Animals and Me

I love animals and I get very attached to them, even when they are not my own.

Animals have always helped me cope with my depression and anxiety.  I remember as a child curling up with the family dog and laying my head on her for comfort.  She was a portly, black and brown Standard Dachshund that my sister and I named Geni after our favorite Aunt.  My parents got her when I was 3 before that we had another portly Dachshund named Heidi.  When my sister and I were little and we’d go to the state fair we’d pet the cows and call them, “Heidi” because to us everything furry was Heidi.

Geni was special and import to me.  She helped with my Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and anxiety.  She joined my sister and I on our great adventures into the wild woods at the end of our dead end street, it was really an overgrown garden of an elderly neighbor.  She was with us through so much growing up that when she died at 10 years of age she left a hole in my whole family.  We eventually  got another dog, but nothing could replace what she did for us.

I was married for 10 years, I got married at the age of 21.  I purchased a puppy from a local puppy boutique and found that it had a heart murmur.  The pet store refunded our money and I did everything I could for that pup.  He died on the operating table after a successful operation to repair his heart murmur.  His name was Turkish.  When he died my heart was broken and my depression was deep.  My ex-husband took me to a breeder two days later a bought me a puppy.

I was mad that my puppy had died. I was so mad at God, the world, and everything.  Why did my six month old puppy have to die? It wasn’t his fault he was born in a puppy mill. I got the new puppy and he had lots of red spots and would not let me out of his sight. His name was Nemo.

Nemo did his best to heal me, protect me and watch over me for 10 years. He struggled with Glaucoma. He had 8 eye surgeries and was on human eye drops which are extremely expensive. He got me through the last 8 years of my bad marriage and the 2 years after the divorce. He was my rock, he was my everything. Then I met my boyfriend and started dating him. After he and I had been together for a year, I realized I would be OK if something happened to my precious Nemo. Unfortunately, something did happen. He developed a Spleandic tumor. They removed it, but his poor body just could not take anymore.

My heart ached, because I had lost a piece of my heart when he died.

I waited some time and realized that I was ready for another dog. I was living with my parents so I chose to adopt a dog that was close to their dog’s age so it could be old and ornery with her. I found Pippin (see picture) up for adoption with a rescue in Huntsville, Alabama called “A New Leash on Life”.

I saw the smile on his face I knew his name needed to be Pippin and that I needed him. I filled out the paperwork and was surprised when I was contacted by the rescue. I had contacted other rescues about other dogs and had received no response from the organizations and was feeling very discouraged. They called to say that they had talked to my Vet and had never gotten such a wonderful vet reference on anyone. They explained that his foster mom would be calling me to discuss things.

I talked to his foster mom and I could tell that she cared for him a great deal. We discussed many things and then we set a date for when I could go meet Pippin and bring him home.

When I met him he was scared and being held by another foster parent that had cared for him. I held him for what seemed like hours and he let me hold and love him. I filled out my paper work, paid my fee and took my sweet little senior home. The following Tuesday I took him to my personal vet for a check up and everything checked out fine.

I began to notice he snored a lot and sounded like he had trouble breathing. I took him back to the vet to find that he had a collapsed trachea, but no heart murmur. I was given some medications for the cough and sent on my way.

Time passed and the cough worsened, so I returned to the vet with him to find out he had a heart significant heart murmur. He was started on heart medications and a diuretic/lasix to help elevated the fluid from his lungs. He seemed to get better with the added medications.

I got concerned again a few months down the road with his coughing and breathing sounded worse to me, so I took him back to the vet. They did another X-ray to find that his trachea collapse had progressed and his heart had enlarged. The prescribed an anti-vomiting medication to help with the trachea and more heart medications. He got better for a while.

Monday, he started acting like my puppy Turkish I had before I lost him. I was frightened. He wouldn’t eat his favorite food, he would drink, he would just walk around the house trying to breathe. I called my vet who had me add additional Lasix as a precaution in case it was fluid in his lungs. I did the extra Lasix and locked him in his crate to sleep Monday night.

Tuesday morning, he wouldn’t take his medicine wrapped in cheese. He drank some water and was still having trouble breathing. So, I took him to the vet. They kept him for the day and found nothing physically wrong with him to explain his problem. They suggested he was having a bad day.

Today, my parents are helping me get him to relax and take it easy to help him feel better. He’s still having trouble breathing but the vet tech told me to not worry unless his tongue turned purple or blue.

It’s so hard to watch these guys go through bad things. It’s so hard to not just go… “Why is this happening to him?” “Why can’t I do anything?”

Then I remember the words of the lady who does the online women’s bible study. She says, “It’s easy to be selfish when bad things happen to us, but we have got to look for the bigger picture. Why is God putting these challenges in my life? What is His greater purpose for me that I am to go through this?”

The prophet John the Baptist lived in the desert as hermit. He wore rags and ate locust. Despite all he went through, he was always looking toward the bigger picture of why things were happening. He was there to ready the was for Jesus.

I may not know my purpose, but I feel that God wants me to write about what I go through with my depression and anxiety. I don’t know if my words will help anyone, but this is what I have been called to do.

When life hits you hard, take a deep breathe and wait for that hit against the side of your head that says, “This is out of your control and God has chosen this journey for you for a reason that is BIGGER than you.”

I had that thought hit me against the side of my head earlier today when I wrote about Turkish. The bigger picture with him may have been to get me read to take care of dogs that have special needs and need special care. But I will never know. I just can’t allow myself to sit around sad and depressed, when God has greater things to come for me.

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