Rat Angel by Grove Pashley

A Memorial to Dawn Kozak

February 4, 1968 - July 24, 2001

Dawn Dawn Kozak was a very dear friend. She was one of the most generous people I have ever known -- generous not just with material things, but generous with love. Dawn had so much love to give. She gave it unconditionally, not only to the many rats she had (and later, dogs), but also to her friends.

Dawn and I met through having rats, but we shared a years-long relationship that wasn't just about them. Although our communication was less over the last couple of years while I've been rebuilding my marriage and life, and while she concentrated on fighting her disease, my feelings for Dawn never lessened. She was a wonderful, caring person that will remain in my heart forever. I will miss her stories and laughter.

~Mary Ann Isaksen

From: Vicky Kozak/Dawn's Mom  lzb7q0@naeng.gm.com

Comments: I want to thank you for the Memorial to Dawn. Thank you for all your kind words. Dawn loved this club so much. She has every Gazette book out there I think. I have at least 10 big binders of books and newsletters from the clubs. Her Rats were the happiest times of her life. Dawn has always impressed me with her knowledge of medical terms and how she could doctor as well as mother her babies. On all holidays I would get cards to Grandma from my grandkids. She would name ever rat. Maybe I could go in a book for having the most grandkids. Dawn had a way about her and she could get you to do things that you wouldn't normally do. One year she had her friends collecting spiders. Actually going out of their way to find them. Well.... Eliplhas, her favorite rat and best friend was cremated and put in a beautiful glass urn. She also collected a piece of hair from every rat she ever had. I think she had 300 or more total. Dawn's last wishes were to have Eliphas's ashes and the hairs to be mixed with her ashes. Dawn's two brothers, Pat and Mike along with Tennille, (mikes g.f) Mark, her best human friend and I sat in a circle in her empty apartment. We had a large piece of foam core set down along with Dawn's ashes. First we held hands and said a prayer and we talked with Dawn. We broke the seal of Eliphas glass bottle and mixed them in with her ashes. Then the family rat hairs were mixed. We wondered if Dawn was laughing above us. Mark refilled Eliphas's urn and will keep them for himself. We had a lovely memorial for Dawn at my home in the country. We bought a flowering crab tree and planted it along with her ashes. She left behind many memories. She has biographies of all her rats along with dates and pictures. I'm sure it will take me years to go through. eventually I would like to take all of Dawns stories and illustrate and publish a book. I will ask for help from her friend at that time. Again, Dawn loved all of her Rat Family. She was very attached to all of you. SHE LOVED YOU! She will be missed. She is with her father, our LORD, in heaven. Her Momma, Vicky

From: Debbie "The Rat Lady" Ducommun  http://www.ratfanclub.org

Comments: Dawn was a member of The Rat Fan Club for many years, and she shared her marvelous photos of her rats with us. The Rat World is so much poorer for her loss. She truly loved her rats and tried her best to make sure all rats got the care they so richly deserve. While I never had the pleasure of meeting Dawn in person, she was very involved with the club and feel a real loss now that she is gone. I just know she is up in heaven with all her ratties. It must have been an incredible reunion!

From: Jackie Jennings 

Comments: My first meeting with Dawn was at Maryann's house where she was staying during one of her visits to California. She was so warm and friendly, that it seemed as though we had always known each other. I remember being told that she was up all hours of the night decorating the "Rat Room". She got such a kick out of it. When she was diagnosed with Cancer, She seemed to take it in stride and knew she was going to beat it. I think she was very brave and when she sent me a Card last Christmas, she was still bursting with life. Her works on the card were so carefree. I cried for Dawn when I heard the news, but know that she is painfree and with all the little critters she loved so much.

From: Diane Newburg  dianenewburg@aol.com

Comments: I started corresponding with Dawn around 1992 in response to a story she had written forThe Rat Report. After writing back and forth regularly, she came to California to visit and I had the pleasure of introducing her to Mary Ann Isaksen. She and Dawn became friends and Dawn spent part of her frequent visits to California with Mary Ann and her husband Scott. Although I was old enough to be Dawn's mother, we became friends through our pets. She had years of experience to offer when I was just learning, not to mention hilarious stories. After she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy, she came to California on what was her last visit. I began to worry about her in earnest. The visits ceased as the cancer spread throughout her body. Our communications became more infrequent. I was not shocked, but terribly saddened, when I heard she passed away in July. She was an incredibly generous soul and her kindness towards rats was unsurpassed. If there is a Rainbow Bridge, I am sure that Dawn is there, surrounded by and loving all our rats that have gone before us. A large piece of generosity of spirit was lost with Dawn's passing and her friends' hearts have been crying since. Rest in peace, my treasured friend. I am sure that the brightness of your spirit made your journey to the Bridge swift and without fear.

From: Anna Dresdon  adresdon@aol.com

Comments: Dawn Kozak was (and is) such a dear and gentle and generous soul. And an astonishingly good looking person, as well. I first met her several years ago when Diane Newburg brought her to my home to meet my extended rat family. Dawn immediately hugged me and proceeded to treat me as a life long cherished companion. She had brought treats for all my rats and settled in comfortably to dote on them and expound accurately on their unique and individual wonderousness. A few weeks later I received a long and appreciative letter and when Christmas rolled around there was a big package from Dawn with lovingly thought out gifts for all my rats, my two cats and myself...expensive gifts which embarrassed me. I visited with her again on two subsequent occassions and was delighted to watch her in action at an RMCA rat show giving dozens and dozens of rats the most exquisit personalized attention. She was extraordinarily sensitive to the feelings and needs of other creatures. Only once did I see her err in an interaction with another and I know Dawn well enough to give her the benefit of the doubt. She was simply and honestly mistaken when she perceived my darling little Medicine Bundle Rat as biting her in the nose. In actual fact it was probably Dawn who bit Medicine Bundle and projections were made. Or, just possibly, Medicine Bundle, in an effort to support Dawn's personal aesthetics, was simply providing her with an additional nose piercing. Dawn tended to be very avant nuveau in her personal appearance and very 'old school' in her charm, grace and good manners. She spoke very often and very highly of her relationship with her mother and I can only hope that her mother is able to take comfort and pleasure in what a fine daughter she has raised and in how many people have loved and been inspired by Dawn. Coming to this website and seeing the adoreable white rat with the angel wings reduced me to tears immediately. I see Dawn there. And it greives me heavily that this precious soul has passed over so early. I liked this world a little better knowing she was in it. But, where ever Dawn is now, it is for sure that she is loving others because that is what Dawn does. Farewell, sweet person. It has been a priviledge knowing you. Nip Medicine Bundle for me. With love, Anna Dresdon

From: Kristin Johnson  http://wererat.net/

Comments: I never had the privilege to meet Dawn, I only knew of her through the beautiful pictures of rats she took for the RMCA. She was a very special person, and will be missed by many.