Monday, August 19, 2013


Animal Rescue can consume a lot of the lives of volunteers, but that doesn't mean the rest of our lives go smoothly. Rescue volunteers have children, partners, spouses, jobs, aging parents, and yes, sometimes the volunteers themselves become ill. Sometimes that illness is cancer. Such was the fate of our wonderful volunteer Patsy Hinson. Patsy keeps a blog about her battle and defeat of cancer. With her permission, I am very happy to post portions of her entry entitled, ""3 Women, a Man, a Dog and a Miracle"
I met Ruth several years ago at our cancer support group. Ruth was the kind of person that was always looking for ways to help others. She never saw this as a chore, but, rather, as a Blessing. When she learned that I was active in finding Boston Terriers adoptive homes, she was immediately interested and eager to know more. I was excited to find someone who was willing to help foster the dogs that were surrendered to the rescue. Fostering dogs is not something that people usually do without thinking about it for a while. Not Ruth. She was ready to do her part to help these precious pups. Her only request was to talk to her best friend, Nicky, since she shared a home with her. So, Ruth did this and Nicky was fine with being a foster parent. At this point, I am thinking, “Are these angels for real??” Soon after this, one of our local animal shelters contacted the rescue about a dog desperately needing help. They did not think she’d live through the night unless we found a home for her because she needed very intense care. Since this was Ruth and Nicky’s first foster, we were planning to place a dog in their home that had minimal problems. However, things often don’t work as planned in the Rescue World and so off she went to Ruth and Nicky’s (“The Palace”). Likewise, things don’t often work as planned in the Cancer World. Ruth was again in treatment fighting the beast. To make a long story short, we decided to foster little Aggie together, since we were both in treatment and I had just placed my foster dog. So, we called it our “Timeshare Foster” and worked together caring for Aggie. Fortunately, Aggie recovered from her serious condition, but, unfortunately, we learned she had a long list of medical conditions, including COPD, hernias, and urinary problems. She was in diapers all the time and pranced around in suspenders attached to them. Her prognosis was dim but as we got to know Aggie we realized she was a senior dog with what a vet described as an unbelievable will to live. Ruth and I had an ongoing joke that she’d outlive us both . One of many things I have learned in rescue work is there are certain dogs that “find” you and when they do, they claim you. This happened to Aggie. Aggie didn’t like men much and we have 2 in our household. Aggie takes steroids everyday, so likes to eat (actually, all Bostons are little piggys) and Nicky is a gourmet cook, so she loved to spend time in the kitchen there. So, she tolerated us until she could return to The Palace. Until one day. She decided she wanted to stay at The Palace and she started working to make that happen. When she was at my house she barked incessantly. Our vet with 30 plus years of experience at first thought it was a sign of senility and then anxiety and added prozac to her regiment. Nothing helped. Sadly, Ruth’s cancer progressed and she was in bed more. Aggie chose a place at her side and only left Ruth for a diaper change or short trip outside. Aggie’s heart broke, as did so many others, when Ruth passed. Nicky once told me that she thought she was caring for Aggie, when, in fact, Aggie was caring for her. We all continue to grieve the lost of our dear Ruth, but especially, Nicky and Aggie. I know Ruth is very happy that, as of this month, Nicky has officially made Aggie the official Queen of The Palace by adopting her and making her a true member of the family forever. Sometimes, miracles do happen in the Cancer World…

We are so sorry for the loss of Ruth and at the same time happy to be able to say that Patsy is a survivor with no active disease and happy that Aggie found all 3 of them, knew where she was supposed to be and made sure the humans figured it out. Thanks for sharing your story Patsy.