by Shannon Shull
For all you animal lovers out there, you’ll love this story. Heck, even those of you who prefer to look at animals from a distance may be touched by the following story.
Here we go….In early March of last year, after I’d survived a big showcase with some of my amazing acting students, I awoke on a Sunday morning positively exhausted, fighting bronchitis (of course due to wearing myself out), and while in an early morning daze, still pouring my coffee, a neighbor called to tell me that she thought my dog had been run over in front of my house. I ran out the door to find two trucks, a car and several people crowded around my little white dog lying in the middle of the road. I screamed for my husband… because I certainly could not handle seeing our pup smashed & bloody in any way.
My crying children and I stood on the porch as we watched their Daddy scoop our pet into his arms and carry him our way, yelling at me to call the animal hospital. Our pup thankfully was breathing and did not look smashed or bloody, but the tire marks, road rash ripped hair, tongue hanging from the his mouth and the fact that he couldn’t move was not a good sign. I was positively frantic trying to dial any animal hospital that was open, fortunately my husband had enough sense to go straight to our local vet and attempt to see if anyone was there before he drove too far trying to find help. Miraculously our local vet was actually at the office for some rare reason and took our pup in immediately to check him out. My husband was sent home and we all very impatiently and fearfully waited for word on our dog’s status.
Now let me tell you a little bit about this dog – his name is Buddy and he’s a total rascal. We had every intention of naming him something super cool and different, but in the process of trying to agree on a name, we all called him buddy and it stuck. Now when I say that Buddy is a rascal, I mean, he’s a real RASCAL of a dog! Ever seen the movie Marley & Me? Yea, our Buddy comes in a close second to Marley. He’s apparently part goat and has been discovered many times on top of our dinner table enjoying leftovers and anything else he could get into. He’s known for getting into our guests’ luggage – one time a dear friend of ours was visiting from CA and while we were all hanging out, Buddy proceeded to graciously & with total pride, bring us her thong underwear. Thank God she has a great sense of humor!
When any person enters our house that is afraid of dogs or NOT an animal lover, he’ll pinpoint them in seconds and not leave them alone, as if he’s trying to convince them to like him. If men are around, he’ll make his way to the largest man and proceed to hump the heck out of him in an attempt to dominate. And he talks, oh does he ever talk… if the dog wants a treat or to be played with, he’s like a 5-year-old that won’t hush until you give him attention. All that rascal-ness being declared, he’s also one of the sweetest, most charming and loving dogs on the planet, not to mention our fierce protector who never lets us down when we need notification that anyone is near our house.
Let’s just say, my little family knows how to pick pets with tons of character! And our little Buddy takes the cake. So you can imagine that when our resident rascal got clobbered by a car, it was quite the tragic moment – a moment in which my husband and I had to make a dreaded decision of whether or not to put our bud to sleep or drop tons of dough to fix his rascal self. Basically the vet told us that his internal organs were just fine, BUT his back hips and legs were nearly crushed and we were referred to a specialist. And as some doctors can do all too well, the specialist made the procedure sound oh so simple, yet when we asked our millions of questions, in the end he could guarantee nothing. I won’t drag you into the depths of our struggles that followed, but basically we could not bare to even consider putting the rascal to sleep when all he had was broken bones, so we bit the bullet and proceeded to spend an enormous amount of money fixing a 15 pound Schnoodle. Of course we were assured that the cost would not go over a certain amount and we vowed to try not to tell anyone the amount we were about to spend on a dog. And then as life can all too well do, we were pushed to the limits and after supposed emergency blood transfusions, reactions to meds and etc, etc, the price naturally rose and we quickly became the owners of the most expensive Schnoodle rascal on the planet.
