A Story of Hope

By Kim Mulvahill

This is Rosie. Rosie was diagnosed with a persistent right aortic arch at just five weeks of age and was facing euthanasia. Rosie was able to have her condition surgically corrected through compassionate care from the veterinarians at Intermountain Pet Hospital. It was because of this compassionate care that Rosie was able to survive and grow into a wonderful companion.

I took Rosie home shortly after her surgery in the midst of a very difficult time for my family. My father had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was suffering from serious depression as well as all the symptoms of his cancer and treatments. He had gone from a very active outdoorsman and grandfather to my two young girls to barely being able to make it out of his bed on some days.

I brought Rosie into our lives with the selfish intent of shedding a little light on my life and for my two girls, who desperately missed spending time with their “Pappa.” To my surprise, Rosie became so much more.

I will never forget the joy in my heart the first day home when Dad quickly got out of bed and began playing with this tiny little puppy on the floor of his living room. Rosie quickly became inseparable from my father.

Even as a very young puppy, she had the amazing ability to match his mood and activity level. On the days he felt good, they would head out for a walk around the neighborhood. On not-so-good days, she would sit for hours in his lap on the back porch as he would pet her.

Rosie provided something for my father that my family had struggled for months to provide without success. She gave him a reason to get up from his bed. He had to care for something else instead of dwelling on his own condition and, through that, found joy in each day.

Because of the bond they quickly developed, Dad was able to overcome a lot of the depression he suffered from and was able to enjoy many days with his “favorite girl.” We still had a fair amount of tough days, but Rosie was definitely a light during each of those days.

My father lost his courageous fight against cancer in May 2012, but Rosie continues to provide companionship and meet many of the emotional needs of my family who have been so affected by this loss.

I feel deeply indebted to Rosie for the quality of life she brought to my father during his last months, and thankful for the veterinarians who provided the compassionate care that saved a tiny puppy’s life.

This experience has changed me. It has blessed me with the understanding of the importance of caring for animals and supporting the precious gift of the human-animal bond.