The Value Of A Life

Have you ever wondered why things happen? I used to ask myself that question a lot when I was little and into my teens. Every time not so good things happened, the more I’d question WHY?

I hadn’t asked myself that question for a very long time until recently due to a very unexpected event. More on that later.

Here’s something you might not know about me. I’ve been called an “anti-pet” person, but a pro-animals. What I mean by that is that I love animals, but I’ve never really wanted the responsibility of caring for one because I’ve seen it as a huge responsibility.

However, I’ve always cared about pets and as a way to help indirectly, I’ve always donated things and money to organizations that help pets.

I think I formed this mentality about pet responsibility when I was very little. I was probably about 5 or 6 years old and still living in Nicaragua. I had a doggy name Dunky.

I don’t know where the name came from. I’m assuming I was trying to say something similar to that and I just remember calling my dog “Dunky”.

Well, I remember that Dunky died and my parents buried him in the back yard. I was very sad about it, like any other kid would be. But I think I learned about the big responsibility of a life through that experience.

Since then, I’ve noticed that I feel empathy for little animals in distress, but I wasn’t willing to take one in. I recall one year that I found a cat with a her newborn litter. I must have been about 9 or 10 years old.

The momma was inside plumbing access box on the back wall of the house where she was keeping her kittens warm.

I immediately ran into the house, grabbed a bowl of milk and took it to them as well as a blanket to keep them warm. Then, I took them out of their space and snuck them into the house.

My mom was not thrilled and had ordered me to take them outside. So, with a wrecked heart, I took them back out and put them back where they were because I figured they’d be warmer and protected from the cold air.

I’d check on them every day, multiple times a day until one day, they were all gone. I’d like to think that I helped them get strong until the momma was able to take them away to wherever they were headed.

But, what I remember is my deep worry about them. I hated not being able to know how to help them. So, while I know that some of you reading this might think that it’s better to adopt an animal instead of running away from the responsibility, I say to you, I know what I can and cannot handle.

What I can handle is giving my support in other ways such as donating money to shelters, donating food, towels and blankets and reporting people who are abusing animals.

Chief coming home with us in April. He loved his yellow bunny.

So, it was a huge surprise to those who know me that this past early April, my husband got a beautiful little Yorkie and Shih Tzu mix puppy while we were visiting my sister in Arizona.

I really didn’t want another dog. My husband had rescued our pitbull Chloe not 30 days after moving to California. He’s got a huge heart for pitbulls because of the stigma that follows them.

So, when Chloe came along I wasn’t very happy about it, but I also didn’t have the heart to send her back. She’d been through a lot the her first four months of life.

I never really grew super attached to Chloe, but I have learned to love and care for her. However, I started getting closer to her the past year and part of me wanted to get a smaller dog, but I couldn’t do it.

So, when my husband and two daughters kept insisting on getting another dog, I was reluctant. It scared me to have to care for another life. I saw it as a huge scary responsibility.

But, they convinced me and to be honest, I’m glad they did. We got Chief Lou on our way back from Arizona and it was a match made in heaven between him and I. He looked for me immediately as we rode in the car.

He sat on my lap and napped on me the whole ride home. He was my baby. He was happy, rambunctious, and full of life. He got along very well with Chloe and he hated it when he or Chloe were put on time out for their mischiefs.

He even slept our bed with us. His perfect spot was either above my husband’s pillow against the headboard, or right against my ribs. He’d wake me up every morning to be let out by standing on my tummy or my chest and whining.

He’d follow me to the restroom, wait for me right outside the shower, follow me into my closet and if I’d leave any room, he’d follow me to be nearby.

He was my baby who filled me with joy. He was my third child.

This past Monday he was running around in the back yard having a blast. He rolled around in wet grass and had to be bathed. Right after his bath, after he was nice and dry, we noticed he was salivating excessively and was having a hard time breathing.

This had happened once before about a month after we’d gotten him. So, we took him to the veterinary clinic near my home. He was diagnosed with respiratory pneumonia.

His lungs were very full of liquid and I was told he needed to see a cardiologist immediately because they also noticed his heart was enlarged compared to the April x-rays. I was told he was looking pretty bad, so I started calling lots of veterinary hospitals and clinics.

Unfortunately the soonest a cardio vet would become available in any Veterinary Clinic was Thursday on a walk-in. Otherwise, the earliest appointment would have been August 17th.

Chief was given medicine at the ER and was sent home with antibiotics and another medicine to reduce the liquid in his lungs.

