Did I save that dog’s life?

And if I did, does that make me a hero?

The 3.5 year old Lakeland Terrier in this story looks much like this, cuter, if you can believe it, but we’re using this free photo to protect his identity.

One moment I’m drinking beer and eating pizza with my downstairs neighbor, comparing Bumble prospects (that was incredibly cathartic for both of us), and then next thing we know he’s running out the door to snag a live one and I’m getting frantic texts from a worried dog dad.

The dog is sick. He’s never had a dog before. Photos of a sad little terrier pop up in my messages, followed my symptoms. I’m asking questions. Lots of them.

Do you have rice?

How many days has it been since he’s eaten?

How often is he vomiting?

Is the vomit foamy?

He’s not eating at all?

Do you have raw hamburger?

May I please have your address? I’m coming over with rice cooked in chicken broth and a bag full of a bunch of other stuff.

It was nearly midnight by the time I got there.

“Wow, you look even more beautiful in person.”

I’m flattered, he seemed embarrassed that those words escaped his face, and we stood there, in single digit temperatures, masks on, talking about the poor dog. He won’t lay down. He won’t move much at all. He’s extremely dazed and lethargic. He’s usually such a puppy. He won’t touch food or water. It seemed to happen so suddenly. He was fine Wednesday and then he wasn’t.

“Would you? Would you mind coming in to look at him? My place is a mess, though, I’m afraid to let you see it.”

I practically pushed him to the door. We already stalled far too long as far as I was concerned but that’s not what I said. The butterflies in my chest grew three times and were beating their wings on my ribs so hard I figured he thought he was hearing an angel’s grunge band from underneath my red wool peacoat.

Little fragile darling pup! So sad and sick! Pathetic and useless, shivering and trembling on an old winter coat. The poor thing was too weak to ask for help but when his little sad glossy eyes met mine, the message was loud and clear. He needed attention ASAP. He was starving.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an obstruction.

“What? You mean, something is in there and won’t come out?”

Exactly. Like a piece of rope or a string or something like that. A strip of rag maybe? Sock.

“I don’t know what he could have gotten into. I. I. I.”

We never met before. We only connected the other day via Bumble. He immediately seemed smart, kind, humble, and careful. In his apartment, asking for help from a near stranger who obviously put her fur kid first, I felt for him. The loneliness he must deal with filled the room. His shoulders curled forward and down. His dark eyes sad and searching.

Do you have a vet you trust?

“Well I get off at 3 tomorrow so I guess I can call by 2:30 and see…”

I grabbed my phone.

I’m calling an emergency center. Great! UW Veterinary has emergency services. I’m calling.

He watched me call and questions dribbled out of his mouth like involuntary drool.

“You think…? He’s… it’s serious? What if…? How much…? What do think…? Is he…?”

I answered questions as if I knew everything. The only answers I didn’t know was his last name and phone number. It occurred to me that this was quite an unusual way to obtain this information, and it was not lost on him either, judging by the surprised realization painting his face. He was processing a lot at once and it was starting to freeze his processors. When I was transferred to a vet tech I sounded like I was reporting an accident.

We’ve got a three-and-a-half-year-old Lakeland Terrier who hasn’t eaten for two full days, is vomiting yellow foam (probably because there’s nothing in his stomach) and he’s shaking. His tummy hurts and won’t lie down and he’s extremely lethargic.

I knew the response was going to be, “How soon can you get here?” But I needed my new friend to hear it. He looked to be for validation. I nodded.

“Ten minutes.”

Early this morning I hear a report that the pup spent the night there on IV’s and getting closely monitored. X-rays revealed a 10 cm obstruction made of a fabric of some kind.

He expressed his relief that he asked me to look at his dog. “The world is your oyster – at least that’s my opinion.”

Not bad for a first impression.

Did I save this dog’s life? I’ll take credit for playing a part in it. Am I a hero? Whether I am or not I certainly felt pretty incredible.

Thank you for reading. Please comment with any little time you felt like a hero.


  1. Dad

    So many factors contribute to the whole story. Certainly your experiences with Iggy Pup, for example, must have played a major role, and those experiences had unforeseen positive consequences. Compassion, knowledge, “take charge” approach all are part of this heroic story.

    Liked by 1 person

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