In Loving Memory of Austin…Goodbye Old Friend
On March 17, 2011, we lost someone very special to us when Austin, our 14 year old Labrador retriever, passed away peacefully surrounded by staff and beloved friends.
Just over four years ago, Austin came to us when he was surrendered by a family who could no longer care for him. Initially he was a fixture in the waiting room, greeting clients, but as he became older and lost his vision he spent less time up there. Austin had his share of health issues, but always seemed content and had a tail that never stopped.
He had a feisty side, and this became more apparent as he realized he had certain members of the staff wrapped around his little toe. If you had a treat in your pocket or were even standing in the vicinity of a cookie jar, he knew it. You would be barked at and nudged incessantly, and were not going to get any rest until you gave it up. His begging face was irresistible – he would wrinkle his eyebrows, tilt his head, and his whole body would wriggle as he tried to convince you he was starving. At the same time, Austin was one of the most sensitive, gentle, eager-to-please, and loving dogs I have ever known. He was one of us, and we have numerous stories of how he bonded to other animals in our hospital, be they dog, cat, or even a ferret in one case.
We were on a family vacation in Mexico over the March break when Austin suddenly became ill. Dr. Kean and the rest of our team worked with him to try and figure out what was wrong. Blood work, x-rays, and an ultrasound revealed that there was an intestinal obstruction and free fluid within his abdomen. The only likely cause for this in Austin’s case was an intestinal tumour that had become obstructive. He was deteriorating quickly, and as his prognosis was grave, we made the heartbreaking decision together to euthanize our beautiful boy.
The girls told me that even on that final day that tail of his, that could knock you off your feet when he was in his prime, still managed to thump the floor when he heard old familiar voices. As heartbroken as we all were, and as devastated as I was not to be with him, I know that he left us that day at peace and surrounded by more love than he could ever have asked for.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Krista, Samantha, Melanie, Melissa, Chrissy, Virginia, Abbie, Kelly, Jenn, Trevor, and Emily for the love you gave to our Austin, not just in his final hours, but every day of his life.
We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful team of people and such dear friends at our hospital. I’ve always known it, but to experience it first-hand when the shoe was on the other foot, so-to-speak, was eye-opening.
Austin, I miss tripping over you dozens of times each day more than I can say. We know you are up there with Tana, Brady, Molly, Chester, Suzie, and so many others who are so painfully missed. I hope those stiff old legs are young again, that you can see squirrels a mile away, and that you know how loved you were by so many. We will meet again over the Rainbow Bridge.