Saving The Welch Spaniel

Stella Smythe had an ten-year-old female Welch Spaniel, Dorrie, who had been adopted from the animal shelter when she was 3 years old.  Dorrie had been lost and was left at the humane society by a good samaritan.  She came to the Smythes with a slight breathing difficulty, probably the result of a bout of pneumonia, but otherwise an active and adorable spaniel who followed Jim Smythe wherever he went on their property because he had been the one to pick her up from the shelter.  He was “her guy,” “her savior.”  By the time Dorrie had reached 10 years of age, the breathing difficulty had become more pronounced and ultimately became a concern of the family, who were not normally people who “ran to the vet” at with the slightest hang-nail.  But, on a Saturday, when Stella and Jim were both home from work for the weekend, it was determined that Dorrie’s laborious breathing had reached a point where a specialist needed to be consulted – perhaps, a breathing inhaler device supplied such as Stella, herself, used for her asthma.  Thus, Dorrie was taken into the emergency treatment center at the local California Veterinary Service (CVS).  Stella and Dorrie were seen by a female vet, Dr. Thrust, who, upon listening to Dorrie’s lungs and checking tongue and gums, proceeded to tell Stella that there was actually no hope, that Dorrie’s lung disease had reached final stages.  Thus, she, Dr. Thrust, would propose immediate hospitalization wherein Dorrie would be sedated, intubated and made more comfortable with her breathing.  Stella, who was a forthright individual and the daughter of a farmer, who, thus, was accustomed to caring for animals herself.  Thus, in response to Dr. Thrust’s no-consultation approach wit the client, pronounced that if Dorrie’s case was terminal, then she was taking her home to die where she would be with her beloved friends (3 other dogs) and family and her Jim, for sure.  Upon seeing a good-paying client start to walk out the door, the vet immediately “came apart” and started screaming at Dorrie, saying “YOU CAN’T DO THAT – YOU’RE KILLING YOUR DOG!!!”  And, other, more insistent imprecations.  Whereupon, Stella scooped Dorrie up in her arms and said, as they exited, “I’m not killing her; God is taking her – you said she was dying.  Thus I’m taking her home to do it in comfort, not poked and prodded, intubated and all measure of other horrible things at the end of her life.”  And, she did exactly that.  Dorrie lived for 3 more weeks, in the bosom of her family, with oxygen supplied to ease her breathing and hand-fed all her favorite foods by her family.  She died peacefully, held in the arms of her guy, Jim.

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