Ali's Medical & Memorial Fund

On Wednesday, June 7, 2017, Ali Abutaha, 74, lost his life after a sudden, long hospital stay. While in the hospital, he was given drugs that made him incoherent and unable to speak to his family. His wife, Greta, is now left with unexpected funeral expenses and inherited large medical expenses.

Ali was a loving husband, caring and inspiring father, and compassionate animal advocate who helped his family care for hundreds of homeless and discarded rescue dogs for years. Ali was a Renaissance man, a brilliant aerospace engineer, philosopher, and world-traveler who shared his knowledge through his publications, university lectures, and countless conversations with friends, family, and interested strangers.

Ali’s relationship with his dog Sachi was the inspiration for his daughter founding the DC Shiba Inu Rescue. In addition to his professional and academic achievements, Ali’s legacy includes the hundreds of dogs whose lives were saved because of him. Ali’s death is a great loss to his family and the rescue organization.

Funds will be given to his wife, Greta, and used to pay for Ali’s funeral expenses and pay off his extensive medical bills.

A Message from Ali’s Daughter:

My dad, my inspiration, I was blessed to have the most incredible father. My father was in the hospital over 13 years ago with congestive heart failure. We were told he only had about 2 weeks to live and we should “plan his funeral.” I flew back to DC area from Florida to help my mom. However, my dad proved the doctor’s wrong and he didn’t die in 2 weeks.

I read a study that dogs can extend heart patient's lives and against his wishes, I bought my dad a Shiba Inu puppy we called Sachi. He fell in love with her, and she with him. Each time he would go to the hospital over the years, we would tell my dad, "Sachi needs you - you have to come home," and every time he did. They were a team. She made sure he exercised by doing walks. Sachi loved short car rides so he would drive her a few miles into the city where they would sit on a bench at the train station and wait for the train to go by. The conductor would always honk and wave to my dad and Sachi on their weekly train spotting adventures.

Last week, after a few days from the drugs which made my dad non-responsive, the hospital took him off intubation and waited for him to wake up or pass away. We explained how important his dog Sachi was to him and we were allowed to bring her in for a 2-hour visit. The 2 weeks prior to his hospitalization, Sachi had exhibited such severe symptoms of stress/illness that she was scheduled for a vet visit. All her symptoms left when her dad went to the hospital. Her values were fine and her veterinarian suggested that she was trying to tell the family that her dad was sick.

When Sachi arrived at the hospital, her dad was unresponsive. An hour into her visit he woke up enough to see her and gathered the strength to pet her while squeezing his wife’s hand. At one point he even sat up, pointed at Sachi, and caressed her head while tears fell from his eyes. This was a great gift to him the day before he died of cardiac arrest.



Ali’s daughter founded the rescue, and hundreds of dogs would come through their home to be cleaned, assessed, and placed in local foster homes or, the more severe behavior and medical dogs would stay with them. Ali was often the soft voice and gentle caress of these abandoned dogs in many photos and videos. His lap gave a safe place for scared and confused dogs to receive comfort, his caress ensured them of unconditional kindness from humans and his soothing voice eased the dogs who had no reason to trust humans again.

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Organizer and beneficiary

Nathalie Erwin Sachi 
Algonquin Hills, VA
Greta Abutaha