In Memory of Sanchez, My Muse and Our Mascot

Sanchez entered my home and my heart at 4-months-old. He was a puppy in training from Guide Dogs for the Blind, and I was a volunteer puppy raiser.

He came pretty close to passing all the guide dog phases. But, when he didn’t, I was happy to adopt him. I promised him the best life a dog could have, and that he had. What I didn’t know then was what a great life he was going to give me, and many others. He was to be of great service, but not in the way that was planned by his guide dog breeding and training.

Instead, his work over the years included agility, official greeter at Lisa Spector’s Music School, canine musical freestyler, actor (as Helen Keller’s dog in The Miracle Worker), and my muse and inspiration behind creating Through a Dog’s Ear and iCalmDog. If it weren’t for Sanchez, I’m not sure canine music therapy would have ever been created.

His rambunctious puppy behavior caused my original inspiration. Then he became my constant canine tester, continued inspiration behind product development, and the center of attention on social media as charming and adorable mascot.

He was the perfect model and video star.

His best work was the development of music products to comfort senior dogs. That started when he told off a vet who thought he needed to be sedated for an X-ray that required him to lay still on his back. He thought, no problem, “I’ve got music that will take care of that.”

In addition to food, his greatest joys included using his nose (anywhere and everywhere, including nose-work class), hikes near the ocean and training with me every night.

Truth be told, when Gina joined our family, he wasn’t thrilled. He would have preferred that all the treats in the house were for him alone, and he always counted to make sure she didn’t get more than him. But, she adored him and never gave up trying to getting close.

We did tricks almost every night, and he loved it. He’d cry if I was late starting our special training time. When he matured, I found additional ways to include him with Gina. He grew to be fond of her during the double dog tricks. And, he especially enjoyed searching for treats I secretly tossed him when I was tugging with Gina and playing fetch with her. (He was never much of a retriever himself though.)

Sanchez was such a trooper during his rehab from a slipped disc in his neck at age 9 and his acupuncture treatments at Coastal Holistic Complementary Vet Clinic. And, more recently, during his recovery from E. coli.

He never complained about his change of diet to home cooked meals and The Honest Kitchen.

Sanchez touched many lives, far and wide, and left a big paw print behind. He rocked my world, and I am forever grateful for our nearly 14 blessed years together. He taught me so much about dog behavior and was my muse, not to mention the best mascot ever! He was adored by more fans than he was ever fortunate enough to meet. He will live on forever in my heart and in the hearts of all of his fans.

Sanchez always marched to his own drum. He lived life on his own terms, and went out on his own terms. He told me when his job was done here, and I respected his wish. He had a peaceful transition while we listened to the music that he inspired. Señor Sanchez wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Through a Dog's Ear Sanchez Mascot

Sanchez’s Secrets

1. He was career changed from Guide Dogs for the Blind for being “too much dog” and for being mouthy.

2. When he was first career changed, his dog sitter said, “His horns hold up his halo.” It was the perfect description of him.

3. He was a big snorer his entire life. He kept me up with his snoring on our first night together. And, during his guide dog puppy years, he snored his way through seven San Francisco Symphony concerts and six San Francisco Opera productions. I was always worried it would bother concert attendees, but they always loved him.

4. He was too macho to admit it, but he loved stuffed animals.

5. He was crazy about Golden Retrievers. He tried to hump almost every Golden he ever met, even in his senior years. Well, there was that one Border Collie too! (Click for entertaining video.)

6. He ate my diamond earring when he was a puppy. I looked for a week and never found it. Oh, what a girl will do for diamonds!

7. He once got me out of a speeding ticket. The cop asked why I was driving so fast. I said it was because I was worried my guide dog puppy would need to relieve before I got to the opera. He took one look at him and said, “Cute puppy, OK”.

8. He had more initials after his name than me… Señor Sanchez AXP AJP OFP CGC
(Did I mention we did agility together?) Canine Good Citizen test was passed at 10 years of age! Good Boy.

9. He chewed up and destroyed at least a dozen dog beds in his youth.

10. I lost him more times than I care to admit. One time I called the cops and they found him half a mile away. When I showed up, he looked like he was about to say, “Oh, you’re here. So, what’s for dinner?”

