Sunday, November 11, 2012

Reba Messina and Amber are our November 11, 2012 Pups of the Week

I can measure how long I have been on social networking dog by Pocket’s age.  A month after Pocket chose our family we joined Doggyspace, and, as soon as we joined Doggyspace we met Reba Messina and her Mom Linda.  No matter where we went, what site we joined, or if we blogged independently, our one constant was Reba Messina, because, no matter where we went, Reba was there.

This past week, after 16 years of being her Mom’s friend, partner, inspiration, and love, Reba left her, and us, behind, as she was called to the Bridge because the Lord had important work for her to do there.  Not a day will go by that we won’t miss her or think of her Mom and how we have to try and rebuild her broken heart after she shared her life with one of the world’s most important and most famous dogs.

(If you think I am fibbing about her being famous check out the cover of Fido magazine with Reba featured on the cover between Carlton Kressley and Julianne Hough.)

All dogs love to boast about their breeds, us included.  And our parents are even worse, saying how they love one breed or another.  But Reba wasn’t any breed, she was brought into the world a mutt, but she would not stay a mutt, and she would change the meaning of mutt throughout the world.

Reba, on her Mutterings and Things Blog page ( stated that her mission was to unite, elevate, and celebrate mutts.  And she created a new breed for mutts called the GenChan for the tongue in cheek term “genetically challenged.”  She united millions of dogs who were dismissed under the name of mutts into one group that, if the American Kennel Club wanted to be all inclusive, they would allow to compete.  Her reterming of mutts to GenChan inspired my changing the name b-thces to lollipops.

I remember years back Reba and I barking about problems we had with the old management of DS.  She had even talked with the mean man Levi who owned it.  I did not have the nerve to bark directly with him and tell him what we thought was wrong but not Reba.  She was strong enough to bark at anyone and was never afraid.

When I started blogging I wasn’t sure what I was doing but one day Reba came to see me and told me she had been doing it for awhile.  She told me to just follow her steps in the sand and soon I would be as good as her.  Well, I don’t think that happened, but she helped me a lot and taught me how to write, how to be sweet, how to be funny, and how to be me.

Reba and her Mom Linda were a perfectly matched pair because they were both so special.  When a dog was down, bridge bound, or already there, they knew just the words to use to make us feel better.   And they used their blogs and Facebook to spread the word whenever there was a food recall, or urgent medical news, Reba and her Mom made sure everyone knew it.  Also they fought very hard for those dogs who did not have homes, or worse, were on death row, never giving up on trying to find them a home.  Whether it be GenChans or Purebreeds Ruby and her Mom were there fighting.  Even after she went to the Bridge Reba was still trying to help others.  Today on her blog page she wrote a blog for parents announcing her passage to the Bridge and advising parents on how to know when pups are telling them it’s time.  Also on Facebook her Mom posted a list of medications and belongings that Reba had asking if anyone could use them.

Reba was a true fighter.  She held off going to the Bridge for a long time, 16 and a half years.  The Bridge Angels knew she had important work to do down here, and let her stay extra time, but starting last month Reba began to let her Mom know that it was time to go, and last week, the little engine that was Reba’s spirit began to run out of steam.  Her back legs could no longer support her and the light was gone from her eyes.  So her Mom made the hardest decision of her life, but the right decision, to let her go to the Bridge, where she will become a very important angel.  And where I am sure she will continue to look over all GenChens and purebreds, and do more great work.

And we will continue to check in on her loving, heartbroken Mom.  I know that Reba will always be in her heart and Reba’s spirit will continue to guide her Mom to do good works, but let’s not forget Linda now that Reba has gone.  Reba wants us to keep checking on her to make sure she is OK.

Reba was the most famous dog I knew, hanging out with Hollywood celebs, appearing on magazine covers, having a presence everywhere on the Internet.   But she was a small town girl, with a heart of gold, who put her Mom first.  She has left a big whole in lots of our hearts.

Also I need to mention another amazing dog who went to heaven this week, leaving us, and her mother Carolla, broken hearted, the beautiful Amber, who, while not passing Reba’s longevity, also fought to stay with her Mom, holding off the bridge for over 15 years.  

Amber was known in her neighborhood as the girl with the goggles.  She loved to go on car rides and her Daddy made her special goggles so when she stuck her head out the window she didn’t get bugs in her eyes.  She was another GenChan dog, a Chow mix, who was greatly loved by all dogs who knew her and her Mom.  She captured her Mom’s heart so much her Mom didn’t even mind the drool that often fell from her sweet mouth.

During Hurricane Sandy Amber and her Mom, always putting others first, kept checking in with all her friends in the path of the storm without letting us know that Amber was telling Mom it was time for her to go to the Bridge too.  Even though she had been in ill health we were still shocked when we heard the news.  Her love can still be felt from the Bridge, where she may finally be able to catch one of those critters she has been chasing for years.

It has been a tough week for us dogs and their Moms this week as we have lost two huge figures in the online dog community.  Like always we will carry on, somewhat lessened, and hoping that their Moms will find the strength to bring a new pup into their lives, because they are both one in a million Moms and there are needy dogs, and we will learn to love them and their adventures.  If they can’t find the strength we understand, you can’t ever replace a Reba or Amber.

But we will never forget, and our hearts will always be filled with love for, Amber and Reba.


  1. Foley and Pocket - I am beyond knowing what to say about your heartfelt post about my Reba. It is so well written and you definitely captured what my little girl was about. We have both enjoyed your friendship over the years more than you know. Two kind little scamps who we love so much. One thing I must note is that Reba is not the dog between Carson Cressley and Julianne Hough on the cover (as much as Reba would have loved having Julianne and Carson holding her)! Reba's piece was inside the mag. Reba was often mistaken as a Giant Westie which always made me laugh!!! Linda Messina Reba's Mommy

  2. It's always sad when the Bridge calls....such wonderful dogs, who had long, and fruitful lives.

    XXXOOO Daisy, bella & Roxy

  3. Lovely post about Reba and Amber. We love the Genchan. We know they are happy over the bridge. Take care and we know you will miss them both but they will watch over you. Loved the follow my footprints in the sand. Have a lovely Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  4. I agree with Daisy/Bella/Roxy, it is so painful for humans when the animals have to go...

  5. In addition to my comment on DS Moms page I will say that ABSOLUTELY we will adopt again. No home is complete without the love of a dog. Amber would have it no other way, and I am certain Reba feels the same. My heartfelt thanks again, Foley. Your heart is as big as the ocean and we are blessed.

  6. Such beautiful tributes! No matter how long our dogs are with us, it is just never enough time.

  7. Both Reba and Amber are amazing and I miss them both.

  8. Foley - I am reading your post again and it is even more beautiful than when I first read it. Thanks again. Mommy is going to copy it and have it framed. (((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))