Honoring the life of Dr. Scott Sims

When Dr. Scott Sims was diagnosed with what was likely a fatal form of cancer, he didn’t ask, “Why me?” He didn’t seek out to finish a bucket list of things he wanted to do.

What he did do, just as he lived, was face death courageously and selflessly with a heart filled with love and peace.

“I have had a fantastic life,” the Kauai man told The Garden Island in a June 5 article. “I have had great friends all over the country. I have a career that I care about that I have been reasonably successful at. My gosh, I had a national TV show.”

Even with his days on this Earth rapidly winding down, Dr. Sims wanted to help others and share a message of hope, not pursue personal goals or seek individual recognition.

“We shut old folks away in homes because we don’t want to see death and what it does to us,” he said. “But it’s a part of life and we shouldn’t bury our heads in the sand from it. We all die, every last one of us is going to die. To ignore it and hide from it because we don’t particularly relish it, I think that’s a mistake.”

“I have an opportunity to change the way people think about death. And if I have to lose a little privacy along the way, I am OK with that.”

Scott Sims, known as “The Aloha Vet” with a reality TV show, was just 59 years old when he died on Saturday. He was one of those people who made a difference in the community he called home. He made the lives of those who knew him better. He changed the way we care for our pets — how we looked at animals, how we treated them. Hundreds, thousands, even, would testify to how he influenced Kauai. The stories of his compassion will live on.

Many of us speak about aloha. The word is tossed around almost casually. Dr. Sims is one of those who really, really lived it. He didn’t pretend, go through the motions. He didn’t have aloha only for those who agreed with him. Few people have what he had: a genuine love for creatures big and small that came his way for help and an understanding and patience for people.

Even in his final days, Dr. Sims demonstrated kindness and caring. In a June 21 commentary published by TGI, he wrote of a sad situation of a puppy running in front of a car, being struck and fatally injured. The driver didn’t stop. Even then, rather than pen an angry note about a driver leaving the scene, he wanted others to learn from such a tragedy.

“A young man named Elijah Woolley of Anahola happened to be driving by moments after the accident and instead of just looking at my poor client holding her bleeding dog by the side of the road, he stopped his car, got out and helped her put her dog in a towel and drove her and the dog to me at 10 p.m.,” Sims wrote. “I suspect there was considerable mess in his car due to this activity and more than a little inconvenience to him.

“I salute Elijiah and hope all of us will choose to behave as he did when given the chance.”

Wise words from a good man.

Let’s honor that man and do our best to live by them.

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