Tuesday, September 30, 2008

~The Cost of Unconditional Love~

Every pet owner adores their pet…be it dog, cat, goat, bird, etc. We say they love us unconditionally. And they do. I believe pets are God’s gift to mankind to show us what unconditional love is all about.

I used to kid around and say I love my puppies as much as I love my kids…but that I’m glad I don’t have the expense of sending these babies to college. I spoke too soon.

When children beg for a dog, parents try to explain to them that it’s a responsibility. A comitment. So with the best of intentions, they buy or adopt a dog. In the beginning, it goes perfectly well: each child is responsible for some little job in caring for the new family pet. But…..before too long, it’s the mother who is the sole caretaker of the animal. She’s the one who makes sure the water bowl is filled with fresh water. That the pet is fed. And she’s the one that cleans up the ‘accidents’. Even an animal knows who the ‘mother’ in the household is. She’s the cook. The ‘rule-maker’. The nurturer. And before long, it’s not the ‘family’ pet….but the ‘mom’s’.

Everything goes along well in the early days. The pet is trained. Taken to obedience school. Taught tricks that he can perform on cue for anyone who is willing to stand still long enough to praise him and offer him a treat. After all, he’s so cute, isn’t he?? And yes, he is loved, and he loves back, with that unconditional love we read about.

But as the years go on, much like the aging human, he develops health problems: arthritis, liver mal-function, low thyroid, incontinence, stomach upsets, skin problems. And the vet bills begin. Pet insurance is very common today, and a good idea, much like ‘people’ insurance, if you take it out when the pet is young. By the time the problems begin….it’s too late.

My younger puppy, Fawn, who is 13, jumped off the couch last week, and knocked his hip out of the joint. He’s done this before. The vet taught me how to ‘bounce’ him to put it back into place…and it usually works. Unfortunately, not this time. By the time we got him to the vet’s on Saturday, we found out that he not only had hip dysplacia, , but that he had a ruptured anterior cruciated ligament…or ACL.

Today he goes in for surgery, to the tune of $1500. Sat’s bill was $75 for the office visit and pain pills. And he will need to be crated and given tlc for 2 months. The vet already warned that once this happens to one limb, not to be surprised if a year-or-so down the road, it happens to another one. Add all this to their $90 a month grooming fees and the special ($$$) dog food they need because of their slowed-down liver function, Coconut's chemo pills, and there goes my "at least we don't have to send them to college" theory!

So…as I head into my first big show in 6 years, my stomach is queasy for yet another reason: I will not be here to hold him, stroke his brow, and just be his ‘mom’. I have precious neighbors who will check in on him on Thursday, and my sister will take both the puppies on Friday…so I’m sure he will survive. I’m just not sure I will.

23 comments:

reluctantfarmchik said...

Aaah - so sad to see the "people" in our lives suffer. And to be torn between two sets of responsibilities - the care and the show. Hope it all goes well. I browsed down on your blog and the dolls are amazing. You certainly are talented! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog too - amazing how these things happen.

Suldog said...

Ah, that's too bad. I know the feeling, albeit with cats. You can't just ignore it, though, and you can't live with yourself if you didn't try everything possible. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Carol, I feel your anxiety and worry. As you know, my "baby" went through something very similar not long ago. And you cannot put a price on the love and companionship that fills your heart each time you walk through the front door and find your friend anticipating your return. Lots of love and hugs coming to you and Fawnie today.
Judie

CIELO said...

I'm sorry to hear that....Coconut will be fine... be positive; soon you'll be able to hug your little sweetheart again...

cielo

Carol said...

farmchik: Thank you for your compliments! Yup...these things ARE amazing!

suldog....I know how you love your cats, so you know how it is. Thank you for stopping by!

Judie....Thank you! I figure if Gypsy can do it...so can Fawnie!

Hi Cielo! It's my Fawnie baby who's having the surgery, but you know how much how love them both. Thank you for kind words.

Ballerina Girl said...

how I know so well...
my new puppy is adorable, but I bought it, and explained it clearly, that this was my puppy! hahaha
They just pull your heartstrings, don't they? Twp weeks and I am so enthralled with her!
Sorry that your little ones are going through these illnesses... here's to a speedy and good recovery.
Good luck in your show!
BG

Sandra Ree said...

