I was 19 when I married the man that everyone told me not to. It seems like more you tell me not to do something, the more Iíd determined to do it. 9 years and 1 and a half kids later my caveman of a husband left for work and never came back. We havenít seen or heard from him since. No birthday cards, no Christmas presents, no child support. I think it was the best thing he could have ever done for us. Any man who could so easily walk out on his pregnant wife and child is not the kind of role model I want for my sons. About a year later I met the man of my dreams. Iíll save the details on that for another time but as you know, sometimes dreams become nightmares. Years later, Iím done with him, heís not done with me and Iím pulling my hair out trying to be nice for the sake of our son.
My kids are proud to tell their friends that their mother has literally broken her back raising them. To date I have had 5 spinal surgeries. I had an infection after the 3rd operation (my fusion) that put me in a wheelchair for about a year, they didnít know if I would ever walk again but I always knew I would. My last operation was in June of 2011 when I had my spinal stimulator implanted. It has completely changed my life.
I donít remember a time when I didnít have a dog. Iíve had smart dogs like King, my Siberian Husky to incredibly stupid dogs like Guido my sheepdog mix who used to chew electrical cords because he liked the shock he got from it (surprisingly, Guido had to be re-homed). Iíve had ugly dogs like Lady, the wire haired terrier who followed me home from school one day, beautiful dogs like my Rottie Jumbo and dogs who have almost landed me in jail like my Boxer Sheba. (I guess I owe you this story)
After my husband left my son Jeremy was pretty beat up over it. So one day I answered an ad for a free Boxer hoping it would cheer him up. She looked as though she had spent her whole life tied up outside, you could see every bone in her body, both of her eyes were infected and her ears had so many fly bites that they were bleeding. The ownerís story was that they were moving to California and couldnít take her. I asked if I could bring her home for the weekend to make sure she got along with our other dog Shep our black/golden Lab mix and that she was good with Jeremy. I didnít have to check her with Shep, he got along with everyone. I needed to get her out of there because this girl needed a doctor ASAP! We took her straight to the vet, got her eyes & ears cleaned out and medicine for the infections. Sunday we called them to say we were going to be keeping her. No way was I sending her back to that prison! Thatís when they told me that the dog was free, but if I wanted her papers they were going to cost me $1200.00. Howís that for a scam! I told them that we had no intention on breeding her and my son was already in love with her so they could keep the papers and I hung up. 2 days later the FBI came knocking on my door. The people had called the police to report the dog stolen. Dog napping is a federal offense so my 8 month pregnant self was taken into custody. Thank God I had kept both the ad from the pet store and the receipt from the vet. It only took a couple of hours to prove my story, the old owners were arrested and we were the new family of Sheba, the 1 and a half year old Boxer with an enormous under bite.
I lost my Sheba to breast cancer and the day I said goodbye to her I swore I would never, EVER love another animal again. That is until 3 days later when I was driving to work and saw a pickup truck pull over on the side of the highway and literally THREW my Roxy onto the shoulder and drove away. I chased that poor thing for 2 hours, trying to keep her out of traffic, trying to get her safe.
Eventually, this gorgeous little bruised, beaten 9 month old puppy who smelled like Staten Island was in my car on the way to my house. It took 3 baths just to get enough smell off of her to close the window. Roxy was so terrified of people, so starved and abused that she lived in our linen closet for 2 weeks. Nothing we did would get her out so we fed her in there, cleaned up after her in there and every night of those 2 weeks my boys and I sat in that bathroom talking to each other, doing homework, playing games and pretending Roxy wasnít there. Sometimes I think she only came out to get away from the crazy people on the floor! She has been my savior from the teenage testosterone for almost 13 years now.
When they put Abby in my arms she was 8 pounds of skin and bones. She was throwing up constantly and had bloody diarrhea. The next morning I took her to the vet, she got antibiotics and we were told to bring her back in a week. The vomiting continued and 3 weeks later she was diagnosed with Juvenile Renal Dysplasia (kidney failure). Her numbers were so out of control and she was so sick we were told that she would probably only be with us for a couple more weeks, one of the vet techs actually said the words ďtake her home and say goodbyeĒ. After her first ultrasound they said if we were lucky, we might have a year. Nobody thought she would see her first birthday. Through medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, a completely homemade diet and all natural treats most of her numbers are a 10th of a point within normal range. Her doctors now say think we may live to a nice old ďmiddleĒ age.
She was also recently diagnosed with Congenital Luxating Elbows (the connective tissue in her arms never formed properly). They have surgery to correct it, but Abby canít have it. I canít take her to the dog park. I canít get her spayed. I canít get her vaccinated. I wonít even get an x-ray to see if her hips are OK because I donít want to radiate her body ďjust to seeĒ. What we can do is love her, spoil her and treat her like the little princess that she thinks she already is.
I now spend my nights digging through kidney websites, reading diet books, researching which vitamins will help and which ones will not. Canine therapies, human therapies, traditional therapies, holistic therapies. You name it, Iíve read it or will try it. My newest obsession is with Chinese medicine and healing touches. Iíll keep you posted.
If raising my boys alone has taught me anything it has taught me that I can do anything! I have never let a NO get in my way. If it needs to be done then I will find a way to get it done. Failure is not an option and I will not fail Abby. I know that her time with us will be short. I know that we will never see her face old and gray. And I know that no matter how well we treat her, how stable we keep those kidney values - a simple staph infection or cold virus could kill her. But I also know that whatever time God gives us with her will be the best time that I can possibly give her. I just hope that when the time comes for her to close her eyes forever she will do it knowing that she was loved.
Thanks for listening! I warned you I could ramble.
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