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Our companion from October 8, 2012 to December 31, 1969
Family: Mary Polzin Posted by: Teresa Hershey

In memory of Kayleigh

Kayleigh was just a 2.2-pound ball of fluff when she came to live with us and grew to 11 pounds over time. But her small size did not stifle her personality. She had the heart and soul of a St. Bernard and the courage of a big dog, too. Even as her health started to fail and she began to fade in her senior years, Kayleigh showed us all that she was a working dog too – eager to please, to try her best and to bounce back from her illnesses. So many times, she rebounded when we thought maybe she couldn’t anymore. We were blessed to have wonderful care for her from the Westgate team - with all the TLC she received, we were able to keep her by our side for more than 16 years.

So every time you meet a little dog, remember that their spirits are much bigger than their size. Kayleigh was one of those very special little dogs – just longing to have fun and to be loved by everyone around her. But she was so much more than a pet – she was our compass, our true “north.” Although she’s not here now to help us navigate our days, we will miss her always and our memories of her will live on in our hearts forever. 

Mary and Maisy

A tribute to Kayleigh from Dr. Hershey.....

I first met Kayleigh when she became acutely paralyzed in the back legs from an embolism to her back. She came to see me because I do rehabilitation therapy at the clinic, and Mary (her mom) was hoping rehab therapy would help in her recovery.

The very first day Kayleigh came to see me, she was not very happy to be left at the clinic! She barked the whole time in her kennel. After about a 1/2 hour of barking, we got the message that she didn't want to be there, so we put her in a laundry basket and carried her around the clinic so she could be by people. This calmed her down enough so we could start doing some rehab treatments with her. Within a week after her embolism Kayleigh started to walk again. I wish that I could take credit for helping her walk, but, as I came to discover, Kayleigh was a very tenacious little girl, and when she decided she was going to do something, she just did it! I remember calling Mary on the phone the day she decided to walk. I think we were both laughing and crying at the same time. That day started a friendship between between Kayleigh and myself that lasted the rest of her life.

The day Kayleigh started to walk, I realized how curious she was. She wanted to snoop everywhere. Part of her rehab treatment became following me around the clinic. It was good exercise to start, stop, and turn around in different rooms. After she got strong enough, she could do more advanced exercises like hurtles. She was so fun to work with because she would start her exercises even before I had everything set up. She'd start jumping over her hurtles while I was assembling them. She loved to work and learn knew things. Everything I asked her to do, she did, even though she never fully regained function in one of her back legs. She would just do the exercise and the bum leg would just have to catch up.

Over the next 2 years after her initial back injury, Kayleigh developed a host of other health problems that weakened her body, but not her spirit. There were several times when Kayleigh got so sick that I thought we would lose her. But Kayleigh always seemed to rally.

Kayleigh was generous with her good humor, and just fun to be around. Everyone at the clinic got to know and love her. When she finally got to the point that her body just couldn't make it anymore, we all felt the loss of Kayleigh's absence.

I feel fortunate that I got to become friends with this little girl. She touched a lot of lives, both in the clinic and outside of the clinic, and she is missed. 


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