PET TALK: Three things in life are important

  • Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 6:25 p.m.

Hooray – last week is a memory! I think we now recognize more important things than buying new clothes, watching TV or playing on the computer.

Our new heroes are the many Public Safety and Service employees, the “tree people” who swooped in to help us with trees and their debris plus our neighbors who shared meals, recharged our phones and helped clean yards.

Catastrophes bring forth neighborliness and kindness.

This past week we became helpless with no electricity. Our homes grew cold. Our food spoiled. We couldn't stay clean. Our pets didn't blink an eye. It was just another day in paradise for them!

They waited for their simple food. They slept fine and shared their body heat with us. They played and rejoiced in our attention.

As long as their humans were with them, they adapted and accepted the hardships.

I met Kobe today. A handsome pit bull and boxer mix, he was adopted by a wonderful couple. Their Rocky was only 5 years old when we diagnosed a skin tumor as cancer.

With eyes wide open, they decided to try chemotherapy even though his life expectancy was only an extra six months. It gave them two.

Kobe has now burst into their lives and awakened their hearts. Only 1 year old, he is one big happy dog. He cheerfully accepted all that we did to him and then quietly fell asleep on the floor while I reviewed the details of his examination with his human.

I would love to know his story. Where has he been? What has he been doing? Why was a healthy, happy dog tossed to the side? His story could be retold hundreds of times but with different names of cats and dogs. However, the bottom line is the same ... how easily and happily these pets re-trust and re-love.

A very common side effect of Diabetes in dogs is blindness, and this can happen quickly. It's hard for a pet owner to digest the fact that their pet not only has a life-changing disease (and they must learn to give insulin injections), but that their pet will also become blind.

It is the blindness factor that most often horrifies. “She won't be able to see anymore? How can she live? She won't be the same!” they cry. The devastation of blindness does not matter to our pets. Their other senses sharpen.

If their environment, the “lay of the land” in their house and outdoors doesn't alter, then they easily adapt. Their world revolves around their relationship with their human, and that doesn't change.

Belle is a wonderful little Bichon Frise who almost lost her life when she darted into the road and met the beast (or car) head on. Her physical injuries were minimal, but her brain endured extensive trauma.

After explaining the supportive care she would need, her humans decided to give her a chance. Dogs don't moan and whine. Speech is not a factor. Coordination needn't be perfect. Their survival instincts and natural brain opiates that enhance pain relief make them model patients.

Basic necessities and care (food, water, cleanliness, physical therapy, the power of voice and touch) brought Belle back to a wonderful life. She's a little different now, but her eccentricities make her humans laugh!

These examples are only a few that show how exceptional our pets are. They find it very easy to adapt and to love (and re-love). I think we could become better humans if we became more like them!

Together we can make a difference in our community by showing that there are three things in life that are important.

The first one is to be kind. The second one is to be kind. And the third is to be kind (Henry James). We learned that this week, and now we can pay it forward.

Dr. Holly Woltz (Doc Holly), Chief of Staff at Veterinary Services, has practiced veterinary medicine for 26 years and specializes in senior care. A former teacher and writer, she enjoys talking and writing about the human-companion animal bond and its importance. Visit her at www.aikenpetvet.com.

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