In life we struggle and stumble along the way and at different times, we all face a battle of some sort. I was no different other than perhaps I entered the trenches earlier than most. When I was eleven my mother lost her fight for life. The impact was immeasurable. I was propelled forward into life, determined to find meaning. At times I wore a mask of smiles and determination. I thought that was ambition; some end goal that proved the cliché, everything happens for a reason. I poured myself into this idea that, although absent, I would make my Mother proud. I would make a love for all creatures into something so much more. I would become a Veterinarian. I stayed up all hours studying and living off chocolate covered espresso beans, having caffeinated aspirations of specializing in Medicine or Critical Care but there was another divine plan in the works.
I was working at a 24-hour practice when the light bulb went off in the pet euthanasia room. Dogs and cats were frightened to be there and yet these were their last moments with us. This wasn’t how they should leave us. They should be surrounded by love nestled, warm in their own bed. They should have been lapping ice cream, chocolate or some other forbidden treat. We owed them the most graceful departure – not gripping a cold sterile exam table or waiting in an impersonal lobby full of strange barking. Something stirred inside of me. Something I thought had been itself, put to sleep.
I made a vow then to offer something different. I would give these families moments of grace and love when they needed it most – the two and the four-legged. Love, for me, had now become a four-legged word. And with that, Paws into Grace was born. I was finally finding myself as I discovered what had been there all along. Maybe struggles do happen for a reason. I was giving comfort and healing because I understood. I understood because we all feel this emptiness when a loved one moves on from this world. Through this, I found my healing.
Elizabeth Benson, DVM
Paws Into Grace