A Tribute to Abby

Picture of AbbyI don’t normally post tributes to every dog that I meet who has lost their battle to cancer.  Maybe I should, but I don’t want to give the impression that cancer is a hopeless situation.  Sometimes it sure feels like it is, but in reality, for every pup who dies from this disesase, there are many more still fighting the good fight and living a normal, happy life despite their diagnosis.  Some are  even cured of their cancer for the rest of their lives and never look back.  It’s just that, during the good times, we are usually so caught up trying to fully enjoy each moment, that we don’t spend as much time reflecting on that joy.  Also, I think a lot of us (myself included), get superstitious about sharing too much good news during the times when cancer is in remission, out of fear that somehow we’ll jinx it and the cancer will rear is ugly head once again.  Some sort of divine punishment for getting too cocky.  It’s silly, but we humans are often silly about things like that.

When we say goodbye though, we have lots of time…sometimes too much time…to reflect.  We remember the life that was lived and think back to all of the happy memories, perfect moments and simple joys that we shared with our companion.  But, often we also replay in our minds every decision, every bad day, every time we lost our patience, and every time we wish we would have put work or worries aside to do more to show our love.  I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t go through this as a part of grief.  It is a normal, but painful thing that we humans choose to put ourselves though, even though in reality, none of us is perfect and could never hope to be. 

I don’t really know why Abby is different.  Why I felt compelled to pay special tribute to her today.  All of the dogs that I meet are so amazing, and all of their lives deserve to be honored.  Maybe it’s because we’re so close to Christmas and I always feel extra pain for people who lose loved ones during what is supposed to be such a happy, family-oriented time of year.  Or, maybe it’s because losing Abby to cancer, especially so quickly, came as such a surprise.

I had first met Abby’s mom via email almost two years ago when their other dog, Sampson, was suspected of having cancer.  I felt a bond right away since my little guy’s name is Sampson too.  Fortunately, he did not have the dreaded disease, only another minor illness that was causing his health issues.  He got back to his normal self and life too, returned to normal for their family.

Then, a few months ago, the shadow of cancer cast its shadow again in their family, but this time for real.  Their beloved little girl Abby was diagnosed with cutaneous malignant epitheliotropic lymphoma.  A rare form of lymphoma, and also one with a relatively poor prognosis.  She started chemo, supplements, low-carb diet.  Everything by the book.  But, around Thanksgiving, they received another blow.  Abby was diagnosed with a second form of lymphoma, this time the more common version of the disease.  Despite treatment, they just couldn’t hold the cancer back though, and so it is that today, sweet Abby is at the Rainbow Bridge, and her family is mourning the loss of their beautiful girl.

I think what has made knowing Abby so special to me is really how her mom has handled things throughout this experience.  In addition to emails, I was able to follow Abby’s journey with cancer through a blog that her mom started after the first diagnosis.  And with every post, I found myself inspired by how her mom was dealing with things and wished that I had been as strong and positive during Georgia’s battle.  The blog title alone always made me smile — “Living Like Abby”.  It was first and foremost a chronicle of a life…well lived.  Not just a record of the ups and downs of cancer.  In each post, I felt I knew Abby a little better, and I felt I learned so much about how to accept difficult situations, and how to let go, with true grace.  Taking a moment to share every bit of good news, and to celebrate every small victory.  Remembering to treasure those tiny details that make you smile.  It was an honor to follow Abby’s brave battle.

So, as a special tribute to this special soul, I wanted to share with you a couple my favorite posts Abby’s blog, and also invite you to read more about Living Like Abby at:  www.livinglikeabby.blogspot.com.  

Abby JumpingA Few Tips on Living Like Abby…
1. Eat with gusto.
2. Sleep with gusto.
3. Love with gusto.
4. Bark with gusto.
5. Run with gusto.
6. Play with gusto.
7. Repeat Steps #1-#6, in any order, as desired


Just One More…
…trip to New York. Just one more summer. Just one more run in the woods. Just one more happy car ride. Just one more night. Just one more jump in the air. Just one more adventure. Just one more minute. Just one more…

We always want just one more…something. It’s not possible to want “just one more” and ever be happy. I’m trying to sit with what is and what we have and stop looking for “just one more” – but it’s hard to do.

Abby’s time is short – but it was really good time for a really long time. And that will be enough.


Letting Go
Does Not Mean
Loving Less
It Means
Living More

Godspeed Abby.  I hope that you are happy and healthy again, waiting at the Rainbow Bridge with my sweet Georgia and all of the other pups who have gone before you.   Thank you for letting us share your brave battle with you.  You will be forever loved and missed. 

About Kerry Malak

I am a Bulldog mom, Reiki Master/Teacher, pet loss counselor and canine cancer advocate who loves working with people and animals to help them live longer, happier and healthier lives.
This entry was posted in Pet Loss / Grief, Reflections and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Tribute to Abby

  1. Jeanie says:

    My JR had non-epithiliotropic cutaneous lymphoma. Very rare, very hard to treat. My heart goes out to Abby’s family.

    Godspeed, Abby. There’s a great big boxer who will be greeting you at the bridge.

  2. What a lovely and moving tribute to Abby and her family. I have only been able to know them for a short time, but have been quite moved by how loved this dog, along with all the animals in this family, is. I, too, have lost two of my beloved canine companions to cancer, and I understand how difficult this is to deal with. But these wonderful animals are such an example for us, how they live each day with….with gusto!…no matter what is going on in their lives. We are so blessed to have them to share our lives.

    Abby, I hope that you are running and playing and flying through the air with reckless abandon, just like in your picture, you beautiful girl! Say hello to Lola and Maggie! I’m sure they will be happy to meet you and run through the green fields with you!

  3. Laura says:

    Dear sweet Abby —

    I know that my Razz And Sweet Pepe are waiting for you to run like the wind and play in the sunshine with no pain. We will miss you but remember the fun and joy you brought to us. Be free.

  4. dawn serazin says:

    That was a very touching tribute to a very special little yellow dog. She will be greatly missed by many but will live on in all of our hearts. Thank you.

  5. Brad Jordan says:

    I too have been touched by cutaneous lymphoma, my boy Bear passed yesterday and i’m still raw from it all. He was diagnosed with auto immune disease in dec 09 and went into remission very quickly, hematocrit rose fairly quick and prednisone was reduced over time till off completely in late april. Everything was wondeful till the second week in may when Bear started to crash again. Long story short he had lymphoma and survived a little over 4 months with chemo with pretty good quality of life till last week. God bless all of you, it’s been the best of times and the worst these past four moths. I miss Bear every hour, the guilt of not saving him is very rough. My life will never be the same, he was with me 24/7 most of the the last 4 months. He was the son i never had, i have his sister too, Cuds and she may just be realizing that were not picking Bear up from the vets this time. I hope Abby’s there to greet Bear, he loves other dogs.

    • Kerry M says:

      I’m so sorry you lost your sweet Bear in such a short period of time, but glad that his quality of life was good up until the end. Sometimes that is the greatest blessing we can ask for. Thoughts and prayers to you and all who loved Bear. I’m sure he’s running at the Rainbow Bridge now, happy and healthy again.

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