In Memory of Spock Turner

The tears are hidden by dark sunglasses but the pain is still evident as she speaks. When she says his name she clenches her heart because still after six months it is hard to remember him, knowing he's not there. Debbie Turner, graciously shares the story of her miracle dog Spock. Her main message as she speaks is that when your pet dies it doesn't mean you have to let go.

Spock, a Doberman Pincher was two and a half when Debbie found him. She knew right from the beginning that he was a special dog. As a baby Spock had been kicked by a horse and abandoned. When he was found, he was blind in one eye. The lady who took him into shelter, cared a great deal for him and would only give him to the perfect owner. That perfect owner, of course, was Debbie who says Spock took to her as soon as they met. Their bond was evident from the start, and that bond has yet to be broken today. "He would never leave my side. It wouldn't matter if the gate was open, he wouldn't go, he wouldn't leave me." Debbie says remembering how special Spock was. He was always with her and he followed her everywhere.

Two years ago, however things started to look bad for Spock. A cancerous lump was found in his stomach and his whole spleen had to be removed. "Doctors gave him 18-30 days to live." But Spock was a fighter and six months later, he was still living, healthy as a horse, and cancer free. At that same time Spock had been dealing with another disease: Cardiomyopathy. This disease causes the heart to enlarge to the extent that it has difficulty pumping blood. It is most prevalent in humans but affects dogs such as Dobermans as well. Spock had been handling the heart condition very well. He had become a research dog for the University of Guelph and there had been really no problems to contend with.

Then one sad day in the fall of '97 Spock began not eating and he really didn't want to play anymore. "I could tell he was sick, he wouldn't eat anything, not even steak. He didn't want to play with anyone either. His spark was completely gone." The hardest day of Debbie's life came on November 10, 1997 when she decided that Spock should suffer no longer. He would have to be put down. "I had it done at my house. I held him in my arms and kissed my baby boy good-bye." It is natural for most pet owners to want their beloved to die in a safe and familiar place. It makes it easier for both pet and pet owner. As for Debbie the whole ordeal was the hardest thing she's ever had to handle. "I cried every single day, I couldn't even look at pictures, it just felt like a whole part of me was missing." Today, she cries a little less, as it is slowly becoming easier to deal with Spock's death.

Many things have helped Debbie through this ordeal. Having another dog, Jade made it a little easier with the loss. Also in March of '98 she adopted another Doberman named Duke, "not to replace Spock, but to help and love another dog who needs it. Spock was special no one could replace him."

Debbie's pain will never be completely gone but there are factors that help her through the days. She turns to the Internet for a lot of aid and support because the sites are specifically made for people in her position. She's found a poem that's given her hope that she will find Spock again someday. It is entitled The Bridge and it describes a beautiful place where all pets go when they die. There they stay happy and healthy waiting for their owners to arrive so they can be together once again. "The Bridge really helps, I go to sleep, kiss Spock's picture goodnight and tell him to wait for Mommy at the bridge."

The best thing in aiding Debbie get over the death of Spock is keeping him alive in any way she can. She keeps his pictures everywhere and looks at them often, that way she will never "forget his face". When Spock died she got him cremated. "I wrapped his favorite sweater around the jar, put his collar and a toy on it, and buried him at a friend's property where we always used to walk and play." She spent a month carving a headstone for him and she visits his grave often. "Not a day goes by" that she doesn't think of him. She also changed her license plate to say, SPOCK T. "He loved the car and now he can be with it always." Finally, this year, Jade, Spock's sister raised $525 for the Terry Fox Run in memory of the $500 Spock raised last year.

Although things will never be completely back to normal without Spock, things are beginning to look up for Debbie. Her advice to pet owners who will someday have to face the trauma she has is simply this, "Do your best by them, because you know they've done their best by you." Debbie herself has, and continues to do her best by Spock and her two other dogs. She keeps Spock alive in her heart, in her mind and in her soul. If his memory lives in these places, he truly will never die.

By: Stephanie Rea

Student at King City Secondary

Ontario, Canada

Back to the DogStars