Let’s talk about dog ownership. Seventeen years ago my husband and I brought home a puppy. We had grown up with dogs and we decided that it was time to start our own pack. She was a beautiful dog and she became MY dog. She picked me as much as I had picked her. She was a loyal companion (and sometimes a pain in the ass) and I loved her to bits.
One day she stole a giant bag of raisins from the pantry. I don’t know how she managed to snag them, but I found the evidence. Chewed up raisin boxes were strewn around the living room. To this day, I still do not know how she got them, but do know that a day or so later, she got very sick.
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I took her to the veterinarian and they kept her in the kennel to run tests and give her fluids. The vet called me with the bad news that she was suffering from acute renal failure and that it was very serious. They didn’t think she was going to pull through.
They wanted to know if she had tangled with anything poisonous like antifreeze. I couldn’t think of anything poisonous that she had access to. Over the next few days, we traced the cause of her illness back to the raisin theft. Turns out raisins can be toxic for dogs and nobody is sure why.
She stayed at the vets for a few days, and her condition improved enough, that we could take her home. They warned me that her days were numbered, but there was no way for them to know how much time she had left. They also told me that she would need daily fluid injections to help her kidneys. I could bring her in to the vet’s office for regular fluid drips or I could do it myself. I chose to do it myself because the frequent trips to the vet with two small children were going to be a nightmare. Not to mention that they would also cost several thousand dollars. A very patient vet technician taught me how to set up the fluid bag and lines and insert the needle.
Every day, doggy and I would shuffle to the laundry room for the fluid drip. I would sit and pet her and talk to her while the fluid dripped. It was our “special” time together and she always perked up after the injections. She would be back to her normal, almost healthy self.
She survived five more years after the raisin incident. In the end, her health started to decline and I took her back to the vet for an opinion. He was amazed that she was still alive. He reviewed her test results and told me it was a miracle that she survived at all. Despite being a miracle dog, the time had finally come to say goodbye. One of the toughest things about being a grown up and a pet owner, is the day you must make the decision to say goodbye.
Dog Ownership: It Breaks More than the Bank
Several years have passed since we lost her. I still listen and expect to hear her paws clicking on the floor or wait for her to greet me when I get in the door. I miss her terribly.
I have entertained the thought of getting another dog, but then I will remember all the grooming , dog food, vet bills and property damage. Dogs can be expensive. Can I really afford it? Yes.
What I can’t afford is to have my heart broken by a dog again. Maybe one day.