This afternoon, I was out with Jelly for her daily walk. Really, given her age (14) and hip dysplasia, it’s more of a stagger-stroll-stop-and-snack. She scampers out of the gate and stops, waits for me to give her a snack, then forges unsteadily ahead, weaving, panting, stopping – until she gets another snack – then presses forward. And so it goes: stop-snack-stagger, stop-snack-stagger. Occasionally, she’ll meander off the sidewalk and onto the grass to do her business, and then promptly wobble back on track and resume her promenade. She goes all the way up to the corner (half a block) and back. By the time she returns to the front gate, some twenty minutes later, you’d think she’d run a marathon: wide-eyed, wheezing, but, clearly, proud of her accomplishment.
Every so often, a passerby will stop me to inquire about her. Today, it was an elderly woman who slowed down to quietly observe Jelly before asking me how old she was. “Fourteen,”I replied. “She’s got bad hips.”
She crouched down with some effort and asked me if she could pet her. Jelly offered her own response, ambling over, tailing wagging, staring up hopefully. “Are you giving her anything for the pain?”she asked as she pet my appreciative pug. I told her I was and explained the lengths I’ve gone to help maintain her quality of life. There was one point when the hip dysplasia got so bad, she was unable to support herself. Every time she tried to stand up, her hind quarters would give out on her. I was at a loss – until I did some internet research and discovered that stem cell treatments had shown some promise in treating dogs with Jelly’s condition. I contacted my local vet, made arrangements through Vet-Stem in San Diego (Vet-Stem Cell Therapy: Arthritis in Dogs & Cats | Tendons …) and got her the therapy. She showed marked improvement and, within weeks, she was back on her paws and walking. Wobbly, mind you, but the fact that she was able to support herself once again made it well worthwhile.
“That couldn’t have been cheap,”remarked the woman. I confirmed it wasn’t. Nor were the radiation treatments and anti-cancer vaccines for my other pug, Maximus (who now sits guard in the masthead of his this blog). In both cases, I feel it was money well spent. And, truthfully, even if Jelly’s treatment hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t have regretted spending the money because, at the end of the day, I’d know I’d done everything I could for her.
This seemed to strike a chord with the woman who stood up and said I was a good dog dad, then proceeded to tell me about her miniature poodle who had passed away suddenly, at age 15. It was only when she apologized that I realized she was crying. At a loss, I did the only thing one could do in that situation. I gave her a hug. And she told me all about her beloved dog who, despite having passed away over a year ago, was still greatly missed. Then, pulling herself together and wiping away the tears, she thanked me, gave Jelly another pat, and continued on her way.
It was an atypical encounter, both curious and kind of touching.
Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular Deni. Hope Gumbo is on the mend!
31 thoughts on “April 24, 2013: Walks with Jelly!”
Hard to comment because I have tears in my eyes. So I’ll just say, yes, you are the best dog dad.
Aww, Joe, thanks! It’s been a bit of a tough day for Gumbo, lots of whining and discomfort/pain, but the vet doubled up on his pain meds and he’s finally asleep. Your entry tonight really resonated around here. We’ve actually been thinking that Gumbo’s time is quickly approaching. He’s very old, has a really hard time getting up and walking and he pees and poops himself quite a bit these days. Thing is, for the most part, he’s happy. Pee and poop gets cleaned up pretty easily, and somebody’s always around to help him get around (ok, except for yesterday!). His appetite is fantastic. When I talked to my vet about getting him a dental and extracting the abcessed tooth, she asked if I was sure I wanted to spend the money, seeing how he’s so old. This was before we even discussed removing the huge cyst on his neck. You know, the way I feel is that even if he had a month to live, if he felt better during that time, then it’s money well spent. I’m sure his mouth was hurting tremendously, and I know the cyst on his neck was, at best, bothersome. That said, I know we’re lucky we can afford to do this; I know many people wish they could do more for their pets and can’t.
Jelly is adorable and gorgeous, please give her a squish and kiss from all of us. 🙂
In the midst of all the bad things that have been happening around the world lately, it’s those unexpected random acts of kindness that do indeed help to make the world a better place after all.
You are a good doggie dad and a good person. The hug of understanding often says more than words can convey. Thanks for sharing the story.
@Deni: Healing vibes for Gumbo
Joe, have you thought about opening/sponsoring an animal clinic that specializes in severe medical conditions?
