I am completely overwhelmed by all of the love and support that my friends & even strangers are showing to Abe in the last 18 hours. This small movement of GREAT LOVE has been much needed in my heart among a world that seems to have turned so violent in the last few weeks.
For those of you who do not know Abe, he is sidekick, my rock through difficult days and my best friend. Abe is my 9-year-old Golden Retriever. I got Abe one afternoon after a difficult breakup with a boyfriend. I was looking for a “refrigerator” and ended up seeing a “retriever puppy” ad in our Valley Trader. I fell in love with Abe instantly and saw something special & wise in his golden eyes. I had no idea the journey that we would have together.
As many of you know I moved to the Caribbean in 2008. It was a bold and adventurous move and I flew Abe down with me. Both of us fell in love with the island. Abe and I would run the beaches, surf the waves and bask in the sun. On the weekends we rode around in the jeep exploring the island and making friends from all over the world. Abe was always a favorite. People who were living on St. Croix for the Tourist Season would often “borrow” Abe for the day and take him to the beach when I was at work. There is just something about a Golden’s Love. Abe never met a person he didn’t like and he was the life of the party, impressing everyone with his manly burps.
I’ve had many animals all my life but never had a relationship like I do with Abe. I think it must be the timing in my life that makes him so special. Abe saw me grow up so much from the time I was 27 years old. He mended my broken heart time after time over the years and got me through some pretty tough patches. Together we have lived in 10 homes, 4 cities and on 1 Virgin Island. No matter what the external forces were around us, we always found peace and happiness on the beaches of St. Croix or the mountain trails in Virginia.
I recently moved back to the states and of course Abe flew with me, in front of my seat on the plane, burping the whole way. The past year and a half has been tough on us, me being sick and both of us having difficulty with the transition. ( I can’t even say Beach around him because he gets very excited!).
Finding Love & in the Midst of Chaos
Yesterday I sat in the waiting room of the vet office waiting for Abe’s x-rays to be completed. I was using my time to write an entry for my Mindful Monday Post for my blog. My topic was the Importance of the Breath. Suddenly an older gentleman walked in with his small dog at his side. When asking how he was doing by the receptionist he replied, “ we are not well today”. I watch as he slowly made his way down the long corridor. The dog, Buddy was 15 years old and having extreme difficulty keeping his balance & walking. The eyes of the man were sad as he moved past me.
Suddenly I couldn’t breathe. The irony of me writing a post of explaining the importance of your breath in stressful situations is not lost on me. I stood up and allowed my body to breathe slow, deep breaths. What was waiting for me on the other side of those x-rays? What news would I be presented with? How would Abe and I get through whatever treatment was needed? My anxious thoughts quickly jumped to “how do I even live without Abe?” I squeezed my eyes, pushing those thoughts out of my head. I’ve learned that anxiety doesn’t get you anywhere but that still doesn’t keep it from showing up at times like this.
As I walked back with our Vet, Eddie, I felt my body go numb. We stood in front of the computer staring at images on the computer of Abe’s knee and hips. He informed me it was his ACL that had torn and he also had a fractured pelvis from an injury (I am not certain how he got.) Arthritis was beginning to form in his bones and Eddie confirmed what we had suspected, Abe would need surgery. Abe cried from behind his pen as he watched me look at the x-rays. My heart broke as we discussed options, referrals and cost of procedures.
I drove us the 30 minutes back to our small town, my head flooding with problem solving solutions and questions of how I would fix this? I was responsible for Abe and I had no way to get him the help that he needed. I came home still in a trance of thought and cursing my own medical situation which has placed me in this very vulnerable state. It occurred to me that here I was, 35 years old, finally doing what I was born to do. I had made my dreams of being a Therapist come true and I was enjoying my career. Enjoying all of the pay offs that I had worked so hard to get. And then I got sick. I lost my ability to work long hours, I had to give up 2 great jobs and move far away from my friends and life because I was sick. Everything that I had done to set myself up for success was now out of my control. My savings is gone due to expensive treatments and trying anything to find a cure for the painful disorder. I realized that I couldn’t stand to watch my buddy, my partner in crime, suffer while I worked months on end to save the money needed for his treatment while also supporting my own needs.
So I pushed my humiliation, my pride and my embarrassment to the side as I typed “gofundme” in the search bar. I had to ask for help. It would be the first time I would ask for help as an independent working woman. As I hit “share” on the facebook button, I silently prayed that people would see this as “Abe needs our Help” and not a tacky act that was pathetic of someone who was “suppose to be an adult” and “suppose to have savings for this kind of thing”.
And then something beyond my highest expectation happened. People began to care. All of Abe’s friends from all over the world began to share and began to donate.
Significant donations rolled in accompanied by their admiration of Abe. Friends shared the link, asking that their friends also consider helping “Abe the Super Dog”, “Famous Abe”, “Wild Beast”, “Happiest Dog”, “My angel through CRPS”…the list went on and on.
I have to be honest and share that this has been the most difficult few weeks of my life. I have been very sick and had CRPS threatening to spread throughout my body. My nerves have been on fire. I have been too sick to even go to work. I went from a wheelchair, to crutches to walking. I have been fighting for my life every damn day and I am exhausted. This is the loneliest, scariest place I have ever been. There are so many unknowns. Everything is beyond my control. And to be in this scary place and have love from around the world pour in… has been a miracle.
Something in my heart began to shift. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. My heart was overflowing with love, compassion and gratitude. People from all of my walks of life responded and I felt their love and their compassion for not only Abe but also our situation as whole. Last night, I lied on the floor with Abe, watching the donations flow in and I cried. I have never felt more loved in my life. Every single person that donated & sent us well wishes holds a special place in my heart. Memories from our friendships surfaced and I was so thankful for the life that I have led and the people that I’ve loved along the way. I felt supported & I no longer felt that I was battling the world alone.
This simple Go Fund Me account has been such a blessing for Abe and myself. With the sadness surrounding all the hate in the world, violence and retaliation, it was comforting to be wrapped in love. I found out that people really do care; there are good souls in the world. I saw that a Golden Retriever, who has spent every day of his life, trying to make everyone around him happy, was pretty special to many people.
So, Thank you, Thank You, Thank You. This movement has given me the motivation & inspiration to continue fighting my own battle and doing the best with what cards I am handed in this life. Abe… is well…. He is ecstatic. I like to think he understands what I am telling him and is enjoying writing and posing with his Thank you Cards for his donors.
I will continue to keep everyone updated with Abe as our goal is being met for him to have the ACL surgery. Your love is being felt here in little old Luray, Virginia and please know we are sending Golden Love to you & yours.
If you would like to donate to Abe’s Surgery Fund, you can do so here Any donation of any amount is appreciated.
**A special thanks to Eddie Lo, DVM at Warren County Veterinary Clinic who has been amazing to work with in getting Abe diagnosed & managing his pain while we are waiting. I would HIGHLY recommend him to anyone in the area to see any of your pets!
Much Metta (loving Kindness),