11. He loved sweet potato strips. But, he was terrible at “Look At Me”.

12. He was always showing off his hips. (Who me?)

13. My personal nickname for him was “Pumpkin”.

14. He loved hanging out on decks with great views.

15. He really didn’t like to cuddle, unless we were outdoors sharing the lounge chair.

16. He loved men and was always trying to find the right one for me. (He’s passing that job onto Gina.)

17. He frequently slept with his head off the bed.

18. He wasn’t much for swimming, but he loved to walk in the water.

19. He made himself comfortable in the oddest ways.

20. He loved to make up his own agility courses. (Click for a must see, very funny video.)

21. He never relieved in our home, not as a puppy and not as a senior. But, when I took him to a friend’s house decorated for the holidays, he walked over to the Christmas tree and, well…

22. He failed his therapy dog test. (As always, he was more interested in searching the floor for crumbs than engaging with the people.)

23. He loved to wash the dishes.

24. His picture was on a framed card in our home with a favorite quote by artist Pam Reinke.
“It always comes back to… all I really owe anyone is to honestly be Who I am.”
He taught me this when he was a puppy and the lesson remained his entire life.

25. He had his own special song from iCalmDog that I played for him on the piano, Schumann’s Child Sleeping. I was so fortunate to share his final evening with him in peace and had the opportunity to play it for him one last time at home. This video is from a few years back, but I’m sure he’s listening now from Rainbow Bridge.

Rest in Peace Señor Sanchez. Through a Dog’s Ear is your very special legacy, and I will remain forever grateful. Yours was a life well lived and well served to many!

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58 Responses to In Memory of Sanchez, My Muse and Our Mascot

  1. Darren says:

    So sorry for your loss Lisa. We lost our chihuahuas a few years ago now and the through a dog’s ear music was so comforting for them during their times of stress. We now have a Labrador which looks very similar to Senor Sanchez, she turned 3 yesterday. Rest in Peace Senor Sanchez and thank you for helping our dogs over the years with your beautiful calming music.

  2. Faith says:

    What a beautiful tribute of your lives together. ❤️

  3. Cheryl says:

    So sorry for your loss please accept my heartfelt condolences.

  4. Dear Lisa
    My heart goes out to you at this time.
    Thank you for sharing your memories, and I hope that they comfort you.
    I have share the story of our own recently departed dog, Tessa.

    Best wishes

  5. Patty Soriano says:

    Lisa, I’m so very sorry for your tremendous loss. My husband and I have lost so many over the years and each gets more difficult as we get older. I cannot imagine the next losses we face. And most times hubby will say he doesn’t want another one. It’s too hard. But I believe that the years of love and laughter they share with us is always worth the grief in the end. I do not want to live a life where I must live without a pet’s love. My three, who benefit from Sanchez’s contribution to music, Dalton, Buddy, and Sofie, send their heartbeats to you today.

  6. Denice Cleveland says:

    I am sorry for your loss. It appears he had a wonderful life with you at his side.

  7. Kathy Burton says:

    My deepest sympathy for your loss
    All dog lovers feel the grief upon the passing of a much loved. I believe every pet that passes deserve tears to honor them. And honored by tears from those of us who feel your pain! You have honored him by celebrating his life. My Golden Retrievers get nervous when storm happens. Use Rescue Remedy and play your music. We all enter a Zen zone until thunder & lightning passes

  8. Mary H. says:

    Dear Lisa;
    I am so, so, sorry for your loss of Sanchez.So grateful that the universe brought you two together. My hope is that you are blessed with his presence in sweet ways to heal your heart.
    My thoughts, prayers and heart are with you and Gina.
    Take care lisa,
    Sincerely,
    Mary H.

  9. Barb OConnor says:

    What a wonderful life you had together! Sanchez was quite the character who provided lots of memorable moments. I hope the warm memory of those moments soon overtake the grief and loss you must be feeling now.
    Barb

  10. rg says:

    Thanks for sharing, I love Sanchez and what his life meant to you and everyone. I know my day will eventually come and I hope to use your story to get me through the toughest moments. Our pets are so very meaningful in our lives and sometimes we forget just how much…I am touched and once again reminded how emotionally vested I am in my dog.

    to your healing process!

  11. Traci says:

    Thank you for sharing a part of Sanchez with us. I feel honored. You made an amazing duo (trio when Gina arrived). He’s at the rainbow bridge listening to your music where my beloveds are too. Take care during this difficult time.

  12. Joy says:

    This is a perfect​ and incredibly beautiful tribute to your beloved Sanchez. I am so sorry for your loss. Sending virtual hugs your way.

  13. Michele Marziano says:

    I am so sorry for your loss of Sanchez. What a wonderful tribute. He will always be in your heart.

