When you’re worried, washing soiled bedding, and driving to the vet in the middle of the night, it’s hard to imagine there is anything good about having a sick dog.
But here’s the blessing I’ve found.
Gift of Attention
Honey is with me most of the time.
We take long walks every day. She sits under my desk when I’m working. I see her more than I see my husband.
But I’m often distracted or doing something else when we’re together.
Our daily life is nothing like the time I spent caring for her when she was sick.
When your dog is sick, nothing you usually do feels important.
Caring for a Sick Dog
When Honey was only a few months old, she swallowed a squeaker. We watched her carefully but saw no sign of the squeaker or any symptoms.
Months later, Honey developed a mystery illness. She lost weight. She was vomiting and had diarrhea. But then she’d recover and be fine for several days.
It wasn’t until we saw the x-ray that we remembered the long-lost squeaky. Honey had emergency surgery that afternoon.
Before she was diagnosed and while recovering from surgery, Honey was the center of my world.
Worrying about her wasn’t fun. Cleaning up after her digestive distress was gruesome. And the vet bill was shocking.
But I enjoyed keeping Honey amused while her surgical incision healed. I had nothing else on my mind but her.
Caring for a Dog at the End of her Life
Shortly after we brought Shadow home from the SPCA, the vet diagnosed her with bone cancer in her jaw. Despite a prognosis of a couple months, Shadow lived with us for two years.
Toward the end of her life, I took her to a holistic vet for acupuncture.
Because the vet was so far from our home, he taught me how to apply the needles and I gave her treatments every morning.
The needles remained in place for a half hour, during which Shadow had to stay still.
I don’t believe the acupuncture was effective. But those weeks we spent quietly together are among my happiest memories of Shadow.
We did nothing else but enjoy the time together.
I wasn’t glad Shadow was so ill. But spending time caring for her was a true blessing.
Suffering and Blessings
I don’t mean to make less of how horrible it feels to have a sick pet by focusing on the bright side. A few of my blogville friends have sick dogs right now. And the worry comes through in every sentence they write.
Miles away, there is little I can do to help.
But I hope that as they try to make their loved dog well that they appreciate every moment they have to focus on their friend.