Goldie came into my life in the summer of 2014. She was an eight year old medical-needs rescue at the Oregon Humane Society when I first noticed her. During our first meeting, Goldie, without so much as an introductory hello, walked across the room towards me and rested her head upon my knee. It was love at first sight. I knew that adopting her would change my life, but little did I know that it would also change who I was as a human being.
Goldie was a sweet, respectful, determined, and stubborn (even by beagle standards) girl. Unlike most beagles, she wasn’t interested in food and would rarely be vocal. Her main priorities in life were to spend as much time as possible walking outdoors and make friends with cats. She was crazy about cats and would try to get them to chase her! If the cats refused to play, she was just as happy snoozing next to them. During our 3.5 years together, Goldie would walk me all over the city of Portland for 3-4 hours everyday. We would visit her favorite stores, hang out with outdoor cats, snooze in the sun, and make new friends everyday. Shoe stores, coffee shops, hardware stores, clothing stores, book stores, salons – she was a regular visitor at so many places that if we didn’t visit a particular store for a week, I’d be chastised by the staff in no uncertain terms.
Goldie lived up to her description as a medical-needs dog. She had serious conditions such as hernias, mammary tumor, inflammatory GI, spinal, and knee issues. But through all these challenges, her happiness, vitality, spirit, and quality of life was unmatched. We met her various medical needs with the help of three fantastic vets specializing in different fields of medicine: western/allopathic, holistic/herbal, and physical therapy. And what a difference it made to her life! The ‘medical-needs’ dog was perhaps the healthiest and most active dog in the neighborhood and people would routinely mistake her for a puppy. Then in Dec 2016 Goldie had a serious collapse and was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma on her heart & spleen. Chemotherapy was not advisable and she was given a couple of months to live. Surely this was the end of the road, I thought. But given her vitality and high quality of life, we embarked on a regimen of traditional herbal medication, acupuncture, home cooked cancer-friendly diet, and a loving stress-free environment. Goldie responded so well that it confounded her doctors to see her continue to be active and trotting happily a year after the cancer diagnosis as if there was nothing wrong. Goldie and I had started a bucket list soon after her cancer diagnosis, but it was soon exhausted and all those exciting bucket-list items became a part of her ‘new normal’ and the little miracle dog couldn’t have been happier about it. In a strange way, she and I had way more fun after she got cancer than before.
Goldie passed away in my arms, assisted by one of her doctors, on 20th Dec 2017. She had developed chronic kidney disease along the way and after waging so many valiant battles over the years, her body was finally getting tired of fighting. It was hard to say goodbye to her, but it was the kindest gift that I could humanely give her. I miss her dearly, as do so many others. It was one of the most fulfilling experiences to have Goldie be a part of my life. She may be gone, and she took a piece of my heart with her, but in return she filled the void with so much love and a new appreciation for life. She taught me not to be afraid, and to face challenges without hesitating. She taught me to be positive in the face of adversity. She taught me to love. She was such a sweet little charmer.
A donation was made in Goldie's memory and the memorial was created on February 22, 2018.