Thursday, September 15, 2016

Remembering Jerri

By: Susan Zubillaga - leader of Gold Rush Guides of Sacramento

Jerri Bitler was my best friend for 18 years. It seemed like we knew each other forever until recently, now it seems like it was only a short while.  I first met Jerri when she came to a puppy club meeting.  I was raising Ultra, an unruly black Labrador that seemed to love Jerri!  I remember handing Jerri the leash and her saying “What do you want me to do with this?” We both laughed, and that started the best friendship anybody could ever ask for.

We would talk every day; she is the one person I could call with anything on my mind and she would just listen – sometimes that’s all you need to feel at peace.  No matter how my life was going, Jerri was there on both the sunny days and through the thunderstorms. She was someone that you could always count on to be there.  She was a great person to be around, somebody that would take the time to talk to everybody in the room, no matter how long she had to be there.  She always made people feel like they knew her forever, even if it was the first time they had met.
My heart hurts, I feel so lost without my friend, my “other mother.” I miss her so much already and wish I could hear her voice and laughter just one more time. I love you.

Jerri (wearing sunglasses) smiles with her arms around yellow Lab guide dog puppy Ursalyn in front of the pond on the San Rafael campus.
Jerri with guide dog puppy Ursalyn

Jerri passed away peacefully on September 5, 2016. She was a puppy raising leader with the Gold Rush Guides of Sacramento for almost 15 years and raised several puppies for GDB. We are forever grateful for her dedication to our mission and we extend our deepest condolences to all who knew and loved her. Thank you, Jerri – you are truly missed.