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February 21, 2016

A Crowd at the Gate: Dr. Sharon Willoughby-Blake DVM

On Nov. 10, an immeasurably large crowd gathered at the gates of Heaven to meet someone special. There were dogs, horses, cats, goats, birds, snakes, lizards, ponies, sheep and more, animals of many descriptions, all bright eyed, tail wagging, prancing in glorious bodies. There were people too, smiles on their faces, arms open in greeting. All had their gaze turned on the gates as a bright, shining figure approached. The murmur rippled through the vast crowd, “Dr. Sharon is here… she’s here!!”

For those of us still here on earth, we know that the world has lost a true champion, a bold pioneer, a brave spirit and a gifted healer. Dr. Sharon Willoughby-Blake DVM died Nov. 10 at her home in Alaska.

Many take for granted that their animals can receive chiropractice care, unaware that this is in no small part Dr. Sharon’s legacy shining on for the countless animals and the people who love them. What went unnoticed except by those close enough to her was the long and often frustrating battle Dr. Sharon waged as a veterinarian, as a chiropractic doctor to clear the hurdles of regulation. There is no point in recounting the struggles except to note that her ultimate success was just that: a success, and that it came at a personal price that was clear in her tired, kind eyes when I last saw her in Alaska.

While her fight should be honored and remembered, above all what we should pause to remember are Dr. Sharon’s passion for her work, her compassion and gentleness, her sure & knowledgeable hands, her willingness to share her knowledge and her sense of humor.

Pioneers often go unremarked. Champions of a cause are sometimes taken for granted, their battles waged on fields far from the public view or understanding. But in the case of Dr. Sharon, there are signs everywhere to remind us of her life’s work. Listen carefully tonight, and perhaps you can hear the wagging tails, the purrs, the contented nickers, the sighs of relief, the chirp of pleasure, or even see a gleam of mischief and well being creeping into the eyes of animals. It is no exaggeration to say that wherever you may be, chances are very good you know or live with animals who have benefitted and continue to benefit from the path blazed by Dr. Sharon Willoughby-Blake, aided by all who fought alongside her, and by all who continue on with the work she began.

The Alaskan sky is magnificent at any time. The stars gleam with fierce brilliance, piercing the dark velvet cloak of infinity. It shines a bit brighter now… another star has been called home.

Thank you, Dr. Sharon . . .