End of Summer Newsletter 2016
The sunsets are lighting up the sky a little bit earlier each night. The kids will be going back to school very soon. Many of us humans are trying to savor the hot sunny days with family and friends at the beach or on the lake. Our pets are just continuing to live each day as it comes. As many of us with children see them off to school, we are excited about the lessons that they learn academically. As a veterinarian taking care of beloved family pets, I also feel blessed to be mindful about the lessons that our pets can teach us.
I remember when I was younger and our family dog passed. We went to the Animal Rescue League cemetery in Dedham, close to where I grew up. I remembering seeing several head stones that said “If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.” As the years go on and I seem to become more connected to my pets and their owners, I feel this sentiment in my heart at the time of euthanasia so frequently. It’s always a privilege to be able to care for both the people and the animals in times of need. Yes, it is generally more rewarding to be able to save the pet from a severe illness or rally from cancer, but being able to provide peace and end suffering is a job that I give thanks for all the time.
I do believe that our animals entrust us with their well-being to us from the moment we take them into our homes. How we feed them, how we exercise them. What do we do to provide them a safe, enriching environment. And in the end, we need to think of them. Every day prior to that, it seems to me that the pet is always there for us. As a confidant, as a companion. It’s been a year since I read Being Mortal by Atul Gawande and I still think of its message and recommend it. We humans seem to be always looking for that message, that sign….and I chuckle a bit. What are our pets looking for? For a yummy dish of food, for a corner of the bed or a lap to curl up on. For the clank of the leash to know it’s time for a walk. As a human, I will continue to try to learn about the ways to be a better veterinarian, parent, wife and friend with all the stress, expectations and challenges that may go along with it. As a human that gets to be in the presence of animals 24/7, I will also be forever relishing in the constant reinforcing message to be happy for today when the dish is full and you are with the ones you love. It is all we truly have.
We appreciate so much how our clients have gone through countless construction zones and ever changing detours to get to us over the last several months. The city promises that it will all be worth it. The final stages of the plaza renovation has also started so our facelift should be complete very soon!
New Rabies Law
As of August 1st, the Massachusetts Health Department changed some significant portions of the MA state Rabies law that has been in place since 1993! The primary series of 2 vaccines within 9 and 12 months to the date is no longer required in Massachusetts. Now, any single 1 year rabies vaccine for dogs can be followed by a three year rabies vaccine no matter the interval between the 2 vaccines. Quarantine time frames have also been shortened and now non vaccinated animals are eligible to receive a rabies vaccine after exposure.
A farewell to Kim
Kim has been with us for over 4 years so it is hard to see her go but we are excited for her as she awaits the birth of her second son to add to her family with her husband, Eric, son Harrison and her three cats. She will be leaving mid September and wish her well! She will always be part of the BANHC Family.
We are excited to become a retailer of Catered Canine. Alison, the local entrepreneur and chef from right here in Beverly makes delicious, nutritionally balanced homemade meals for dogs and cats. Come in and ask for a sample. We will also be selling prepared frozen 1 cup meals as well as her delicious chicken jerky when we can keep it in stock!
On August 8, we lost a friend and colleague, Don Fulton, co-owner of our crematory service Forget-Me-Not. Donnie always had a smile on and handled the after-life care of our patients with such compassion and kindness. It was little conversations about work and life that we would share that made it a pleasure to know him. Rest in peace amongst all your animal friends. You will be missed.
Our beloved pets that have passed
These past few months have had many times of sadness. Yet, I always have such gratitude for having been such a part of the lives of both the pets and the humans for so many years. The thick paper records with years of exams, notes…all stories of lives so well lived and loved. The amazement of some of the health issues that our pets have handled so beautifully. Never complaining. Being the first pet to the children of the family, being the companion to the owner whose children are now grown up and gone.
Some of these deaths we knew were going to happen as we had a diagnosis of a end stage condition. Doesn’t make it easier. Others were acute diseases that took the pet too soon despite the very best care and medical advancements. All reinforcing my sign in my exam room, ”today is a gift.”
So do what you can to enjoy today. There may be sadness today as there is the world but there are happy tears as well as joy that comes from life’s ups and downs.
Here are a few pictures and memories I have from some of my patients:
For Nash who always was so fascinated by cats but never was aggressive to them. May you be surrounded by cats that you can have friendships with.
For Ruby… I would love to write a story of Ruby. I would use Elsie, the little 6 year old that has grown up with Ruby by her side as my illustrator. We have known Elsie since birth as she would always be the one to accompany her beloved greyhound and her Dad, Tim to the office. Elsie would hop on the scale herself at the office, being a small little peanut like my first daughter Mia. Tim and I would compare milestones as Ruby aged gracefully.
Ruby was also one of my patients that enjoyed the last few years of her life with no teeth, having had them all extracted due to periodontal disease. She was great with no teeth! Happy eating, no halitosis. And even more character. When she passed in her yard surrounded by her family, it was Elsie sharing hugs with her dog and her parents with both times of reflection looking out her bedroom window that she would go to but also times of cartwheels of happiness showing Ruby how much she was loved.
This poem was sent from a dear client that I cared for her dogs back in the early 2000s! Crash was the last of the dogs that she bought to Florida from New England when they moved. So thoughtful.
Goodbye to our Crashie
A really good dog
Goodbye sweet boy
Who loved us so
Today we had to
Let you go
Our tears are endless
Our hearts are breaking
You gave us so much
And did so little taking
You were there for us all
In good times and bad
And could make us smile
When we were so sad
Your journeys were epic
Your adventures were grand
You shared our dreams
With a lick on our hand
We’ll miss you sweet boy
Much more than you know
But know you are with us
Where ever we go
We’ll watch you shine brightly
Each night in the stars
And hear you bark softly
Like a song from afar
We were blessed to share this journey
With a dog as fine as he
Warm memories live on
Because we set him free
God’s Speed Crashie!
You were so loved!
~ Debra Morris Troconis
For Marlow, the “big brother” of the dog world and such a good dog. Jenna’s very first surgical patient was Marlow. Huge, playful ears. Amazing family dog and the patient that would never complain.
For Chandler, congestive heart failure patient that was so incredibly cared for by his guardian. She knew his every little sensitivity, his balance of meds. He summered in Maine and was such a great companion. “He loved with all his heart, was a battery pack when someone was sick, brought joy on a gloomy day and always a fighter that never gave up. He taught everyone to love just a little harder and truly appreciate everything.” -Alyssa Sloan
For all of these beloved pets, we are so grateful for the love that they have shared with us. For me, I picture of beautiful tapestry made up of wonderful memories and little stories through the years. In times of sadness and loss, that reminds me of the beauty and love that remains.
In Memory of our beloved pets that have passed: In Memoriam