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Homage to Martha

Dear Editor:

In every life there comes along a person with a very pure soul. To recognize that presence and value the gift that they are is the trick. We have one of those souls amongst us here in our valley. Her name is Martha Rideout, one of the veterinarians at Alpine Animal Clinic.

For several years my sweet little dog Tinker has had some health issues that required frequent and difficult visits under Martha’s loving care. Recently it became increasingly clear that Tinker’s life was coming to a close.



The most difficult and complex decision any animal lover/owner ever has to face and accept responsibility for is whether to euthanize and if so, how to know when. To knowingly and intentionally end the life of a living being is a grave decision and devastating to all involved. Any animal lovers facing this need a great deal of love, support and guidance through the experience. Our beloved animals need that too. Martha and staff at Alpine Animal Clinic gave that to Tinker and me.

They all took joy in caring for Tinker and just seeing his sparkly personality. The wisdom, support, gentleness, warmth, compassion – all entwined with the expert medical skills and intelligence – were present for Tinker and me. Extremely sensitive by nature, Martha did her painfully difficult job while helping me “keep it together.”




Her name “Rideout” fits her well. She joined the journey with Tinker and me and is still “riding it out” with me. That clearly personifies her. Three days after Tinker’s death she came to my home bearing flowers and a sympathy card, and most importantly her heart and willingness to share in my grief. She loved “her little guy” too.

I know she has graced many lives in our valley, both human and animal. Where does all that heart and enduring strength come from? Wherever it comes from, I see it as a pure and loving gift from an incredible and singularly unique woman, who just happens to be a vet. How fortunate our valley is to have many fine vets to care for our animals. Martha shines like a brilliant star among them.

There is a lovely poem entitled “The Rainbow Bridge.” It is the story of the souls of animals and those that loved them being reunited by crossing “The Rainbow Bridge” to frolic together in a beautiful flower-laden meadow illuminated by a rainbow. Can’t you just picture it? Martha and many hundreds of animals and humans she has care for frolicking in that meadow together. Now that would be a sight to behold.

Hundreds of puppy kisses are surely coming her way. It is with great appreciation that I write this letter. Thank you for being there for all of us in our valley. When “they” wrote the book on the perfect profile of a veterinarian, they used Martha Rideout as the model.

Tinker and Jan Senne

Carbondale


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