Life Lessons from a Doggie Door

By on March 24, 2012

Scout’s troubles began with a roll in the soft green grass of our backyard. What should have been safe was actually extremely dangerous. Hidden in somewhere that lush green carpet was a life threatening menace.

The issue first became apparent with a large swelling on the right side of Scout’s neck. This mass grew at an alarming pace. The Vet concluded it was some kind of bacterial infection from an unknown source. Antibiotics were administered and the swelling decreased, but never went away. Another visit to the vet, another round of anti-biotics with the same result.

Minor surgery followed to remove the abscess and as much scar tissue as possible. A cloth drain was inserted and more antibiotics administered. The wound continued to drain for several more weeks.

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It was obvious something more invasive needed to be done. The vet referred Scout to a specialty clinic with a large staff of surgeons and state of the art equipment. A CAT Scan revealed a long trail of scar tissue ending at a large mass of infected tissue. The culprit, a foreign object of some kind, was working its way deep into neck tissue. If it wasn’t found and removed it would eventually rupture a major artery or enter a vital organ. It was either surgery or euthanasia.

We didn’t have the money for the surgery, but the thought of putting down an otherwise healthy young dog broke our hearts. After an hour of hopeless grieving, I began to pray, not so much for Scout or my self, but for my husband. He and Scout were best buddies, inseparable from morning to night. Loosing our little Brittany would be devastating. I placed the matter in God’s hands.

Less than an hour later we had the money for the surgery. I have been amazed many times over the course of my life, yet this one dropped me to my knees in humbled awe. Not that it happened, and from a very unlikely, no impossible source, but how quickly it was done.

Even so, the surgery was not a guarantee. There was a 10% chance the foreign matter couldn’t be found and surgery in the neck area was risky in itself. I chose to cling to the 90% chance the foreign matter would be found and removed without any life threatening damage. Surely God wouldn’t have provided a miracle only to allow it a tragic end.

The surgery lasted over two hours. The surgeons were ready to give up. Then, with one last desperate incision, the object popped through the muscle. It was a large piece of wild grass, approximately a half inch long and a quarter inch wide. The doctors were amazed such a large piece could work its way through the skin and burrow so deeply without leaving any outward wound.

After a night at the Veterinary hospital, Scout came home, one a sad looking little puppy. Half his body was shaved. A huge incision, covered with too many sutures to count, reached from the center of his neck almost to his shoulder, and the most troublesome of it all was the drain tube sutured into the upper shoulder. As long as it was in place he couldn’t be without supervision. This meant, no doggie door.  Scout sat for hours beside the door, yearning very obvious in his eyes. We felt like jail wardens.

After ten days of pining and yearning, the drain was finally removed, and the much anticipated moment had finally come. We opened the doggie door. Scout immediately poked his head out – and froze.

The weather had been picture perfect for the entire recuperation period, until that morning. The wind howled around the house like a wolf on the hunt. Snow whipped in snarling swirls, laced with pelting rain. I half expected Scout to go out anyway, but he didn’t. He retreated to his warm bed and took a nap.

That simple choice took me by surprise and taught me a lesson about disappointments. I could take them in stride, as Scout did, and patiently wait for things to change, or I could whine and pace, making myself and everyone around me miserable.

I was still mulling this idea over several hours later when I heard the familiar whap, whap of the doggie door. I looked up. The wind had died down. The rain and snow had stopped and even the sun had peered out from heavy clouds. While Scout was comfortably and peacefully sleeping, patiently waiting for circumstances to change, they had. His joy had only been postponed, not completely taken away.

Now every time I hear that doggie door flap back and forth, I think of patience, of graceful acceptance of what we cannot control or change, and a simple lesson on life from a gentle hearted Brittany pup and a doggie door.


Originally posted on Out of the Closet and Into the Light.

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Life Lessons from a Doggie Door