Pet Loss Library


Meister

by Linda J. Austin

Most people think that caregivers take care of people. That's not always the case.

I was almost asleep Tuesday night when I heard an unfamiliar sound. I thought perhaps it was the cat or a squirrel in the barn. The scraping, bumping continued. I went downstairs to find the German Shepherd lying by the woodstove, legs moving as if he were galloping. It's not unusual to see any of our dogs do this, to a lesser extent, when they dream, but Meister's eyes were open and he was moving himself around on the rug. He couldn't get up. The rug was wet with his saliva and urine. He lost control of his bowels.

Almost two years ago our miniature lop-eared angora bunny did the same thing. He couldn't get up. I took him to the vet and came home with syringes, needles, IV solution, antibiotics - my kitchen looked like a hospital. My husband became my assistant as we nursed, bathed and spoon fed bunny. Bunny got better but his head remained tilted and he can only hop in a clockwise direction, otherwise he falls over. When bunny had a relapse we didn't have much hope. We tried a chemotherapy drug - it worked but bunny stopped drinking. Back to spoon feeding, IV hydration.

I petted and talked softly to Meister, while bunny slept and our two other dogs looked on. Meister was a second-hand dog and having my face close to his muzzle made me nervous. He was disoriented. Even though Meister had spent seven years with us, he still had not so pleasant memories of early life with another family, of being chained to a doghouse, no toys, no positive human interaction. When I brought him home from the shelter it was hard to tell who was driving the car - he sat in my lap all the way home.

As I talked and petted, Meister calmed, his heart rate slowed. There was no recognition in his eyes. What would happen now? He tried to get up. I held my breath. He stood. Meister wobbled around the room, stopping long enough to look at me, but wouldn't let me touch him. Finally he lay down behind my chair.

I suddenly realized it was cold downstairs. I put a coat over my pajamas. The other dogs rushed to the door thinking I was going outside. I let them out - Meister went too and came when I called. He seemed wary of the other dogs - very unusual considering he had been the dominant dog. I made some cocoa, watched television and watched Meister. He took a nap. Two hours later I decided I could go to bed. Meister was wiggling and wagging and happy to be petted. There have been no after effects of his seizure.

Last August my husband and I decided not to do the once a month chemo therapy with bunny - even the fruity tasting syrup no longer fooled bunny - most of the stuff ended up in his fur or on my clothes.

What unsettled me Tuesday night was that I never expected the youngest dog (my favorite) to have problems. I expected the next crisis would be with bunny or one of the older dogs. I forgot that nothing is static. I forgot that I don't get to choose the changes in life.

We give care to many people and animals, but we seldom give ourselves a hug or recognition. Now give yourself a hug.


Linda J. Austin writes from experience as a nursing assistance and a family caregiver. "When I was assigned my first hospice case, I found my place in life." Retired from several careers, Linda is studying creative art therapy.

I feel very lucky to have a place where our animals are cared for professionally and compassionately and one where I know they will be treated as individual patients and not just another number. Doctors Velasco and Runnfeldt are some of the best veterinarians in our area and I am very proud that we are able to utilize their services for our companion animal pet rescue.

— June Hatlestad

We have been bringing our pets to All Animal Clinic for over 25 years. The degree of knowledge and professionalism displayed by the doctors is unsurpassed, and the entire staff’s positive attitude, compassion, and understanding give us total confidence. We always leave with peace of mind, knowing our pets have received the best care possible.

— Jeff & Jackie Acre

Since the early 90s we’ve been coming to All Animal Clinic and just have to say, they are wonderful. Our dogs Zeus & Thor are happy, healthy, and appreciate the kind and caring atmosphere of the clinic. We’ve lived all over the country with our dogs nowhere has come close to keeping our animal family as happy and as healthy as All Animal Clinic.

— Anne & Bill Clayton

My dogs have been clients of All Animal Clinic for 15 years. I have found the doctors and staff to be excellent in all areas of care. Their ability to diagnose and treat every situation I have taken them in for has been amazing. They are all professional, caring, and efficient. I recommend this clinic and their doctors without hesitation.

— Diane Rogers

15 years ago we moved from California with seven dogs, and knew right away we’d have to find an excellent vet to care for our "children". Deciding on All Animal Clinic was the best choice we could have made. The facility is spotless and filled with the most modern equipment. The staff is professional and knowledgeable, caring and considerate. Most of all, the doctors are truly excellent.

— Christy & Tom Hallquest

facebook