Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday she climbs into a white Chevy Cargo Van and heads into the City. On these days, she visits patients -- to listen to hearts and lungs, take pulses and blood pressures, deliver medications, administer fluids and sometimes, if necessary, take blood in the kindest, gentlest way possible. She's the hospice coordinator of a pet hospice program. Her patients have four legs, but they’re beloved members of human families.
She talks with those families to see how it’s all working out. Talks about fears and comfort measures and anticipatory grief. She leaves them her phone number and reassures them they can call at any time. And they do. And she answers.
You. Guys. It’s not just her.
There are other white vans.
There are white vans that carry veterinarians and assistants to visit senior pets who hate veterinary clinics – or are simply too pain-filled or too anxious to travel. These teams give those senior pets the medical care they need in the comfort of their own homes. They sit on the floor. They take it slow.
Sometimes a white van carries a laser therapy technician with a ready smile and a pocket full of treats, or a small animal massage practitioner with skilled hands and a soft, melodic voice. Off to the City they go, to ease the discomfort of stiff and aching joints.
And some sad times a white van leaves the center to take a team to a home where The Great Sorrowful Day has arrived -- that day when the most merciful care is helping a patient cross gently out of this world and into the next.
These white vans carry women united in their desire to ease pain. Of senior pets. Of their devoted families. These remarkable women are as human as the rest of us -- with their own struggles and difficulties – but WHEN WITH the pets and their families, they lay all that aside to be as kind and as helpful as they can.
They give their patients and families all they’ve got, and then a little more…and still ask themselves if it was enough. I think of this quote by Mother Teresa, and I’ve come to see that these women -- their work with these pets and their families, those are their drops.
And every drop –
My friends, We all have drops.
And while you can perhaps easily imagine that a doctor’s care of her patients are her drops, a teacher, his students; a coach, her athletes; musicians, their audience -- the truth is, we all have drops.
Every kind act you undertake for another – that’s a precious, meaningful drop.
Did you pack lunches for the littles this morning? Walk your doggo? Did you make time to listen to the senior citizen in the grocery store checkout line – even though you had a bazillionity-one more errands to run? Did you leave an extra five for the waitress because she worked hard but looked so very tired? Did you stop in a coworker’s cubicle to ask “You okay?” when you noticed she was unusually subdued? Did you forgive an irritable partner?
These are your drops.
And make no mistake. Every one of them matters.