A Lifelong Animal Lover Gives Back to HSMO

Anne CilekThere was Heidi, Andrew, Shotzie, Minca and Gustov (Gus for short), dear friends that accompanied Anne Cilek throughout her life for eight decades. They were all adorable dachshunds that brought laughs, snuggles and companionship to her in her childhood, while she was raising her own family and into her retirement years.

"My mom would giggle about the fact that she would polish Heidi's nails in various shades. Her father, my grandfather, never knew because he was color blind. She thought she was doing something very funny," says her daughter, Mandi.

All her dogs had distinctive personalities. As Mandi talks about her mother, it sounds like she and her beloved pets shared some personality traits: energetic, fun and endearing. Although short in stature, dachshunds are also affectionate. Anne, who was an English teacher, knew Shotzie would be there to greet her after school. "He would sleep in his crate all day and just wanted to cuddle all afternoon with mom," Mandi remembers. "Minca was a super sweetheart, very playful. You could throw her toy 5,000 times and she would want you to throw it 5,001 times."

Anne CilekIn her retirement, Anne's dearest companion was Gus. She grew too sick to care for him, so Mandi's mother-in-law took Gus in. "We would go once or twice a week to visit him. I would take my mom to appointments and we would go shopping, but the highlight of her week was visiting Gus."

Mandi was happy to learn that her mother remembered the Humane Society of Missouri in her will. "I was happy to carry out her wishes. The Humane Society does such important work, especially for animals that are in abusive or neglected situations. These animals need so much help—surgeries, medications and socialization—so they can find a good home. It is work we can't do as individuals, which makes it so important that the Humane Society is here."

"My mom was the kind of person who was modest and never looking for accolades. So, when the team at the Humane Society told me they were going to place a bench in her honor, I just started crying. I wasn't expecting that at all. I am thinking I will volunteer as a dog walker and come visit her."

The love and care Anne gave to Heidi, Andrew, Shotzie, Minca and Gus will be remembered and bring a lifetime of memories to Mandi, who herself is a doglover.

Let's Talk

Like Anne, you too can make a lasting impact for the Humane Society of Missouri. There are many ways you can help us continue our work for years to come. Contact Arthur Hailand at 314-951-1584 or ahailand@hsmo.org today to start the conversation.