January 17, 2012

An Open Letter & A Banner

I wanted to send Dr. V. and his staff a letter to thank them for the help they gave us with Abby, and I decided I’d make it an “open letter” so everyone else can see how great they are too.

An Open Letter to Dr. V.
Dear Dr. Vancil and all the staff at San Diego Veterinary Cancer Group,

Thank you so much for helping us have an unforgettable year-plus with our beloved Abby. I remember at our first consultation, I came in with a long list of questions scribbled on a sheet of paper. You answered every question before I even got to the list. At every appointment after that, you always took the time to make sure all our questions were answered. 

We have absolutely zero regrets about going through with the amputation. Abby was amazing on three legs. People often stopped us at the beach, after Abby zoomed past or darted and dashed about, to say, "Wow, I didn't even realize she had three legs until she stood still!"

I know that with your help we did everything we could to give Abby a fighting chance. And what a fighter she was, living large for more than a year even with her lung mets. Near the end, she had metastasized cancer, three legs, hypertrophic osteopathy... and she could still run faster than me!

We can appreciate how very difficult your job is, seeing dogs pass from cancer on a regular basis. But we have you to thank for the wonderful and unforgettable time that we had with Abby.  I hope you'll hang in there for a good, long time because helping families get extra quality time with their beloved pups is so very important. 

Finally, I wanted to let you know that we did have a final few wonderful days with Abby. We went to the beach four more times; she ate steak, pork chops, Frosty Paws, bacon, and (her personal favorite) a Flying Dutchman from In-N-Out. On Tuesday, January 10th she started to have trouble breathing while taking a nap. We took her to Dr. Shaprut's office, where they always treated her like the Rock Star that she was. We said our goodbyes and thanked her for being such a special girl. She was still so happy, wagging her tail and eating venison jerky treats right up to the very end. She passed surrounded by love.
Thanks again for everything.

A Fabulous Banner
In other news, Abby got her banner on the Tripawds.com site. Isn't it awesome? 
The folks at Tripawds create the banners as a tribute for active members whose dogs have passed. (With the exception of Queen Nova - a Tripawd hero who has been kicking cancer's butt for three years now! She is the one pup with a banner who is still with us. Long may Queen Nova reign.) We love Abby's banner. It makes us smile (and get a little teary-eyed) every time we see it.

The banners come up randomly, so you never know what pup you might see when you visit Tripawds.com. It's like getting a little hello message from our girl each time I go on the site and it appears. I plan to remain active on Tripawds. I want to pay it forward - helping the new folks on the site after so many people helped us there. I hope that folks will still find Abby's story inspirational, even though she is gone now.


  1. Hello? Is this thing on? (Just trying to post a comment because some folks have let me know they are unable to comment here. I don't know why that is - I have it set up to allow anyone to comment. Have no clue how to fix the problem...)

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. That was just another test comment I tried to post anonymously - heard folks are still having trouble commenting and I don't know what the deal is... Anyway, I didn't know it would leave that ominous looking statement behind when I deleted it...

      Must go try to research why the comments aren't posting... weird.

  3. Yes, we definitely agree tht applause and kudos are in order for the vets who help our pups thrive.

    We love Abby's banner. We miss her!

    T, J & Lou

  4. What a sweet letter and such a testament to a pawesome doctor. I wish everyone could get care like this when their dog is ill.

    We're so glad you like the banner! Actually, the two who are up there who are still with us are Nova and Maggie, which were put up there before we pulled a "policy" out of our hat ;)

    It's an honor to have Abby up there, and we're so happy you want to remain the big part of this community that you've always been. Your experience is invaluable to everyone but especially new members. We all remember how scared we were when we first got the bad news that our dog has cancer. To be told that everything will be OK, to get a head's up on what to expect from a veteran like yourself, is priceless. Thank you so very much. xoxo

  5. I love Abby's banner! You guys were one of our first friends on tripawds and your advice and encouragement was so appreciated. What a sweet letter to your vet. I am positive that made his day.

  6. Sometimes there are amazing doctors, i think u found one of them.
    I'm happy that Abby had an amazing person taking care of her till her last breath.

  7. The banner is beautiful!!! Great letter to Dr V and staff. I don't know how they do their job either, but I am so glad they do.


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