Saying Goodbye to Savvy, a “Pit Bull” ambassador

Today is the day I said goodbye to Savvy. Savvy has been my companion for almost 12 years. He’s been trained as a service dog and a therapy dog, passed his Canine Good Citizen test, his Delta Therapy dog test, and proven himself a true ambassador for his breed.  He’s done so much, but I can only cover a few of the joyful highlights.

Savvy has taught children about dog safety.


He was an avid activist, participating in protests against breed specific legislation and even attending California legislative sessions to stand against breed specific legislation.


He’s provided kisses at Chako’s UC Davis Kiss-A-Bull booth, and he even tried his hand at documentary work when featured in Beyond the Myth, a documentary about breed specific legislation.

Savvy teaching kids

He enjoyed his service dog work.


He also loved being one of Santa’s elves, delivering presents to those in need during the holidays. Some years he brought gifts to children; other years, he helped animals. Here he is delivering beds and other goodies to the Yuba animal shelter.

santa savvy

However, life is short, and all lives eventually come to an end. Savvy’s life came to an end a little too soon. He should have lived to a wonderful age of 15 or even 16, but Lymphoma stole the last few years from him.

There’s no right or wrong way to say goodbye to a friend. In my case, I focused on making Savvy’s last days as good as they could possibly be.

He got a photo shoot thanks to his good friend Joni Moore of Pawtography and Moore.

Savvy at the fireplace

Savvy at the fireplace

He went on small field trips

Field Trip to the park

He took quick car rides to enjoy the sights.

car ride

He even visited some of northern California’s dog-friendly wineries

wineries feb25winerytrip

He slept in.


He even got tucked in to keep him warm on the chilly mornings.sleeping in

He snuggled with new toys.


Savvy got special food from his friend Kris with VibraPet (chicken and steak, yum!)


Of course, he also got Hamburgers, since life is too short to always eat well.

hamburgers on the couch

His friends threw a party for him.


And, on his last day, Savvy got more hamburgers, with fries, and all the yummy junk food he could eat…

more hamburgers

Before he took his final sleep, free from the misery of lymphoma.


Goodbye, Savvy, my friend. Follow your buddy, Joey, like you did when you were just a wee pup.


13 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to Savvy, a “Pit Bull” ambassador

  1. April Gonzalez

    Thank you so very much. We just released our golden retriever from her misery and like you, did it at home surrounded by her family both human and canine. We have four furry toddlers that will miss their “momma” dog. One if them is a Pit rescue, aptly named Justice. Thank you for all you do for the breed. You are an excellent doggy mommy

  2. Billie

    reminds me of Shasta, who passed from cancer 7 years ago. She was a black/ white pit. I was so lucky to have her.RIP Savvy.Job well done.

  3. Pam Santin

    Dawn I am sitting here sobbing. We all loved Savvy and what he stood for. I cry for all the pitties that he represented and again you made something so beautiful out of something so tragic. Thank you for always making Savvy a wonderful life and loving him to the very last second. I only hope I can do for my dogs that very same thing. RIP sweet boy. we all love you.

  4. Sue wilby

    Oh my goodness I’m crying, proper sobbing. Sorry for your loss. Pat yourself on the back cos you sure gave him a wonderful life….bless you ??

  5. Dawn Tomko

    Absolutely stunning boy. I’m so sorry for your loss. He lived a wonderful life, and you can see he knew it. Thank you for all you’ve done for the breed.

  6. Sandi Arellanes

    I’m so very sorry dawn! I lost my beautiful girl to lymphoma also. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but her quality of life mattered more than my pain. You gave him an amazing life, and you should be so proud of that! Hugs to you

  7. Suzi Johnston

    Oh boy Dawn, we talked about you doing this & I thought I’d be braver. HA! I’m glad you did it though. Love the picture of Savvy as a tiny little guy. I hope my Minnie met him at the Rainbow Bridge. Love & hugs to you & all our furkids, on both sides of the Bridge.

  8. Suzanna George

    Dawn, I am so sorry to hear about Savvy. He was a special boy. I know the words don’t make it easier. We had to put our first rescue dog, Bonnie, to sleep from cancer, then her brother Clyde passed a few short months later. Our hearts were so broken, even though we knew they were now running free from pain and happy. But I believe their loving souls are what brought us Miss Cali, our first pit bull terrier. She is not a rescue, but our long-term ‘houseguest’ until her owner gets on his feet. She has shown us how loving & specials pitties are and filled a hole in our hearts. She also introduced us to Chako, as I try to learn more about the breed & we got some obedience class under our belt. Thank you for sharing your sweet dogs, and your work with all of us who want to advocate for a breed we didn’t understand either until one was suddenly in our home . We will continue to support Chako & your efforts.

  9. Ann Vanderlaan

    I waited a while to read this because I thought it would be less sad – – not true. Such a beautiful life.

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