Meridian Star

Columns

June 2, 2013

For the love of a dog

MERIDIAN — At our house there are two adults, one child and three dogs. At least that's how most people would see it. We see it as two adults and four children.

    Our dogs are a part of our family. We love them unconditionally. When they are happy, we are happy. When they hurt, we hurt. When they get scared during a thunderstorm, we comfort them. We feed them, take care of them and love them just like they were our children.

    Recently one our dogs, Daisy, who is 11 years old, became very ill. She had to have surgery — a hysterectomy — or possibly die. My family was distraught. We knew we probably could not afford the surgery, but we didn't want to lose our Daisy either.

    My mind was reeling as the vet explained what needed to happen and how much it was going to cost.

    The sensible side of me was saying, "Hey, get a grip. This is just a dog. You can't afford to do this. She is 11 years old and has lived a good life. Maybe you just need to put her down."

    For a while I thought that was what we were going to do. Financially it was the right decision. There was no way we could afford it. I blamed myself. If we had gotten her spayed we wouldn't be in this predicament. I didn't know what to do.

    Then, as I looked into Daisy's eyes, I just lost it.

    "No! I don't care how much it costs. I can't do it! I can't kill my baby!"

    We did take a day or two to think about it, hoping she would live through the weekend. We gave her some antibiotics and watched her closely, doing everything we could to make her comfortable. Just like she was our child.

    When Monday morning came, back to the vet she went. Our vet said Daisy was very sick and may not make it through surgery. After a few hours — which seemed like days — the vet called us to say Daisy had made it through surgery. We hoped for a quick recovery, but her white blood cell count was extremely high and she had to stay for several days, fighting off an infection. Finally, she showed improvement and started eating again. She was going to make a full recovery.

    I do not regret the decision. It was well worth it. Our baby is back home and doing very well, getting stronger every day.

    There is a lesson to this story. If you have pets — especially female pets — please, unless you plan on breeding the animal, please get them spayed or neutered. If we had gotten Daisy spayed a long time ago we would not have had to go through this. We could have saved ourselves and Daisy a lot of pain. Spaying your pet not only prevents unwanted puppies or kittens but can save your pet's life — and your bank account.

    As I mentioned before, we have three dogs. They are all female. The other two will be getting spayed as soon as possible.

    Helen C. Reynolds is news editor at The Meridian Star. Email her at hreynolds@themeridianstar.com

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