Best Friends Blog

Goodbye, Pat

I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of our friend Pat Whitacre yesterday.

Pat was a dog trainer, and so much more, at Best Friends from 2004 until 2012. He was part of the fabric of Dogtown and of the entire organization. He was one of the very visible faces of Best Friends as one of the trainers featured on the “DogTown” television program. There weren’t many people who visited the Sanctuary who didn’t meet Pat, or his sidekick and companion for many of those years, Rollee, when they dropped by Dogtown Headquarters. Pat had a kind word for everyone. He was one of those special individuals for whom compassion is a deeply rooted part of who they are.

Pat changed the lives of thousands of dogs for the better. Pat was thoughtful. Pat was kind. Pat was generous. Pat was uniquely gifted and just his presence seemed to be what some dogs needed. And Pat was always there for those dogs who needed him.

He didn’t only touch the lives of the dogs. He spent many of his lunch hours with shy cats, just lending his calm presence and helping them to trust. His patience had a bit of a legendary quality to it.

Pat was one of those special people who never judged. He had what seemed to be endless time not just for the animals but for people as well. If an adopter had a question, if another organization needed help, if a coworker had a problem with a dog at home, big or small, Pat would listen and lend a hand.

I imagine that there was quite a contingent of dogs and cats from Pat’s personal life, his life at Best Friends, and his work at Pets Alive who had gone before him, waiting to greet him on the other side.

Pat will be missed and remembered.

Help us remember Pat and share your stories or memories in the comments.


Gregory Castle
Best Friends Animal Society

  • Lorraine

    Although I never met Pat in person, his appearances on the filmed show reflected a man who was truly a kind and gentle soul and the the best friend any animal could have. I remember the case of Johnny the golden retriever, and how Pat showed such great patience and acceptance of this dog deemed as “slow.” Pat brought out the best in Johnny so he could be adopted to a loving home. My heart is saddened by the loss of such a humane and compassionate man, who gave so much and mattered to so many–animal and people! He was too young to be taken and hope his memory is a blessing to those he touched!

  • Miranda

    I come from the other side of US, and I bought DogTown series from iTunes, and fell in love with Johnny and especially Pat. Without knowing him personally, I can just see the warmth he gave to all of the animals he helped, Jolene, Wilson, I was so amazed and I really do adore him. To hear that he passed away just brought me to tears. Goodbye Pat, God be with you, your wonderful work with the animals will always be the greatest ones in my heart.