My fellow Dogsters, I know you fully relate to any dog lover who goes to the matfor their best friend, blowing life savings onveterinary medical treatments ifthey offereven slim hope of saving a beloved pet’s life.
I’ve done this many times. If I hadn’t, maybe I would’ve had funds for a vacation or designer clothing or any number of luxuries big or small. But then, I would’ve bankrupted myself of the most precious commodity there is: my dogs’ unconditional love. And thatwas not, and never will be, an option.
Like most Dogsters, Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Amanda Micheli appreciates this.Her Boxer,Ruby, died last year at age 16 after a three-year battle with cancer -but not before Amanda did everything she possibly could toentend Ruby’s life. In the photo above, it’s pretty evident how Amanda has Ruby’s back.
Now, Amanda is hard at work making a documentary that aims to answerthe question all Dogsters have wrestled with at least once:
How do we say goodbye to our beloved dogs?
She plans to complete her film by the fall. It will,Amanda explains, “explore the bonds we share with our dogs, focusing on pet loss and bereavement – and how painful it is to face that loss when the end is near. In our own way, we must find a way to say goodbye to someone often closer than family.”
As cathartic as this film is bound to be for all Dogsters, perhaps it’s also a case of filmmaker, heal thyself: Amanda is still working through her grief over Ruby.
“I was on a shoot with a camera on my shoulder whenI got the call from my boyfriend that Ruby’s spleen had ruptured,”Amanda recalls. “She had surgery for that, and then they discovered that she hadcancer. They said she’d probably live 3 to 6 months. She ended up living three more years!”
It was Amanda’s first time tending to a pet with a medicalcrisis.
“It launched me into this whole new world of dealing with a sick dog, and thinking she could die any day,” she says. “I had never faced those kinds of decisions before, and it really took over a big part of my life. I definitely spent the better part of my life savings on her care. It totally changed our lives.”
Aroundthat time, Amanda read “One Nation Under Dog” by Michael Schaffer.”When I read the book, I started thinking about how much things have shifted in American culture, and how deep the relationships between dogs and people really are. There are really smart people from all different walks of life who’ve had really close relationships with dogs.”
Since Ruby’s passing, Amanda has been unable to adopt another dog. But making a film that helps other dog lovers cope with their grief just might, she suspectsbe her first step toward taking the plunge again.
Right now, her priority is finishing this film, which will be viewable in 2012. To that end,Amanda is activelyseekingDogsters across the country who are now facing end-of-life decisions for their dogs.
Maybe it’s not a dog illness but a humanproblem that threatens to separate you. Either way, Amanda would like to hear from you.
If you’d liketo share your thoughts and experiences on camera, pleasereach out toAmandaASAP at firstname.lastname@example.org include your contact information in your email.
Are you managing end of life care for your dog right now? Please tell us about it in the comments.