He was in the animal hospital for a week. And when we brought him home, whew….. now, I’m going to be completely blunt here – it was hell. I fortunately escaped the initial worst of it because I had to fly to Los Angeles before Buddy came home. Let’s just say my husband deserves a gold medal for what he endured the week I was gone. The poor pup came home with long incisions stitched and stapled on either side of his hips, he couldn’t move of course, was on all kinds of meds, which in turn gave him terrible diarrhea. And when I say diarrhea, I mean, words cannot describe the torture my husband went thru caring for this dog. My man is a farm boy that can handle anything – he’s a master with dirty diapers, barfing kids, you name it, he’s got an iron stomach. But he quickly admitted his experience helping Buddy put him over the edge something fierce.
By the time I arrived back home, the diarrhea was much better but ole Buddy was not even close to being healed yet. For months it was literally as if we had an infant in the house again. Buddy had to be cared for 24/7. He had to be carried outside to go potty, he had to be coaxed to eat and drink, be administered all kinds of meds morning, noon and night, I was constantly scared to death that one of my kids was going to somehow accidentally break him again and the kicker – the poor dog whined incessantly. Our normally VERY active dog, wasn’t able to stand or move for weeks, so his only defense apparently was to whine day and night. There were times that the animal had enough pain meds in his system that he shouldn’t have felt a thing but he’d still whine. I personally think it was because he was flat out pissed off that he couldn’t move and that was his way of telling us and crying about it! It got so bad that I called our vet nearly in tears begging for something to give the dog to keep him from whining all the time. Yes, I got puppy Prozac for my dog. Look, we were desperate. I was ready to give Buddy away – it was maddening. I even posted a status on Facebook asking if anyone knew of a retired dog lover that would nurse our dog back to health for us! It was rough ya’ll! But, in the end, we survived, thanks to the puppy Prozac, enormous amounts of patience and true love for our pet. After we spent a small fortune fixing Buddy, we were told by the physical therapist people that he may never run again or be able to go up and down stairs. All we could think is – great, now we have the most expensive crippled dog on the planet.
Here’s some video of Buddy three weeks after his accident:
All that being said, I’m very happy to report that our Bud is miraculously fine! You’ll watch the video I’ve included and feel so sorry for that poor crippled dog. But I can assure you, he now runs as fast as he ever did, wrestles with my kids and is as wild and rascally as he ever was. And thank God, after weeks of pure torture, the whining finally stopped for good. In time, he healed, though I still tend to treat him like a piece of expensive, fragile china. He favors one his back legs when he goes up and down steps, always lifting the leg that was crushed the most. And the only good thing that came out of it, is that the rascal can’t jump up high on things anymore! No more goat episodes of finding him on top of my table or couch! But that’s not the only good thing that came out of the incredibly testing experience. We learned a valuable lesson about life and about love. I truly believe that there is a reason why we went through everything and saved this dog’s life. I believe this dog was spared for a reason. I’m not sure what that reason is – maybe to teach us a valuable lesson, to test us, or maybe animals really do have little souls and maybe this pup’s soul was meant to be with us. I look into Buddy’s eyes and there’s something special there. I’d like to think he’s our little angel – one of the many angels that watch over us and keep us safe. I’d like to think that because he’s still with us, he will in some way rescue us from something in the future like we rescued him. Life has a funny way of bringing things to light. And in our case, because of everything we have experienced and endured with this dang dog, we now have a deep love and devotion to his precious little rascal self.
Do you have a precious pet story to share? There are many of us out there who truly grasp the priceless value of having a pet, of experiencing unconditional love from an animal. In many ways, a pet can save our lives on different levels. And who knows, if we look at our pets as if they’re our little angels on earth, then maybe they’ll become just that – they’ll be our one friend that consistently forgives us no matter how we behave, they’ll love us unconditionally no matter what we look like or say and they’ll forever be our buddy.
In my next blog entry you’ll get a glimpse at the incredibly unique way that our pup sleeps now that he’s got a few screws and a metal plate in his hips. I thought our Bud was quirky before he was crushed! I’ll also make sure to include a video of present day Buddy running full speed so you can be assured that he’s ok! Stay tuned for Part 2 of “For the Love of Buddy”!