It was a cold winter day and we were very busy here at Mission Ridge Animal Hospital. It can get a little crazy just around the holidays with people getting their pets needs taken care of before they go away or get busy with their celebrations.
A lady came up to the front counter looking very upset and close to tears. I asked her if I could help her and she asked if she could speak with me privately. We walked around the corner and sat down together in a quiet room. I could see she was terribly upset by something yet hesitant to say what it was. She began to tell me that she was a single mother who was having some difficulties making ends meet. One of her children brought home a puppy one day from a friend’s house and she didn’t have the heart to tell them that they couldn’t keep it. The puppy was now 10 months old and she had unfortunately neglected his health care. There was never enough money to care for his needs. He did not have his vaccines up to date and he wasn’t neutered. Her bills were piling up and although it was difficult she knew she did not have the financial means to care for him.
She also had a 2 year old at home who was developing allergies from the dog. Her son was having asthmatic attacks and she could no longer have him around the dog. She knew finding a new home for him was the best solution however she needed to find one as soon as possible. She had gone to the Humane Society whose facility was full and required her to pay a surrender fee. She could not afford to pay anything and came home again the dog.
She was driving by Mission Ridge Animal Hospital and by chance she decided to come in and ask for help. She was not a client here and had actually never been in our clinic before. There was just something that told her to pull over and see if we could help.
I said of course we would help, she could bring the dog in to us and I would make some phone calls. Surely with our connections in the field we could find someone who could help.
She went home to get the dog. He was a cute little Yorkie cross who was all scruffy and looked like he had just walked out of a Walt Disney movie. He was shy and very sweet. It was obviously very difficult for his owner to give him up. She handed him to me with tears streaming down her face hugged me and said Thank you. I never saw her again.
My elderly parents had lost their dog 8 months earlier to an unforeseen illness. They had decided that considering their age, health and activity level it was probably best that they did not adopt another dog. My Dad who had recently recovered from some heart health issues had called me the night before. Our conversation consisted of him confiding to me that he really missed having a dog and going for walks alone was just not the same. My Mom however had come to the conclusion that it was too late in their life to start with another dog.
As you can imagine I had a voice in the back of my head wondering if this could be the dog for them. I knew my Dad would fall in love with this little guy, he would be the perfect walking companion, perfect company for both my Mom and Dad. I just had to convince Mom… who was very set in her ways.
I convinced my Mom and Dad to stop by the clinic the next day. They had no idea that this little guy was waiting in the kennel, probably wondering where he was and why he wasn’t home. I introduced them and of course it was love at first sight. Once I explained the situation my Dad was convinced that he was just the new home this little guy needed. My Mom didn’t need much convincing either. I informed my parents that I would be there to help care for the dog if they ever needed to go away or needed help. I would co-parent with them. That sealed the deal. They took him home that day.
Benji is now 3 years old he spends time at both of our homes. He gets my Dad out for a walk every day and is always there for a cuddle on my Mom’s lap. He has turned out to be just the companion they needed. My Dad now has accompany on his walks and my Mom has someone to spoil. He even enjoys going camping. It’s been said that” it takes a village to raise a child” well in this case it is taking a “village to raise a dog”.
So I guess I don’t really have a moral to my story. I just wanted to share with those of you who may find yourselves in the same situation with aging parents. Quite often they would love a pet but are afraid that they can’t commit to always being able to care for it, financially or time wise. Maybe by offering your time and your help you can provide them with the perfect companion to help their Golden years be more fulfilled.
Benji has done just that for our family and we are very happy that he found his way to us.