Monday, May 13, 2019

Mother's Day, Remembering the Original Brown Dog

Mother's Day, 2019 - Thirteen years ago today, I was making a horrible decision. Chocolate Chip had been diagnosed with Lymphosarcoma, Stage IVb only two days prior and had received his first chemotherapy treatment the same day. I was told that if his liver was able to process it, there was a chance he'd survive. Sadly, the next morning I woke up to a jaundiced dog. Chip's liver was not strong enough to handle chemotherapy and I was left to decide our next steps.

My hope was to get through the weekend, Mother's Day weekend, and let him go gently the following week. The universe had a different plan. After a day and a half of administering medications to support his liver at home, he let me know on Sunday, Mother's Day, that it was time. Mother's Day hasn't been the same for me since.

That fateful day, we sat in my backyard under a Honeysuckle bush. A branch full of sweet honeysuckle buds bounced gently above Chip's nose. Chip stared at me intently, breathing heavily, but seeming to enjoy the beautiful scent of springtime in Tennessee. If he could have talked, I swear he would have told me how hard he'd tried to stay for me. 

Today, as I walked Beignet, I breathed in the Honeysuckle in Southern California and thought fondly of my life with Chocolate Chip - the day I met him, night I adopted him, the first night he snuck into my bed, the trips we took, the snuggles, and our last hours. He was my first love; my first experience in unconditional love outside of my family.

With each passing year, I reflect on the good works we've done as an organization, in his memory. And, I'm filled with gratitude for all who support our work. Thanks to you, more than 1100 families have not been forced to say a premature goodbye to their beloved pet. Thanks to your generosity, Chip's memory lives on with each animal saved. 

Several friends of Brown Dog Foundation have lost pets this year. I honor each of you. My heart aches for each of you facing your first (or thirteenth, or twentieth) Mother's Day without them. I tell you, it does get a little easier each year - the void is still present, but not so much a gaping wound anymore. And from experience I say, it helps to focus on the good work we accomplish through your support. 

Thank you for supporting our work.

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