top of page

  Duchess - Beloved Mascot

              2000 - 2004

At the Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pets goes to Rainbow Bridge.   There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.  There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor.  Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.  The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing;  they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.  His bright eyes are intent.  His eager body quivers.  Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in  joyous reunion, never to be parted again.  The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
Author unknown...

Watch a slide show of Duchess through the years using the arrow on the right

"How Duchess Became Our Mascot"
Read her story below (from our very first newsletter)

 DUCHESS, THE DOG WHO TOUCHED OUR HEARTS​ - from our first newsletter


For those of you who are reading her story for the first time, I will briefly bring you up to date on Duchess’s life prior to her being rescued.  Duchess is the oldest of a pack of four dogs that I fed on a regular basis several times a week in the South Bronx. She was so scared, but with patience and persistence, I was able to gain her trust and bring her in for medical treatment. However, while in boarding, I realized that something was very wrong; Duchess was becoming very depressed and had even stopped eating. It was obvious that Duchess was missing her family. She was an old dog and I had taken her away from her family and from the only life she knew. How could I do this to her? For once in my life I was at a loss, I didn’t know what to do. Still, I decided to wait it out and hoped that she would come around. However, that did not happen. I then decided to bring her back to her family. I remember how very upset I was that day, but I had to do what was right for Duchess. From a distance I watched as Samson her son was the first to welcome her back, he vigorously licked her face, Trixie her daughter soon followed, then finally Scrappy her mate. Duchess began eating and seemed happy again, (I was the one who then became depressed). I could not accept that such a sweet and gentle dog would live out her entire life on the streets. I couldn’t give up. I had to at least try. I continued feeding her and her family on a regular basis. I brought Duchess back and forth from boarding to her family. Duchess soon began adjusting and we felt she would soon be adoptable.​​




Who would think that Duchess a junkyard dog would make it to Broadway!!! We began looking for a home. We posted Duchess’s story all over the Internet and told her story to all those who would listen. Shortly after, we were invited to bring Duchess as a guest to the BROADWAY BARK’S event in NYC. There, she was to meet two very important celebrities, Bernadette Peters, and Mary Tylor Moore. Yes Duchess our junkyard dog, with all the scars on her face and with hardly any teeth left in her mouth was about to meet these two very important celebrities, and she was to be presented to the audience by Mary Tyler Moore. We were all excited and at the same time concerned how Duchess would react in such a large crowd. Duchess never disappointed us.  She was as gentle and sweet as ever, not even a growl!! Yes, Duchess had her day of fame, but most importantly she touched a lot of hearts that day!!!!




Shortly after Duchess appeared on Broadway we received a call from a very kind woman who we had met at the event.  She told us that she was so touched by Duchess and wanted to help find her the perfect home. We made arrangements for her to see Duchess again. Both her and her husband were very taken by Duchess and were determined to find her the perfect home.  Shortly after we received a call from the woman about a possible home. She told us that her best friend, whose grandmother lives in Connecticut, had recently lost her dog (to old age), and was looking to adopt another. We immediately called her friend to see if this would be a good match.  We knew this would be a great home and made arrangements for her to take Duchess to Connecticut the following weekend.  If all went well Duchess would not return to N.Y.   We were all sad to see Duchess go, but we knew that this would be her chance at happiness, so we hoped for the best and waited.



I’ll never forget that Sunday morning when I received a call from Connecticut and was told that Duchess had bolted out the front door that Saturday morning. Everyone was out searching for her including the authorities.  Duchess had been sited several times, and was almost hit while crossing a very busy street. Paul and I immediately drove to Connecticut to continue the search for Duchess while Doreen stayed home waiting for any updates from Connecticut.  We met up with the family and together began handing out fliers and talking to everyone we came in contact with. It started getting late so Paul and I decided to stop at a diner to have something to drink, and think about what it was we would do next. Suddenly a call came through on Paul’s cell phone. It was Doreen, someone whom we had recently handed a flyer to, had just called Doreen and said that Duchess was just seen in his back yard which was by the Long Island Sound!!!




