In Memoriam — Lisa Gillis Cunningham
April 20, 2014

Three years ago, Charlie was in foster care in Dallas, Texas, waiting longer than most for his Forever Home. He was 8 years young, weighed in at a whopping 75 lbs., and had more than earned his reputation as the world's most endearing Springer boy!

Lisa Gillis Cunningham of Hermosa Beach, CA found herself smitten by Charlie's bio:

A true gentle giant, that's Charlie! Loaded with personality, Charlie will put a smile on your face and a chuckle in your heart. He is a huge, impossibly lovable teddy bear with an enormous heart and larger-than-life personality. He is a comic — a born entertainer. His amazingly personable, outgoing and sociable nature makes him the life of the party — always! He's tall, robust and blessed with handsome, classic Springer looks with the most sensational eyes. He trots up to everyone he meets, greets them with a wiggle and slathers them with wet sloppy kisses. He loves his car rides. He's even resorted to hopping in the trunk of the car and stowing away to his foster mom's yoga class. When he's hungry, he'll present you with his bowl. If he wants your attention, he'll pick up shoes and toys and offer them to you. And the stories go on and on. This true gentle giant is a beautiful, beautiful soul. If you have a special place in your heart for big older Springer boys, we hope you are reading Charlie's story now. Are you his special angel?

P.S. Here's a note from Charlie:

I have been in foster care a very long time and keep getting passed over. My foster mom tells me to keep saying my prayers at night; they will be answered. So I do.

On July 27, 2011, Charlie's prayers were answered. Lisa became his angel.

She flew to Dallas, picked him up, rented a car, and headed back home to Southern California. We were in awe of her kindness and her heart.

And so their journey together began. Faithfully, Charlie only had eyes for Lisa — they were inseparable. They shared morning strolls at the beach, enjoyed boating at the lake and wading on the shore, they hiked mountains in the spring, they bounded in the snow in the winter, and often spent time on the family ranch.

Charlie was always dressed for the holidays — whether wearing a Fourth of July bandana, a Christmas wreath, or a party hat. Together they celebrated Charlie's 11th birthday in March of this year. As always, Lisa arranged a surprise party complete with a homemade birthday "cake," hats, and wrapped gifts. Over the years, she showered Charlie's foster family with updates, handwritten notes, pictures galore, and holidays cards of the countless "Adventures of Charlie." Always willing to help, she continued to offer assistance in escorting other ESRA Springers on the plane to their new homes to ensure safe travels.

On April 20, 2014, Lisa was tragically "taken" from her husband, her family, her friends — and Charlie. We hope those that loved her will in time find peace.

We take solace in knowing Lisa will always be Charlie's angel — yet rather than by his side snuggling on the couch or walking along the beach, she is accompanying and watching over Charlie from above. He will never be alone.

With profound respect, we will forever cherish Lisa Gillis Cunningham as a friend, an exemplary human being, ESRA adopter, volunteer and Springer lover. She was truly "beautiful inside and out." We will miss her friendship. With much gratitude we thank Lisa for the abundant and joyful life and tremendous love she has given to a very special Springer boy named Charlie.

To honor Lisa's passion and support for Springers in need, just like her Charlie, her family and friends would graciously appreciate donations be made to English Springer Rescue America, Inc.

Kris Svee
Leslie Alcorn
Stacey Rice Lundin
David A. Kraft
Melinde WaddleIn honor of who Lisa was and will be as an ESRA's special Angel
Kim H. MrozekThank you for loving our Charlie boy! You are forever his angel.
Eileen DixonIn memory of my niece Lisa Gillis Cunningham
Melissa Kapeckas
Adam and Giuliana BoyarWe are Lisa's neighbors. We had the privilege of seeing and petting Charlie often as Lisa took him out for an afternoon walk. Our 3 year old son loved seeing Charlie and used to stand in the window looking for him saying woof woof! We miss seeing them together.
Alisa K. AdkinsLisa loved her dogs like children and I would love to donate to help other dogs like her Charlie.
S.M. McClanahan
Barbara Carlson
Patricia Hinchey
Anna ThurenIn Lisa's memory and Charlie's birthday

If you would like to make a donation to ESRA in Lisa's memory, click for our secure online process or instructions for mailing a check.