A lifetime ago I worked in a vet clinic. I loved it and I hated it. It was complicated. HA! I loved working with animals and learning and being a part of doing something to help dogs, cats, and even cows. Not gonna lie, farm calls were my favorite part of working in this particular clinic. Ok, so maybe hate is too harsh of a word. As I’m thinking back now, it was likely my immaturity and easily hurt feelings that caused any dislike. Still I’m grateful for working there, because there was a lot of good.
Anyway, this was one of several clinics I worked in. It was my first. It was the place I learned a ton about veterinary care and even myself in those years right after high school.
So, working in a veterinary clinic means you like dogs, right? You like animals and want to help them….if not, you are in the wrong field and need to not be there. But being someone who has a kind heart for dogs and cats means that when dogs and cats come in that are being abandoned because of cost or behavior issues, you feel for that dog. You might even develop a bond with him or her. And if you are me, you are likely to develop such a strong bond that there is not choice but to bring them home and have them be part of your family.
This happened to me. More than once. More than twice. Ok, so it happened a lot. haha.
Raymond was the second.
Raymond Michael McAfee, his full name, came to live with me about 12 or 13 years ago. He had lived with a family that had, 4 kids, I think. He had come to us once because he had stopped eating. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him, but we did. He had eaten a rock and it was lodged in his gi tract…I can’t remember if it made it past his stomach, but I feel like it was in his intestine. We removed the rock and nursed him back to health. I remember liking him. This big, over-sized hound lab mix thing. sigh. He was handsome and incredibly sweet. He became well enough to go home and we said good-bye.
Then a few months later, he was back. He had gotten loose and was hit by a car. Poor guy was in a lot of pain and needed surgery to removed the cracked femoral head on his femur….femoral head osteotomy. His owner, having spent several hundred dollars for his exploratory surgery months prior, didn’t have the money for the surgery. He was going to have to be euthanized.
Darcy, one of the vet techs, stepped up and suggested that the owner sign him over to the clinic and we would find a way to pay for the surgery. I had never known anything like this and was excited for Raymond. His owner thought about it and decided it would be best for Raymond to give him to us. I am so thankful he did.
Raymond ending up having the surgery and living in our clinic for weeks. We searched for the perfect new owner, but in my heart I knew he was to be mine. Those big golden eyes told me so. After a couple attempts and realizing he was just too much dog for most, the veterinarian said he could be mine.
I was over the moon. This 120+ pound sweetie was coming home with me. He had a hard time with his leg, so at night I would pick him up and lay him in bed with me, Sadie(also a former clinic dog), and Shelby.
They’re all gone now. Shelby, Sadie, and now Raymond. Raymond went to the land of puppy treats and giant butterfly fields just before Christmas. I miss them all terribly. 14 years is a lifetime, even for me. So much change and growth. Marriage, divorce, children, new homes, careers. I’m thankful for the time we shared. Good-bye for now, sweet handsome Ray. xoxo