Goodbye, Pat

I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of our friend Pat Whitacre yesterday.

Pat was a dog trainer, and so much more, at Best Friends from 2004 until 2012. He was part of the fabric of Dogtown and of the entire organization. He was one of the very visible faces of Best Friends as one of the trainers featured on the “DogTown” television program. There weren’t many people who visited the Sanctuary who didn’t meet Pat, or his sidekick and companion for many of those years, Rollee, when they dropped by Dogtown Headquarters. Pat had a kind word for everyone. He was one of those special individuals for whom compassion is a deeply rooted part of who they are.

Pat changed the lives of thousands of dogs for the better. Pat was thoughtful. Pat was kind. Pat was generous. Pat was uniquely gifted and just his presence seemed to be what some dogs needed. And Pat was always there for those dogs who needed him.

He didn’t only touch the lives of the dogs. He spent many of his lunch hours with shy cats, just lending his calm presence and helping them to trust. His patience had a bit of a legendary quality to it.

Pat was one of those special people who never judged. He had what seemed to be endless time not just for the animals but for people as well. If an adopter had a question, if another organization needed help, if a coworker had a problem with a dog at home, big or small, Pat would listen and lend a hand.

I imagine that there was quite a contingent of dogs and cats from Pat’s personal life, his life at Best Friends, and his work at Pets Alive who had gone before him, waiting to greet him on the other side.

Pat will be missed and remembered.

Help us remember Pat and share your stories or memories in the comments.