A Great Lady to Remember: Barbara Kummel, DVM

greatladyIn my house, I am surrounded by books. I will never let them go, no matter what. They are part of me, and who I am. A few people I was lucky enough to meet changed me as well. One of them has been gone for some years now, but I believe that as long as someone will write or talk about her, she will never be dead and forgotten.

I still remember the last time I saw her at her office. I was in the lobby, and I saw her coming towards us, Maia and me, gliding more than walking, with that Barbara’s smile on her face. There are smiles and smiles; this one was in her eyes as well. Last time I saw her alive. 4 days later, she was gone.

She was the dermatologist for my dogs. I met her a long time ago, maybe 15 years ago, and the first thing which hit me was her eyes: she had the most mesmerizing dark eyes I had ever seen.

Later on, after knowing her more, I realized how unique she was: the gentlest soul I have ever met. She had an uncanny way of interacting with my pack of dogs, not that she saw them all together, but labs and goldens are pretty bad with allergies, so one after the other, they had the privilege of meeting Barb. And believe me, it was a privilege.

She had a way with animals that no other vet I met ever had, or was even close to. She was treating them as living beings, it did not matter for her that they had four legs and a tail! There was no inferiority or superiority, just differences… I never heard her doing puppy talk or kitty talk with them. No condescendence there, just plain loving care. Every gesture she ever made was just about caring.

Memories, memories…. Seeing her at work making stitches on my Golden retriever was seeing an artist at work. The stitches could have received an award for Beauty. For me, stitches were stitches until Barb. Then, they became a celebration of love and care.

Barb was also the only one that I trusted 100 % for anything related to animals. Yes, she was a vet, but as a dogs’ Mom, she had taken before all the decisions that I took or will take. She always wanted to do what was the best for them, not for her or for me, and I followed her path, because it was mine as well.

She was an amazing diagnostician. My last vivid vision of her is in her exam room with Maia. She was talking to me and Maia must have felt neglected because suddenly she lifted her paw to grab Barb’s arm and attention. The smile she had at that minute was one I put in a box, and I will always open the box carefully, in order not to let it escape: it was a moving smile made of love, care, fondness, tenderness with a tiny bit of surprise.

I just wanted to keep her alive one more time.

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