September 17th, 2012


by Jacqueline Whitmore

I‘ve been thinking a lot about change lately. Perhaps it’s because fall is right around the corner and I smell cinnamon brooms every time I walk into the grocery store.

Several people I love are going through extreme changes right now. I am also going through some changes. My little dog Oliver, who I affectionately refer to as my “fur child,” has been diagnosed with the advanced stages of congestive heart failure.

I took Oliver to the canine cardiologist last week and was told that he may have six months or less to live. His breathing is shallow and labored and he is coughing more frequently. His chest x-rays indicate that his heart is the size of a 100-pound dog’s heart. Oliver weighs just 28 pounds and is nine years old. He is currently taking four heart medications and a cough suppressant twice a day.

My husband and I are devastated. We want him to live forever yet we know that’s impossible. I’ve always taken Oliver nearly everywhere with me. He’s my best friend and companion. He even sleeps with my husband and me. He’s the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I see when I go to bed each night. I can’t imagine what life will be like without him.

I believe animals come into our lives for a reason. They have a way of nestling themselves into our hearts and helping us cope with difficult situations. Oliver is no exception.

He provided peace and comfort to me during my mother’s illness. He went with me to visit her each day while she was in Hospice and he gave me a reason to get up every morning after she passed away. He never left my side when I made multiple trips to visit a family member in rehab a couple of years ago.

As a therapy dog, he listened patiently and made hundreds of children smile as they read their favorite stories to him.

He reminds me to eat, rest, and play when I feel like working all the time. He is so loyal, loving, and dedicated and wants very little yet gives so much.

Since my husband and I don’t have any children of our own, we’ve always treated Oliver like a human being instead of a dog. I swear he can almost talk. He knows every emotion I am feeling and I know what he wants and needs just by looking into his dark brown almond-shaped eyes.

My dear friend Dawn, who is extremely intuitive with animals, sent me the following e-mail today. “Perhaps, in your alone time together, you can reminisce a bit with Oliver and speak to him of the magical way he’s touched your life. Believe me, he’ll hear you. Listen closely and you may hear him speaking with you as well.” That’s great advice, Dawn.

Change is not always easy, especially when it involves something or someone we love. But for now, I’ll take it one day at a time and cherish every moment I have with Oliver.

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4 Responses to “Change”

  1. Christine Ferrera on September 17th, 2012 8:08 pm

    Dear Jacqueline,
    I pray all is well.
    As I read you post for today I had tears in my eyes. Yes, change is never easy; even though He gives us the strength.
    I so understand our family had this experience with our dog Lassie. After many surgeries; we made that tearful choice. As I read this I still and believe I will always remember our dog of more than 18 years. The change to live without Lassie is very sad at times.
    This past weekend my husband and I visited our middle son and his wife in Morgantown, West Virginia where he is finishing his Doctoral Degree. Even though we enjoyed watching how he handles life with such Grace and Poise, the change of leaving him was almost unbearable.
    Thank you for sharing your story and allowing me to share mine.
    I appreciate Social Media very much because it has allows me the privilege to enjoy reading and learning from very special people like you.

    Christine Ferrera

  2. Summer on September 17th, 2012 9:23 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about Oliver. He has certainly been blessed to have you in his life!

  3. Gloria Auth on September 17th, 2012 10:33 pm

    Hello Jacqueline, I’m so sorry for all the changes you are experiencing. I too have had a very full year of loss and sorry to say, I DON”T LIKE IT AND I’M NOT GOOD AT IT. My therapaist said he found that those who do best are those who accept losses gracefully and they increase as we age – losses. Looks like I have some work to do to be in this place. Another friend told me to stop mourning the loss of my still living 93 year old father, because he was still here with me and to enjoy every moment. Your share is tender and heart-warming. I wish you well – and Oliver and your friend. I bet your conversation with Oliver will be amazingly healing for both of you.

  4. Rosalinda on September 17th, 2012 10:35 pm

    Jacqueline…when pets bring that much joy and comfort, it is unimaginable to live without them. May your days be many and his pains be few.

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