy about him, magnetic to both humans and animals. It didn’t take long for Rocco to (lovingly) kick Sharon to the side and become Chad’s baby. We’re not kidding. Chad and Rocco became best friends. Chad could even give Rocco his diabetes medication!

When the loves of your life are taken too soon.

chad and rocco sitting on the floor

An unthinkable thing happened on June 23, 2019. Chad passed away from injuries sustained in a car accident at only 49 years old. Three weeks later, Rocco passed away.

Sharon found herself absent of the two greatest loves of her life. A pain no one wants to know.

Rocco was my little sentinel.  A big dog in a little dog’s body. But also so patient and gentle. We used to live in a condo above Trader Joe’s in St. Louis Park. Little kids would love to come up to Rocco on the street.  My dog would wag his tail and reach up on his hindquarters to give the kids kisses. He also proudly walked in the St. Louis Park Parktacular Parade one year and was a hit!  People were drawn to the cute little white dog full of spunk, personality, and energy.

One of Sharon’s favorite memories of her boys is a few weeks before she and Chad got married. They were vacationing near the Cornucopia/South Shore area.

While Sharon was making some last-minute adjustments to their wedding day, off in the distance Chad and Rocco were lounging on the beach like a couple of beach bums – not a care in the world.

They soaked up the sun while enjoying each other’s presence and the bond they shared with their love of Sharon.

I miss both Chad and Rocco so.  But I know they are together and happy. -Sharon

Chad is many things, but one of his most special qualities is that he is a friend of animals.

chad and rocco on the beach

We are humbled and honored by Sharon’s gift to sponsor a Ruff Start transport on August 28th and October 23rd that will save the lives of many at-risk dogs and puppies from Texas.

She hopes this transport sponsorship in Chad’s memory will inspire others to do one thing: be kind to all creatures.

Ruff Start will post updates during these transports on their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

Not on social media? No problem! Sign up for our e-newsletter for email updates on these transports and all things Ruff Start Rescue. Be sure to follow along to be a part of these life-saving transports!

Ruff Start's transport van

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