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In Memory of Dolly

Dolly enjoying her popsicle

Our hearts are heavy as we had to say goodbye to Dolly, an American black bear. As caregivers, all we can wish for is that the animals we rescue live long lives and enjoy their time in a true sanctuary, but it never gets easier to say goodbye.

It was her time, she lived a good life of 28 years. An untreatable esophageal stricture formed and it impacted her ability to eat solid food. Dolly spent her last days enjoying special treats (popsicles were always a favorite) from her caregivers who have loved her for so many years.

Dolly and her sister Molly lived for 14 years at an attraction in New York. For the last six years of that time, the attraction closed and left the two bears behind. The final three years were the worst – they were completely abandoned and if it were not for caring neighbors that threw occasional food into their enclosure they would have starved to death.

In 2004, the sisters had starved down to half their proper weight. They had not had clean water or veterinary care in three years. The property was to be sold at auction and the auctioneer didn’t want to see the bears destroyed. Fortunately, he took action and searched until he found our sanctuary.

In the midst of recovering from the hurricane season of 2004, we rescued the sisters from their tiny concrete cage one day before they would have been destroyed. At our sanctuary, they experienced grass under their feet and trees to climb for the first time.

Their rescue touched so many – they were ‘adopted’ by a third grade class in Plattsburgh, NY, shipping apples to them all the way to Florida.

We lost Dolly’s sister, Molly, a few years ago to natural causes – now they are together again.

We were fortunate enough to have Dolly as part of the Forest Animal Rescue family for 14 years. She spent half of her life with us and will always be in our hearts.


Dolly and friends at Forest Animal Rescue


Dolly lived for 14 years at our sanctuary, in the company of other rescued bears, being as wild as she could be.


3 thoughts on “In Memory of Dolly”

  1. Am so very to hear about Dolly. At least she lived a good life with you. Thank you for her wonderful care. RIP Dolly.

  2. Thank you for taking care of these animals! I am so sorry for your loss! I volunteer at Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in Locust Grove, Georgia. I know the heartbreak of an animal passing. But I can say the time that we have with them to show them that they are loved and cared for is worth the heartache. Best wishes and please continue helping the animals!

  3. I remember dolly and molly from when the attraction was open in New York… I grew up not far from it and was greatful for the sanctuary for taking them both. I am very sorry for the loss. Thank you again for taking care of her.

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