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Letters to Carolyn: Woman’s loving memory lives on through her three disabled dogs

Carolyn lost her battle with cancer a month ago, but her spirit lives on through her dogs and their new owners, who share their adventures on Facebook.

CONYERS, Ga. — “Dear Carolyn. I wonder what’s going on with you, my friend. I wish I could pick up the phone and call you …”

Every day, Ellen and David Binder write letters to Carolyn, their dear friend who lost her battle with cancer last month. The heartbreaking, funny and deeply personal moments, shared on Facebook, help them feel like like she's still here – and experiencing life with her beloved dogs Jasmine, Baxter and Gracie.

Carolyn battled the disease for three years and her last wish was that her three disabled dogs would be able to still be together after her death. The Binders, who already had four dogs of their own, took Carolyn’s fur babies into their home.

They wanted Carolyn to know that her beloved dogs were taken care of – and that’s where the idea for Letters to Carolyn began. Ellen wrote the first letter after picking up Jasmine, Baxter and Gracie.

Credit: WXIA
David and Ellen Binder adopted their friend's three disabled dogs, Baxter, Jasmine and Gracie, after she passed away from cancer.

“Dear Carolyn, Life has been sad since you left. We know you would have never gone on your own, but God saw your pain and suffering and said, ‘enough.’ Your beloved dogs are being cared for. You would’ve laughed, seeing us pack David’s car with not an inch to spare.”

“These were her children, in real life. She had photo sessions, dressed them up every holiday,” David said. “These were her kids! They were her babies.”

Credit: Facebook
Carolyn lost her battle with cancer, but her memory lives on through her dogs, who are exploring their new home with friends.

Ellen said she knew Carolyn for almost 20 years and she loved her dogs. Gracie, Jasmine and Baxter moved in to the Binder home with food, harnesses, crates and a full wardrobe.

“I really feel like she’s watching down on us,” Ellen said. “Every day I try to post with pictures and write about our day. 'Dear Carolyn,' you know, 'it was a good day, or a bad day' … it makes me feel closer to Carolyn and makes her friends able to keep up with them.”

Gracie is hard of hearing. Baxter has a neurological disorder and is losing the use of his legs. Jasmine has a congenital heart defect. Along with the Facebook page, the Binders started a fundraiser to make sure they can afford to care for the special needs dogs.

“Love is love and always finds a way,” Ellen said. “One of her last dying wishes was for them to go to a loving home and for them to stay together.”

Credit: WXIA
David and Ellen Binder adopted their friend's three disabled dogs after she lost her battle with cancer.

"Dear Carolyn, It’s been hectic but these pugs are so sweet. It’s like you always say, they 'melt my heart' and the hearts of many."

Many people think about the heartbreak of losing their pets, but not everyone considers what would happen to their pets if they passed away first. Ellen and David Binder said they feel like Carolyn is there with them, experiencing the ins and outs of a day in the life of a dog.

"Dear Carolyn, Everyone is settled in their beds. So time for me to get some rest. I’m just so tired these days."

"Your babies are loved and your babies are cared for. Anything we can do to keep them comfortable and loved,” Ellen promised. "You do the right thing at the right time for the right person. And Carolyn was that for us. And she needed this. She needed this.”

You can follow the journeys of Jasmine, Gracie and Baxter by liking the Letters to Carolyn page on Facebook. If you'd like to donate to their medical care, check out the dogs' GoFundMe page.

K9Kait is the doggy digital hub of 11 Alive News, produced by journalist Kaitlyn Ross. This page aims to connect pet lovers to interesting and uplifting stories about dogs, cats, and other animals in the metro Atlanta area. You can follow K9Kait and share your animal stories on Facebook.

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