Geoff Bain was born in Liverpool, England and attended the Liverpool Institute High School at the same time as two of the Beatles – Sir Paul McCartney and George Harrison. After some world traveling, he finally settled in Southern California. He now lives in Orange County with his wife, Dawn, and Spunky the cat.The inspiration for his first book, Just One More Day, came from an uncertainty as when it would be time to call the vet to say good-bye to Abby. She was an Australian/Queensland Shepherd mix who had just been diagnosed with osteosarcoma – Bone Cancer. Abby was the first dog in Geoff’s life, and she left her paw-prints on his heart. One day soon, there’ll be another dog – when the time feels right.
Abby came into my life when I married Dawn. I had never had a dog of my own before. Abby was fun and she was part of my new family. She was an Australian / Queensland shepherd mix – a rescue dog that Dawn had loved since Abby was about 6 weeks old. Little did I realize how this dog would influence my life – forever. I never could have imagined how one slightly overweight dog would touch my heart so dearly. Uncertainty evolved into unconditional love, which is what Abby taught me to see, to share, to receive and to give. I even learned how to pick up poop without gagging. Miracles happen!
Early last year, we took Abby to get checked out for a limp that we thought was a pulled muscle or tendon. She was 12, and we thought she was getting a little creaky in her joints. Abby was diagnosed with bone cancer (osteosarcoma) in her front left leg. This is an aggressive, highly malignant form of cancer. Surgery was not an option because of Abby having too much weight in the front. Other treatments might prolong her life for a few months, but at the cost of quality of life. Our vet offered to put Abby to sleep right then and there, if we wanted. It was all too sudden for us to make any kind of decision at that moment. We were told we had maybe two more months, at best.
After the diagnosis, we were determined to make sure that Abby was really, really happy every single day that she had left. We bought her more squeaky toys, and fed her the food that she begged for … the cat’s food! I took her for car rides almost every day so that she could stick her head out of the window and feel the rush of wind on her nose. It’s amazing how dying makes you really want to live.
The question that was uppermost in our minds was “How do you know when it’s time to put your beloved pet to sleep?” Friends told me that I would see it in Abby’s eyes. I don’t think I ever did. All I ever saw was a waggy tail and “Please give me some more cat food” looks. The “It’s time for me to go” look never came. I just saw a bigger lump on Abby’s paw, indicating that the cancer was indeed spreading fast. And I saw her limp a lot more frequently, and constantly lick her paw. One afternoon, I saw her fall in the yard, and I knew that we should call the vet.
Abby left us surrounded with love. (Excerpted from the Introduction to Just One More Day)
Abby was a rescue dog, whose simple pleasures in life were (in no particular order) squeaky toys, running after tennis balls (endlessly), stuffing said tennis balls in her mouth – always tried for 3 at a time and never quite made it – riding in cars with the window down, and begging for cat food – which she considered to be a gourmet treat! Occasionally, she would go a few rounds of boxing with the cat, (the cat standing on 2 legs and leading with a quick left to the snout), and that usually ended with them rolling around the floor, followed by a fast 40 yard dash up the stairs. Abby was pure, unconditional love and that was her legacy.