By Dr. Goutam Mukherjee, DVM, MD, Ph.D.
Recently, I wrote a series of serious articles talking about various pet diseases. I think it’s story time again. The story is long-winded and true, but it ends well!
Years ago, my wife and I had a mobile veterinary practice in Oregon spanning about a 45-mile radius. That meant many hours on the road. We had an indoor Lab-Akita cross named Delila, who could not hold her bladder for long. We had to plan our appointments so that we could stop to take her outside. It was difficult, but you do difficult things for the ones you love.
After our first year in Oregon, Delila started feeling down. X-rays showed that she had cancer in her abdomen. We tried to surgically remove it, but it had spread too far and we made the agonizing decision to spare her the suffering and not to wake her up.
Life sure changed for us! We were free to stay out as long as we wanted, but when we came home, the house and the place she occupied in our hearts was still empty!
The burden of an empty and “tidy” house is hard to bear for anyone who has loved and lived with a dog. As time went on, we started looking for a pup; but the two of us could never agree. At last the time came.
We were treating six rescue pit bull puppies for severe respiratory distress. The foster mom was a seasoned pet nurse and had them in a makeshift oxygen tent. With very hard work on her part and little help from us, the puppies started to get better. After our third visit, Julie said that she liked one of the puppies, and I jumped at the opportunity.
She was a little girl with tuxedo marking we named Anandi. We got her home and made a bed for her in the bedroom on Delila’s old bed. The chaos of raising a puppy began.
She would not go to sleep, so we would sing to her an old Bollywood song – “You are my sun, you are my moon!” Over the top? Yes, but we loved it.
Raising her was exhausting. She chewed up numerous shoes and four pairs of prescription eyeglasses. We also were seriously doubting that she would ever be potty trained!
Around the same time, four other friends got new puppies, and we would talk on the phone about our overall misery and what new destruction these creatures had wrought. Needless to say, we were all fantastically devoted to these pups!
It was challenging to raise a puppy when we were constantly on the road. But we were determined to not let her be left alone, so our new pup had to come with us. Southern Oregon gets hot in the summer. We set up an additional deep cycle battery in the van with a fan and mister for the cabin. We also installed a remote temperature sensor and window shading. We carried extra water with us and soaked her before we went into a client’s house.
Anyway, with this backdrop the drama began, and will end in the next article in the May issue.