Yesterday while leaving my first assignment and driving to my second, I drove by a house at which I saw a woman, quietly waiting with her dog. The dog was ever so gently resting his head on the porch watching as people passed by. The woman's coat and the contrast of the house, the gesture of her and the dog. I can't quite say what it was but something compelled me to stop.
I quickly pulled over my car and went over to meet Gail and her dog, Cody. I said I was with the Valley News, took a few frames and Gail called me closer, "I've got a story for you. It's a tear-jerker, but I want to share it with you."
After a few weeks of showing mysterious symptoms, Cody was diagnosed on Wednesday with terminal cancer and will likely only live a few more days. Upon learning the bad news, Gail had cancelled her flight to Chicago with her husband to visit their children and grandchildren to stay home with the beloved dog she's had for over 10 years.
“I stayed home to give thanks to a wonderful life well lived. For all of the joy and blessings that he’s given us,” said Stickney. “He needed to have his mom.”
This woman that I'd just met, was willing to share her story with me and let me document it. We were able to connect over the hardest part of having pets, the goodbye part, and we shared hugs and tears on her porch.
On Thanksgiving, I was given a much needed reminder of exactly why I do what I do. In these moments, the long and weird hours, the not the best pay, they all go out the window.
I'm thankful for these moments, for meeting Gail and that I was able to document this special moment between her and Cody. I'm thankful for her openness and for the people that I meet every single day because of this job.