Colorado State University’s Argus Institute will share a story about one man’s journey to find peace during his two beloved dogs’ final illnesses when they host Doug Koktavy during a Homecoming Weekend talk and book signing.
Koktavy is author of “The Legacy of Beezer and Boomer: Lessons on Living and Dying from my Canine Brothers.” Koktavy will speak at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, in the university’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Animal Cancer Center Room 120. The hospital is located at 300 West Drake Road.
Koktavy will sign books at 8 p.m. during a dessert reception immediately following his talk, “Animal Teachers, Human Student,” which will reflect the lessons he learned from his two Labrador retrievers. Half of the proceeds of books sold that evening through Dec. 31 will benefit the Argus Institute. Books also are available at www.BeezerandBoomer.com and at the CSU Bookstore in the Lory Student Center.
“The message that Beezer and Boomer share through Doug is one of living life fully in the present,” said Dr. Jane Shaw, director of the Argus Institute. The Argus Institute supports relationships between people and their companion animals. “The biggest lessons that Doug shares is to live life today and to be mindful of being drawn to living in the past by guilt and pulled in the future by fear in caring for a sick pet. He counsels on how to embrace the gift of today through conscious daily practice. Doug’s story is a loving and transforming tale of self-discovery through the eyes of the unconditional love of his two dogs.”
The two sibling Labrador retrievers came to Doug as puppies and were his loyal companions for years before Beezer, who at nine years old was diagnosed with kidney disease, was given 90 days to live. Beezer’s illness launched Koktavy, an attorney, into an in-depth mission of phone calls to veterinarian after veterinarian and hours spent researching treatments to battle the disease and save Beezer. The dog’s illness also led to a personal struggle with fear and guilt that so deeply affected Koktavy that his work and his own health suffered.
Koktavy writes that during the caretaking of his dying companions and closest confidants, he underwent a life-changing awakening. His book shares how Beezer taught him about life even as he was dying. Not long after Beezer died, Boomer became ill, challenging Koktavy this time to meet his illness with acceptance and peace. “The Legacy of Beezer and Boomer” focuses on Koktavy’s discoveries during the difficult period between diagnosis and the last goodbye and all he learned from the dogs as an unlikely student.
Koktavy today lives in Denver with his new female black Labrador, a rescue dog named Dory. He is a certified counselor for the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement, a volunteer with Safe Harbor Labrador Retriever Rescue and a member of the board of directors for Bone Cancer Dogs Inc. He also moderates the K9 Kidney Diet Yahoo Group and the Pet Grief Yahoo Group, and is a member of the Bone Cancer Dogs Yahoo Group.
Boomer was treated for his bone cancer at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.