by Jenni Arnett, MAVH Practice Manager
Even though I have worked with Dr. Franklin for over 25 years, I have been a petparent far longer.
Truly sharing your life with a pet, from daily routines to playtime, and yes, problems, helps you develop a keen sense of what is normal or not for that pet.
In 2008, I had the chance to adopt a Bouvier des Flandres who needed a new home. She was at least two at the time and I named her Pippi.
From day one she was a fabulous dog. Pippi had been trained well by her first petmom.
We shared an immediate bond. “Bouvs” are a fascinating breed–quite intelligent, ever-alert and always scoping out the situation, being rather serious with a hint of silliness around the very edges.
Pippi was all of that and more. I knew she always had my back. Years passed, life’s roller coaster ride continued, and she kept up with me without fail.
Ah, but that same passing of years also brought along the subtle changes in a pet that is living far faster than a human.
Pippi loved to go for walks, frolic with housemates, be with “her people”, eat ice cubes, and take naps. For at least 11 ¾ years she lived a very healthy life. Lucky dog.
Then, in what seemed like a twinkling, she stopped jumping up on her favorite bed and ignored ice cubes. Even worse, she didn’t help to keep our dog yard clean (yes, she was one of those dogs). When Pippi started to eat quite reluctantly, I knew something was very wrong. I could see “it” in her eyes.
She was happy to go to work with me “that” day but in my heart of hearts I was already thinking that it would be our last ride together.
Dr. Sollenberger greeted both of us, gave Pippi a glance and was equally concerned about her condition.
It wasn’t long before she was running a full blood panel in our lab and prepping her for an abdominal ultrasound.
I managed to enter the room just as she was scanning Pippi’s liver. Unfortunately, her liver was almost completely covered by a cavitated, no doubt cancerous, mass.
As Dr. Sollenberger gently put it, “you don’t need to make a decision now, but I wouldn’t wait too long.”
My heart sunk but Pippi deserved a peaceful and humane death because of all the wonderful, amazing memories we had shared for over 10 years.
The two of us took a walk, then sat for a while, talking and hugging. I could still see “it” in her eyes, despite my tears.
Back inside, the MAVH team was respectfully preparing for Pippi’s euthanasia.
Thanks to Dr. Sollenberger, she passed peacefully in my arms—quietly fading away from our life together.
Pippi was gone but will not be forgotten. I have my memories, and thanks to the artistry of Chris Heid at Agape Pet Services, I have my Pippi, too, in a beautifully handcrafted glass bead. I like to think she’s still looking out for me.
With sincere gratitude to the MAVH team and all others who helped both of us on that very difficult day. ja