Life goes to the dog.
There are times we recognize as life changing moments: the day we graduate from high school. the day we get married, the day we have a child, the day we get divorced, the day a loved one dies. These, and many others, are acknowledged as life changing moments. There is one day however, which stands out from the rest as perhaps the single most defining moment of my life. Should you choose to read farther, I will explain this day to you.
This defining day for me was yesterday. The day I decided that I had no choice but to pay $400+ for surgery on a dog whose ear flap was filling with blood.
The vet called it a hematoma. He explained that without the surgery, the ear would "cauliflower". It would not kill him, nor would it cause him much discomfort. The possibility was that it would burst and in the words of the vet, "I have seen that once and I don't want to see it again. It is ugly". You must understand, I am starting a business, just finished a major move, and lost everything I own to my ex. I got through all that with the help of friends on Twitter and at home. This potential vet bill however just made me angry. I had no intention of sinking a months rent into a damn dog (albeit one I love dearly), just to keep his ear from looking like a head of cauliflower. It would heal. It would be ugly, but I would not be out the $400.
That was my decision. Until...
My boyfriend's son is 9, a very mature 9. The boy has been through horrors in his life. His father has sole, protected custody of the child. He fought for many years to get his son. The boy was in the kitchen and I was talking to him about the dog, and what his uncle (who is a vet) said should be done. I was worrying about the money and how I was going to pay for it. The boy looked at me and said, "I'll pay for it. I don't want him to have a bad ear." I told him it would not be bad, just not pretty, and although I appreciated his offer, there was no way I was going to let him pay for a surgery. He looked at me, and told me again that he would be glad to help if I needed it. I was moved beyond belief. It took everything in me not to cry.
I still debated the surgery in my mind. I still couldn't justify the cost. As I thought about this, I overheard the child telling the dog not to worry. His ear would be fine, and we would fix him. He talked to the dog for 10 minutes. He loved on that dog, stroked him, and told him how good he was. I heard this, and still I debated the surgery. My boyfriend understood my dilemma. He understood the cost.
Later that afternoon we took him to the vet to have him examined and see what our options were. Suddenly, as I listened to the vet, I heard another voice. This one was strong and commanding and unavoidable in what it said. I looked at the vet and told him to do the surgery. I also told him to do the bloodwork that he was telling me about because the dog had lost 30 pounds in the last 4 months. (Most of this weight loss was due to stopping a medication). He gave me a free nights stay at the clinic for the dog, and discounted the surgery.
My boyfriend's son sat there and didn't say a word. He said goodbye to the dog as the vet led him to the back for his "overnight". We got in the truck and drove home.
For the first time in 10 months, this little boy walked out and came up to me for a hug, and asked me to tuck him in. We talked to the stuffed animals. He reached out for me to hug him again before I left the room. This morning, he got ready for school and as his father herded him to the truck, he walked over to me and hugged me again. Yelled "Bye Laura!" as they walked out the door.
That voice was right, I had done something not only for the dog, but for that child. I had given the boy something back. I'm not sure what it was, but that single hug that I received was more of a breakthrough than most of us could imagine.
We should all be so blessed as to receive the best of life's lessons from the dog. It's A Dog's Life.