  14. Laura Passey says:

    Lisa and Gina, I am sobbing…..I have loved your family for a lifetime. Thank you SO much for sharing this wonderful boy with us all. You have brought peace to many in my home and Rescue. What a great time Sanchez is having in Heaven – I love that all dogs go there – and if they don’t, I want to go where they are. May you find peace in your memories. Job well done Sanchez – see you over the Rainbow Bridge. Slobbers from us all.

  15. Sending you so much love at this time of transition. May those of us who also grief for him and shed tears somehow LIFT the burden on your heart, even a little. Every time that song comes on our iCalmDog, I will think of him. All hail Sanchez. We thank you for your service. XOXO

  16. Brenda Bartley says:

    Hi Lisa ~ my heart breaks for your loss of Sanchez 🙁 We know they must all go at some time, but it’s never easy when that time comes. Thank you for sharing your life and love of Sanchez with us. I’ll think of him every day when I turn on my iCalm music for my girl, Ruby. We can’t thank Sanchez enough!

  17. Carol McMurtry says:

    So sorry – Much love and blessings for Sanchez and your work! Carol

  18. Carol McMurtry says:

    So sorry – Blessings to Sanchez and all of you! Carol11

  19. I’m so sorry for your loss. Beautiful tribute to a beautiful dog. We are thankful for your music which helps my current dogs and helped my late dog Binks who had separation and noise anxieties. Thanks for sharing Sanchez’s gift with us.

  20. joyce says:

    i knew you would do the right thing at the right time…this is wonderful. Lots of love, Joyce, jazz and allie

  21. Cindy Graham says:

    Lisa, such a very fitting, loving tribute to Sanchez. It brought tears to my eyes. Just this morning I took my oldest dog, Bingles, to the vet not knowing how the outcome would be. (she is the 12 yr. old dog who also battled e-coli right before Sanchez did). Thankfully, she is not leaving us yet & we are changing up her meds, plus she had a disc adjustment. We will see how the future goes. My heart goes out to you as I know how painful it is to lose your pup. I’m so glad that Sanchez inspired you to help others throught the iCalm.

  22. Anita says:

    I am sorry so much for your loss. I know how it feels like. Thank you for sharing your memories. God bless you.

  23. Beth says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of Sanchez’s death. It’s so very painful to lose one of our special fur babies.
    I’m happy to hear that he was your inspiration –in so many ways. Your music has been a needed addition for our two Bichons for various reasons over the years. But they have come to expect that when we go out, they get to listen to their music!

  24. Rudi says:

    My heart aches with you. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful tribute to your exceptional Sanchez. You are both an inspiration for so many.

  25. Jerry Dworkin says:

    Lisa, my condolences. Right now I’m sure the loss is a bit overwhelming. That was a beautiful tribute you put together. I have a 12 year old rescue rat terrier who for the past 18 days has been on death’s door with acute pancreatitis and a secondary infection of unknown origin. I was preparing to lose her, to the point of having purchased a burial plot. While anecdotal (it could have been a change in antibiotics or the meat loaf my wife was preparimg to get the dog to eat!), my belief is that the dog was “saved” by the use of the cannabis CBD oil/tinture (non-psychotropic) I was giving her (with the vet’s knowledge and blessing). After almost two weeks of suffering, IV therapy and a slew of drugs, after commencing the CBD treatment, in 24 hours she was off her pain meds and eating 24 hours after that. The blood tests results from this past Thursday show her to be in good health again. I hope anybody with an ill pet will at least consider this treatment, at a bare minimum to ease the animal’s discomfort. And I wholly support the use of your music, in part Sanchez’ legacy, to also ease pain and help the soul (of both animal and owner).

    I wish you strength while you suffer with you loss.

  26. Annemarie Fisher says:

    An amazing tribute to Sanchez, Lisa! Thank you so much for sharing Sanchez with all of us! He truly lived a full and happy life and served an unprecedented purpose. I loved all of his “secrets,” especially #7 and #17. My Lexi also slept like that all the time … we never could figure out how that could possibly be comfortable! But most of all, I loved the videos you included – and for getting to hear you play “his song,” I am most grateful. I hope the days gets easier for you and Gina. All the best! (And Happy Passover to you!)

  27. Karen says:

    Lisa, thank you for sharing a glimpse of your wonderful years with Sanchez. Seems like you were both meant to find each other and share some amazing times and years. I too just recently said goodbye to my beagle, Baxter, and am thankful for every day we had together, even though I miss him terribly. Our hearts are stamped forever with their love. Take Care and thank you for all the music you create and share with our beloved canines.

