I lost my beloved dog, Callie Ann, on November 6, 2015. Ironically it was not because of her recent lymphoma diagnosis  but rather irreversible kidney damage brought on due to mismanagement of an extremely high temperature by her local veterinarian of nearly ten years. This was not the scenario I had envisioned for my sweet girl. Just earlier that week her oncologist was excited to report that her lymph nodes had shrunk “90%” after just one IV chemo infusion. Her prognosis was excellent and I thought we’d have “more time”. This post isn’t about laying blame but rather regrets for missed opportunities and suggestions that might keep another person from experiencing the heartache and anguish I’ve gone through and to some extent ~ still am.

♥︎Take lots of photos with both you and your 4 legged companion. Callie had an inmate ability to tell if someone was holding a camera and as a result always turned her head away. I’ve got hundreds of photos and videos of her that I often resorted to subterfuge to get but sadly, only a handful of us together. All because I didn’t want a photo of the back of her head. Now, I’d give anything for more pictures of us together ~ back of the head and all.

♥︎Advocate for your beloved companion just as you would for your child or significant other. Just because the person treating your pet has been their veterinarian for years doesn’t guarantee their diagnosis/treatment is correct. If a little voice creeps into your head questioning the treatment or if you get an uneasy feeling in your stomach ~ act. Question your vet, ask for a second opinion from another doctor in the practice. Don’t just assume that because they have DVM after their name they’re automatically right. Callie is proof that mistakes happen and tragically, the cost of that mistake was her life.

♥︎Don’t allow a vet, their tech or their assistant to intimidate you. They need to  accept that you have your pets best interest at heart and understand when you question something. If they are unwilling to listen then find a new practice.

♥︎Never, ever give up if your pet is given a serious diagnosis like cancer. Don’t let the high cost keep you from getting treatment (if the age and prognosis is favorable). There are many organizations that can hep fund the treatment along with Care Credit, fundraising, social media to name a few.

♥︎Know when to say goodbye. None of us want to lose our beloved pet and sometimes that causes us to hold on “just a little longer”. Ask yourself “Am I doing this for the RIGHT reason? If it was me, would I want my family to keep me alive despite my failing health?” Always remember that it’s the quality of your pet’s life vs the quantity of days. As painful as it is, be prepared to give your faithful friend that one final gift.

♥︎Spay/neuter and keep vaccinations up to date. Yes the vet visit can be expensive but if you can’t afford pet insurance call your vet to ask about prices then incorporate them into your budget so that when the time comes you’ll have the money. Also keep in mind that many communities offer low cost rabies vaccinations and animal organizations offer low cost spay/neuter clinics. Do your homework ~ your pets good health is worth it. Trust me, that mani/pedi can wait; monthly heart worm prevention can’t.

♥︎Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Carve time from your schedule to spend with your faithful friend. Take walks, go to a lake or even a lawn sprinkler in summer. Toss a few snowballs in the winter or frolic in freshly fallen snow.Go hiking whether in the mountains or a stroll on a city sidewalk. Create your own adventure! Talk to your friend while cooking, sewing, working on your car. Surprise them with a treat they love like deer antlers, rawhide or a stuffy. Make a ritual you and your pet can do together and that they can look forward to such as getting the daily newspaper, waiting for the school bus or walking to the post office. We don’t realize it at the time but each interaction fills pages in a memory book that will last forever within our hearts.

♥︎Finally, love them unconditionally just as they do you. In a 100 years, will those occasional dog hairs on your black coat really matter? Trust me, I’d give the world to find some of Callie’s precious black hairs anywhere!

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Now go hug your pet!


7 thoughts on “Advice From A Grieving Dog Parent…

  1. Wow did you write this? It’s really great advice. Thank you for putting your feelings out this weekend. This post was n particular makes me realize I’ve not been spending as much time as usual with my guys this fall.

  2. Funny the things we take for granted with our pets. You’ve hit the nail on the head in your advice. I hate when I see people get a dog only to stick it in a chain in a yard all day. They can be such a great companion and friend

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