VOC Celebration of Life Picnic - August 25, 2012

Another year has passed... summer has come and gone and with great delay I have finally put together the album from the Celebration of Life Picnic 2012. What a day that was! A beautiful 3-legged dog called Tasha was my inspiration... her plaque sits in the same place above my desk reading:  “Some gifts you hold in your hand, some you hold in your heart”. Tasha has been gone for many years but her happy face, rolling in the grass is a forever reminder of what life should be about - enjoying, creating memories and remembering.

Looking at Tasha's picture, my thoughts easily go from one patient to another, as I met them though the years. Bitter sweet memories made putting this album together hard but it's symbol of celebration has to be presented. Alex, the beautiful white fluff-ball that lived 3yrs and 6 months after a diagnosis of bone cancer was present to our celebration but left us heartbroken shortly after... Chewbacca with his funny brown mop of a hair that lived for 3.5 years with a diagnosis of lymphoma... Virgil, the handsome Vizsla that survived lymphoma for 3 years...Valence the goofy Rottie  with stage 5 lymphoma that made it 2.5 years... Magic, the quiet, shy G. Shepherd that lived for almost 2 years, during which had complete disappearance of lung metastasis... the list goes on... Despite of the sadness for losing them, one has to celebrate the joy of so many more days they stayed with us, to delight us with their corks and add fullness to our lives. So every year we will get together to remember and honor in this Celebration of Life, an event dedicated to our patients and to our clients, an event to honor living life to the fullest despite of cancer! In memory or in presence our pets make our life whole, what better reason should we need to celebrate them all?!

VOC Celebration of Life Picnic

Early morning the VOC team got together to decorate the picnic area. The grass was wet, the weather was crisp and the coffee kept us going :). Two hours later, the colors filled the place - round colorful decorations with pictures of our patients moving gentle in the wind (we had a picture of every patient we treated at VOC), tables covered with bright table cloths, small gift bags for everybody to take home, treats for the dogs and treats for the humans, the raffle bags... weeks of preparations coming together. As the sun came up, its joyful spark reflected in the eyes of the people that made it all happen - our staff: Jessica, Melanie, Niccole and Samatha. Words cannot express my thankfulness for all they did to prepare this event and for all they do every day - their enthusiasm, compassion and dedication makes the difference. Thank you ladies for your heartfelt support! A special thanks to your significant others also,for coming along to help with the preparations for Celebration of Life picnic!

This was the second VOC Celebration of Life Picnic and was a great success it was! We chose Kelsey Creek Park in Bellevue for our gathering - a small, quiet park that had the perfect picnic area. We were really lucky to have beautiful weather again! We had food and drinks for people and pets, treats and toys to take home and everybody had fun. Some of the participants enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the trail around the park.

We have been fortunate to receive pictures of the event from several people. Tana volunteered her dad (Jeff Betinol from jbphotto.com) to be the official photographer of the event for a second year in a row. Jeff also put together the music slide show from our clinic website. Becky from Tahomawind Photography (tahomawind.zenfolio.com) was also present in memory of Ravyn, her beautiful Rottie that lost her life to bone cancer. Jeanne Ross also provided us with photos and home-grown catnip, in memory of Velvet, her sweet kitty girl that lost her life to lymphoma. It takes a special eye and an open heart to capture the essence of an event like this and we are really grateful for everybody's efforts!

We also would like to thank our sponsors for the event - thank you for making this day special to our patients with food, treats and toy!

  • Diamondback Drugs from Arizona - the folks at DBD are always great with our clients and compound anything and everything we/they need. Their customer service is top notch!
  • Phoenix Laboratory (Seattle) - we are so fortunate to have this lab as a partner, we could not run our day without high quality and timely delivery of bloodwork results - our chemotherapy patients get their bloodwork delivered within 2.5 hrs!
  • MWI and Butler have been great in providing our daily supplies and medications. Both companies are a pleasure to work with and go the extra mile to help us find what we are looking for.
  • Merial is the source of the melanoma vaccine - an amazing treatment option for pets with melanoma
  • Antech Diagnostics takes care of our late evening samples, especially cytologies
  • Dorothy Moore from The Dinning Dog Cafe provided the beautiful and tasty doggie cupcakes - yumm! (we had a hard time not eating those ourselves before the event)

Dr. Sarbu