Maryanne Pagonis: Her will is her way of giving back

Maryanne Dailey with Rosie
Brad Novak
There is nothing Maryanne Pagonis wouldn’t do for her beloved dog Rosie — nor for Best Friends for bringing the two of them together.
By Best Friends Staff

“To have nourished her, loved her, to have held her for me until I finally got there — Best Friends didn’t just save Rosie, Best Friends saved me,” says Maryanne Pagonis. “That’s why I decided to change my will. I want to give to Best Friends what Best Friends has given to me.” 

As Maryanne tells it, her meeting with Rosie came with a certain helping of divine intervention. Maryanne had been suffering the devastating loss of another great love in her life, her dog Maggie, when in April of 2019 — just three days after retiring from 20 years as senior vice president of the Better Business Bureau in Charlotte, North Carolina — she made the cross-country trip to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. 

Her first stop was the hallowed grounds of Angels Rest, the final resting place for pets of Best Friends’ staff and members. 

“I was looking for some type of relief in my sorrow and devastation,” says Maryanne. “So I asked Maggie if she could please help me find another pet.” 

The next day, while volunteering at Dogtown, Maryanne met a big fluffy dog who’d been there for three years. “I ran singing to her,” says Maryanne. “I felt as if my heart had opened and I’d been saved by this four-footed furry ball of fluff — as if Maggie had whispered in Rosie’s ear, ‘There’s your mom, the one you’ve been waiting for.’” 

Maryanne’s will now includes a generous, unrestricted gift to Best Friends to help many more Rosies and Maryannes find each other. “Maryanne’s unrestricted gift is as good as it gets,” says Matt Claflin, planned giving manager for Best Friends. “It will allow Best Friends to deploy lifesaving resources the minute it arrives for whatever the biggest and most urgent need is.” 

These days Maryanne is helping her aging Rosie through some tough times with her health, showering her with love, wheeling her in her stroller, and making sure everybody they meet knows what a great place Best Friends is. 

“I tell everyone about Best Friends and ask them to please give. And if by some chance I go before Rosie, I know that she will always have a home at Best Friends, a place that will love her in the way I would love her. How wonderful is that?”

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