What’s up, cool cats. Today I have a bit of a bummer story, but I figure I could make a bit of difference in some lives if I relate some of it to my adoring fans.
I have a very dear friend who I’ve known for an embarrassing number of years and decades. She has been with me through thick and thin, and has been a great help to me as I’ve gone through my admittedly extreme ups and downs in life. She’s the person who has picked me up out of a gutter in front of a dive bar at four A.M. after I was stomped by some bikers, and bailed me out of jail on more than one occasion.
This gracious and beautiful woman has a strength of personality borne from a very difficult and tumultuous life. She was an army brat, never staying in one place for more than a year or two, so she never had any close friends growing up. All she had was a few brothers and sisters, all much older than her, who never really paid her any attention; a mother who her father had married while stationed in Japan and taken back to the states, where she never really knew up from down; and finally, a drunk and abusive father.
Her home life was never good, and so as soon as she was legally able, she left for her mother’s home country of Japan to live with her grandparents. She grew up to be exceptionally beautiful, winning quite a few beauty pageants in her day. Unfortunately, her incredible looks and her poor upbringing made for a terrible mix, and the relationships she developed with men over time did not stray far from the ones she was familiar with in childhood.
She moved back to the states with her first husband, left him, and found a second one only a couple short years later. That one wouldn’t last either – and so it went, with her floating from one disaster in love to another.
There were only two really stable relationships in her life – me (which is really saying something), and her dog, Mako. I couldn’t tell you what breed or mix of breeds this little runt is – jet black fur that tufts around the neck, with a splatter of white on the chest, and the most annoying yapping bark that you could ever imagine.
Still though, that dog has been her constant companion for going on fifteen years now. She never had children, despite her many marriages, and so Mako is the sole object of her maternal love and devotion.
That’s what makes this story so sad – she recently noticed the dog had been barking a little less, coming to greet her a little less enthusiastically, and seemed a bit less excited to go on walks than usual. She took her to the vet and received the worst possible news: cardiomyopathy.
In other words, a death sentence.
She called me up in tears, and she brought the dog over to me and cried in my arms all night. I’d never seen her like that before – the woman always seemed impenetrable, always upbeat and positive about life no matter what new tragedy she was walking into.
One thing she had always neglected was healthcare – not only for herself, but for the dog. She simply had not grown up in an environment that put much stock in taking care of yourself and making healthy choices.
If she had given the dog regular checkups, the problem might have been found a little earlier – prognosis usually improves if found in the early stages of the disease. If they had caught it a little earlier, a cardiac veterinarian may have been able to give her the tools needed to extend Mako’s life comfortably and given her a little more time to say goodbye.
I, of course, didn’t tell her any of this – don’t need to rub that in her face. For those of you reading out there, however, consider this some advice borne from experience: get your dogs regular checkups, and make sure if they find a potential heart issue, get them to Dr. Carly Saelinger of Cardiac Vet. She will give you an accurate prognosis and treatment plan that will get your pet back on track, or at least give you a little more time.