Tag Archives: Val the Vet

Our Girl Zoe

We got her, already spayed, at six weeks of age. She’ll be twelve years in January. As we traveled we’ve had her stay with friends, with sleepover caretakers, and at the vet.

She loves driving with us in my car with her orthopedic bed but some distances are too far to drive and she can’t fly anymore, according to me.

Zoe had bad hips and needed them excised at six and nine months of age then underogo therapy, which my husband and I did. Yes, he did sneak her into a pool for water exercises every night. She grew her own hips from cartilage.

As I see most dogs don’t live beyond 13 years I’m scared of her turning twelve. She passed her ten year senior blood panel and aced it. I was told by her hip surgeon in another state to skip a year and do it again at 12. That’s coming up.

I’ve euthanized two of my very ill older pets. Helped a neighbor with another, very sad, a pup with Parvo. I don’t know that my husband can handle this as he loves her too much. So do I, but I know my responsibility is her and if she lives five years more it will be up to me to decide. If her quality of life diminishes it is up to me and I’ll be there to supervise and hold her. Why? That’s my job.

Kids want chicks and bunnies for Easter. What happens to them? What happens to a pup you buy a kid for Christmas? Parents. And the chicks and bunnies die. The dog is yours for 13 years when the kids are through college and don’t want them anymore except for a pat on the head when they pass through.

We love our Zoe. My husband is a big guy who is always called in to help carry caskets, but he doesn’t want to be there when his loved one dies. Especially when I call “the shot.” To veterinarians everywhere, thank you for allowing us to work with you to make a wise decision that our pet does not need to suffer. Dee


The Best Things

The best things we do often involve sacrifice of a sort. Sitting by one’s mother at hospice for a week. Helping euthanize loved pets when they needed it.

Ones we love come with a price. Either they go, or we go, and I’m at that age when things are happening with us and with more elderly family members.

I’m not really good at this. I learned that early on with a field trip to a hospital with a colleague, he was great with the patients, all I wanted to do was cry. Same with organizing carol singing at a local hospital, where I hung back and sang and tried to control tears. I’m better with animals and have helped others, and two of mine, go to their final reward.

I do take solace in St. Francis, and my favorite priest. I worry about my dad and want to see him, even wrote him a blues song and sang it on his voice mail today. I know my pets are OK with me, and need to plan for Zoe when the time comes and make certain my husband is there with us. Again, I can deal with animals humanely, people who are sick or dying require more fortitude and stamina on my part to make them feel comfortable and at ease with their condition and future.

We’ll be married 12 years on Sunday and are across the country from one another. Our dog Zoe will be eleven. Mom would have been 79. Zoe has a gift, in that she has little past and no future plans except the next walk or meal. She doesn’t remember that cousin Val took out her hips at six and nine-months of age, and just loves Val.

I sometimes wish it was that simple for human beings. Then again, my past has allowed me to change things in order to shape the present and the future. That’s where it gets complicated.

Today, I wish all our older family members a great day, weekend, week, year, years, decades. Family or family pets, be there. Let them know you love them. Dee


Do Dogs Dream?

Of course they do. Zoe’s a herder so is always at my feet. She’s sleeping in the sunlight as I write, by me, and running in her dream.

She runs, whines, yips and seldom growls in her dreams. I always wonder what she’s doing. Is she chasing a squirrel she’ll never, in her biggest dreams, obtain?

A dog specialist years ago said that dogs live in the present and never remember anything for longer that 45 minutes. That’s not true. Zoe tried to take me to another place yesterday that we lived in for three months, over two years ago. She remembers people and dogs and places for years.

At night when the phone rings she goes to the door because she knows Daddy is coming home. Not when his Mother or Nanny call at a similar hour. The other day, she knew the Chinese food delivery guy was coming and stood at the door for nearly an hour.

If you don’t think your dog dreams, bring it into your home. Dr. Dog once said “A dog in the back yard is a dog without a home.” My dear in-laws wanted Zoe in a pen out back until my husband told them she was a house dog (after I said I wouldn’t visit). His dad cleaned a crate and placed it in the back bedroom. She used it for ten minutes, jumped up on the bed and now his mom is upset when she doesn’t visit on Thanksgiving because she watches out for the grandkids and cleans up anything we spill in a three-day cooking spree.

Another specialist said we should take her back to the shelter as she had severe hip dysplasia and needed surgery. I did the research, got two second opinions and Val The Vet operated on her twice before she was nine months old. She’s over ten years now and grew her own hips and can give any dog a run for it’s money.

Do dogs dream? I’ve always wondered what all the Greyhounds off the track in Caliente and Colorado dream. I helped name some of them and volunteered to care for them for years. Do they dream of racing? Or sleeping on a sofa instead of in a crate. Who knows. Dogs dream. When they herd you all day long and are dying to go to bed at night, they dream and you can see it. I see it, I see the squirrel! Dee



I’ve never gotten a pet from a breeder. I usually go to the shelter and see what I get. My first was a cat, transported in my brother’s pocket across the country because he was kicked off the 7′ shelf he was born on and my sister had to bottle-feed him.

Then I got a dog. She was abused by a deputy sheriff for a year and in a shelter for a year. I started volunteering there the week she arrived and spent time with her every week. When there was a discussion to determine whether to euthanize her the following week, I had her home, for ten years and she led a good life.

Please tell Maddie’s fund that I’m not asking people to have puppies or kittens so their kids can see the cycle of life. Grow up and do it yourself. Ten years ago we got a six-week old pup from a shelter and a few months later had to do the research to get her hips excised which we did at six and nine months of age (thanks, Val).

We tend to live in nice places where I walk the dog several times a day. This morning we met a papillon/chihuahua. Mine is an Aussie mix. I’m seeing mixes in the nice areas of town, which means we’re adopting from shelters. Yea!

I’m glad that 20 years of volunteering, spaying and neutering over 2,000 cats has finally hit and our work is not done but is still in progress.

Soon we’ll make a guessing game of what breed(s) we have! Mine herds me everywhere as I’m the “food wench” and my husband is the “fun guy.” We know she’s a herder but haven’t spent the $60 to test her genes. After ten years, who cares. We know her, I know her from tip to tail. It doesn’t matter what breeds she represents. Please adopt from your local shelter. Dee