lessons in hindsight

I was truly grateful that we had started a household emergency fund. It has provided for repairs to air conditioning, car repairs, and even some assistance to our family. Since January, we knew that Comet’s arthritis was progressive and not likely to improve with medication. We focused on pain relief. We did not know that cancer, which is more common in older greyhounds, had been weakening his other leg. When Comet collapsed one evening, we made the decision to have him euthanized at home.

During that same period, Dexter’s quick decline we missed as mourning his pal. Holiday weekends are the worst time to need treatment and diagnosis, but the emergency fund gave us the ability to order tests and medication. However, we learned test results days later which only left us with one course of action. For the second time in a month, we bid another dog cross the Rainbow Bridge. The lessons that their conditions taught us, was to become more educated about various medical conditions affecting our next adoption.

I have not always been trusting of veterinary care (Sometimes it is the lack of a trusted veterinarian at clinics dedicated more to dollars than diagnoses.) A dog I adopted in 1990 from a shelter in Washington, DC became ill soon thereafter, and was diagnosed to have incurable leukemia. I decided to euthanize her. A dog I had just adopted in Virginia had severe mange, but I declined the veterinarian’s advice to put him down. (Happy was with me and later my family for fifteen healthy years.)

In recent years, I took the dogs for examinations when they needed updated vaccinations. Did I need to do more? It is possible that alerting our veterinarian early this year to Dexter consuming large amounts of water, which he had been doing for the last few years, might have detected kidney problems while still treatable.

I will apply these lessons for our next foundling.

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