IN MEMORY OF LEIA
Little Leia on the first day of the two days we had her.
I need to change directions a little bit. Today I am grieving the loss of a sweet young puppy. We only had this puppy for a few days. We got her on Wednesday, and by Saturday night, she was gone. But oh, she was so sweet. She was a mixed breed of Poodle and Airedale. Both species are hypoallergenic and very smart, the perfect mix for a service dog. She was going to be trained as my service dog. But she was more than that already her sweet disposition, and loving nature linked her to my soul. Now that she is gone, I ache in the very recesses of my heart.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Having a dog is not easy; it is a lot of work and can be very expensive. We fall in love with these four-legged creatures and invite them into our homes. Where they proceed to expel bodily waste on our carpet, floors, furniture, or anywhere else they happen to have access. Once they are housebroken, we still have the responsibility to clean up after them. One of our dogs seems to take great pleasure in watching me clean up after him. While I am cleaning the yard, he will drop additional piles for me to clean up. One time I saw him go three times in the 10 minutes, it took me to clean the yard. He just stared at me while doing it with a look in his face that said, here is another one for you.
We bring these tail-wagging fleabags into our house, and the money starts pouring out. They need food, collars, shots, training, and toys. On average, we spend $1,500 to almost Ten Thousand dollars a year on our furry companions. That’s is just counting regular expenses. If they get sick or injured, we will, without a second thought, dip into our savings or credit cards for treatment. We once had a dog who, while playing with another dog, injured her anterior cruciate ligament. Without hesitation, we spent over $6,000.00 on surgery for her. When the occasion happens that your dog needs a stay in the animal hospital cost may average anywhere from $1,300.00 to $2,200.00 per day. Unless you are fortunate enough to have an internet sensation pet like Grumpy Cat, what do you get in return?
What do we get in return from Canis Lupus Familiaris? In truth, we get quite a bit. It has been proven that having one of these four-legged fur babies helps us in so many ways. They reduce stress, improve childhood development, Reduce Doctor visits, increase exercise, and relieve pain and anxiety. So many people have adopted quarantine dogs to get them through.
As I mentioned, Leia was going to be trained as my service dog. To be a service dog, they have to be able to perform tasks for a person with a disability. Some can be alert a person that they are about to have a seizure; they can be eyes for the blind and ears for the deaf. Studies have shown that a dog is possibly the best treatment for veterans with PTSD.
The Americans with Disabilities Act recognizes two types of animals as service animals, dogs, and miniature horses. I have no idea how miniature horses got in there. But I do understand why dogs are.
Back to Leia, in the few days, I had her, she did so much. The first day she immediately showed how she loved me. She would get excited to see me when I walked into the room. She would follow me everywhere I went, except up or downstairs. She had not yet learned how to go up or down the stairs. When I picked her up, she would wag her little tail and try to climb up on my shoulders. She would kiss me all over my face and nip at my ears.
By the second day, we noticed something odd. Something in her eyes, her head would bob up and down, and occasionally she would fall over while walking. She was slowing down, not bouncing around as a puppy typically do, as she did just a few hours before. As the second day turned into the third, she started going downhill faster. Soon when I brought her outside, she would just lye down like she didn’t have the strength to stand or walk. By early evening on the third day, she was becoming unresponsive. Instead of being excited when she saw me, she would lift her head to see me and then drop it back down.
Late on the third day, we realized we needed to take her to the Veterinarian as soon as possible. The Veterinarian ran some tests and found that her body could not process salt. Her salt levels in her blood were so high they couldn’t even measure it. We faced spending thousands of dollars on a week-long hospital stay and round the clock care. Then she only had about a 10% chance of surviving. If she did survive, she would have serious health problems for the remainder of her life. We had to make a tough decision and release her from her suffering. I held her in my arms and looked into her eyes and said goodby to her. She looked back at me, and I could see the pain in her eyes. I held her and apologized to her because I could not save her.
By now, her eyes were rolling back, and she was fading fast. This dog that was only with us for three days had become one with my heart. Even now, as I think about her tears run down my face.
I do need a service dog, so someday I will try again. If you have a furry companion in your life, please let them know how much they mean to you. Give them an extra hug, say the words that you love them.
Dogs genuinely are Man’s best friend; they are a gift from God sent here to help us through this complicated life. There will forever be a pain in my heart for this little dog that we only had for three days. Goodby Leia, we will always remember you and the love you showed us for those three short days