Today is the 5th anniversary of the day that my beloved Porter died in my arms from hemangiosarcoma. It both seems like a long time ago and like only yesterday. I remember too vividly the phone call from his veterinarian telling me that he had cancer, followed by the whirlwind of visits to specialists and xrays and tests and ultrasounds. When all was said and done, there was not much that could be done, other than to ensure that he lived out his days without pain and suffering, and with as much pleasure as he could enjoy.
It was a few months after Porter passed away that it dawned on me that I should write a book to capture all of my learnings and experiences, so that other pet owners would not have to reinvent the wheel and repeat all of the research I had already done. So I started writing and researching, and many, many tears were shed. The writing was difficult, and sometimes, I would have to take a break for a few months. Then I would pick up my manuscript and work vigorously, until again, invariably, the reality of my loss would creep back in and another break would ensue.
In the process of my research, I learned that there was a name for the type of care that I had provided to Porter — hospice care. Much like the human hospice model, the intent of animal hospice is, put very simply, to care for the patient, ensure their pain is under control and provide a high quality of life. I began to explore and learn about more hospice techniques, and took the Spirits in Transition seminar to learn more.
And now, almost 5 years later, my book is available and I am grateful to the wonderful people at Dogwise Publishing for their belief that the world needed a book like this to teach us how to care for our wonderful dogs when they are diagnosed with cancer.
I’ll share more about my journey in future posts. For now, I treasure the fact that today, on Porter’s anniversary, we were given a beautiful day here in Washington, without rain and with strong sunshine and blue skies. For the 5th year in a row, my dogs, my son and I took our annual stroll to a local dog park, where we spread the ashes of our beloved dogs, Porter and Jasper. I know they would have loved being out there with us on such a glorious (almost) spring day, and in my heart, I know they were. We miss you, Porter and Jasper.