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Thankful at the farmette

It's a very rainy day at the farmette. Got almost 2.5 centimetres of the wet stuff overnight, and it's still coming down.

A week ago Saturday, it was broody and cool, but didn't actually rain. Which was good, because we attended a gratitude ceremony for our veterinarian Melanie, who wound up her practice because she has late-stage pancreatic cancer. Eileen was also honoured, because, as her assistant, the two were what everyone calls the dynamic duo. They are an amazing team and support each other in all ways.


It's incredible the effect a couple of people can have on so many others. Both of them are kind, generous and extremely good at caring for animals and we're going to miss them horribly. Actually, given the trials of farmette fur balls lately, we already do. Everyone's doing okay now, but we've had a few wobbles over the past couple of weeks.


Anyhow. It was a very emotional day for everyone. The ceremony took place at Melanie's family home - which is gorgeous - with a lovely raised back deck and lots of property for people to gather in a socially-distanced way. About a hundred masked and hand-sanitized souls showed up and stood on white crosses that marked out the two-metre gap to which everyone had to adhere. We were all there to honour our friends and heroes.

Everyone was asked to bring a heart with photos of their animals. So I dutifully made a really big bristol board with photos of the eight Harris-Wilson felines (Nick, Nora, Lily, Bea, Hobbes, Calvin, Fred and Wilma) they took care of over the past eight years.


When Hobbes could not shake his respiratory infection as a kitten. When Lily became allergic to her own teeth. When Nicky went into kidney failure and finally succumbed after more than a year of loving treatment. Melanie and Eileen were there with their vast knowledge, experience, tenacity and kindness.

Melanie is so frail - she's the one in the red sweater. Her daughter Julia is in the middle. Eileen is next and the lady who helped organize the day - Patti Cooney - is crouched beside them. The rest of Melanie's family - her husband Keith and son Paul were also there.


I know I've said this umpteen times before, but it is NOT FAIR that such a wonderful, young person has to go through this much pain. Cancer is a horrible, horrible disease.


Rob found out that the two of them took care of 1,300 animals! As Melanie said during the ceremony, they were a very efficient, professional and excellent team. With a wink and a sense of humour that set everyone at ease. The vet fees were low and the laughter was free.

At the event, there was music - a lovely piano/cello duet - some testimonials, a little crying but some laughing too.


As we walked home (the Greins live just around the corner from the farmette), we reflected on all the times we leaned on Melanie and Eileen and how, every time - every single time - they came through for us. It has been both an honour and privilege to have been lucky enough to know these strong, whip-smart and caring women. Until next week.






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