There was once a Bichon frise named Amos who had a little brother named Andy. They did everything together, and Andy adored his big brother. Amos and Andy loved going to see all their friends at the animal eye doctor’s office, and they got to go once or twice a month, every month for six years. Everyone at the doctor’s office loved them, and they were some of the few patients at the clinic who would pull their mom in the door instead of out. Amos and Andy both developed glaucoma around the same time, and they both had to have several surgeries and take several medications to try and control their disease. Their mom loved them very much.
Unfortunately, Amos’ glaucoma was more severe than Andy’s, and despite his medications and surgeries, Amos eventually lost his vision. He may have been blind, but he still pulled his mom into the clinic door. He was still just as excited to say hello to his friends who loved him and gave him his favorite cookies. The only thing that had changed for Amos was that he sometimes missed our legs when he jumped up to say hello. Even that couldn’t dampen his spirit, and Andy was always right behind him to help him find his way.
A few days ago, Amos’ aging body stopped jumping forever as his insuppressible spirit knocked down the door on his way in to dog heaven. His mom was devastated, and his eye doctor’s office grieved with her. Today Andy had his first ever eye doctor appointment without his big brother. He was lost without Amos to show him that everything was okay, but no sooner had they come through the door than Andy was swept up in a hug from his technician friend that made his tail wag and wag and wag. Before he knew it he and his mom were encircled by the many arms of Amos and Andy’s friends and doctors, and we saw how deeply Amos’ happiness and tenacious spirit had affected us. He lived in the moment, completely, and dared us to be less than happy when he was nearby. That simple, pure happiness is his legacy. Andy got extra cookies today because we knew that as much as we miss Amos, Andy misses him more.
If you ever wonder if vets who have been in the field for years ever get used to saying goodbye to patients, if it ever gets any easier, the answer is no. Not ever. I wouldn’t want it any other way.