Princess #2’s Story
In August of 1968 we found out that a baby was on the way. We decided it was time to buy our first home. The first thing I wanted to get for our new home was a new puppy. I wanted something small that could actually grow up with our first child. I decided to get a toy poodle.
Here I learned to do my homework first and find out how much work is involved with a particular breed. A poodle under normal circumstances would have been fine, but a poodle and a brand-new baby is another story. Poodles need regular grooming if they’re going to resemble poodles. My little poodle resembled a tangled, furry mass of dribbled baby formula and sticky cracker crumbs. I wanted to learn how to clip her and groom her myself because groomers were so expensive. As a young family with a new baby just starting out, we just couldn’t afford it. So I did the best I could. Thank heaven for sympathetic mothers. When my husband was working, I would spend time at Mom’s. There was a groomer not far from her house, so occasionally we would drop Princess off there on a Saturday to be clipped. She always looked so nice with a ribbon in her hair when we picked her up.
Princess found she actually had 2 homes. The one with us and the one at Mom’s. She was happy in both places. I was very glad of that when I found out during the Summer of 1969 that our new son, Jeff, was sick quite often. Jeff had a chronic problem with tonsillitis. He would be over one session of tonsillitis and become sick again in less than a week. The doctors determined that even though Jeff was less than a year old, the tonsils would soon have to be removed.
All my time was spent caring for a sick infant. The surgery couldn’t safely be performed until Jeff was closer to 2 years old. I felt Princess was being neglected and it would be in her best interest if she stayed with Mom for a while until after the surgery
and after my life settled down a bit. A month after Jeff’s surgery, our second child was born. Shelly was small but a real trooper and very healthy compared to Jeff. I was thinking about bringing Princess home again so she could be with both children. By this time, however, I could see that it would have torn Mom apart to take her away. Ginger had since died of old age, and Princess was the center of Mom’s life by this time. So I felt I had to give her up.
Princess lived out her days with Mom. She actually lived to the age of 18. She was there when Jeff was born and still there when he graduated from high school. She had become deaf and blind, but otherwise in good health. She got along very well in her surroundings as long as nothing got moved. She suffered a heart attack one night and was taken to the vet. The vet said he could give her medication to bring her out of it, but she would probably be paralyzed and have no quality of life. He said we should let her go because she had 18 happy years and should be allowed to end her life with dignity.
Princess was my first encounter with a handicapped dog that was both deaf and blind. But it taught me that even though a pet may be disabled, it can still have a very good life. As you visit many of my other dogs, you will find out that quite a few of the dogs I have shared my life with have been disabled to some degree. In a moment of despair, I once asked my vet why I had to deal with all these disabilities when I was getting one after another and there was no end in sight. He said it was probably in God’s plan to point these dogs in my direction because he knew I would do my best to care for them and give them good lives, no matter what.
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