Sienna’s Story – How a Destiny Dog Stole Hearts and Lived a Full Life
Morris Animal Foundation’s Erin Searfoss shares a very personal story about her beloved dog Sienna, who lost her fight with cancer earlier this year.
I am proud to be Study Director for the Morris Animal Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, a groundbreaking study that will help identify and understand risk factors for cancer and other major diseases in dogs.
As dog owners, we all know that dogs, unfortunately, bless us with their companionship for only a short while. They provide us with a lifetime of love and impact, leaving paw prints on our hearts and souls with their amazing ability to provide unconditional love. Sienna was one such dog. As I look back and reflect on the impact Sienna had on my life, I truly believe that fate and destiny brought us together.
Driving home from a long day of training 14 years ago, I came across a dog on the side of the road. She was lying motionless. On further inspection, I saw she had a compound fracture of her right front leg after being hit by a car. I certainly wasn’t in the position to add a dog to my life. I was on deployment orders as a member of the United States Army to support Operation Iraqi Freedom, but that didn’t stop me from scooping her up and heading to the local veterinary clinic. My life would be forever changed as I arrived home with Sienna in a bright pink cast later that evening.
My destiny dog left a legacy of wonderful memories. When Chris, my fiancé at the time and now husband, headed into the desert as part of the initial invasion, Sienna quickly took to her new role of providing me an outlet to keep my mind free from worrying. We immediately bonded in the few short weeks we had together before my own boots headed to Iraq. She was the flower girl in our wedding. My faithful running partner. The honorary captain of our boat. The provider of comfort to those who loved her through three more deployments. The best helper with cleaning the horse stalls (manure is delicious). A tough ranch dog big sister to Cayenne (another rescue dog), two cats and two horses. But most of all, she is the reason I do what I do.
Sienna left this earth on March 24, 2017, due to an inoperable mast cell tumor. Despite working in the veterinary industry, I felt helpless. There was very little I could do to keep the cancer monster from growing inside of her. Sienna’s passing feels like the end of an era in our house.
Thanks to our work to fund important scientific research studies, we will find new preventions and treatments in the fight against pet cancer. And now through June 30, Blue Buffalo is matching all gifts up to $50,000, making your gift have twice the impact. Please consider making a donation now.