I’ll never feel “ready” to write this post. But, when I saw that National Memorial Pet Day was coming up and that it had been now over a year since her passing, I realized it was the right time tell you about my Quinny, what we tried to do for her, and to ask for your help.
Once upon a time, one of our veterinary technicians needed to take some chest x-rays (radiographs in vet speak) for a class. I volunteered Quinny to provide some presumably pristine pictures. Unfortunately, the pictures weren’t normal.
Quinny was diagnosed with eosinophilic granuloma syndrome in her lungs, an extremely rare condition that can happen in even young dogs that is poorly understood and that most vets can go a whole career without seeing. It acts a lot like lung cancer. Sometimes it responds completely to steroids, but in Quinny’s case it only responded partially and temporarily before flaring back up with a vengeance.
Three months in, after working with many specialists and with several shaved spots from ultrasounds, we realized she wasn’t going to get better. So, we tried to figure out what we could do to make the end of Quinny’s life as happy as possible.
Quinny was the kind of dog that could never get enough petting (do you have a dog like that?). If she could she would have had someone petting her every second of every day.
We decided to try to get “100+ Pets for Quinny”, pictures of Quinny getting love from as many people as possible.
For every picture we collected we planned to donate a dollar to the wonderful woman who single-handedly founded the animal rescue that brought Quinny into our lives and her continued efforts to care for abandoned animals like her.
If she was not able to accept the donations the plan was to provide that money to veterinary research to help pets live longer, healthier lives at Virginia Tech, the veterinary school I graduated from. You can learn more about their donation program here.
Seeing people come out of the woodwork to help made us feel overwhelmed with love. Friends were going to drive from out-of-state and an amazing neighbor organized the whole block together for a photo festival.
Unfortunately, Quinny got much worse before the weekend when everyone planned to arrive for the photo shoot. I arrived home one day to find that she had tried to nest in my closet, attempting to bury a den into the carpet, something she had never done before. That night she coughed and struggled to sleep. I called an astounding friend late at night who came with me to the emergency hospital and sat with me while I heard what I knew was true but didn’t want to hear. Things had gotten worse than we expected.
My husband was out of town and we cried over Skype as Quinny laid her head exhausted on the ground. Finally, with no more tears left, we said goodbye. Tears are flowing from my eyes as I write this. There is still a huge piece missing from our hearts now that she is gone and we keep her collar hanging on our bannister where we can hear it jingle as we pass by.
We didn’t have a chance to get the number of pictures or make as big a donation as we wanted to at the end of Quinny’s life.
Since Quinny didn’t have the time to get all 100 of her pets, can you help her?
It would mean the world to me if she could live vicariously through you and the pets you love. Go home and appreciate your pets. Take the time to give them what they love the most, YOU.
Then, please share a picture of you petting the animals in your heart by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, posting to my facebook page, or on twitter @VetChangesWorld. If you’re feeling hashtag happy consider #PetYourPet4Charity. Help us remember Quinny and spread love to hundreds of pets.
If this resonates with your heart, please share this post with others (sharing links below). Today we’d love to create a festival of love for the pets still in our lives to remember to those that we’ve lost.
Here is the gallery of photos we did get petting Quinny as well as just some happy pictures of her as a celebration of her life. As we get photos of you petting your pets I will add them to this gallery here too.
Thank you for your help and your love.