Whoa. Mr. M did dedicate a blog entry to Deni, just like I told him to do.
Hey, Joey! How’s about buying me a new car??! 😀
Yeah, I didn’t think so. 😛
Guess what happened to me today at work? I was cleaning out old files (some I keep for 7 years, some for 10 because of warranties and such). Anyways, I emptied a file folder from 2003 into the bin for disposal, and out fell an envelope with $525.00 in it! 😯 W00T! These are files that mostly only I handle, and I have NO idea how it got in there. I certainly don’t remember putting it in there. I’m thinking what happened was I had the money in the office (from what I have no idea since we don’t deal with cash) and someone came into the office and I quickly stashed the money in the nearest hidey-hole so I wouldn’t get robbed, or something…and then forgot about it. I just hope it wasn’t MY money, because I gave it right to mom…I mean, the boss’ wife. 🙂
thanks for this emotional post dear Joe, Maximus and Jelly. Much hugs to you both and I am sure Maximus is still keeping an eye on you all.
Hugs for Deni and Gumbo, it sounds like a lot for work for you. I am sure Gumbo is doing his best to make it as easy as possible for you.
Thinking of the lady you have met, Joe, personally I would be in favor of getting a new pet. There are many animals without a home. All animal owners know how much animals appreciate our love and support. I have a cat who is 3 now, she has been a true gift into our life. I am away from home during 4 days every week and my thoughts go to her as much as to my partner. When I speak to my partner on the phone, Indy (our kitty) makes sure she gives me a few meows to say hello to me 🙂
Hugs lovely people xo
That was a nice thing you did for that old lady. Sometimes old people don’t have anyone to talk to. Either their partners are dead, or their families are too busy leading their own lives to pay more than the odd cursory visit. Plus, people who don’t like dogs have no understanding what its like to lose a precious member of their family.
My old man is 16. We had a scare with him a couple of months ago, honestly I didn’t think he would last the week. But, a few trips to the vet later and now a fortune in drugs per month, and while he’s not acting like a young pup he’s certainly giving a fair impression!
I don’t know you Deni, but I hope Gumbo improves and my thoughts are with you.
You are the best doggy Daddy and a very nice person.
Now I am crying.
@Deni – wishing Gumbo all the best to get well soon. You are the best doggy Mummy.
*hugs and kisses for Jelly* Awwwww…..poor baby girl! Joe…you are a wonderful daddy to those doggies. You treat those precious creatures as if they were your children…and they are. You love them so much you would do anything within your ability to do what it takes to care your furry babies. You definitely deserve the “Doggie Daddy Award”. 🙂
@Joe on your Jelly walk:
Good to see Jelly’s scamper…she’s got heart! Sometimes it’s the everyday encounters that bring meaning to your week.
@Kymm and Ponytail on Chocolate Cheesecake:
I posted the Chocolate Cheesecake recipe on my blog this morning (the Jetlag Fairy visited at 4am this morning because I forgot to take my Melatonin last night 😀 ):
Let me know if you have any questions.
You’re good doggy parents to Gumbo! Old-age incontinence just seems to be a fact of life for many older dogs…it’s one of the reasons that I switched the family room from carpet to laminate flooring a few years ago.
How clearly I remember meeting Jelly through the fence at the Burnaby Studios for SG1. So sweet and friendly that little Jelly girl, I’m glad to hear she’s hanging in there. One of my two dogs is going to be 14 this year. He’s a dashound/Shizu mix. He was having some hip trouble late last year my vet recommended joint medication for him and now little fellow is running around like a pup again! I still have to help him up on the couch to sit next me, but he’s worth it:)
Crying too. A round of hugs on the house.
Aww. You’re a good man, Joe. I firmly believe that gentle, kind deeds like that are like pebbles tossed in a pond, the ripples from which go far beyond the initial event.
Give Jelly a big hug for me. And Bubba and Lulu, for that matter.
I have no idea where you live but my youngest daughter is a vet in the S.F. area. She is one of those who will fight really hard to keep a pet alive and healthy for as long as possible and she’s really good at what she does(she graduated from Davis with National honors. Not bad for someone who had to work her way thru.)
Some vets just give up way too easy. Glad yours doesn’t appear to be one of those.
Faith in humanity, restored. And Jelly’s vid is terrific; that’s not a shamble, it’s three-fourths a run, which is terrific.
