The one thing that every loving pooch owner has in common, is that we all would do anything for our dog. There is a popular commercial from Amazon showing a little white fluffy pup with a leg in a blue cast, watching all of the other dogs go running by. His owner looks at that sad little face and places an order on Amazon and the next minute you see the little shaggy dog happily bouncing along in a baby carrier strapped to his owners chest. Helping the pup be more mobile like the other dogs, brought more joy to the owner than to the little guy. That’s the thing with being a responsible dog owner, you are willing to do anything for that pooch who fills your life with so much love.
We knew many customers who would do anything they could to make their dog’s life a little bit better, a little more comfortable. We watched a young mother juggle her baby while setting up a ramp for her dog Ginger to walk up or down out of the car as the years slipped away. She often came in with supplements and medicines in hopes of slowing down her progressive arthritis that was taking a toll on her body. We worked with owners that were willing to spend a lot of money on Doggy Daycare, even if that dog wasn’t able to truly play with any of the other dogs, Midas, a golden retriever mix, and Bailey, a chocolate lab, just enjoyed watching the others, their ability to play fading away over time.
There were people who adopted large dogs who had known social issues with severe separation anxiety that led to the destruction of drywall or garage doors at their new home. Yet the owners didn’t return the dog to the shelter as others had done before. They worked patiently with training experts and veterinarians in hopes of comforting these gentle giants, like a Rottweiler mix named Sammie, who was filled with demons that haunted him overtime he was left alone at home.
From the time we bring home our new dog, our life will never be the same, because they steal a little of our heart the minute we carry them to the car. It’s up to responsible owners to make their pooches’ life just a little bit more comfortable and a little more safe and secure. It starts with the veterinary care that helps keep them in good health from those early puppy vaccinations, to choosing nutritional food to further their good health. As they get older, many of us are willing to try treatments like cold laser, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and a slew of medications to help with the inevitable aging.
We got home late last night from our fall trip through southwestern Colorado and our boy Bristol ran outside into a new backyard, with little light to show him the way. In his own curious way, he investigated every inch of the new backyard and within minutes, he had stumbled and fallen into the dark pool. He has never been swimming before, only in an underwater treadmill tank just this past week, and his eyes were huge and dark. Fear came over me as I watched him fall into the deepest part of the pool, many feet below where his quivering old legs were trying to move like crazy. Just as I got ready to jump into the dark and chilly water, he swam up to me looking like he couldn’t go one more minute, barely able to climb up on the steps. He stood there, soaking wet, while we dried him off with towels, him madly shaking off and spraying everything in sight.
Everyone assumes that all dogs know how to swim, but that is far from the truth. The treadmill experience of last week helped him navigate across the pool to me and we were so thankful his back didn’t seem any worse for wear as a result of his late night skinny dipping in the pool. He has spent the day trotting across the yard, getting precariously close to the pool each time a bird flies overhead. Our Brittany Spaniel mix has always loved to chase both birds and planes as they fly so far up in the sky that he shouldn’t even be able to see them. His eyes are still as good as they ever were, but his spine is getting weak and it absolutely breaks our heart to watch his back legs slide out from under him at times.
The worst part of being a loving owner of a pooch that has been part of your life for years and years, is trying to figure out how to make things as comfortable for them as possible as they start showing their age and their legs start to give way, even when their cheerful disposition doesn’t slow down. We want Bristol to enjoy his life as fully as possible and it makes us feel good to watch him enjoying the beautiful warm weather in a place far from the snow and ice that would be so hard for his painful joints and weakened legs this winter.
It’s not easy at his stage of life and the sky truly is the limit on what we will do to help our Bristol live out his golden years in a dignified manner, free from pain and suffering. That is what all good pet owners must be willing to do from the moment they take their new dog home for the first time.