I want to tell a more personal story for this blog, in hopes that I can bring some awareness to dog owners during the holiday season.
Christmas is a huge holiday for my family, much like everyone else’s. We have friends and family from all around come to our home where my mom cooks an incredible meal for people to enjoy over good conversation. To make the night even more hectic, we add our three dogs into the mix.
Our family dogs have a tendency to get in the way when we have a full house. I’m sure everyone can relate to their dogs constantly begging for food. Our dogs are no different and are probably worse than most. During our annual Christmas Eve dinner party, everyone was handing out small bits of food to our dogs, but mostly to our oldest, Fletch. Fletch is a medium sized Shetland Sheepdog, and at the time of this party in 2012, he was nine years old.
For some reason that year my mom had decided to cook rich fillet’s, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. However, this was also the food that our friends and family had been giving to Fletch all throughout the night. Such a rich food like that is really hard for dogs to digest and process the way that humans do.
The night went on and everyone went home. It wasn’t until two days after our Christmas Eve party when Fletch started acting strange. My parents couldn’t find him in our backyard, and after searching all around, they found him hiding under my old playhouse. They watched him throughout the night, but he never got better. In the morning, my mom took him to the emergency vet and waited.
After hours of tests, the vet came out and told my mom that he had something called pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas. His body was shutting down because of its inability to process all the rich and sugar-filled foods he was given during the party. Without treatment, Fletch would die in a matter of days. We were also made aware that even with treatment, he had about a 20% chance of surviving.
It seems like an easy choice to decide to treat him, but that’s before you know it was going to cost about $10,000. Luckily for Fletch, our family loves him to no end and we decided to move forward with treatment.
For about three days we weren’t sure if he was going to make it or not. Then he started to get better. After a week in emergency care, and $10,000 later, we got to take Fletch home.
By telling this story I hope It reminds people how sensitive our dogs are to human foods, especially the older ones. Christmas is a hectic time of year and our pets can often get lost in all the chaos. If I could give you some advice it would be to keep your dogs in the backyard, or safely in a crate away from all the food. Don’t be negligent about your dog’s health, because it can all change in an instant.