  28. Kathy says:

    Thank you for letting us know about Mr. Sanchez. I am so sorry for your loss and wish you the peace in your happy memories. My girl sealy needed the tapes to help her be less stressed in the car but I finally realized I was getting more relaxation from them then she was because she would sing along but I was able to relax and join her! Again I am so sorry.

  29. Vicki Casarett says:

    Lisa, Thank you for sharing your wonderful dogs and your soothing music. I am so sorry about Sanchez. He was a remarkable fellow, as you are a remarkable parent. The bond was lovely to behold. Please find comfort in the years you gave each other.

  30. michelle f harvey says:

    My deepest sympathies on your recent loss. I too lost a dear friend a few months ago, her name was Bailey and she was a golden retriever. My heart still aches and will continue to do so for a long time. As much as it pains me to lose these dear family members there is no way I could ever be without the comfort and love of a four footed friend.

  31. Cheryl Lomas Irving says:

    It is so hard to say “good bye” to those we love. I am so sorry that You had to say that to your dear Sanchez. He was such a beautiful friend. Thank You for sharing this blog with your readers. I play my iCalm Dog every night (for me–smile) and, also, when I leave the house to keep my pet calm. It is so soothing. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  32. Shauna Pickett-Gordon says:

    Sweet, heartfelt tribute to a beautiful boy. Thank you for sharing this, Lisa.

  33. Mark Grauer says:

    What a beautiful life you, Gina, and Sanchez had together.
    He was blessed to be so loved.

    What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful friend.
    Live on Sanchez!

  34. Karen Paradiso says:

    Dear Lisa,
    I was so sorry to hear about your loss of Senir Sanchez!i always enjoyed seeing him in videos and hearing about his and Gina’s escapades! I’m glad you could be with him as he crossed the Rainbow Bridge! sending you and Gina prayers and hugs as you grieve your loss! It’s so hard to lose our babies!

  35. Nancy Haney says:

    What a great loss. I’m so sorry. RIP Sanchez.

  36. Carol Duncan says:

    Lisa, I am sorry for your loss, but glad that you and Senor Sanchez were blessed to have found each other and shared 14 years. What a wonderful life you had together!

  37. Jackie Olivier says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear companion Sanchez. May your wonderful memories of him give you peace and comfort at this difficult time. He’s not gone, he will always be by your side.

  38. Christina Yates says:

    I’m so sorry Lisa that Sanchez has passed. It is always such a loss. It sometimes makes you wonder whether you should have a dog My shadow, Thomas who was a Blenheim Cavalier, died 2 days after we got back from a cruise to celebrate my husband’s 60th birthday, he wasn’t poorly, just dropped dead, we always felt he had hung on for our return. We got a puppy 12 month later we call him Finlay he’s a black & tan cavy small but so cute. We got a puppy, we thought we could train him, ha ha, he trained us! We adopted a tricolour cavy bitch 2 years ago, she’s daft as a brush but is such a friendly dog and thinks everyone loves her! Having 2 is hard work for my husband but he doesn’t complain and we’re very fortunate that Finlay’s breeder is happy to board them when we have to go away which is such a relief as we know they’re safe and well cared for. They are even groomed before we collect them. I know that time will heal your loss, another dog will fill your heart but there will never be another Sanchez, God Bless

  39. Joanne Yeck says:

    Through your beautiful music, Sanchez is immortalize.

  40. Robin says:

    I’m sorry for your loss Lisa. Sanchez has left a great legacy behind. And many dogs will benefit from it. Rest easy Sanchez. Your work here is done.

  41. Ingrid says:

    April 4th will, in my mind, be forever a day to celebrate Sanchez’s continuation day. His legacy will continue to serve and make a difference for hundreds if not thousands of those who never even got to meet him except through your sharing such as this tribute. He continues on in another realm and in our hearts.

  42. Rudy Cardenas says:

    So sorry for your loss Lisa. What a legacy he left. He was quite the ambassador. My dog Luke passed 5 years ago. He taught me how to love. I miss him every day. About 3 months later a 10 week old stray puppy that somebody dumped came into my life. I think Luke sent her my way! I believe Luke and I will meet again and so will you and Sanchez.

  43. Rachel Setola says:

    What an incredibly loving and beautiful tribute to your beloved Sanchez! I’ve felt your pain and it can be unbearable at times. Know that my heart goes out to you.

