Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Tribute To Honey Sheperd, Champion for Animals and So Much More

(First Posted 11/02/06)

I met Honey Sheperd face-to-face only once-- more than a year and a half ago in the parking lot at Fred Meyer with her beloved MinPin, Bambi. She was then living in West Linn with her mother and, of course, Bambi, who, I would find out was her "lifeline," even after she placed her with a family that she trusted would give her dog what she wanted to provide but knew she couldn't.

(Bambi, now a bit "fat and sassy" in her home away from home-- cuddling with a cat, no less! That she is so well-treated gave Honey Sheperd much comfort.)

Through Bambi's Eyes

they live & die in darkness
in pain & sadness they lay
the Angels try to find them
but often lose their way
no one seems to hear them
or even shed a tear
for all their pain & suffering
and death thats always near
life should be more precious
more tender & more kind
for all of God's creatures
deserve a peace of mind
i'd give my soul to save them
to take them far away
from the cruel fate that awaits them
so every day i pray
please God, hear their cries
give them a gentle hand
wipe their tears & calm their fears
till others understand
for everything that breathes
and struggles to survive
derserves a kinder fate
while they're still alive
i cry each night for all of them
the wounded ones who pass
i hope they find a "rainbow"
beyond their looking glass
no more pain or worry
the Angels have found their way
no more tears but hurry!
before they slip away...

-Honey Sheperd

I never did see Honey Sheperd again, although we exchanged regular emails. These spanned the time she lived in West Linn with her mother and after she finally returned to North Hollywood, which she considered her "spiritual home." I could never match the number of emails she sent me, including the plethora of petitions for animal rights causes, many of which I would sign and forward. Sometimes I'd send her some knowing that she'd take time to sign often adding her heartfelt thoughts to inspire others.

Nor could I match Honey's zeal-- a burning passion really-- to eradicate all animal cruelty from the face of the earth. She believed in the total innocence of God's furry creatures; sadly she also believed that most human beings were monsters.

Still, she considered me one of the "good ones," even though I'd exposed Geordie showdog scene to attain his AKC championship, and I felt fortunate that she trusted me, even though I was human-- and a very flawed human, at that!

I reassured her that he was not offered at public stud to everyone and that I felt personally responsible to every one of his forty-odd offspring-- and that I strove to be a good steward to my chose breed. And she believed me (rightly). Once she sent Maggie and Geordie a $20-bill for treats, which I donated, in her name, to the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)
(I also did not share her penchant for "slasher movies"!)

This was one charity where we could come together. She was an ardent PETA supporter, whereas I think they tend to take things way too far.

I had sent her
a link in June to a something TOTALLY over the top ( and not 4 kids!!!!) which made her exclaim (in an email), "and people think I'm WEIRD." Then she broke into a vignette of sorts about a former girlfriend of Weird Al Yankovic. I loved to think I could make her smile, an event that seemed all too rare in her rollercoaster-with-mostly-dips of a life.

She liked another joke I sent:

A man walks into a psychiatrist's office wearing only underwear made of Saran Wrap.
The psychiatrist says, "Well...I can clearly see your nuts.”

which made her laugh and ask, "Where do you find these things? I'm going to forward this to my friends." Apparently, Honey had many.

I would only receive another week and a half worth of posts from her after I sent that joke. A week had passed since I had last heard from her. I thought about it and dismissed it taking for granted that I'd hear from her soon.
I'd come to take her frequent emails for granted. Still I wondered but convinced myself that I'd hear from her soon: she was a survivor, after all. She had pulled through so many emotional and physical storms, I rationalized and waited. I intended on checking in with her soon-- after the craziness of my week subsided.

Instead, I received an email from one of Honey's numerous friends, Kim, another woman who'd met Honey just once but who had kept in touch through their mutual passion for animal rights. Kim sent me an email that sent my head reeling. She wrote me to ask if I knew about a service or about anything else. I responded requesting Kim's phone number and immediately called her. Honey had been found dead in her apartment on October 26. No one knew exactly when she had passed away was what Kim told me.

(Honey in a favorite publicity shot.)
A gifted singer, poet, and an actress, Honey had a role in It Came from Hollywood
with Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong (her good friend) and the late John Candy and Gilda Radner and a whole slew of others. . . She had small roles in other films, too.

Honey loved animals-- unabashedly and outrageously (to some)-- more than she loved people. After all, no animal had ever hurt her. People, however, had.

Sadly, though, even her fervent love for animals, which was her tenuous hold on life, would not prove enough to keep Honey above the surface. Honey would succumb.

Along with her undying love for animals was her faith. She really believed that after her earthly life ended she would be in a better place.

If it's peace you find in dyin'
Let dyin' time be near. . .

-Laura Nyro from "And When I Die"


I remember when I was young

I remember my mother well

So soft & kind

Even her comforting smell

And all my brothers & sisters

As we lay close together

So safe & warm

But then one day

I was taken away

No time to say "good bye"

You took me to your home

Saw a yard

So I thought I could roam

I only wanted to love you

And for your to love me

But as I grew

And felt close to you

Your true colors I could see

You left me in your yard

Never even gave me a name

You forgot to feed me

Sometimes you beat me

And you locked me to a chain

I was hungry & confused

Unwanted & abused

I could only wonder why?

Chained to a rotting post

Watching the World go by

What did I do to make you so angry?

What did I do to make you so cruel?

If you would only tell me

I'd make it up to you

Don't you know

If ever you were lost in a storm

I would find you & lead you home?

If ever you fell into murky waters

I would swiftly pull you to shore

If you were blind

I would forever guide you

If a stranger neared your home

I would challenge him

And if suddenly you were sent to Battle

I would March proudly beside you

And if you died, I would lay at your side

Till the "Angels" called me too

But now it is too late

I'm afraid I can take no more

I am hungry & cold

I feel deathly old

My heart aches to the core

And now, as I wait to die

There is no one to hear my cries

No tears are shed for me

So I ask your GOD

If just one dog

Could have words for a "Eulogy."

—Honey Sheperd

For Dogs Deserve Better

Honey touched more lives that she will ever know. Rest in peace!

(a favorite picture that she sent me)

Lovingly remembered as "Aunt Honey" by
Maggie and Geordie
and as a dear friend by

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