He didn’t improve. He threw up blood and I took him into a different ER (California Veterinary Specialists – a 24 hr hospital) where the level of care was more of a Johns Hopkins level. Luckily, my dear friend Gerardo went with me for support since my husband was asleep.

Also, someone had to stay with our girls. So, we went to the ER full of hope.

It was there were they confirmed that nothing was going to save him at this point. It was the petrifying results I’d been dreading. He was given oxygen to be more comfortable, but he was exhausted and still in pain because he still struggled to breathe.

So, Chief passed away on the 19th at 2:41am in my arms as I told him I loved him and caressed his little back and paws.

My baby pup no longer suffered and I’ll forever miss him. He really was the best friend any person could have. He was loving, energetic, very outgoing with everyone and he stole every person’s heart – especially mine.

 

I was not too keen on sharing his story soon, but many friends encouraged me to write this post to try to heal and to remember all the good times with his. Also, so that those of you who read this can honor his memory.

I’ve been crying on and off since he passed and while it just happened I feel that time has moved in slow motion. I really feel that I’ve lost a family member and it hurts so much to want to have him back so bad.

Writing this story has been very hard, but I’m glad I have so many wonderful memories with Chief. I’m also happy that he had a great life while he was with us.

The point of sharing this story is that I know there are a lot of people like me out there. We love animals, from a distance you could say. We’re willing to take one in to save it from bad things. But we prefer to support in other ways.

Chief helped me see the animal world differently. He taught me to relax more, to make time for play. He loved my kids and my kids had a blast with him. My husband was taken by surprise how much he loved the little guy because he’d always loved bigger dogs.

One of my sisters shared with me that she had recently read that people with pets tend to be happier. I think that’s pretty accurate. I was a more chilled person when Chief came into my life. It was just something about him.

He’d sit at my feet each time I worked. He’d nap on my lap or next to my office chair. I’d feel his soft fur and body heat next to my feet as I sat at the computer and typed away or made phone calls. He was my baby and my little companion. We had fun together and he cheered me up with his energy.

Why am I sharing this story today? I know. It has nothing to do with business or bullying or self-improvement. I write it so that if you’re like me and you just can’t commit to a pet, then maybe my story can help you decide to give back in a different way.

If you are someone who has always cared about pets and would like to help pets like my baby Chief, this is what you can do. You can donate your old blankets, towels, pillows and your talent to support a shelter.

You might be able to spread the word about an adoption event with your marketing skills or you might be able to simply donate money to your nearby shelter – even $5.00 can go a long way. You could also volunteer to walk dogs and to bathe animals at shelters.

I urge you to do this if your heart desires because these loving animals deserve to live a good comfortable life. This is why I’ve always been against pet breeders and people who abuse and neglect pets – because they deserve to be treated like family members rather than temporary object for entertainment.

To me, pet ownership is just like having a child. So, if you are not willing to pay what it takes to help out your pet during a time of need, then you probably should not own one. Pet insurance can start at $60-$80 and up. So, if that’s affordable to you, then buy it to have a backup plan in case something happens.

Don’t get me wrong, in the case of Chief, no high-quality level insurance or medical treatment could have saved him. But maybe it could save yours.

One thing I noticed at all animal clinics is that if a person doesn’t have the money to save their pet, they pretty much have to either borrow the money from friends or family members, they have to apply for a credit card through a third party financer through the vet’s office, or let their pet die.

I think that for those people who don’t have the means to save their pet through any of those options, it’s very unfair to let a little innocent animal die in suffering. Some people can’t even afford the fees to put their pet down to end their suffering.

So, I thought of asking those of you who might be tech savvy to create an app where people in tough situations would be able to ask for donations to complete strangers during an emergency.

I know. It sounds crazy. Some people might take advantage of it and say they don’t have the money. But I’m sure that a tech savvy person would include a way to weed out scammers. I have a few thoughts on how that can be done.

Surely there might be other ideas out there and if you’re up for the challenge, I’d love to hear your ideas and perhaps give feedback.

Because we have to stop thinking of pets’ lives as less valuable than humans. If Chief had been a human, I’m sure that the hospitals would have done more to try to find a solution to his health problem. Surely, cardio doctors would have been more available rather than just once a week.

Before I leave you, I want to send a shout out to my friend, Gerardo Vergara. I know that he too loved Chief. He loved him so much that he donated money towards his medical expenses and he was there with Chief until the end – right along my side. And for that, I am deeply thankful.

Have you had a loss of a pet? Comment below on how you honor your pet’s memory.

   Much Love,

 

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