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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 25 June 2002 Issue


As the anniversary of our 4 years of marriage draws close, my husband and I
are reminded of so many happy things, but also we are reminded of a terrible
loss that, strangely enough, brought us closer together.

Like a lot of young people in their early 20's, I had reached a point in my
life where I was very restless -- very unconnected to the world around me.  It
was hard to go home at night to an empty house, and it was one of the
loneliest times in my life.  Fate, however, would soon have its way with me,
and I'm sure God had a few plans in store for me as well.

It seems that we just happened to be on the same road at the same time --
Perry and me, that is.  There in front of me, in a very busy intersection, was
what I thought to be a puppy trying to cross the road.  I decided to pull over
and try to rescue it from what was sure to be an ugly end to its short life.

He sat shivering by the side of the road, small but definitely grown up, a
little dachshund, black and tan with very big brown eyes.  I estimated that he
was probably 3 or 4 years old, but he had no collar and his little feet were
bloody from what appeared to be a very long walk.

From that point on, he was "Perry" and he was mine -- and I was most
certainly his.  He was my reason to go home at night, and he was my reason to
have a new outlook.  Eight months down the road, I met the man that would
someday be my husband.  When we got together he always included Perry. He liked my dog and, most importantly, my dog liked him.  Soon I knew happiness in a way I hadn't in a long time, but unfortunately it was short-lived.

Perry and I had only been together for a year, but he seemed so much a part
of my life that I felt that he had always been there.  However, in February of
that year, he became very ill and within a short amount of time I realized
that I might soon have to face life without him.  After many misdiagnoses and
several animal hospitals, it was determined that he had kidney disease.  We
began treatment immediately.  For the next 3 months there were numerous trips to the vet, to the animal hospital, and to the emergency clinic in the middle of the night.  I learned to give Perry an IV, which I had to do several times a day to replenish liquids. There were medications to administer, there were vitamins, and a completely new diet, all of which made small differences
--enough to get your hopes up for a few days.

The whole family got involved -- my Mom and Dad were babysitters during the day while I was working, and my boyfriend took care of him on his days off.  I had everyone I knew sending up prayers for the little guy.  People around me soon forgot that Perry was a dog, or maybe it just didn't matter to them -- they all loved him, too.

In May of 1998, it had become painfully clear that he was wasting away, and I
knew he was only hanging on for me and that somehow I was going to have to
let him go.

On his last day, he began having seizures that wouldn't stop and I think God
allowed that, so that I would know for sure.

My boyfriend went with me -- that was the saddest car ride I've ever had and
we were there too quickly.  I said my good-byes again -- I'd been practicing
them for weeks -- and I went to the car to wait.  My boyfriend stayed with
him.  Within moments he came to the car with tears bigger than mine and said
that he was sorry.  He knew he needed to be strong for me but he couldn't help it, because he loved him too.  I found myself comforting him, and in that
moment I knew that was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.  A man so compassionate and so sensitive that he could let a little dog, that wasn't even his, win his heart over.

We were married 3 months later.  My dad said to me that maybe God sent Perry to me for a reason -- to take care of me until I met the man that was
intended for me.  And, when his job was done it was time for him to go.

Dad has no idea how right he is.  Perry changed my life and who knows where I would be if he hadn't come into my life at just the right time.  As I sit
looking out over the expanse of our back yard, I think sadly how much Perry
would have loved it here, how much he would have loved us being a family, and how he would have loved our new baby girl.  Now we have Tiger-Lily, a little Cairn Terrier mix, and I think she and Perry must have had a talk before God sent her to us, because she takes care of us just as he would have wanted!

Return to Animals in Print 25 Jun 2002 Issue

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