A Golden Fairy Tale
Story by Serena Kenna
Photos Courtesy of Mary Calvi
Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl named Mary who had a loving, loyal golden retriever named Scarlet. They did everything together, and Scarlet was there for Mary through all of life’s happy times and hardships, through all of the tumultuous teenage years, and even when Mary got married, Scarlet was by her side. Scarlet lived to be very old for a golden; she was 17 when she died from a stroke. Mary was devastated and heartbroken, believing there could never be another companion as perfect for her as Scarlet.
Mary Calvi is a licensed veterinary technician at Earth Angels Veterinary Hospital in Wappingers Falls. She has discovered over the years that she has a very special connection with golden retrievers; they gravitate toward her and she to them. After Scarlet came Holly, then Buddy, Bugsy, Charm, Hunter, Tucker, Red, William and Wyatt. Sadly, Mary lost Tucker and Hunter this year.
Mary revealed that one of the unspoken rules of working in animal welfare is that you inevitably bring someone home. Everyone at her workplace and in her circle of acquaintances is well aware of Mary’s affinity for goldens; in fact, on one particular visit to the vet, the girl who had owned Tucker told Mary she was getting married and moving away, and they were unable to take Tucker with them. Mary was distressed and took a ride over to the girl’s home to see how Tucker would react to her. As soon as Mary opened the door of her truck, Tucker ran out of the house and jumped right in the front seat. The Mary/golden connection is clearly indisputable.
Another woman came into the veterinary hospital one day with William when he was just a year-and-a-half old. The woman claimed she had never expected him to get as big as he had and could not keep him. Although she already had three at home, Mary could never say no to a homeless golden; and so William joined the family.
All of Mary’s goldens live very long lives; they thrive under her love and expert care. Though very sadly, Mary’s dog Hunter became acutely ill with bloat this past year and died within hours. Even with all of her veterinary education, skill and experience, Mary could not save him. She was heartbroken.
There has always been a constant flow of medical personnel in and out of Earth Angels Veterinary Hospital consisting of surgeons, cardiologists, specialists, etc. One day, a veterinary surgeon in the hospital asked Mary how things were. She explained to the surgeon what had happened to Hunter and that she was devastated. Mary told her of the joy and happiness her goldens bring her, and if should she hear of any who needed a home to please keep her in mind, as she had room in her heart and her family for another dog. The surgeon mentioned that she was recently at a veterinary hospital and noticed a sign on their bulletin board about two homeless goldens. The veterinarian called the hospital and had them fax Mary the notice. In the interim, one of the dogs had died, and the other had been living in a kennel for the last three years. His name was Wyatt. Although it was a very well-appointed kennel and the staff took excellent care of the animals, it still was not a home with a loving family. Before Mary went to the kennel to see Wyatt, they advised her that he was over 12 years old and had had a stroke that left one side of his face crooked. Mary was undeterred and still wanted to see him.
The next day, Mary drove to the kennel to find Wyatt playing and romping with dogs much younger than he. Of course Wyatt and Mary connected instantly, and when the owners saw this connection, they immediately offered Wyatt to Mary. She brought him home, and he took to her other dogs right away and they to him. That was it…Wyatt was hers, and he was home.
Interestingly, Wyatt and Mary’s relationship is reminiscent of the relationship she had with Scarlet so very long ago. Wyatt insists on being with Mary every moment of the day, like a shadow in the sunlight. He is extremely well behaved for a dog who spent years in a kennel, and he goes to work with her every day. Because of his wonderful affinity for people, he has also become the therapy dog at the hospital. If one of the staff is having a bad day, Wyatt is more than happy to supply hugs and just melts into their arms. He has a beautiful people connection, and, at nearly 13 years old, Wyatt had finally found his perfect forever home.
Mary will always feel this connection at the sight of any golden retriever and will always have them in her heart, her home and her life. When asked what message Mary would like to convey, she said:
“Please do not shy away from adopting a dog simply because he or she is older; old age is not a disease. People always gravitate toward puppies because of the cuteness factor, but there are wonderful older dogs out there who have so much to give and are in situations where they have no home and no family through no fault of their own. Many of them are settled and calm and would love a second chance at life. The direction veterinary medicine has taken over recent years has pets living longer than ever. Wyatt will be 14 in January, and we very much need to remember that it is not the quantity of the years that we have with our pets, but the quality of those years.”
Mary is so very grateful for the beautiful relationship she has had with all of her goldens and will hold every moment she has with Wyatt close to her heart for as long as they have together. This is Mary’s Happily Ever After, and as she has always said, “Life is golden.”
Earth Angels Veterinary Hospital is an integrated holistic and conventional medicine hospital located on Nancy Court in Wappingers Falls. They have recently acquired a new, larger building very close to their current location on Saint Nicholas Road off of New Hackensack, which will be considerably bigger and offer many additional services. “Dr. Wyatt” now has his own column on Earth Angels’s Facebook page called “The Pet Professor.” He even has his own set of scrubs!
There is a “golden” lesson in every assignment, and today this writer learned that sometimes, in our search for a soulmate, we could pass them right by—if we are only looking for another person.