I knew there would be a line. People stand in lines for things they want badly and think will improve their lives. People stand in long lines for shows they want to see, people they want to meet, like rock stars.

So that explained the long line at Animal Medical Clinic, Wednesday night (December 13) as a rock star of the veterinarian world retired. Dr. Douglas Brost has been my veterinarian for 35 years. He became my friend and an important member of my family during a Christmas season long ago when I was given a German Shepherd puppy as a gift by my co-workers.

That puppy turned out to have a laundry list of health issues and by the time she passed away at 14, (which is very elderly for the breed) Dr. Brost had supported me through every one of them. His remarkable intelligence, strength of character and ability to solve medical puzzles, made him a virtuoso in the veterinarian world.

In the intervening years, there have been numerous furry children (8 cats and 3 German Shepherds, including that first puppy) who were cared for by this extraordinary man. His dedication to his patients could be described by some as obsessive.

His attitude toward their human guardians was determined by the level of care that was given. If you didn't care properly for your pets, with your heart and soul invested, you weren't worthy of having them. He didn't mince words on that subject.

Loving your pets and treating them like family was what mattered, cost was an inconsequential issue. If you brought them for aid, you could work it out.

When my dad, who was a physician, passed away in 1993, I gave Dr. Doug my dad's leather medical bag, which he would use when he made house calls. (Yes, he did that too). He has told me many times since then how much that meant to him and last night, said that the bag was going with him.

I said very little, silenced by the lump in my throat and the non-stop tears rolling down my cheeks. So he hugged me close for a bit, as we both silently remembered the incredible highs and devastating lows we'd shared over three decades.

What I should have said, what I wanted to say, was: "Dearest Dr. Doug, you will never know how much your care of my "kids" and your friendship and counsel has meant to me. You have seen me through some unbearably painful times in my life, that not only involved my pets, but my family too. You have helped me financially, emotionally and intellectually on a level not many have the privilege of knowing. But I'm lucky. I do."

So, hail and farewell Dr. Brost! I wish you all the love and luck in the world! I understand warmer winter weather is in your future, and a lot more fishing too (which I know you love). I hope you catch up on all the vacation and family time you gave up, to tend to a needy bunch of furballs and their parents.


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