family brought him to the hospital where I worked and in the spring of 2012, Sam was diagnosed with a slow-growing tumor in his liver. His family was initially upset but they received great support on how best to manage Sam’s symptoms and they jumped to action and immediately hired people to provide the necessary medical treatments to Sam in his own home. I became, along with another wonderful woman, Sharon Melnyk, one of Sam’s home nurses. The routine of giving Sam subcutaneous fluids and other medications soon became a smooth operation and for a long time, Sam did beautifully with the additional supportive care. I even stayed with Sam during the summer of 2012 for two weeks while his family vacationed. I got to know Sam very well during that time and became very bonded to him. In October of 2012, things were continuing to go smoothly. One day I went over to see Sam and give him his treatments. One of his moms, Katelin, told me she had some big news for me. She looked a little sad or worried and I thought perhaps that she was going to tell me they were thinking of making some different decisions for Sam. Instead she told me that she had been offered an important job in Western Massachusetts and had accepted it. She was clearly worried and stressed about what this might mean for Sammy. I counseled her to go slowly in planning for him and to not worry before we needed to. We would know more in the next month or two and would make the right decisions for Sam. Finally Katelin took Sam in to see the doctor to assess his health and ask about the impending big move. Sadly, the doctor felt it would not be in Sam’s best interest to make this kind of a move and that the transition would probably be too stressful for him. There was much devastation and sadness in Sam’s house as they grappled with the thought of losing him, and soon since their move was approaching rapidly.
• Never stop listening to your animals
• Trust in your own direction and intuition
• Give yourself time to assess and reassess as needed
• Go slowly; things can change for the worst or the better
• Offer yourself and those around you extreme kindness
When Sam got home, we were all euphoric. Katelin and Sarah gave me a beautiful gift; a thin, silver bracelet that says, “Everything is possible.” That’s also what I learned from Sammy. He will live in me forever and that message is mine that I will continue paying forward again and again with every animal and family I work with. The love we all felt for Sam was worth every check written, every tear shed, every worrisome thought uttered.
Thank you, Sam.
Heartfelt thanks go to both Codornices Veterinary Clinic, in Albany, CA and also to Northampton Veterinary Clinic in Northampton, MA for their unfailing support.