Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Princess – Our Miracle Dog

Today and Thursday we'll have posts for the I <3 Dogs Tour Week. Visit Tour Host Small Town Rescue for links to other blogs participating this week and to see how you can win prizes! And remember, if you'd like a copy of Vet Tech Tales: Vol 1, just let me know in the comments or by email. I'll be happy to send you a FREE e-copy in the format of your choice.


Today's guest post is by Karen Hartman 

How do you choose just one animal as your favorite? Maybe it’s easy for others. But if you asked parents to choose a favorite child, I think many would balk, saying “Oh, we love Johnnie and Susie equally, just in different ways; we could never pick a favorite.” I feel the same way about animals (maybe because they are the closest things to children in my life). So instead, I’ll tell you about the first dog I had as an adult.

My husband, Tim, and I had recently married. He’d just received his military commission and moved to South Carolina, while I stayed in southwest Ohio for a couple of quarters to finish my graduate degree. That’s when Princess came into my life. 

She was about a year old when I adopted her – a happy little Sheltie who was eager to please. I was a couple of hours from family and didn’t have many friends in the area. Her companionship was a real blessing – it helped make the final months in Ohio fly by.

Princess and I joined Tim in SC, and she quickly acclimated to the new home and to having a man in the house. She was initially scared of Tim (she was always wary of men, especially tall, dark-haired men), but they soon became friends. Tim would come home from work and play with her, which she loved. She tore around the house, twirling in tight little Sheltie circles and jumping up on him, smiling and panting. This became a nightly ritual; I don’t know who had more fun, Tim or Princess!

She learned many tricks: sit, shake, lie down. Tim was in a basic training unit–working with drill sergeants and new recruits–so he was beyond proud when she learned to low-crawl, scooting along the carpet on her belly, like a soldier out in the field. You can imagine how many treats she earned for that trick.

Princess went everywhere with us – boating with our family, hiking in the caves, even walking along the beach when we were stationed in Hawaii. She was a true “Velcro dog” – always within a foot or two of Tim or me, no matter what we were doing. If I was in the kitchen cooking, she’d be right there, sniffing around, trying to find crumbs I had dropped on the floor. When Tim was working at his desk, she would lie on the carpet right by his feet, just enjoying resting beside him. We used to joke that if she were an Indian, her name would have been “Underfoot” – she was constantly that close!

She was there in the bad times, as well. I can remember her sitting beside me on the couch while I was upset about something that had happened that day. She would look into my eyes and listen to me as I talked; it was like she could understand every word. Tim would often share his frustrations with her, too. She was the best therapist we could ever have. 

When we were stationed near Chicago, Princess was diagnosed with Stage IV lymphoma. We found a great oncologist who was trying a new chemo protocol. He said it would give her at least another eight months, with good quality of life. We gave it a shot. She ended up living more than four years, albeit at a slower pace, ever playful and happy. They called her a miracle dog. And she was, in more ways than one. 

Princess with "Mom" (Karen)


Anonymous said...

What a story. Wiping my eyes. I'll never have another animal. For all those reasons that hurt so much.

Beautiful photos. Mac

Karen said...

Hi Mac, and thank you! Yes, it hurts to lose them. It took us a long time to get another, but we finally did and are so happy! I'll tell you more about that in a couple of weeks in another guest post...

Wilkins MacQueen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wilkins MacQueen said...

I am now Rescue Mommy Mac. My first dog rescue in Thailand. I sent the post and pictures to Phoenix, she'll get it up when she has time.

Your story stayed with me. Did Princess move me from inertia to positive action? With a little shove from VK's last story? I got involved and I vow never the use the "n" word again. N = never.

You'll meet Buffy here in a day or two. I'll send updates. Buffy is at the start of the rescue road.

She'll be in the vet clinic for three weeks until her treatment is complete. She is one little heartbreaker to look at today today but I know she'll feel better soon.

She is totally overwhelmed at this writing with mange/scabies and a bacterial infection. Ears bleeding raw from scratching and healing from a dreadful abcess that was lanced/drained today. I can still here her scream. She's only two months old.

I can't have pets where I live but I'll work something out. Somehow. Thanks for your story. Buffy thanks you for helping me give my head a shake.

Karen said...


WOW - I can't wait to meet Buffy and learn more about how she came into your life! I hope you'll be able to keep her at your place or nearby, despite the rules where you live. Here's to your new rescue!

Landra said...

Oh, this story brought a few tears to me too! Princess sounds like an amazing dog. It's funny when they say 'a dog is man's best friend'. If you've never had a dog in your life you wouldn't understand the phrase completely. Princess sounds like the perfect example. From the sounds of it she gave as much as recieved. Thank you for sharing your story and for the beautiful pictures.