Vallejo Pet Remembrance shows love of family animals

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Mar 6, 2013 in Rat Answers | Subscribe

Rosie, Smokey, Oscar, Billy Bob, Sasha.

Those were only a few of the dozens of names called out by the attendees of Tuesday night’s Pet Remembrance Candle Lighting ceremony.

The eighth annual event at 7 p.m. at the California Maritime Academy’s Rizza Auditorium, was attended by about 15 people from across the Bay Area who came to pay their respects to the memories of their pets of all species.

Darlene Gong-Koch and Kenneth Koch are a Modesto couple who have been attending the ceremony since 2008.

The couple said they came to honor the memory of about a dozen pets that have died throughout their lives, including cats, a dog, albino rats and a guinea pig.

Koch said he began attending the ceremony after getting in touch in 2007 with organizer Kathryn Marocchino, who helped him emotionally after the loss of his cat Midnight of 17 years, followed closely by the death of his father.

His wife, Gong-Koch, said Midnight kept them sane while taking care of Koch’s parents who were suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

“Midnight kept us happy,” she said. “She never asked us for anything. She was our emotional support. Without her we would not have made it through.”

Marocchino is also the president of Nikki Hospice Foundation of Pets, which hosts the annual event along with the Humane Society of the North Bay.

The event included a presentation by Robynn McCann, author of “The Opal Within Us,” and a eulogy by the Rev. Cynthia Olson of Vitas Hospice


A few attendees also brought photos of their beloved animals. They will be displayed permanently at the Humane Society of North Bay.

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Contact staff writer Irma Widjojo at (707)553-6835 or Follow her on Twitter @IrmaVTH.

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