We have just learned of the death of Ed Nowland, long-time friend of Down Home Ranch, father of Dr. Dan Nowland, and grandfather of many, including Dan and Sally's Kelly, born with Down syndrome 20 years and some months ago.
After Kelly was born, Dan and Sally asked to meet with us as parents of an older child with Down syndrome. They relocated their joint veterinary practice to San Marcos from Rockdale to pursue what they felt would be greater opportunity for support for their little one.
Baby Kelly, surely the most adorable redheaded baby ever, died from complications of a heart operation at age five months, but remains ever a member of this sweet, funny, and loving family. A beautiful gazebo built in her memory stands in Sara's Garden, our memorial garden for babies and children with special needs who have passed on.
For years after we started Down Home Ranch, Dan and Sally came out on Kelly's birthday with the family to donate a day of vet services in her name. We put them through things most small-animal practices don't need to deal with on a regular basis and foisted off not a few stray dogs on them in the bargain. They continue to provide services for any Ranch member who feels like a drive to San Marcos.
More than that, they have been faithful friends along the way.
I never cease to marvel at the friends we have made along life's journey on what I now think of as "Route 21", the pilgrimage we begin when our little ones are born with that extra 21st chromosome--people we'd never had known otherwise, which would have been a great loss in our lives.
Our hearts and prayers are with Dorothy, Ed's widow, Dan, Sally and the girls, and the whole Nowland family.