The girls started asking for a puppy in the summer of 2010. I say the girls, but it was mostly The Princess running that show. Hell bent on getting a dog, she was. She was so set on getting a dog, that she would cry herself to sleep at night at the thought of not getting one. She would be responsible, she said. Prove it, I said.
There were all kinds of obstacles, the biggest being the fact that I was (and am) allergic to pretty much anything with fur. And so she began to do research. Research that ultimately led to an afternoon in early summer, in a shaded yard not too far from our home, where we sat on one side of a grassy yard, the dogs on the other, and we waited to see which labradoodle would choose us.
And so it came to be that we added a six week old labradoodle puppy to our family. We were fortunate in that he was quick to house train (thank goodness).
Not so fortunate in that after just several weeks in our home, Pumpkin accidentally tripped over the poor little guy, causing a greenstick fracture to his leg.
(All together now: Awwwwwwww…)
Lucky has been a part of our family for nearly three years. Admittedly, though he can be a world class jerkface at times – I adore him. My home feels safer with him in it. In general, he’s a playful and friendly dog. He tolerates the girls using him as a pillow (I’m pretty sure he likes it). He alerts me to people at the door, people walking by, cars within a two mile radius and any and all birds that happen to be flying by.
But sometimes he’s naughty. He likes to eat potholders. Flip flops. Socks. Cloth napkins. Stuffed animals.
Every night before I go to sleep, I do a scan of my counters to make sure that there’s nothing for him to swipe and eat while everyone in the house is sleeping. “Dog, quit eating things that aren’t food!” is a phrase I’ve uttered more times than I can count.
So it should be no surprise that eventually he would eat something that would make him sick.
Monday evening, my poor dog puked excessively and extensively. I have never seen him react like that. At one point, he threw up the plastic nose of a stuffed animal. Was that what set him off? Who knows.
But it went on so long that Lucky earned himself a trip to the after hours veterinary clinic. They did Xrays and kept him overnight and ruled out an obstruction and hours later sent him home with instructions to feed him a bland diet for a few days.
When it comes to my children, I instinctively react in times of stress or emergency.
When it came to my dog, I was clueless. I was glad to have had company at the veterinary clinic, grateful for him, he who could have (should have!) been home sleeping instead of walking me through the maze of animals and emergency (thank you. I am grateful). Do I do the x-rays? Leave him overnight? I didn’t know. When it comes to my kids, I’d have, without question said – Spare no expense, just make her well. Previous work experience in hospitals has given me an understanding of both procedures and what to expect – it makes it easier for me to advocate for their well-being.
When it came to my dog, I felt the same – but didn’t know… What’s necessary? Would they try to upsell me here in the after hours vet clinic? Are these tests necessary or are they just doing them to up my bill? I kept thinking, “If anything happens to him, my kids will be wrecked.”
And, admittedly, yeah. I was freaking out about the cost of making him well.
Pets are expensive. Dog vomit is expensive.
No obstruction, so no surgery – thank goodness. The vet believes my dog will be fine. Upon hearing the news, a relief washed over me and I knew that despite my fears about spending the money, it was the right thing to do.
There are other things I could have done with that money, I’m sure. Places I could have gone, lenses I could have bought.
But that’s a dumb game.
I wasn’t going places. I wasn’t buying lenses.
We get a tremendous amount of joy from owning a pet – he’s family. He’s happy to see us. He hovers at our feet in the kitchen when we’re preparing a meal (mooch). He runs to the window when he hears the school bus stopping in front of our house – and then runs to the door to greet my daughters, his people.
And he counts on us to take care of him.
And so we do.
I won’t miss a lens I didn’t have, and we won’t miss a vacation we didn’t know about.
But we’d have missed him. As Pumpkin said this morning, “That other stuff doesn’t matter. He matters.”
And he does.
(But no more stuffed animals for Lucky, because dang… I’d like to go on vacation SOMEDAY.)