Monday, February 9, 2015

A Tribute to OBG Alum Shannon

If you have ever lost a beloved pet, you know the pain of that loss. Our dogs, cats and other pets are our family and we mourn them when they die. We know that over time, the hurt will be less and we will start smiling more and more at all the wonderful memories they have left with us, but sometimes it is not enough. Sometimes, we search for ways to honor their memory.

Recently, OBG's President was contacted by Erika whose OBG alum, Shannon, had recently passed on to the Rainbow Bridge. She and Erika talked about a way she could spread the word about her sweet Shannon and use Shannon's story to help OBG save more lives.   Erika has committed to making a donation to OBG every month in 2015 in Shannon's memory and we are hoping her story will inspire others to consider OBG's GIFT program (Giving for Tomorrow). This program is a subscription donation program whereby people can plan ahead for monthly donations to OBG. Click here to learn more.

Here is Shannon's story as written by her Mom:

I am writing above all to thank you, for without OBG, I would never have had the blessing of becoming Shannon’s mom. Shannon was found wondering the woods, suffering from heartworm, pneumonia, and epilepsy, among other health problems when OBG rescued her. She was only about a year old, but already fighting for her life, and her foster mom would not give up on her.

By the time my husband and I met Shannon, her lungs had cleared, she was heartworm free and a shinny red coat had replaced her matted one. She was a beautiful, happy cocker who loved squeaky balls, and wagged her short tail at us. We knew her epilepsy was not curable, but we were smitten. Shannon quickly became the joy of our lives.
I had never met a dog that woke up happier than Shannon. She felt it was her responsibility to get us up early and she would do so by jumping on the bed and licking our faces. When it snowed, the wake up call moved up to 4 a.m. sometimes. She did not want us to miss out on the fun of chasing her in the snow. She loved running through the white powder until it formed clumps around her furry paws and she looked like a snow covered baby bear.

Every good thing, small or big, had to be celebrated. Shannon never took anything for granted. When we got in from work, she would greet us with a squeaky ball dance. When we grabbed her bowl, she ran, jumped, and wagged her tail to celebrate dinner time. When we gave her a treat, she licked our faces with excitement. I learned more about gratitude from her than from anyone else I’ve ever met.

I learned daily lessons from Shannon. She would pull her leash to “make” me stop at my elderly neighbor’s door every time we walked past it. She wanted to say hello even when we were rushing. Recently, that lady told me how Shannon’s visits made her day less lonely.

Shannon also taught me about being strong no matter what life throws at you. Through medication and diet, her epilepsy was pretty much under control, but sometimes the inevitable seizure would render her 23-pound body powerless. We would take turns holding her so she would feel safe. As soon as she could, Shannon would get up, even if she was still recovering and unstable, as if to show everyone, I’m fine and there is nothing to worry about.

Epilepsy could not beat her. But she could not win the war against kidney disease. She fought courageously. I rarely left her side. Through hospitalizations and sleepless nights we held on to each other tight until the end.

For 13 years, her bright brown eyes illuminated my days. Writing about her in the past tense, it’s still hard to comprehend.

In her honor, my husband and I have decided to donate $100 each month of 2015 with hopes of saving other OBG lives.  May it help someone experience the joy and love our Shannon gave us.

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