After Sophie became paralyzed I found myself scanning the news for stories about pets with special needs. I think I did it to prove to myself there were other people in the world going through the same challenges. I also did it to ease my fears that I wasn’t a “crazy lady.” Last week I came across an article in the news that put my worries to rest.
The story was about Hilton Head resident, Lara Love who has a big heart for special needs dogs. She currently is the caregiver for 16 pups that are paralyzed, blind or elderly.
The group includes Winnie who lost her back paws after a train accident and Miss Mercy and Mr. Simeon who each became paralyzed after being hit by a car. The rest of the clan includes a little blind dog named Glory and others that are incontinent and old.
Each dog was rescued by Lara and given a second chance. But if Lara hadn’t stood up for the first dog she rescued none of her good work would have happened. When she found her first paralyzed dog, the veterinarian who she turned to for advice got angry and told her the dog should be euthanized because it could never have a good quality life.
Lara didn’t listen to the vet and helped the dog anyway. She proved that each life is worth saving and believes that many veterinarians euthanize special needs dogs because of their lack of experience working with them.
Since that time, rescuing dogs that are literally on their last legs has become a focal point of Lara’s life.
When Sophie had been paralyzed for about 6 months I had a similar experience with our veterinarian.
After a routine visit, I was in earshot when she commented to a colleague that it was foolish to keep Sophie alive. I remember her saying, “The dog has been down for 6 months and she isn’t going to get better.” Then she wondered why my husband and I were keeping her around.
Her comment left me in shock. She hadn’t said anything about this during our visit. I felt like a “crazy lady” until we left that clinic and found a veterinarian who was more sympathetic.
When you have a disabled pet, you’re always swaying back and forth trying to determine that the care you are giving your pet is benefitting them and not something to ease your own anxiety. What you really want is a professional who can be a partner and help you make wise decisions.
Realizing that my veterinarian wasn’t the person I thought, was one of the hardest lessons of my life. The power of her words caused me to lose a sense of confidence that I’m not sure I’ll ever get back.
Read more about The Lessons I learned from Sophie.
Read more about Lara Love on Facebook, photo courtesy Lara Love.