November is #PetCancerAwareness Month. Now I don’t know who made this month but for more than a few reasons, there’s a cosmic irony about it. The first of which is Malcolm (the first dog I lost to cancer and whose death inspired our travels) – his birthday was the eve of.
It’s been many years since his loss and I don’t reflect on it oft but his light of life emanates from me still. And recently, it was all brought back.
I was grateful to be invited to participate at the Connecticut Shoreline Puppy Up Walk last Sunday October 30th and it was an absolutely gorgeous day – a bit balmy but cloudy at times. Everything was going great though the proceedings seemed to be delayed until the news came down. The Dog Cancer Hero, Medalla, whom we all had been awaiting her arrival, collapsed in the parking lot, was administered CPR by her vet, but tragically passed away en route to the clinic.
And everyone’s crying and the microphone was given to me to keep the proceedings ongoing. Those of you who know me I’m not usually at a loss for words but I wept, too, and publicly something I hadn’t done so since Murphy. After a moment of silence we all soldiered on and walked the two miles at Guilford Fairgrounds. All of us except Medalla.
Perhaps that’s why I wept. Some of us cross the finish line. Some of us don’t. And with Murphy it was close.
And while, at least for now, we don’t know why, we should all give thanks that we’re shadowcasted by the great brilliance of those we have lost.
This month, more so than others, give some goddamn great love to your companions, with whom your time together is transient but will walk aside you for thousands of miles until the end.
I want to thank MariAnne for sharing Medalla with us all and nearby is a bit about her in MariAnne’s words.
Medalla was a mixed breed rescue from Puerto Rico. While I was there on business, we found each other on a secluded beach in the small town where I was staying. She was just a puppy, between 3-4 months old. From that day forward, she was the most loving and faithful friend I could ever hope for. She never left my side. If you asked anyone at Guilford Vet Hospital, they would say she was a shy, quiet dog, but like most children, at home she was very talkative and the alpha of her pack.
At six years old, Medalla was diagnosed with Lymphoma. After Chemo, she immediately went into remission. This summer, she came out of remission for the second time. This was her third round of treatments. She immediately went back into remission again. She was such a little trouper and took everything so well. Unfortunately, I lost her to a heart attack, before she could finish her Chemo. I want to thank Guilford Vet Hospital and all canine cancer research for giving me an extra 3 years with my wonderful baby girl.