Many Tribune readers have been reading Kelsey’s veterinary advice over the past 3 1/2 years. It is with great sadness that I write our last column, in special memory of my beloved friend. Last week, Kelsey was taken in for exploratory surgery after a routine radiograph revealed a large mass in her abdomen. Although she showed no symptoms and her blood work was unremarkable, surgery revealed invasive liver cancer and she was put to sleep while still on the operating table. It was a very sad day at the Madera Veterinary Center.
Kelsey came to me in 2000 from a former client who had rescued her as a stray from the area surrounding the prison in Chowchilla. She was so terrified the first two days, she wouldn’t move from underneath our car in the garage, unwilling to make eye contact with anyone. On day four, she accompanied my future husband and me on a camping trip to Lake Edison, and our forever bond developed almost overnight. Despite the tent collapsing on her (oops!), she somehow understood that she would be rescued again, and remained calm and trusting, realizing that she had finally found her true home with us.
Kelsey became a permanent resident at the Madera Veterinary Center shortly after the new facility was completed in 2006. She loved her new home and all of the constant attention she received. Her antics have kept us all amused over the years. Like her protective snort-growl when a canine patient was brought into the treatment room that she did not trust around the staff (her extended family). Or the way she would patiently stare at Cathy’s groom room door at the time Cathy typically arrived, knowing she would be the recipient of a tasty treat. She was somewhat of a celebrity, accompanying our staff members to numerous activities like Strut Your Mutt, Bark for Life, and classroom presentations for students. She was a great sport when it came time to show clients how easy it was to brush their dog’s teeth, although she’d never let you forget the reward she deserved when it was all over.
It is often mind-boggling to us in the veterinary field how our pets can carry on their normal day-to-day activities while an aggressive, presumably painful disease progresses inside their bodies. Yet they still greet us enthusiastically at the door, beg for extra treats or a small crust from our sandwiches, and lie peacefully snoring in our offices or dens as we finish up the day’s work. They live for no greater pleasure than to please us, to give out love, trust and loyalty unconditionally, and seem content with receiving only a fraction of our attention in return...