Ten and one half years ago when my wife and I moved to the Shoals, we were invited into a supper club with a few other couples. Corks were pulled, dinners consumed, and friendships forged. There was but one child amongst us at the time and she just an infant. But pets, on the other hand, were plentiful ranging from 2 to 100 pounds. Since that time, it has been my sincerest pleasure to have been their veterinarian. And like us, our animal companions were young and spry and had no noticeable grey hairs. Collectively we endured surgeries, holiday emergencies, late night calls and many happy wellness visits. All of the pets were friendly and well mannered except a cat of my own that once attacked an unsuspecting jogger. One had both knees repaired and another lost an eye to a BB gun (he also once passed a large portion of a beer can). Their owners were always understanding and appreciative.
My relationships with my patients are often times too short. After all their life expectancy, albeit longer than yesteryear, is much shorter than our own. And as such, many of that group have slipped into memory and no longer greet my friends at the door. It saddens me greatly. Last week I said goodbye to yet another after a long battle with kidney disease. I was glad to have been with her when she died. I would have wanted it no other way.
That infant ten years ago is now a fifth grader and she is joined by 13 other children from that group of 5 families! Some of the pets remain my patients today and there have been some new additions. The pets, like us, do have grey hairs and wrinkles have gone where smiles began. And I love seeing them every time. I am reminded each time I see my friends with pet and children in tow of the seasons of life. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of the seasons of so many pets and people’s lives in my time here. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart! Rest in peacemy old supper club boys and girls: Buck, Macy, Madeleine, Maya, Lucky, Savannah, Norma, and Richard Hyler.