When I first met Flannigan in October of 1999, she was my foster dog, my first, actually. She came into rescue after being dumped at a vet’s to be put down because “her food was too expensive.” She was very sick, covered in itchy, red, angry hives (later discovered to be a proliferation of tumors), and scared to death of new people after being abused at her former home. She had only been with me a few weeks when she was diagnosed with inoperable, terminal mast cell cancer and given 6 months, tops, to live. My vet suggested a homeopathic treatment he had had some success with, and though expensive, I decided I’d do it so as to give her a shot at the good life she deserved but hadn’t had yet.
I made it my mission to give her the best life a dog could ever know in those 6 months. Either the homeopathic worked or Flannigan decided she liked being adored, spoken to sweetly, touched gently, cuddled, and allowed and encouraged to get on the furniture (probably both!), because she outlived that 3-6 month estimate by well over 10 years. She got me through a divorce, a cross country move, the death of my other beloved boxer, and all of the other trials that we face just getting through life. She was my best friend and steadfast crosscountry travel companion, loved me even when I was at my least lovable, and even though the cost of her medical problems was sometimes impossibly steep, she was still the least expensive and most available, effective therapist I’ve ever had. I rescued her once, but she saved me again, and again, and again. I can only hope that I gave her even half of the joy in her life that she gave to me.
I am so blessed that without ever saying so, my friends and family committed to giving her that wonderful life too, and together we healed her physical and emotional wounds, and we gave her a beautiful, unexpectedly long life. When I first got her, she was timid to the point of fleeing and hiding when new people came into the house, but through the kindness and patience of the people who loved her, she learned that not all hands hit, and voices are meant to speak love and affection rather than anger.
Flannigan, you changed my life for the better every day you were with me. You reminded me that every single one of us, no matter how healthy, is terminal! and to enjoy every day like it’s our last. We loved each other in a way I can only hope every person gets to experience but precious few will. You were my sunshine, baby girl, and you made me happy when skies were gray. My life will never be the same without you