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A Christmas Gone to the Dogs

The week before Christmas found me encased in a glittery bubble with festive preparations all around. Cards were written and mailed early for a change and cookie baking fell next on my agenda. TV news warned that a monumental snow storm was brewing out West but life was wrapped in silver tissue and tied with a gigantic bow. As natives to Buffalo, we had come through storms unscathed our whole lives. The notion that anything could go haywire was unthinkable.


Saturday morning, I made delicious food to take to the annual artist’s party being held at a friend’s ornately decorated house. My husband was planning to drop me off and we set out to the location, just beyond Lockport. Barely on time, I asked him to detour to a nearby food store for a special gift for my friend’s dog---a (pig) bone all done up in pretty cellophane. Trixie-the-dog is all muscle and as playful as a wind-up toy. She is one in a succession of my friend’s favorite breed, the Boston Terrier. In the back of my mind, I remembered years ago a big bone being given to the dog named Ginger, two before Trixie. I had previously noticed the display of bones and while shopping and thought what a cool idea! By the time we got on the road again, wet snow had begun to fall but we made it safely to our destination. During gift exchange I asked permission, presented the dog with her bone and thought nothing more of it.


Early Tuesday morning, still full of plans for the holiday, I got a phone call from Trixie’s owner. Could my husband take her and the dog to the emergency vet? She thought a piece of the bone I’d given her had gotten lodged inside the dog causing a blockage. Gulp! Within seconds, I went from carefree to horrified. Not ever having had a dog, but no stranger throughout life to various family emergencies, I imagined the worst. Of course, having brought the bone into the house, I would pay for any costs incurred. Just let the sweet dog, my longtime buddy to be OK and go back to being her perky self. Agonizingly long hours later, I learned that the x-rays showed no blockage, only fine bone meal easily digestible and that all other tests were normal. The dog had perked up but still wasn’t drinking, eating or exhibiting normal digestive activity. Among the three of us it was decided that the vet should keep the dog overnight, get IV hydration and be observed.


Hours later, my husband got home. I was relieved to think the dog wasn’t going to need major surgery or heaven-forbid die. He said she seemed content, enjoying the attention, loved the vet’s assistants who showed her lots of love, and marched like a trouper to her cage. My husband who has known this dog since she was a tiny pup refers to her as akin to my friend’s child. Then, he revealed the sum. We paid the bill, a total of $3,400! (Three hundred got refunded when Trixie was discharged.)

The next day Trixie’s innerworkings seemed to be functioning well. My husband reversed course and got my friend and her dog home. Christmas day, I got a call wishing me Merry Christmas but when I asked the dog’s condition learned she was still not up to par. Weeks later, I was at last relieved to hear that the dog was back to her former self.


By the time the new year arrived, we had endured a snowstorm that nearly covered our front windows and I had berated myself over and over again for my foolishness. My husband never once commented about the experience --- or expense. Nor did he ever appear angry or disgusted. What a unique and wonderful guy! Many pitfalls exist on a given day, and I keep asking myself how I manufactured such a creative and unusual way to get myself into deep, dreadful trouble. It had to be destiny. It was for sure a lesson learned and in sharing it I hope that another person might think twice and avoid such a sad ordeal. Welcome to a clean slate, new beginnings, and a year of sane and sensible choices, 2023.




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