Sunday, February 13, 2011
Every Valentine's Day I am reminded of two little puppies that I met very early in my career (I don't want to age myself but it was before CDs had been invented #ouch).
I was just a kennel assistant back then and sure I loved all animals but growing up on a ranch I had a special affinity to working dogs, in particular Border Collies.
So you can imagine how upset I was when two little Border Collie puppies came in with parvo.
Back then parvo was a very serious disease with a super high mortality rate. We always did everything we could but back then we just didn't have the knowledge/resources to save most of them.
But here came these two pups, so sick, but so in love with one another.
Per standard protocol we separated them into two different cages. They were side by side. But that was not enough. Somehow they moved the barrier and were found snuggled together.
Ok, we tried putting them in two different banks of cages. Somehow one of them broke out and was found laying up against the bars with the other laying on the bars from her side.
Now remember I was just a kennel assistant, but I cared for a lot of patients and had great instincts so I told the vet that I thought we should keep them together.
He had never heard of such a thing, and neither had I, I just had the gut feeling they needed one another.
So with not a lot else we could do, we decided to keep them together. It took several days, but hour by hour they got stronger.
And they survived! It was the first set of pups we had that were that sick that fully recovered.
The owners, who came in every day to visit decided to call the pair "Love" and "Bug."
Those two pups went on to live happy, long lives.
After those two though, we realized the importance of managing body heat and the simple comfort of having another animal with them.
For the really sick little babies, my own Border Collie "Sox" would curl up with those sick puppies and let them know someone in the world loved them very much. I can't tell you what that did for our survival rates.
Even after so many advances have been made and how much better our survival rates are, there is still that occasional pup that gets so very sick. Thank goodness I had an Aussie girl who would love to curl up in their cage and nurse them back to health.
So on this Valentine's Day, do not ever underestimate the power of Love (or Bug) :-)