In my novel, Taming Kate, my heroine has a boxer with a heart condition. Kate and Buddy are lucky enough to have a compassionate veterinarian, whose character was inspired by the real life vet who took care of my dog Baci for many years.
Both the human and animal world had a loss this week with the passing of Pamela Duddy, who succumbed to cancer at the age of 47. I first met Dr. Duddy nearly 14 years ago; as the new owner of a somewhat insane wire-haired fox terrier, I was not at all a dog person–luckily for me, she was.
Her hair was a bit disheveled and her lab coat was covered in two layers of dog hair, and when this quiet, unassuming woman introduced herself to me, I remember thinking that I would never want her job. But she clearly loved it.
One day when I was kept waiting for nearly 30 minutes–an unusual occurrence at my normally efficient vet’s office–she apologized and explained that she was delayed because she was helping a family whose pet rabbit had to be put down, and she was sure I would understand.
Several years ago, Baci had a strange skin growth that had to be biopsied. Dr. Duddy warned me that if cancerous, it would spread in a way that would bring about real suffering for my dog, and asked me to consider putting her down if the growth were malignant. My family and I sweated out those days as we waited for the results, which were, thankfully, benign. When she called us with the news, I cried with gratitude.
Not long afterwards I learned of Dr. Duddy’s diagnosis, and I was struck by the irony: my dog had escaped what she could not. It takes an extraordinary person to do the work that she did. If she is in another life now, I like to think that she is surrounded by the animals that she loved so well in this one.
♥ ♥ ♥