Rainbow Bridge


The Golden Years
by Rikki Schmidt

For those of us who love our pets, they seem to be in our lives for such a short time. But they leave their paw prints in our hearts forever. Kramer, Gold Canyon’s most famous canine resident, crossed the Rainbow Bridge on January 15, 2005 after a six month struggle with Valley Fever

Valley Fever (coccidioidomycosis) is a systemic fungal infection cause by spores from a fungus that lives in the soil of the upper Sonoran Desert. It can affect both humans and animals. Treatment with anti fungal drugs has varying rates of success.
Beloved pet of Curt Fonger and his wife Marta Saint-James, Kramer came into their lives in 1995 when Curt was bringing donated blankets, towels and food to the Huron Valley Humane Society in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He spotted the sweet but malnourished and abused golden retriever named Cody and called Marta who came down right away. They adopted the three year old dog on the spot and brought him home to join their other golden retriever, Cody. But two Codys in the family, Big Cody and Little Cody, became confusing. Then they noticed that the new dog, when called, would run at breakneck speed from the backyard to the house, and then screech to a halt at the doorway, just like the character on the Seinfeld sitcom. And so the name…. Kramer.

With plenty of good food, love and attention, Kramer thrived in his new surroundings and when his family moved to Arizona in 1999, he was happy to make his home in Gold Canyon. Although he mourned the loss of his friend Cody in 2001, Marta started bringing him to all the Valley’s dog parks where he made lots of new friends. He also began visiting children’s hospitals, nursing homes and Special Olympics events. Soon, the well known golden retriever with the affable disposition was the acknowledged “Ambassadog” of good will, bringing joy and happiness to everyone who knew him. He was often the subject of newspaper stories and even had his own line of greeting cards. His “special edition” Kramer’s Greeting Cards raised over $1,200 for construction of an off-leash dog park Despite the fame, he remained the “same ol’ Kramer” blasé and unaffected by all the attention.

But last June, Kramer was diagnosed with Valley Fever and was unable to tolerate the powerful medications used to treat this terrible disease.

While his death leaves a terrible void in their lives, Curt and Marta have agreed for the University of Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to conduct a post mortem examination which will help increase researchers’ knowledge of Valley Fever which is becoming more and more prevalent.

For more information on this disease go to the University of Arizona Valley Fever Center for Excellence website at http://www.vfce.arizona.edu

Cody on the left, Mom and Kramer
Christmas 1998


Just this side of heaven lies the Rainbow Bridge.
When a beloved pet dies, it goes to the Rainbow Bridge. It makes friends with other animals and frolics over rolling hills and peaceful, lush meadows of green.
Our pets do not thirst or hunger. The old and sick are made young once more; the maimed and the ill become healed and strong. They are as healthy and playful as we remember them in days gone by.

Though happy and content, they still miss someone very special, someone they had to leave behind.

Together, the animals chase and play, but the day comes when a pet will suddenly stop and look into the distance... bright eyes intent, eager body quivering. Suddenly recognizing you, your pet bounds quickly across the green fields and into your embrace. You celebrate in joyous reunion. You will never again separate. Happy tears and kisses are warm and plenty; your hands caress the face you missed. You look once more into the loving eyes of your pet and know you never really parted. You realize that though out of sight, your love had been remembered.

And now, you cross the Rainbow Bridge together....

M.A. Preston



I'm Free

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free;
I'm following the path laid out for me.
I answered when I heard that call;
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day;
To bark, to love, to work, or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way;
I found my peace at the close of the day.

If my parting has left a void;
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A bond we shared, a laugh, a kiss;
Ah, yes; these things I, too shall miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow;
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full, I savored much;
Good runs, good times, and your beloved touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me;
God wanted me now; He set me free.



For those who have lost a beloved companion pet, grieving can be so difficult. If you have the need to contact us to help you, we offer understanding and compassion. We are volunteers who have suffered the loss of a dear animal friend. Please call Marta or Curt at 480-540-7607. There is no charge for this service. If you need to contact professional Pet Grief Support Services please visit the Companion Animal Association of Arizona - Pet Grief Support at http://caaainc.org/petgriefsupport.htm

Thank you Walt for this beautiful Memorial for Kramer!

Walt Girton is a Gold Canyon resident and a charter member of Gold Canyon D.O.G. -Dog Owners Group. Walt serves as the Treasurer of our organization.
Please visit his website at http://www.azcarver.com/Memorials.php

Angels Kramer and Cody

Angel Dog Figurines are available through

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