Pamela & Steve

Share the love of a special dog named Sadie & her equally special sister Gia

By the Get Leashed Doggy Style team

Pamela & Steve - Get Leashed Magazine

Losing a pet is hard, especially if that pet has been with you through your most difficult moments. In recent years, Pamela and Steve have been through some of those difficult moments, suffering the loss of a family member and a bout with cancer. But through it all, they’ve had their dogs, Sadie and Gia, and these special pups have played the part of healers and confidants like only dogs can.

Sadly, Sadie, the American Staffordshire/Terrier mix, has herself been diagnosed with cancer and is palliative. Luckily she has Pam for a mom. With her knowledge of energy, healing and holistic practices, Pam has researched several ways of making her beloved dog more comfortable. Because Sadie’s not eating, Pam gives her a special bone broth with turmeric through a syringe, as well as an herbal tea called essiac in pill form. Both remedies help ease the pain of people and pets suffering from cancer. Caring for someone with cancer – whether dog or human – is truly a labor of love.

While it’s incredibly sad, we were very happy to be able to feature Pam, Steve, Sadie and Gia while Sadie is still with them. Of course, as special a dog as she is, she’ll always be in their hearts and minds. This glimpse into their beautiful family bond is simply one way of honoring Sadie’s memory and the impact she has had on her family before she leaves this world.

Pamela Sisson & Sadie_Get Leashed Magazine

Please tell us a little bit about yourselves:

Pam: Well, I am involved in several things and am in the process of a career change. For the past 7 years I have worked with a project management company, Budal Group, that specializes in restaurant and commercial upgrades, the majority of which are franchise restaurants. When I started with Budal, it was just the father and son who started the company and two employees. I set the office operations up and ran that part of things until the beginning of this year. We have gone from a $500,000 a year company to $10 million a year and 30 employees. A huge growth! It’s been amazing to be a part of this and watch it grow and do so well.

I have gone to part time now to rest after a difficult couple of years personally. This allows me to focus more on making my passions my career: Yoga and Wellness. I will soon be a registered yoga and meditation teacher with a focus on emotional well-being and healing, developing classes and workshops that focus on grief and loss as well as working with marginalized populations. I also teach a burlesque style of dance at Chair Tease Dance Studio, which I love! It’s a real great group of ladies I am proud to call my sisters! When I have time, I take courses for the Non Profit Management certificate at Mount Royal. I am on the board of Soulful Project and my mom and I have started a non-profit called The Hummingbird Foundation in memory of my sister Leanne, which raises awareness and funds to help those struggling with addictions.

Steve: I work as a millwright/heavy duty mechanic. I enjoy it because I love to tinker and take things apart and see how they work and how to make them work better. It’s mentally stimulating, which I thrive off of. The guys I work with are a great group, fun, hilarious and very supportive. I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in July 2014, and have been in remission for a year now and they have gone above and beyond making sure my health comes first and that I am happy there.

Sadie & Gia - Get Leashed Mag

A bit about your pets:

Pam: Sadie is an American Staffordshire Terrier mix. She was rescued by my sister, Leanne, in Montreal in 2007 and she brought her out to us shortly after. We had only been married a few months but having Sadie really grounded us and brought us closer because we both fell so in love with her. She has been our pride and joy and a true ambassador to her breed. Everyone who knows Sadie says “she is the best dog I’ve ever met.” She is VERY smart, gentle, soft, kind and very goofy. My sister sadly passed away suddenly 2 days before Christmas last year, so Sadie is even more meaningful to us now.

Steve: She sure is. She is an amazing dog, one of a kind — just like Leanne! We also have another cutie pie, Gia, who we lovingly call GForce! She is a staffy/pitty mix as well. She was re-homed to us 4 years ago and really does think she is a lap dog. She loves nothing more than to snuggle, which is expected considering how neglected she was in her first home. She fits in great with us!

What does your ideal weekend look like?

We like to keep our weekends pretty laid-back and relaxed as our weekdays are usually busy. Lots of puppy walks in nature! We spend time with Cole as much as we can too (Cole is Steve’s son from a previous relationship). We head to different local trails and parks. We also do our own thing. Steve loves to do trail runs with his friends and their RC trucks. They recently went out to Canmore for some amazing trailing. Pam can be found doing yoga or dance or nature walks with the dogs and close friends. She also makes it out to Victoria to see her family as much as possible. And then there are weekends when it’s full of nothing but movie marathons and popcorn!

Sadi - Get Leashed Magazine

Describe your personal style:

Pam: Feminine with an edge.

Steve: Casual and comfortable with an edge.

What inspires you?

Pam: Dogs, Nature, Women who live with sisterhood. Sadie inspires me even more lately. She’s palliative with cancer and doesn’t complain and still truly lives in the moment and is so loving. She isn’t in pain thankfully, but we were told she has days left, maybe weeks if we’re lucky, so we are trying our best to follow her example and live in the moment and soak up the time and love.

Steve: My son and my dogs. People who still take the time to help a stranger and those who have manners.

Sadie - Get Leashed Magazine

How would you describe the look and feel of your home?

Comfy, cozy and full of things we love like pictures of loved ones, old vintage movie posters in frames (mostly classic horror movies), books, records, vintage pieces, items of personal meaning. Fresh flowers are always a nice, uplifting touch too.

A story about your pets:

Pam: There are so many, from hilarious to touching. The most recent would be when my sister passed away in December, Sadie was even more affectionate than usual. She followed me everywhere and insisted on laying in my yoga/meditation room while I practiced. It was obvious she knew the immense pain I was in after the shock of this event and wouldn’t leave me alone. I am a very spiritual person and I know the connection between Sadie and Leanne and myself was evident in this. Also, what a perfect example of the unconditional love dogs have for their guardians.

Steve: So many of Gia too, A LOT of goofy ones ‘cause she is such a clown. But the best one is when I was going through cancer treatment, Gia wouldn’t leave my side, particularly during my really sick days from the chemo. She slept as much as I did, and she may have gained a few pounds from all the snuggling — haha! She didn’t act bored or get impatient ‘cause I was home all the time even though there were no hikes or walks going on for my part. They both knew I was sick and just let me be and were there for me. Like Pam said, unconditional love!

Special thanks to Robyn Abt for the photos.