Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Pets as Family Members
Last weekend we had a little scare with our dog--his stomach was completely distended. I did some research online and we called our vet. Of course it was a Sunday, so we couldn't just take him to our regular vet, which would have been far less costly. But after researching and talking to the vet, we decided that this could be serious and took him to the nearest veterinary hospital that had emergency services.
We've had our dog for nearly 8 years. We got him when he was just a six-week old puppy, when we had been married for about 11 months. We've had him longer than we've had children. He is very good with the kids and they love him. He's truly a part of our family.
When all this happened last week and my husband left with the dog to the veterinary hospital, I was freaked out that he had a serious complication and treatment would be out of the question--way too expensive--and we'd have to say our final goodbyes. I know this day will come sometime, but the thought of it happening last weekend was unbearable. I sat and cried after they left because I felt so sure that this was it.
Later though, my husband called with the good news that the problem was not serious at all. Rather than "bloat" (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus), which is the twisting of the stomach and intestines and what we thought it possibly was, instead he had just over-eaten and the food had not been digested and was filling up his stomach and colon, causing the distended appearance. The day before I had caught our 2-year-old getting into the pantry and feeding the dog little snippets of his food a few times. I guess she did it more than those few times for him to have eaten so much. I'm so glad it wasn't what we had suspected and that he is otherwise a perfectly healthy pooch.
But it made me think. I never had a pet growing up--my parents got their dog that they have now while I was in college. I never experienced losing a pet. I can imagine it could be quite as devastating as losing any family member. He may be a fairly silent part of our family, but he is here, he is loyal, he loves us. We will truly miss him when he's gone.
Have any of you lost a pet? What happened? What is the grieving process?