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Nothing like the smell of puppy breath

“Doctor, guess who got a new puppy?”
It had been a rough week.
It had started with a call from Harley’s dad who was in the human hospital and requested that Harley be put to sleep because of Harley’s declining health and that the human hospital bills would make it impossible to pay his treatment and board. (We declined and told him we would help with boarding.)
Then there were kittens outside in a plastic bucket with the lid on.
The “good Samaritan” left a note, but didn’t bother to come in even though we were open and it was a very hot day. We do love animals, but if we don’t pay the mortgage, we cannot continue to treat any animals. The county shelters do have a budget and tax money for those strays.
Then Penelope had a seven-centimeter abdominal cancer.
Bo (an adorable chocolate lab) had parvo. Ty had hemorrhagic-gastro-enteritis and Molly had severe bloody mucoid diarrhea bad enough to make a strong stomached employee vomit.
And then I got bitten.
Not badly, but the little dog snapped my finger and punctured at the joint.
Not bad enough to get sympathy, but annoying.
And at the end of the week Harley’s health declined and we had to put him to sleep anyway.
Harley wasn’t the only one.
Buddy, Charlie, Roger, Penelope and Brutis would all benefit from an overdose of narcotics. It was for the best.
All correct decisions, but hard nonetheless.
It is not like there are not good things that happen in a normal day or week.
Tut, the tiny turtle, did not die and even gained a gram in a week. Lucky is doing well on the cardiac meds.
Jelly Bean was rescued from a bad place and had air sac problems, not tumors.
Harry, Jo, Monkey, Titus and Brylee are doing great and got annual tests and vaccines.
Hannibal, Hoss, Oasis and Sophia all have puppy breath still.
But going into the Labor Day weekend, we are looking at six animals on intravenous fluids and a couple more that are sick.
And four of us have moving and or plumbing issues in our private lives.
Reviewing the week, I cannot say it was a rough week.
There were good and bad things, but I was worried about Harley’s dad. So, I guessed Harley’s dad first, even though deep down, I knew it was too soon.
I guessed a few more, but was totally unprepared for it to be Lucy’s parents. Lucy had died in the hospital back in the spring. Although the seizures were under control, Lucy had still died. The owners were heartbroken.
Many times, owners cannot bear to come back to Guardian Animal after a beloved pet dies.
Anger is a normal part of grieving and, although not the case here, occasionally when owners show us a little too much anger, they are embarrassed to return.
When we say that we understand, we understand on many levels.
We care that much.
So, even though we don’t like it, we understand when people get a new pup and we don’t see it until it is older and they miss us.
But we are happiest when we get to see them, know that the owners are moving toward healing resolution and we get to smell the puppy breath.
So, Abby Lu will never replace Lucy or Sadie Blue or any of the others that have gone before, but it is a big part of the healing.
Abby Lu’s chocolate curly fur is not the same as the red or long either.
She looks nothing like the ones I treated before. But Abby Lu is part of the circle of pet lives for her owners.
Although they are retired, they are too young to think about not having a pet and have decided that it is time.
The cute Corgi card that I receive in the room is like many that I get. Emotions too raw to say the words the owners want to be said.
I know without reading that it will say thank you for what we have done.
It will continue that the pain is still raw, but they appreciate the care that we gave in the past. It will be special and distinct, but like many cards I save.
They ask that the card not be read in the room, which is good.
It has been a week of too much worry about humans and animals alike.
But when the circle does come around, it makes the world better. A new pet cannot be rushed and the owners must decide when the time is right, but it is about time for Abby Lu’s owners.
“Doctor, guess who got a new puppy?” is one of the best things I hear.

MJ Wixsom, DVM MS is a best-selling Amazon author who practices at Guardian Animal Medical Center in Flatwoods, Ky. GuardianAnimal.com 606-928-6566