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Donny’s Darlings


We were so honored to work with Rochester Hope for Pets with the creation of Donny’s Darlings, named in honor of our precious, 16-year-old Donny who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on December 21, 2023, following his battle with stomach cancer. We are honored to devote this fund to focus on senior rescue pets in need because senior rescue pets are very dear to our hearts.

Over the past 18 years, my husband and I have found fulfillment as volunteers by fostering over 300 dogs, adopting over 50 of them (Donny is one of them!), and transporting over 2,000 dogs from Southern kill shelters to rescues in New York State. Even though we only had Donny with us for about 7 years, he quickly earned the nickname of “tiny ambassador”, always cheerfully welcoming new fosters to our “tiny tot ward” who would share living space with him. Donny quickly developed a strong following among our friends and fellow rescue volunteers, and his story just goes to show he was tiny but MIGHTY, a real fighter who pulled through when it seemed there was no hope.

His story: About 7 years ago, Virginia animal control officers found 5 lb. Donny is in the Appalachian Mountains deep in coal mining country after being attacked by “something”. Their local vet examined him, and just as she was thinking the most humane thing to do would be to euthanize him, Donny bent his head down and kissed her hand! She knew she had to try! I happened to be there when they brought him in doing one of my transports. After a week in ICU, I brought him home on my next trip. The rest is history!

Donny was honored to support Rochester Hope for Pets and help raise money for other animals in need. He came in first place in their 2024 Calendar Contest raising about $2,500 and graces the cover of their calendar this year. He proudly attended their annual gala before crossing the Rainbow Bridge. He will now live on as a “tiny ambassador” for Rochester Hope for Pets, and through the special fund named in his honor he will continue to raise money so that Rochester Hope for Pets can continue to help other animals in need, especially senior rescue pets just like him!
~ Susan and Lee Buckman


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