  44. Carla Lehmann says:

    Lisa, I am so sorry for your loss. By sharing these beautiful pictures and story of Sanchez, as well as his music, you have made him part of our lives as well. He lives on in our hearts and in your wonderful music.

  45. I was really lucky to have the pleasure of seeing and being with Sanchez once a week for my piano lesson. He would greet me at the door and welcome me in. What a big personality he wore! He made you feel like you just made his day when really he made yours.

  46. Karen says:

    Aaww Lisa, even in reading all these wonderful touching memorials Sanchez is yet touching many lives in positive ways as we send our sympathy to you. I know this day is coming soon for my girl so I am grieving with you knowing how difficult it was for you. Thank you and Sanchez for giving the world such wonderful loving example of what such a companionship can be with a dog. It has encouraged me. My girl has E.coli and if it isn’t too insensitive to ask…how did you get rid of it? Thank you and God bless you.

    • Lisa Spector says:

      Thanks Karen. I’m honored that my relationship with Sanchez was an inspiration to others. As far as I know, Sanchez did completely recover from E. coli. His lab work from a blood draw showed that everything was very normal. I changed his diet, because my holistic vet said he could never eat dog food again. So, he hate mostly The Honest Kitchen (dehydrated, human-grade food) and sometimes I cooked ground turkey for him. He really loved it. Up until the very end, he had put back on the weight he had lost, plus some. That being said, he was approaching 14, and he really did slow down significantly after the E. coli. It could have just been age, but he started sleeping a lot more and didn’t really want to leave the house much, so our lifestyle completely changed. He was just more content staying home, so I catered to that. On our journey, the E. coli was my wake-up call that his time was coming. But, again, it could have been more age related. Your pup my be younger, but I would recommend only human-grade food. Hope that helps.

  47. Barbara says:

    Lisa, Thank you for sharing your story of life with Sanchez. It is a beautiful tribute to Sanchez! Many of my GSDs have benefited and enjoyed the music that was inspired by Sanchez. I know you know that Sanchez is happy and healthy now and waiting for you to join him at the Rainbow Bridge someday! Blessings to you!

  48. Karen DeBraal says:

    Thinking of you and sending harp songs on the wind. What a fabulous dog. So glad you had each other and that he was part of the incredible music we all enjoy.

  49. Lourdes says:

    Lisa I’m so sorry for you loss, Sanchez was incredible and from all your pictures and videos I can see you each loved each other so much. I also lost my beloved Beto this past January so I know how much it hurts, and how we will always miss them.

  50. Rory says:

    Your pain of heart is felt by many. Let your heart fill the joys you shared with Sanchez.

  51. Kelly says:

    Lisa, I am so sorry to learn of Sanchez’s passing. Your summary of your life with him was beautiful and touching. I hope that your good memories of times together bring you some comfort and peace in the days ahead. The music that Sanchez inspired is indeed an important legacy. My dogs, some of whom have passed, have enjoyed its calming effects over the years. Thank you to you and Sanchez for being a force of good in our world. Blessings and prayers to you….

    • Lisa Spector says:

      Thanks Kelly. Yes, I am very blessed with so many loving memories with that boy. He had a very unique personality for a Lab and was very good at making me laugh. I’m so glad your dogs have benefited from our music.

  52. Lisa Spector says:

    Thank you everyone for all of your beautiful comments. I have read and enjoyed every one of them. It’s so comforting to be surrounded by an army of dog lovers that just get it and completely understand. I am truly blessed.

  53. Tammy Damon says:

    What a beautiful tribute to Sanchez. He has always lived in my heart ever since I saw him racing around an agility course with happy abandon and a clear and wonderful commitment to being himself.

    Thank you team Lisa and Sanchez,you have made a real difference for so many furry 4 foots and their significant 2 foots. You will be missed but always present.

  54. I am teary reading this heart-felt memorial to Sanchez. We all owe him a “Thank You” each time our own dogs benefit from the music you created together. My dogs and I are sending both you and Sanchez love, hugs, and prayers.

  55. Annie Brody says:

    Thank you for sharing so much of your life with Sanchez. I knew he was a special dog because he inspired the creation of Through A Dogs Ear, and because I had the privilege of meeting him in person.
    But I certainly didn’t know about all of his quirky antics! His legacy will live forever through all the dogs helped by the calming music you created. Viva Senor Sanchez!

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