Susie’s Birthday

Today is a special day in the Nelson household.  Fifteen years ago, our beloved Golden Retriever was born.  Susie was a supercharged girl.  Her zest for life never ended.  She lived every minute to the fullest.  Whether she was chasing tennis balls, searching the bird room for bits of food or letting a cat named Tigre clean her face, Susie enjoyed it all.  Her presence brightened every room she entered.

Unfortunately, Susie is not here to enjoy her special day with a swim in the pool.  On April 29, 2009, my husband and I were forced to make the decision that all pet owners dread.  Susie’s health deteriorated rapidly over the last year.  Besides allergies, hypothyroidism, cataracts, corneal problems, separation anxiety, osteoarthritis and occasional dementia, she started to seizure.  The last day of her life, she suffered a grand mal seizure.  Susie had not experienced seizures before other than mild tremors in her face.  Watching her and helping her through this episode made the decision for us.  Her death leaves a huge hole in our family.      

So in honor of Susie, I ask each of you to spend extra time today with the animals in your life.  Whether it’s a vigorous game of fetch or fifteen minutes of lap time, celebrate the gifts and joy they bring.  Laugh at their endearing quirks.  Revel in their unconditional love.  Treasure your time together.  And the next time life throws your a curve ball, draw strength from the bond with your pet.  As my friend Dr. Michelle May always says, “Live vibrantly!”  That is how Susie lived.  Oh how I miss her.     


Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.