A while ago I was preparing for a weekend workshop. Weekends are often busy for me. I was really looking forward to the class. As fate would have it, things went entirely differently than I thought.
On Friday evening my dog Pablo gradually showed signs of respiratory distress. I monitored him carefully and what ensued was that my little man dog who I love to the moon and back, was coughing non stop through the night - loud, honking, gagging, retching cough and he got more and more exhausted but was unable to rest. Needless to say we didn't get any sleep that night.
I somehow got through Saturday morning with part of my class and then I had to stop due to his miserable condition. I began calling vet clinics and talked to every emergency hospital in the area, pleading with them to make room for us that day. This went on for hours. I would have been willing to drive to Timbuktu to get my dog seen. All I wanted was relief for him.
As you may know, it can be very difficult to get urgent care veterinary appointments, especially on the spot, on weekends. Many clinics are still understaffed and maxed out. Even in a vast radius of my area most of the emergency clinics were full, they weren’t able to fit us in, even with a long wait in the parking lot. We’re talking 6 to 8 hours of waiting.
For obvious reasons this was a highly stressful situation. My adrenaline was pumping but I was on a mission. I tend to be laser focused in a situation like this, fiercely determined, unstoppable. In the thick of this extreme stress while I was busy figuring things out, I also took refuge in my heart. This heart energy oozed out of me in every conversation I had with the many receptionists I called - some I called more than once pleading with them so that Pablo could get care. I don’t know whether you believe me but most of these exchanges happened with grace and love. I talked to strangers I had never met, who were dealing with a cacophony of requests from desperate pet owners like myself.
I could feel that they tried to listen and that their concern was genuine. They apologized, they felt bad for me and my dog. I also know that most of them have pets, too. This experience felt larger than the negotiation of appointments and this is what made it so miraculous for me. It might sound corny but my love met their love.
Eventually we ended up at a veterinary hospital way out in the boonies. It was a long drive. We did not have to wait in the parking lot. The staff was warm and welcoming - the receptionists, the vet techs and the veterinarian who treated my dog. They CARED. I loved them for this. I asked many questions, and I got answers. They told my dog that he was a good boy, a very good boy. I loved them for this. They had many patients that day and they took the time to tend to us.
Many of you have been in similar situations, I am sure of it. I am also sure that many of you have been desperate and didn’t achieve the desired outcome. Maybe you couldn’t be seen that day, maybe you did have to wait in the car way too long, maybe you got frustrated, maybe the people who worked at the clinic were harsh with you. Maybe nobody took the time to talk you through the procedures properly. My heart goes out to you and my heart goes out to your animals.
So why am I talking about this? Because it is possible to experience love and care and connection. Always. That’s the silver lining for me, that’s what I’m holding onto. My dog is not out of the woods. Turns out that he has a chronic progressive condition. It's manageable for now . As I'm writing this he is resting. And he is loved by many.
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