August 1st 2008 10:20 pm
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It's been 3 years since we last saw each other, and I still miss you very much. I was just 2 weeks from starting nursing school when you died, and now that I have been a nurse for a year, I want you to know how much of a difference you've made in my life, and in the life of others. I wrote this in your memory:
I can attest that dogs can help people’s health. In my case, it is in a somewhat circuitous manner. Two and a half years ago my dog, a dachshund named Dinky, died suddenly after becoming sick. Losing him was devastating. I loved him like he was my own son. He was a rescue, and it seemed like his gratitude was etched in his eyes. I called him “my little shadow”–I couldn’t go anywhere without him following me. I had people comment on the connection the two of us shared. I’m not a believer in reincarnation, but it was hard not to imagine that we may have had a link in another life.
His illness and death happened two weeks before I started nursing school. Prior to his passing away, I had never had anyone go through a sudden illness and die. I was heartbroken. I did everything I could to save my little guy. He was in the “doggie ICU” and had the best veterinary care but finally his little body couldn’t take anymore and I had to let go. Now that I am a nurse, I can say that experience helps me in my nursing practice daily. I work in the ER, so I am confronted every day with scared families and patients. Prior to that, I wouldn’t have known what it feels like to be navigating a medical sea while attempting to interpret language I didn’t yet understand. I didn’t know how it felt to be helpless and not be able to fix him. I had never felt that horrible fear when possible death looms. Now, in my ER, when I see a family distraught over a sick family member, I remember how it felt to lose the thing that mattered the most to me, and my patience and empathy has no limit. If I hadn’t gone through that experience with Dinky, I know I would still be kind to my patients and their families, but I could not say I knew what it felt like to be in a similar situation. I know he made me a better nurse and a better person. My dog made me more human, and the lessons he taught me have no price. Unbeknownst to my patients, their health benefits in more ways than one because of this one little dog.
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