BOSTON (CBS) — Tell people you want to do a series about pets, and you don’t have to look far to find a story, or two, or three for that matter.
I didn’t have to leave the WBZ newsroom.
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WBZ reporter Kim Tunnicliffe is a cat lover.
“I know a lot of people don’t like cats. They say they’re kind of standoff-ish, but Picasso was more like a dog. He was waiting at the door when I got home. Any room I was in, he had to follow me. We really had an incredible connection and an incredible bond,” Tunnicliffe recalls.
Related: Pet Perspectives Part 1 & 2
Kim recently had to part with Picasso after 18 years. Picasso had been diagnosed with feline diabetes ten years ago, but it had become too hard to manage.
Listen: Pet Perspectives Part 5 With Mary Blake
“I spent thousands of dollars to try to get him better, but in the end, I just knew the time was approaching,” says Kim.
Related: Pet Perspectives Part 3 & 4
“On the final day that Picasso was home, I slept on the floor with him so he wouldn’t have to jump up on my bed. He slept on my chest and in the morning, he had a seizure. I rushed him back to the vet hospital and they basically said it’s time. It was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make and it was absolutely heart-wrenching to go through it. I held him in my arms and he purred the whole time. That just broke my heart.”
She now has Picasso’s ashes after taking him to Angel View Pet Cemetery and Crematory in Middleborough. Bill Morgan is president and owner of Angel View. He says for 30 years, his facility’s focus has been helping owners say goodbye to their pets.
“It’s very similar to a human funeral home where we have a small wake in a viewing room that is very private. The pet is placed in a casket for the mourning purposes. It helps them get through the grieving process,” says Morgan.
The Bush family is among his more famous clients.
“We got a very nice letter from Barbara Bush. We did Millie and one of Millie’s offspring,” says Morgan. Millie was the subject of the best-selling “Millie’s Book,” written by Barbara Bush.
Another colleague at WBZ, reporter Mark Katic says he thinks of his dog, Sophia, every day.
“She was just one of the most loving and giving dogs I’d ever had, and when she died of cancer, it tore my daughter and me apart. I’ve never gone through anything so hard in my whole life than when I had to have her put down, ” says Mark.
Mark Katic has a new dog now, a Sato rescue dog that he met through me, as I researched this series. Mochi is a stray mutt from Puerto Rico. Mochi was rescued from a junkyard by a woman who saw the dog running down the street. The woman opened her car door and the little dog jumped in.
“When I saw her photo, I just thought right away that she would be the one,” says Mark. “Then, when I saw my daughter’s eyes, light up, and my wife’s eyes light up, I knew this was going to be a good situation. ”
WBZ’s Carl Stevens is another colleague who is adjusting to life with a new puppy. Brady is a seven month old Black Lab.
“My sons, who are both teenagers, have been begging me for years to get a dog, so finally, I went online, Googled for breeders, found a good one in Methuen and got Brady. He has become a wonderful addition to my life. I live alone and it’s nice having a dog to come home to,” says Carl.
Not that it’s always easy.
“This is a little black lab who chews on chair legs. He loves wood. I mean, forget about it, this dog,” laughs Carl. “I’ve grown to like this dog a lot, and I didn’t know how I’d respond. I got him for the kids, but I only see the kids on the weekend and I see that dog every day.”
Listen: Pet Perspectives Part 6 With Mary Blake
Daria DiBiase of Woburn says you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who loves a dog more than she loves Lola, her 14-month-old Boston Terrier.
“I”m more of a dog person than I am a people person. I don’t want children. This is my child. I have seven nieces and nephews and I’m fine with that.” says DiBiase.
She celebrates all of Lola’s milestones.
“We had a first birthday party for Lola,” says DiBiase. “I baked a pawprint birthday cake and treat goodie bags for the guests, and it was all in pink because everything Lola has is pink. Pink, black and white.”
Lola also had a party dress for that day. She had an Easter dress this year, and a Christmas dress and a Thanksgiving outfit.
“As the song says, whatever Lola wants Lola gets,” says DiBiase.
She adds that her biggest joy is coming home, seeing Lola’s face and then spending time with her.