Nov 222013 15 Responses

Thanksgiving Killed My Dog

(The following is a public service announcement. I have told my wife I must tell our story for the well-being of all family pets.)

A few years ago, Thanksgiving killed my dog. It was a bit ironic since we called Neece the dog which would never die. She had been run over so many times it was easier to name who in my neighborhood hadn’t run her over than those who had. Yet what four SUV’s couldn’t do, Thanksgiving did.

Neece always slept in our bedroom closet and we we awoke to her throwing up the Sunday after Thanksgiving, it wasn’t an odd occurrence. The dog would eat anything and on many occasions what she ate reappeared in the early morning hours. I put her outside and never thought twice about it.

I didn’t bring her in that night because I wanted to sleep, but when I awoke Monday morning and saw her laying in the yard in the middle of a rainstorm, I knew something was wrong.

I loaded the dog in my wife’s car and she agreed to take the dog to the vet while I attended a series of Monday morning meetings.

My fear was that I had killed my dog. It’s possible I had been lax in giving her the heartworm medicine she needed. I didn’t know the symptoms of heart worms, but I was trying to think how I would explain the dog’s death to my children.

Minutes later I received a phone call from the vet—the dog was on death’s door. He said we had two options:

“We could put the dog down or have an experimental $2000 surgery.”

I kept waiting for the second option. Apparently spending $2000 on a surgery for a dog wasn’t a joke but was a legitimate option.

Of course a vast majority of my friends couldn’t believe I refused to spend $2000 on a surgery for my dog. I tried to explain to them that I probably wouldn’t spend $2000 to keep them around either.

Why spend $2000 when you can just buy a new one who doesn’t have all the bad characteristics of the old one–my friends are probably wondering if I’m talking about my old dog or my old friends.

$2000 is a lot of money–consider the orphans it could feed, the water-wells it could dig, the weekend golf vacation it could pay for. I love my dog, but my love was capped at a few hundred dollars. So, I instructed the vet to put the dog down and hung up the phone.

This decision had a great by-product which I never considered. Not only did I get a new dog, I also no longer have the responsibility of being the medical power of attorney for any family members.

Within seconds of hanging up the phone with the vet, he called back and said, “I wanted you to know that before I could give the shot, Neece died on her own.”

For the first time, a tear formed in my eye and I thought, “What a great dog…she just saved me $100 by dying before the vet could kill her.”

Immediately my mind turned to my children. How would they receive the news their dog had died. I assumed Silas was too young to understand what was happening, but I knew Ella was old enough to get it. On the way home from school I broke the news to her. Our dog had died; the death was sad; but we would get a new dog. She handled the news well. (See: Ella on Kicking a Teacher, Telling a Knock Knock Joke, and a Pre-dinner Prayer)

As a matter of fact, she handled it too well. She kept telling every person we met, “My dog died, but we are going to get a new one.” I heard that line so many times it began to make me fear how she might respond to my death, “My dad died, but we are going to get a new one.”

The next morning, Ella woke up and asked questions about Neece. She asked, “Dad, is Neece in heaven with grandma.” Of course we always tell our kids the truth, so I said, “I’m not sure about grandma.”

The good news of the whole experience—I did not kill the dog by forgetting her heart-worm medication. My wife killed the dog by feeding it ham fat.

The vet says it happens every year. A dog goes all year without having any ham and then suddenly a family has a lot of ham fat left over from Thanksgiving. They throw it to the dog as a treat not knowing the treat is actually poison.

Jenny now knows better.

What I don’t understand is why she keeps trying to feed me bacon.

Happy Friday.

15 Responses to Thanksgiving Killed My Dog

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