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A Tribute to Gotti

It is our hope that can raise money in the memory of Gotti, a very special dog. We are hoping that the 'Gotti Fund" will help us save other dogs in need. Gotti passed away ealier this year at the age of 11 years old.

Here is Gotti's special story, written by his mom Tina.

Gotti was my best friend, my soul mate and my heart. He was the first dog that ever “owned” me. The second he walked into my life; I knew we had a special bond, one that could never be broken. And I was right. I can’t remember the exact date that we met..just that it was a chilly Michigan night in February of 2005. He and a littermate had been living inside of a wooden box. The top was closed and from what I was told, never opened unless the owner decided to feed them. At the time, I was “sort of” looking for a dog. I hadn’t quite committed to the idea…and then I got a call from my sister. “Tina, you HAVE to take this dog. Only thing is, he’s a Pit Bull. If someone doesn’t get him, he’s going to die”. Back then, I was like a lot of people, afraid. Afraid of the stigma that comes along with a Pit Bull. Afraid he would grow up to be vicious. But then something in my heart turned.. Something told me that this dog was meant for me, that we were meant for each other. I went to get him that night. The owner wasn’t willing to give him up. So we negotiated a price of $75.00. I wrote the check. The best $75.00 I have ever spent. He was a tiny guy. You could see in his eyes a sadness. You could tell he didn’t feel well. He was quiet and cautious, but seriously the sweetest little thing I had ever laid my eyes on. He was covered in fleas, his own feces and urine. His tummy was distended and he walked with a slow, unsteady gait. I wrapped my arms around him and in that instant I fell madly in love. I promised him he would have the best life. I promised him that he would never suffer again. And I meant every word. The next day I made a vet appointment. He was vomiting, lethargic.. My baby was so sick. After extensive testing, the vet determined he was severely malnourished and anemic. He was riddled with worms, including heartworms. My heart sank. But I saw a fighter and we fought for his life together. Gotti was my world. We spent all of my free time together. We went on long walks. Everyone always commented on what a beautiful dog he was and I agree. He was so incredibly beautiful. We ran around the yard, went for car rides, he loved that. He loved being wherever I was and the feeling was mutual. He slept in my bed and I loved it. I couldn’t sleep without him..He would wait at the foot of the bed until I invited him up. He would jump up, do a few spins and lay down next to me. When he was 4, he started having trouble getting into the bed, the car, he had difficulty walking long distances. He never wanted to disappoint me so he tried to be the same doggy but I knew something was wrong. So off to the vet we went. The vet determined after ruling out broken bones or torn ligaments that due to Gotti spending the first few months of his life stuffed into a box, his back legs hadn’t formed properly, there was zero cartilage, just bone resting on bone. Surgery was an option, but it was expensive and it wasn’t statistically successful, so we opted not to have it. At the same time, it was also determined that Gotti had autoimmune disease. I felt like I was failing him. I promised him that he would never suffer another day, yet day after day, he lived with the physical pain associated with his past and I couldn’t change it.

Then came the tumor. I knew every lump and bump on his body. When a new lump turned up, my heart sank. The pessimist in me feared the worst. My fears were confirmed; the lump was cancerous, soft tissue sarcoma. We scheduled surgery right away to remove it. I remember cradling him in my arms and apologizing to him. His fur was soaked with my tears. Again, I promised him that I would always take care of him. And again, we fought together. In December of 2015, Gotti’s belly became extremely distended. He was still acting normal, eating, drinking, and greeting me at the door. I had already decided before this, that if he got sick, I wasn’t going to put him through a bunch of extensive testing. The vet recommended ultrasounds and x rays, blood work and diet changes. He felt it could be heart related, congestive heart failure. Gotti had a lot of fluid in his body. We tried antibiotics and diuretics. Nothing helped. He stopped eating. He stopped greeting me at the door. On January 17, 2016, he took his last breath. As I kissed him goodbye, I made a promise, to never let him down again, that I would continue to fight and that he will be in my heart every step of the way. Gotti changed my life and I owe him so much. He is the reason I am involved in animal rescue. He is the reason I fight against abuse, neglect, stereotypes and BSL. Through him I learned true loyalty and unconditional love. Through his adversity, I was inspired and have dedicated my life to helping those that cannot help themselves. He gave me my voice, he opened my heart. If I had never known him, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I am eternally grateful to this amazing creature that taught me more in his short life than any human. His life was a series of unfortunate events, but he never ever lost his spirit. We shared happy moments, tragic moments. He knew my secrets and let me drown him in my tears. He was a silly dog with a million quirks. I adored him. I miss him. Resilience, strength, courage and devotion…That is Gotti. My love. My heart. My forever.

