In Loving Memory: Rafo
It's with the heaviest of hearts that I pass along the heartbreaking news of sweet Rafo's passing, June 12. Rafo was one of the original "Fab 5," Tanzie's first group of Bosnian pups transported to America, and a truly inspirational pup. Although Rafo has crossed the rainbow bridge, he left his family -- and the world -- with the gifts of love, determination, and compassion.
"He was so happy all the time and gave us so much more than we ever gave him. So full of love. He crossed the rainbow bridge this morning in his favorite spot, surrounded by those that he loved the most. He was squeaking his favorite chicken right to the end."
His family gave him the absolute best life -- full of treats, toys, and camping adventures! Rafo's family even created Rafo's Bids for Bosnia to help save his fellow Bosnian street dogs, raising more than $2600 since 2016 through online auctions. We are so grateful for the unconditional love Rafo's family gave him, and through that love, their desire to help more dogs like him.
Rafo and his family's story of love are what we hope all Bosnian street dogs can experience one day. Anyone who has experienced the loss of a pet knows it's a devastating time - please keep Rafo's family in your thoughts and prayers.
Rafo nearly died in 2015 from an infection - an unfortunate result of life on Sarajevo's streets. Then he hit the "jackpot" when an amazing family in Virginia fell in love with him across the miles, determined to make him part of their family. After almost a year of fundraising and transportation logistics, Rafo finally arrived to his new home in Virginia, USA, in August 2016.
In October 2018, Rafo was diagnosed with Degenerate Myelitis (DM), a progressive disease affecting his spine, where he was slowly becoming paralyzed over the last 18 months. Although the progression was slow, Rafo was still getting around and relatively healthy, using his wheelchair for walks. Unfortunately Rafo slowly began deteriorating in the last few weeks, and wasn't the same after having what his parents thought was a stroke a few weeks ago.
When updating Rafo's fans of his DM in 2019, his mom said, "In Rafo’s mind there is nothing wrong with him. He still runs thru the house at break neck speeds, the only difference is sometimes his back end gets ahead of him. There is no telling him to take it easy. He loves life and is always happy!"