Princess Bubbles is only two and she's already hurt her hips from jumping onto the beds. So I understand...and I cope. I couldn't leave without her. God bless to you and Fawn.

Carol said...

Thank you, bg! Yup...your little one is sure a cutie-pie!

sandra.....I know I know!! They're just so cute that you CANNOT live without them. When I clicked on your etsy page and saw the tents set up I panicked again! Thursday can't come soon enough so I can sleep again!!

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Oh, I have a little Yorkie that I dearly love. She is 6 now, and to be honest, I did not think about the expense of her growing older. To me, it's just money, but to my husband, it will be a nuisance, I think. I dread this day.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Carol, did you do a video post or just comment on my blog? I thought you did a post, but I don't see it here. Just wanted to make sure I didn't miss it. Linda

sMacThoughts said...

Oh my, oh my! I can't even imagine how this must feel, having to be apart from him during this trauma, and so sorry this has happened at all. I so wish to have a pet, but one, can't afford one, and two don't even have the space for one. Some day, though!

Carol said...

2nd cup of coffee...Enjoy your yorkie! Like kids and adults...they grow old too quickly!

smacthoughts...I'm glad you realize that it's a huge responsibility!! When you're ready...it's quite gratifying. But for now...wait!

Mushy said...

I was afraid, toward the end, that you were going to tell us that you had your baby put down. Well, I've been through that and it's not pleasant, so you did the right thing, as long as you can afford it.

Carol said...

mushy...I'd scrub toilets to be able to afford this. Truly! Thanks for stopping by!!

delectablespoonart said...

Oh Carol, I can SO empathize with you. My 14-year old maltese was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and heart murmur last month. I just sat in the parking lot and cried at the vet's office when I found out. The vet said they don't last very long after this condition. He's on heart medication but it doesn't correct the problem. I was told to expect him to have seizures. He's been acting fine lately but there are days he coughs all day because of the enlarged heart pressing on his airways. He was ALSO my daughter's dog. So we share the same sad story. But hang in there. He will be fine. Don't beat yourself up about not being there during your show. You've been there for him all these years and he feels your love. Good luck with your show!

Carol said...

Oh Liz...I'm SO sorry to hear about YOUR puppy. Who would ever think a dog could tug at your heartstrings like this??

I'll email you after the show as to its ups and downs. Thanks for your good wishes!!

Mel said...

Well sweetie...been there...done that...three times...and will continue to do it. They are not "like members of our family"...they ARE members of our family. Those puppies are just as lucky to have you as you are to have them. If I was closer I'd hold Fawnie on my lap for the next four days. Wishing you good health, excellent weather, and brisk sales this weekend! See you in a couple days! ")

Deb said...

Hi ~ My heart goes out to you. It is amazing how our pets quickly become part of the family. I now have only one dog and I adore her. She loves me unconditionally - the grouchy me, the happy me, the sad me. She actually can read my moods better than some humans. Best wishes - take care.

Kim said...

What a beautiful blog and beautiful dolls! I really got a kick out of "guaranteed not to talk back". hehehe
Thanks for stopping by my blog. One of the best things about participating in a carnival is meeting new friends! Checking out other blogs is like opening presents at Christmas!

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

I am partial to anything pet. And I totally feel ya! I wish you the best and KNOW you will be licked when you return!!

womaninawindow said...

I wonder why do we do these things to ourselves? Put ourselves out there in the heart with the end in sight 'cause pets just don't live that long. But in the end it is that pet of the brow - just that - that makes it worth while.

Hope your pup mends quickly and my best on this next show. Make lots of money and that way you can get your pup bionic parts next time round.

Joy said...

Poor dog, it is lucky to have a faithful owner like you and I'll say some prayers that all goes well. Our dog had a torn ACL but we let it heal on it's own...it took a long time but it did and she is acting frisky again. We do however daily give her Glucosomine
Chondrotin.

Jules~ said...

oh my that is so sad and emomtionally hard. I am sorry that Fawn is so uncomfortable right now. I know it must pain you as well.
I used to have a golden retriever that was born with only 3 legs. He got around so wonderfully and often people didn't even know. But when he got older and his shoulder started not handling his big frame....it was very difficult.

I know you must wish you could wipe away all the discomfort for Fawn.