Man’s Best Friend

Reader Contribution by Shawn Hosford
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Since I was a little girl, we’ve had pets — ranging in size (with the exception of a horse we had for a short period) from hamsters to dogs. Our most recent adopted dog was named Abby. As with all our pets, she was a very dear sweet companion. She was strong willed, somewhat aloof (raised by our cats), kind, sensitive and wise. Above all else she was there for me and our family at every turn. While having a pet is a luxury, because of the time and money attached to this responsibility, I find that what you receive back from them pays off in spades. 

We recently had to put Abby — our sweet quirky dog of 11 years — to sleep. She was walking four miles on Friday and immobile by Monday. She had a tumor on her spleen that was giving her great pain, and by Tuesday night she was gone.

When the vet, Franklin Vincenzi of Cascade Pet Hospital, told me of her condition and prognoses, I wept. Thankfully, I had an entire examination room to myself with Abby. Jessica, the receptionist, gave me tissues, a shawl, a blanket for Abby, and so much understanding. Sitting with Abby, I tried my best to comfort her. I called our friends to come say their goodbyes. Then, when our daughter arrived from the airport, having just returned from a trip the East Coast, Dr. Vincenzi and Carla, their lead technician, came in and finally put Abby to sleep while we continued to pet her and cry.

It is an often overlooked luxury to forget the fragility of life — we are here one moment and can be gone the next. A house can feel empty so suddenly, empty of that unconditional love that greets you as you arrive home or even just move around your inside space. Abby was the third dog my husband and I have lost together. The vacancy created by each one’s passing never gets any easier.

In my book The Invisible Parenting Handbook, my daughter describes me this way: “To call her a people person would be an unfortunate understatement.” The fact of the matter is that I’m not just a people person, I’m also a living creature person. I enjoy interacting with most living beings and know these interactions add to my life in many immeasurable ways. Abby’s interaction and love will be missed by me more than words can say.

What pets or animals have touched your life and how? Do you have time, energy, and the financial ability to add a pet to your family?


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