Because Dogs are Wonderful

By Dr. Erin Kelley

My first patient this morning I have memorized. I've seen Him for awhile.   He is a 14 year old Pekingnese with a sweet heart and a tough body who is owned by kind, compassionate, gentle, smart people who I have been fond of since the day I met them.   This morning He was carried in with both his adult humans present and no children and the look on their face was somber.   He had his first seizure last night at 14 years of age.   They knew that wasn't good.   The ER doctor last night confirmed that.   And so they presented him to me knowing this time there was likely no surgery to cure his ailment.   No medicine to cure but rather just hopefully control for some time the symptoms of his disease.

And there was this air of acknowledgment that this could be the beginning of the end.   As I stood in front of my furry friend and contemplated his condition in light of his other health concerns I started talking about what we could do to help Him, what to expect moving forward, and my heart felt heavy.
At which point his male owner said to me, "Doc I can tell the condition of my dog is ailing you because you care.  I want to share a story with you."   He went on to explain "I am the CEO of Make a Wish Foundation.   When we get children who are terminal  we try not to just grant them their wish but to ask ourselves why their wish is what it is?   Because then we can better fulfill their wish.  Most recently a wish I have granted is for a little boy who wanted a dog.   We asked ourselves out of all wishes how he chose a dog?   And in this particular case to understand which dog to chose we asked Him how he came to the wish for a dog?"   He went on to explain to me the boy acknowledged treatments for his cancer where difficult and to come home to unconditional love and companionship was his wish but beyond that the boy knew that when he died his sister would need someone to embrace.   And so this innocent selfless boy whose body was riddled with disease wished for a dog to love his sister when he was gone.    And that is the reality.   Dogs are love all the time.   And so He was conveying to me that He understood the predicament life is finite.  He too deals with death in his job.   His 14 year old Pekingnese who loves well would not be able to love forever.