by GDB Alumna Lois Seigal
I loved my Guide Dog Savita beyond measure. She had a sweet, gentle nature and was kind of a tease at times, too. So, you can imagine how I felt when she was diagnosed with cancer in April.
Our veterinarian, Dr. Jeff Meyer, his wife Lynn, and the rest of the loving staff at the Granville Small Animal Clinic went above and beyond the call of duty in her care. After performing surgery to remove her cancer-ridden spleen, Dr. Meyer and his wife took her into their home for several nights so she could recover under observation.
Consulting with GDB’s veterinarian, Dr. Dietrich, Dr. Meyer and I came to the decision to begin chemotherapy. Each time Savita went in for a treatment, my amazing friends would drive us the 80 miles to and from the clinic. Savita would spend a night or two there under the staff’s supervision before returning home. She easily won everyone's affection by being so brave, cooperative and loving with those who cared for her.
And even though I know I must have been phoning the clinic almost daily for advice and assurance that I was caring properly for Savita, at the end of each call I was ALWAYS was reminded to "Please call us any time you need us." I have never met such exceptional expertise matched with kindness, understanding and patience.
Each time we spoke, Dr. Dietrich reminded me to make every day the best day of Savita's life, and so we did. There were many friends to play with, including two local teens who gave her extra-special attention during their summer break. There were outings to enjoy, treats and the very kindest most loving care possible to imagine. She had nine wonderful months before additional complications set in.
When her back legs began to fail, a friend made a special relieving box for her on our deck, so she wouldn’t have to maneuver the five steps up to the house from the yard. But when her kidneys failed, we knew it was time to make the difficult decision to free her spirit from her ailing body.
Her last day was special: she enjoyed some sniffs in the snow, her favorite treats, hours of loving, cozy warm beds, and visits from friends. Her favorite friend, I think, was the mailman; he was so saddened by the prospect of losing Savita that when he left after an hour of stroking her, it was with tears rolling down his cheeks. It was a sad day for us humans, indeed.
With heavy hearts, Dr. Jeff and Lynn drove the 80 miles from the clinic after their day of work on Thursday, December 10th and arrived here at our home around 8:30 so Savita could be put respectfully and lovingly to sleep in her own home and in her own bed, surrounded by friends. I wish I knew of a tribute appropriate for my wonderful veterinarian and his wife. They continue to call to check in on me, recognizing the loneliness I feel in not having the warmth of my best friend to hug, but they know she is with me in spirit.
Savita was loved; she was a little princess with a very, very big heart! She leaves behind so much in the way of memories to cherish forever for me and all those who loved her. The cards, phone calls, flowers, gifts, donations and endless kindnesses in her memory are the evidence of her mark in life. I feel so blessed to have been her care-giver, friend, companion and handler. What a privilege for almost nine years! She would have been 11 in March.
She touched all of our lives, and you have touched mine. Thank you each and every one for caring for this precious dog and extending her life beyond what we thought might be possible.