Saturday, January 12, 2013

"A hug can be a very powerful thing"

I would like to remember a very special patient in this month's blog.

I can still remember getting ready to walk into the exam room to meet Pebbles for the first time. I was all caught up on her previous medical history and was fully prepared to discuss her recent diagnosis of Lymphoma and to make a treatment plan with her owner. What I was not prepared for was the amazing greeting that I would receive upon entering the room. I walked into the room and exchanged a very pleasant greeting with Pebbles' mom who I would grow to be good friends with but this was not the amazing greeting that I am referring to. The AMAZING greeting was yet to come.


I looked at Pebbles for the first time and she looked up at me with warm, loving eyes that asked me to bend down without ever saying the words. I knelt down to say hello to Pebbles and she offered me one front paw and then the second and then leaned forward to hug me.

Well, that was the most amazing greeting I have ever received. I was extremely blessed to receive such a greeting from Pebbles at every one of her visits with me. I would look forward to her hugs and to the joyful spirit that she had at each visit that seemed to be contagious when you were around her. She was a living example of both joy and comfort as she brought both feelings to all those she came into contact with. I would often tell Pebbles' mom that I wasn't quite sure that Pebbles was really a dog as she had such perception of human emotions and seemed to constantly speak to you with her eyes. Pebbles enjoyed an excellent quality of life and truly understood how to live in the moment. I learned so much from her and I will forever be a better person for having known this very special dog.  I know Pebbles’ mom feels the same way and she wrote the below in honor and memory of her sweet girl.

Gina Olmsted, DVM

Remembering Pebbles-Authored by her human mother

We all believe our dogs are special, and each one is in his or her own way. But I know Pebbles was a gift from God. I walked into a shelter almost 10 years ago, saw this beautiful dog right away, and said, "tell me about that dog." The staff raved about her, how sweet she was, how obedient, how calm, but most of all, how loving she was. They loved her and there were tears when she came home with me. I waited three weeks while she was treated for mange. I visited her every day, and ignored the "don't touch her” advice, putting my hand through the bars of her kennel door. She would put her head right in my hand.

I have dreamed about Pebbles twice that I remember. The first time she was running away from me across a huge field alive with butterflies, flowers and trees, a brook, puffy white clouds in the sky. I called and called her, but she would not come to me. I went home, crying all the way and woke up crying. Then I realized she was running across the Rainbow Bridge and that no matter how long I called for her, she was now in a different world, and she was happy and excited. When she first died, I would shout at her picture, "I want you to come home!" The dream was the answer to my cries. The next time I dreamed about her she was no longer a black dog; her fur was all white. I knew she was an angel-dog now. She was an angel in life, too. She was a Therapy dog and we visited Griffin Hospital in Derby for several years. Patients loved her; Doctors and nurses got down on their knees to greet her and she knew where the snacks were kept for her. She was everybody's favorite.

She sat up on her haunches to greet you and first gave you one paw, then crossed her paws and gave you two, or put her paws out to hug you... She was a happy, loving dog who never withheld her affection and trust. I wish I could be more like her. Even when she started being treated for Lymphoma, she bounced gaily through the front door... but then I had to walk with her down the hall to get her into the treatment area. She did not want to leave me in the waiting room. She was blessed with the most wonderful care-givers any patient, human or canine could ever have. I will always be so grateful for the love they gave her. And the extra time they gave us.

When she died I received dozens of cards and tributes, and a wonderful blanket with her picture on it that I cuddle up with in the evenings. It makes me feel close to her. One of my friends wrote, "the world is a lesser place without Pebbles." This says it all. I love you, Pebbles, and miss you with all my heart.


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