As I write this letter, it is exactly one year to the day that my adorable, exuberant, sweet Maple passed away from cancer. I think about her all the time, and feel her presence often. Her waggy tail, slobbery kisses, and goofy smile are etched in my mind forever.
Maple’s passing, and the way she died, opened my eyes to many things I may not have otherwise seen. The experience taught me a lot, and while I miss her every day, the intense sadness has slowly evaporated. Today I’m grateful and appreciative for the gifts she left behind.
Since she died, I have become actively involved in learning more about the rise of cancer in animals, unique medical advances available to our pets, and the increased number of ailments we are seeing now that they are living longer than ever. It is incredible to learn about the numerous specialties and emerging fields in the veterinary world. We feature just a few in this issue, but exploring ways to keep our four-legged family members healthy and happy is one of our main goals—look for more in future issues.
All animals, no matter their shape, size, or lineage, have much wisdom to share. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way. In fact, just recently, Miami voters had a chance to overturn their breed-specific legislation, which currently bans Pit Bulls from living within Miami-Dade County, and they let the dogs down. If only people understood the facts and statistics about these sweet dogs, rather than believing the media hype, I’m confident the voting would have gone a different way.
Thankfully, educational leaders like Victoria Stilwell, documentaries such as Beyond the Myth, and many other strong advocates are exposing the truth about these misunderstood animals and working toward equality for all breeds. Discriminating against the dogs—when the ones to blame are on the other end of the leash—makes no sense to me.
October is “National Pit Bull Awareness Month,” the perfect time to celebrate these special doggies. We teach our children not to judge a book by its cover, so in that spirit, I have a challenge for you: Stop and say “hello” to the next Pit Bull you see walking down the street. (Of course, as with any dog you don’t know, ask before you pet.) I bet that you will receive one the friendliest greetings you have ever gotten, and will walk away with a smile on your face!
Here’s to all the loving animals in our lives, big, small, furry, and otherwise—