Some of us are lucky to meet a person who would change our life for the better. For me that person was Nicole Fitzsimmons. Nicole accompanied her husband to Guyana in the mid-1990s and we met at a social function. That began a friendship that lasted until December 5th, 2015, the day Nicole passed away of a heart attack in South Africa.
Nicole told me that a few days after her arrival in Guyana she started helping/rescuing dogs. She would walk along the seawall looking for suffering animals, some thrown over the wall by cruel people. She would carry medical supplies, water and food in her car and stop and help any animal in need. Once she saw a dog stuck in a drain hole with the face partly eaten away. She pulled it out of the hole, wrapped it in a towel and took it to be put to sleep. She helped animals at the police pounds on a daily basis. A policeman once told her the areas she went to were too dangerous, but she cared more for the suffering animals than for her own safety. Nicole took time to go to many schools to talk about animal welfare to kids. She taught me to take pictures of animals and to document what I rescued.
Just over a week ago, about the time of Nicole’s death, a man helping to clean one of the Georgetown alleyways asked me for the “white lady.” I told him she was fine; little did I know she had just passed. Nicole left Guyana around 2002 and came back briefly in 2007 to spend a month, she said she wanted to come again to help me with my work and I know she kept her promise as I feel her presence every day.
The impact Nicole made in my life can never be measured. I am so happy she made me realize life is not all about me and “things”. My friend is now in peace with her beloved 4-legged friends; we will meet again at the Rainbow Bridge. I thank her for the impact she made in my life.