MARSHALL COUNTY — Advent is more than a season this year, he is a twelve year old dog who is also a friend. He has been placed on palliative care due to untreatable malignant spindle cell sarcoma.
His most recent biopsy revealed fast growth. No more can be done medically to prolong Advent’s life on earth, but Dr. Samuelson of Culver Vet Clinic performed a number of surgeries in an effort to do what she could.
Advent is a Jack Terrier loved and cared for by Patricia Mayer. Advent was given to Mayer as a gift from her children 12 years ago on the first Sunday of Advent that year. They asked her, “Mom, do you think you can love a little dog?”
Mayer described Advent at 6 weeks young. “He looked like a chubby little cow.” Mayer rocked him those first days because he missed his mom.
Mayer has set her heart on giving Advent his best life as long as possible. “We are making him where he can enjoy life while he has it. Advent lives to run and jump and loves his walks.”
Mayer uses a stroller donated to her through an Advent advocate when he isn’t feeling up to walking himself. Mayer says to some, their story “is nothing big.” But for her it’s been a “journey of lessons.”
Mayer, who has her own personal struggles has been inspired by Advent to live each day. “Through Advent I have learned to live for the day. To focus on living each day and not get caught up in my disease or life’s struggles. I am still reminded to work on that through watching Advent.”
The second lesson learned for Mayer was, “Necessity makes for opportunity.”
One of those opportunities is that Mayer wants to use her experience to warn pet owners to seek diagnostic evaluations for anything suspicious early on. “Advent’s tumor had started on his arm I searched the internet and dog groups for answers. It looked exactly like pressure tumors dogs can get from hard wood floors so I waited from January to May before having it looked at.”
Mayer regrets not having sought treatment sooner. “If caught earlier it could have different results.”
Mayer said, “Get those lumps and bumps check. I waited till his yearly check up and by then it had metastasized.”
The second opportunity was also inspired by Advent’s veterinarian. Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Georgette Samuelson of the Culver Pet Clinic has been treating Advent.
Though Mayer had concerns about how she would pay the bill, Dr. Samuelson has worked out a payment plan that did not burden Mayer.
Mayer said, “We could not take money away from living to do this for Advent. But through the vet’s patience and encouragement we sought out ways to earn money.”
Mayer opened a Facebook page to promote Advent’s journey and share the artwork. Mayer has been documenting Advent’s journey on Facebook @ Pasach’s Portrait & Design.
The site would took hours to establish. Mayer said, “Even learning how to make videos and how to communicate with people online, post games and study drawing animals. I watched hours of videos of drawing animals. It was a job in a sense. One I needed to do for Advent and my family.”
“I am no professional artist but the vet has helped my family in ways she doesn’t even realize.” After a few months people began responding after seeing videos and having portraits done.
Mayer appreciates Dr. Samuelson’s compassion, but doesn’t want to take advantage of her kindness. “They continued to tell me not to make the bill my worry and to pay as I can. But as I drew and talked of Advent people bought portraits. As Mayer sold art, she made payments.”
The last surgery had Mayer really concerned. “I was concerned of how this last surgery was going to increase the balance I already owed. But when I got to the vets they said someone called in and payed 100.00.”
Dr. Samuelson has answered frantic calls from Mayer. “She has answered calls from me scared that he was dying right then. One time Advent was given prednisone and his heart started beating fast. The vet was getting her driveway done but had us bring him in and the workers stopped to let us drive over it.”
Mayer emphasized, “We have a good vet. Until you have something hit you may not realize it.”
Mayer appreciates the whole team at Culver Pet Clinic. “After this last surgery the technician Jennifer held Advent in her arms to cuddle him. Advent peaks in their door before we are called in. He is not afraid of them.Advent knows they love him.”
Advent’s followers have mailed cards from all over the United States, including about a dozen from outside the country. Some have even sent Jerky for Advent to taste. Some have made monetary donations to help cover expenses.
One of their favorite past times now is reading the cards being sent to Advent from all over the country. “Advent sits on my lap as I read the cards he gets. I used to read him Grimm’s Fairy Tales, but for now it’s cards.”
Cards can be mailed to Advent at:
(in care of Advent)
1913 N. Michigan St.,
Ste F #114
Plymouth, IN. 46563
Mayer emphasized gratitude to Dr. Samuelson, “All of that because a small town vet encouraged me to draw these animal portraits.”
Mayer referred to the mark on top of Advent’s head. “The mark on the top of his head is a ‘Haggerty Mark’. They also call it an “angel’s kiss” or “kissed by God”. It refers to a lineage. So Advent, in a sense, is my kiss from God.”