To donated please click on any of Gotti's photos:


In Loving Memory of Lionel Joseph Lavoie

Lionel Joseph Lavoie, 72 of Scottsdale AZ passed away on March 12, 2016

Lionel and his wife Toni loved the life they lived together. They spent their free time enjoying American nature to the fullest. They rescued and loved many homeless dogs (and cats) over the years. Lionel's favorite TV show were the Animal Planet and Dog Rescue 911. Lionel took pride in all that he dedicated his time to and was very concerned that any animal might be homeless.

In lieu of flowers please donate to Lucky Dog Rescue in Scottsdale AZ on behalf of Lional.

To donate, please go to Please be sure to add Lionel's name to the donation. You can also send a check to the address on the opening page.


In Loving Memory of Don Woods

In loving memory of our Father, Don Woods, 1/8/1950 – 5/3/2015 Our dad was a simple man and didn’t want for much but to be with his family, animals, enjoy the outdoors, and make everyone laugh. He was the life of every party – his storytelling would captivate everyone in the room. As a teenager, our buddies would say “invite your dad, invite your dad”, because they knew that, like us, he just wanted to have a good time. Dad was a true cowboy at heart – hat, boots, buckles, ropes, wranglers – and loved his wide open spaces. He loved being out in nature and needed little more– just a lake, his fly-fishing gear and Coors Original. We’d have the best time out there – telling stories, calling cougars and getting rowdy. He taught us all how to have fun.

I think the only thing our Dad loved more than the Country was his animals. Dogs, cats, donkeys, horses, fish, turtles, chicken, pheasants, quail, goats, ferrets (you name it, he had it) – I remember as a kid always coming home to a new rescued animal. One time there was an injured wild rabbit that Dad took in and cared for until completely healed and vital. Nothing gave him more joy than rescuing the hurt and nurturing it back to life. When it came to his animals, Dad was selflessly at their service. You don’t usually see a cowboy be so gentle.

Please donate to Lucky Dog Rescue on Dad's behalf, and help his love for
animals and life live on.   To donate, please go to this link:



"In memory of Sian. Companion and protector.  Loved and missed."  From Angela




In loving memory of Louis W. Wutz, 04/11/1928 to 10/12/2013

In loving memory of Richard Grimes October 6, 1940-September 27, 2013 In honor of Gigi

 Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. Please click PayPal logo contribute


In memory of my friend and long time Lucky Dog Rescue foster and volunteer,

Pamela Thompson

July 6th, 1972 - June 30th, 2013


 Pam Thompson was a wonderful friend, volunteer, and foster for Lucky Dog Rescue. Pam loved dogs and cats. She really was a true animal advocate. Many dogs, puppies, kittens and cats ended up in Pam’s care over the years. Pam truly was an expert at bottle feeding the tiniest of kittens. Her dog Morgan, a beautiful lab girl, was always on hand to show puppies how that doggy door worked. Tragically, Pam passed away of cancer at the age of 40 on June 30,  2013.

Pam had been a volunteer for Lucky Dog Rescue since 2006. The school that Pam worked for is in a very poor neighborhood, and people often asked her to help out with litters of kittens and puppies. Pam never turned anyone down. She would help raise money for the care and vet bills for these little creatures and often used her own money for food, milk and such.

Pam leaves a huge void within Lucky Dog Rescue and I, along with many other volunteers, will miss her every day.

It was Pam’s mom’s idea to create a memorial fund to honor Pam’s life and love for animals. My hope is that Pam’s legacy can continue on by creating a Pamela Thompson Fund to help unwanted and stray dogs and cats by providing veterinary care and a safe place to be until a few forever home can be found.

Lucky Dog Rescue is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization run completely by unpaid volunteers like Pam. All monies raised go directly to the care of our dogs.

Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. Please click PayPal logo contribute.             


In Memory of Paul Dressel

Paul with 'Lucky Dogs" Wilhelmina and Ivan.

Please click on Paul's picture to make a donation in Paul's honor.