Andy may not be here for a long time but it will definitely be a good time thanks to “adoptive mom” Janyce Forbes.
Diagnosed with inoperable cancer after arriving at the Penticton SPCA shelter, the six-year old German shepherd cross was adopted by Forbes so he could live out his remaining days in the warmth her arms instead of an SPCA kennel.
“Andy may have a disease but the disease doesn’t have Andy,” Forbes wrote on social media when introducing him to her friends. “We’re going to romp the earth’s crust to the fullest, fill his belly with goodness and end each day thankful for who’s at your side doin’ it.”
Since the adoption just over a month ago, Forbes, who is also volunteer at the SPCA, and her new best friend have been almost inseparable.
Forbes had lost her dog Tika after 15 years together before she began her work at the shelter. Admittedly she wasn’t sure about adopting another one, especially a pet with such an uncertain future.
“I was very lucky to have those 15 years with Tika, but still it’s never enough,” she said. “It’s so hard, it’s grief like no other, you know it’s going to be a major loss, a void in your life but you don’t realize how much.
“But Andy was so full of life and so full of energy and his readiness to live overpowered everything. On the surface he’s not sick, he’s running, he’s eating he has life and my deciding factor was, ‘you have life and you’re going to live it.”
She added in spite of all the love and attention the animals at the SPCA receive each and every day: “It’s still not a home.”
There have been many people who questioned her decision, to which she asks them if they know what their own future holds.
“Andy’s been dealt these cards and just like a person it makes it more of a reason to have a life in the time he has left,” said Forbes. “Not to be in a kennel but to live life and experience as much as he can and live, not just breath, not just exist — live.”
Since she first took Andy home the relationship has grown and Forbes has noticed a greater increase in own appreciation of life and motivation to enjoy it to the fullest.
And like people, she feels the enjoyment of being out in the world prolongs the time someone has left instead of reducing it.
“If there is still life to be had then go for it,” said Forbes. “He’s loving the moment he’s in. He’s a good dude I’m just happy I can give him that opportunity to be Andy.”
While she chooses not to dwell on the eventuality, Forbes acknowledges that — hopefully later than sooner — there will come a time when she has to say goodbye to her four-legged family member.
“It’s definitely going to be hard and heartbreaking for sure but it would be more heartbreaking to know he couldn’t live a life while he still had a life. I know when that day comes I will be a mess but these moments we are living now will far outweigh and surpass it. Right now is the only guarantee we have.”
The BC SPCA is in its 120th year of operations and recently adopted out its one millionth animal to a loving family.
The SPCA looks after 28,000 animals annually and encourages anyone who may be in the market for a friend to check with the shelter. As well, there are always spots available for people who would like to volunteer, even just to take a dog for a walk.
Locally the Penticton shelter office can be contacted at 250-493-0136.