The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 21, 2012

BICKER: Plenty to be thankful for even in tough times

CLINTON — As Thanksgiving nears, the Herald’s associate editor, Scott Levine, has been posing the question, “What are you thankful for?”

After experiencing a very emotional week with increasing medical problems that have surfaced with my soon-to-be 14-year-old sheltie, at first I didn’t see too much to be thankful for.

As all of Cordy’s veterinarians would agree, she was dealt a very bad hand. Her medical chart attests to that fact. She has undergone several surgeries, starting at a very early age, and mounting medical issues including congestive heart failure and now the most recent, renal failure.

It’s not fair. Such a wonderful and gentle soul should not have to go through this.

Needless to say, this has been very hard on me. I have always been able to tell Cordy, “It will be alright. We can fix this.” And now, I’m getting to the point that I can’t fix things. It’s a very heartbreaking realization for me and for her.

In the midst of this very difficult time, Cordy’s vet, Dr. Smith, pointed out how thankful Cordy must be to have me. Many owners would have given up on her. They would not have gone through the surgeries or continued to treat her ongoing medical problems. Cordy has lived a much longer, happier and richer life because of me.

I’ve always been very open with friends and co-workers about all the wonderful things Cordy has done for me, but I’ve never stopped to think how much of an impact I’ve had on her life. In my darkest hour, Dr. Smith brightened up my world with those words. And for that, I am truly thankful.

After thinking a little more on the subject of being thankful, I’ve discovered I have so much to be thankful for.

First and foremost, I am thankful for the medical staff and veterinarians who have taken such wonderful care of Cordy over the years. Without them, Drs. Hahn, Vandermyde, Zink and Smith, I don’t know where we would be today. Since they have become such a major part of her life, I consider them part of my extended family. Veterinarians are definitely unsung heroes and should be recognized for all of their hard work and countless hours of service.

I don’t think there are enough words in the English language to say how much Cordy means to me. I tell her daily how much she means to me, “I love you to the moon and back — forever and ever.” I am thankful for her countless licks of affection and hugs. I am thankful that she has stuck by me through thick and thin. When I thought I didn’t have a friend in the world, she was there. Talk about the ultimate man’s best friend. Dogs are wonderful creatures that way. They look past all of our faults and insecurities. They see deep into our souls and love us for who we are and who we can be.

I also am thankful for all of the life lessons Cordy has taught me. She has taught me to take each day as it comes and to take pleasure in the little things in life. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and forget how special each day really is. When was the last time you watched the sun come up or set? When was the last time you smelled a rose? Think about it.

Last but not least, I’m thankful for my chickens, close friends, family, co-workers and readers who have made writing this column enjoyable for me over the last four years.

As Cordy and I move forward, I will try to remember all of these things. My thankful list will be my rock and one I will try to hang on to.

Angie Bicker has been employed with the Clinton Herald since 2001. She can be reached at angiebicker@clintonherald.com.

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