We immediately drove to the location and were greeted by a very kind couple that directed us to the river where we then saw Duchess.  We immediately felt a sense of relief to see that Duchess was alive. Paul called out to Duchess but she was so disoriented that she didn’t recognize him and turned away.  After calling out to her again she took a second look and began walking towards us and I could see the eagerness in each step she took, as if she couldn’t get to us fast enough.  She was so wet and looked so tried. We couldn’t thank the couple enough for their kindness.  As we were talking to them another couple joined our conversation and began to tell us about Duchess’s adventure in the Long Island Sound!  The couple was so happy to see that Duchess was safe because they had actually saved her from drowning the day before.   They continued to explain that Duchess had swam about 400 feet into the Sound and they immediately went out on a raft to help her.  She did climb onto the raft and allowed them to pull her in, but bolted once she hit the shore.  The couple had then lost sight or her.  We were so grateful to these kind people and were so happy to have Duchess back with us again. We then called the family to give them the good news and they were also very relieved.  The family was still determined to give Duchess a home, however, we felt we could not take the chance at Duchess trying to escape again.  The next time she might not be so lucky.  Besides it was clear to see that Duchess wanted to be back with the folks that rescued her.




Knowing Duchess as well as I do, I have no doubt in my mind that Duchess was desperately trying to get back to us that day, when she jumped into the river. Since then I have decided that Duchess should be with me.  We are working on some very important issues first. On weekends I spend time with her, I bring her to my home for a couple of hours and she has even spent the night. She gets along well with my other dogs and she has gotten much better with the cats. The hardest thing right now is her separation anxiety. We’re working on that problem and hoping that she will come around.  One thing is for sure; whether it works out or not I will always make sure that Duchess will be in good hands.  God I love that dog!  -     Zulma Cruz




After taking Duchess back to Queens Zulma was determined to make her part of her family but Duchess had severe separation anxiety.   She could not be left alone and that caused a problem.  Sadly we took her back to the boarding facility where she spent several weeks.  We could tell she was getting depressed but we didn't know where to put her.


Meanwhile Paul's mom had just lost her senior Samoyed to old age (adopted through us) and her other senior dog Sammy was very sad and lonely.  Although Paul's mom was upset and didn't want to go through the heartbreak of losing another senior dog we convinced her to FOSTER Duchess for a little while until we could find a home.   Well as soon as she met Duchess she fell in love with her and Duchess was soon part of the family.


Duchess loved living in a house with her new companion and her new family.   Even though she had plenty of food she felt the need to hide her biscuits in all different places, the sofa was her favorite. 


Duchess was in heaven, she loved her new home and loved meeting people.  She joined us at many fundraisers and was proud to represent us.  Everyone that met Duchess fell in love with her. 


Duchess was starting to show her age and  she had a mini-stroke.  Shortly after that she began to have  seizures.   In May 2004 she was in bad shape, the seizures could not be controlled and an x-ray showed a large mass near her liver which was most likely cancer.   One evening we rushed her to an emergency center and the vet did all he could to control her seizures.  She was not responding and it was at that point that we knew we had to say goodbye.   This had to be the hardest dog to say goodbye to.


We Hope to Help Many More Dogs Like Duchess!​​



With all her scars, and hardly any teeth left in her mouth Duchess is the perfect mascot.  She represents everything that Loving Touch stands for.  She is a constant reminder of why we started our group.  She has been an inspiration to us all. I want to thank each and everyone who has helped us through your continued support. 

                   Because You Loved Me

For all those times you stood by me
For all the truth that you made me see
For all the joy you brought to my life
For all the wrong that you made right
For every dream you made come true
For all the love I found in you
I'll be forever thankful baby
You're the one who held me up
Never let me fall
You're the one who saw me through it all

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'coz you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

You gave me wings and made me fly
You touched my hand I could touch the sky
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me
You said no star was out of reach
You stood by me and I stood tall
I had your love I had it all
I'm grateful for each day you gave me
Maybe I don't know that much
But I know this much is true
I was blessed because I was loved by you

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'coz you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

You were always there for me
The tender wind that carried me
A light in the dark shining your love into my life
You've been my inspiration
Through the lies you were the truth
My world is a better place because of you

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'coz you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

I'm everything I am

Because you loved me


bottom of page