The love of a dog


A firsthand glimpse into the daily life of a mixed animal practice veterinarian.

The love of a dog is a memory to be cherished, mine is of a Doberman.

The American Kennel Club sets standards for exhibiting dogs. The mandatory cropping of ears to a point and the docking of tails does not benefit the dogs in any way. It has long been deplored by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

There is a purpose however in cropping the ears on Dobermans. If their ears are not cropped they look like a Coonhound. Nobody is afraid of a Coonhound!

Schultz's Fancy Design (Fanny, as we called her) was a gift. The owner was an older widow who said she bought her as a deterrent because she had been getting obscene phone calls.

Fanny loved to see me as I gave her veterinary care and spayed her. Mrs. Smith met a man and soon had no need of the dog. She called and asked if I wanted Fanny and I gladly accepted. Not too many dogs love to see their veterinarian.

When I took her to our house at about ten in the morning all of the mothers and their little kids from our neighborhood were having their coffee “klatsch” on the back deck. Fanny bounded over to see the little ones much to the consternation of their mothers.

I told them “Don't be worried, she loves children, she had one for breakfast.” (They knew me well.)

In a short time the little ones were gleefully riding on her back as she gingerly walked around the lawn. Yes, Fanny was a remarkable dog and her greatest joy was pleasing people especially me. She loved to ride with me on country farm calls.

She fell ill when she was eleven years old and refused to eat. I did all the possible tests and concluded she probably had Lymphoblastoma or some other internal cancer.

At that time chemotherapy did not exist and radiation was not available for dogs. Though of course I knew the ultimate outcome, I could not bring myself to put her to sleep despite my wife's insistence.

Finally one day after lunch she came weakly wobbling, following me out to my truck. It was something she had not done in a long, long time.

I said “OK Fanny, I'm going to take you down to the clinic and put you to sleep.” I lifted her up on the seat of my pickup. As I drove down to my clinic she crawled over and put her head in my lap.

When we got to the clinic she was dead. It was her last gift to me.

My eye's still brim with tears as I write this.

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