Testament to a healing bond – program for pet owners with HIV/AIDS

Testament to a healing bond – program for pet owners with HIV/AIDS – Brief Article

Rob Jacobs

At the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, we have found that our programs to help pets almost always help people, too. Phinney’s Friends certainly fits this bill. Established in 1996, the program teams volunteers with people who need help caring for their pets because of the debilitating effects of HIV/AIDS. It also provides wellness care for these pets at MSPCA hospitals and with participating veterinarians.

The extra support can make the difference that allows a pet to stay with its ailing owner. And the pet, in turn, can make a huge difference to the welfare of its human companion. Such was the case for Rob Jacobs. Rob was not only the very first client of Phinney’s Friends; he was an early contributor who also helped shape the program during its planning stage. By the time his dog, KC, became gravely ill and needed intensive care Rob was himself struggling. That’s when an anonymous donor, who had witnessed the healing and comfort animals can bring contacted Phinney’s Friends and offered to cover KC’s care. Below is Rob’s letter of thanks.

Dear Friend,

I want to convey my personal gratitude and sincere admiration for your generosity.

The loss of KC has been the most difficult thing I have ever endured. In light of my other losses over the last 11 years, one can appreciate the magnitude of this statement. It is no exaggeration when I claim that KC saved my life. This is why I am distraught that, during his own time of crisis, I lacked the power to save him.

Throughout my personal losses, I have always had my best and most reliable friend, KC, here for me. When I lost my partner, KC was there to comfort and remind me that life was still worth fighting for. He proved this repeatedly when I lost my career, health, sight, independence, and, most important, my sense of hope. Only KC could comfort me in the most trying of times, consistently by my side, providing a sense of peace. He kept me connected spiritually and physically with reality.

Prior to his illness, I had already been severely depressed and traumatized. I thought there was nothing left to lose. Then KC got sick, and I sadly realized I was wrong. I was determined to save his life, sparing no expense. Even the best of care could not evade the inevitable result. Two weeks after the loss of KC, I learned that I was facing cancer. It was devastating that my source of calm and strength was no longer here to help me through this latest challenge. As long as his loving power awaited me at home, I always felt that I could face anything.

Now, without KC’s physical presence that I crave so, I reach out to his enduring spirit. I try to honor his wisdom by listening quietly to everything he taught me throughout our unique relationship. It may take forever to incorporate fully all his wisdom into my own soul. I now realize that his spirit is infinite, originating from a source beyond my human comprehension.

When I was forced to let him go, I cried over his struggling body. I felt that I was an inadequate student those years he was teaching me life’s highest values. Reflecting now, I realize I learned more than I first thought. I continue to absorb his messages from the Universe.

As I am grateful for his fellowship, wisdom, and loyalty, I am also grateful to you for your humanity and assistance, which exemplify the goodness in this world. This lesson is so easy to overlook in times of unbearable stress. I know I will never stop grieving for the greatest gift ever granted me. Yet I am starting to understand the true meaning of eternity. In honor of KC and the generosity you have shown, I will hold closer to my heart the lessons of courage, strength, and goodness. You are already blessed for your faith in the human spirit. I am blessed by your loving actions.

If you are interested in contributing to, or volunteering for, Phinney’s Friends or would like a copy of our safe-pet-care guide-lines for owners with immune deficiencies, call (617) 522-7400.

With eternal gratitude,

Rob Jacobs

COPYRIGHT 2002 Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group