Okay…I didn’t want to say anything last night for fear of looking like a big weenie, but now that I see I’m not the only one, I’ll fess up. This was so very touching that it brought a tear to my eye, too. My ‘stiff upper lip’ side hates when that happens…so that side of me is cursing you for turning me into a softy. But my warm and fuzzy side is popping out pink puffy hearts and sparkly rainbows for a very caring guy who just pretends to be a big bad supervillain to put us off the scent. 😉
BTW – that’s not my literal warm and fuzzy side, of course, because I curse that side – and my crazy perimenopausal hormones – every day! GRRR! 😡 Where are my tweezers! And will someone turn on the @#$%&^$ air conditioning!!! STAT!
Sorry for that last bit. Mood swings, ya know. 😛
Deni: Hope all is well today!
Mr. M.: That was so sweet! You just never know what is going on in someone’s life. You may have helped that lady in some way. I’m also glad Jelly is still chugging along.
Das: loved your story! I’m grateful when I come across a $20. 🙂
Oops, me and my stupid coding skills…
That is so sweet and not uncommon where I come from. A lot of Cancer Society Relay for Lifes are held in my city and pets are always included. Last year I created a In Memoriam Luminary for Maximus as well as my pet rabbit Lily who passed away of brest cancer and my aunt’s dog Socks or “Old Lady” who died after battling bone cancer. Everyone gets to know each other and everyone shares their stories with each other about their four-legged loved ones whether we’re at a Relay or not. It’s a blessing to know you’re not alone.
Love the pink doggy bed, did Akemi make that one? Thanks for sharing your baby with us, the video was so great. Joe I have always said what an amazing doggy daddy you are, more proof.
~~hugs to Deni and Gumbo, at some point our dogs have had the doggy diapers and needed more help to make it thru the day, but they did it, and I miss them so much, but loved them thru it all. Take care.
Beautiful story, Joe. Keep an eye out for your neighbor lady. Your kindness is her medicine from an “adopted son.” It wouldn’t have happened without Jelly. Dogs enlarge our worlds, and teach us to “speak” a language that requires no words. Bless Jelly’s bright and valiant spirit. Hugs to your baby girl.
Hugs for all the dog & kitty parents, too.
Hugs to Deni and Gumbo.
Hugs to Joe and Akemi and their lil ones.
In another lifetime, a hug was often very healing during not so nice situations and not only welcomed, but necessary.
A HUG – is a Health Utility Greeting – yeah cornball…but it helps big time.
Thanks everyone for the hugs and wishes for Gumbo. 🙂 He’s doing a bit better today! xoxo
Mmm, I want to try this recipe: http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/sweet-idea-thoroughbred-pie-kentucky-derby-195100237.html
Did I miss something important about Maximus? I’ve been out of the loop for awhile. Hugs to Deni and Gumbo.
I don’t think your month is complete if you don’t make me tear up at least once, is it?
@JeffW – thank you for going to all that work and posting your chocolate cheesecake recipe!! Your cake looks soooooo good!!
Lotta work… can’t wait!!
(hmmm maybe I won’t wait… teehee…)
@ das – Ha! Mood swings! 😆 ………… 👿 Right there with ya babe!
@ JeffW – Yes! That’s the one. I actually found it back on Dec. 2, 2010. Looks sooooo good, can’t wait!
That’s the thing about Pets, they become part of the family and when they’re in their greatest hour of need, it doesn’t become a question of cost, it becomes a question of doing everything possible, moving heaven and earth even to make them well again and improve their quality of life.
I’m sure the average Pet owner would make their way through a Wraith Hive ship with a Zat gun if they knew there was a cure for their pet at the end 😛
Wow…you have quite a memory for dates! I can’t remember how many cheesecakes I’ve made, let alone the dates I’ve made them on!
Kymm and Ponytail, Good luck!
You are a good man, Joe. I can tell you that my husband would not have given that woman a hug. Not that he is a bad person but he is awkward around new people. He probably would have rubbed her arm and felt extremely uncomfortable. When I’m crying, I actually have to ask him for one. Too bad he was not around when I read this post because I’m welling up with tears. I think you are a fabulous dad. People comment, and it’s true, that in their next life they would love come back and be your pet. They are so loved.
I can’t believe Jelly is 14 already.
@Laura: When our Sam died (he was our first golden retriever, a wedding present my husband and I gave each other), it broke my husband’s heart so much that it took him about 18 months before he was ready to have another dog. Maybe the woman is not ready yet.