That title sounds super harsh, right? Well, I wish it weren’t true.
At the end of November last year I adopted a 11 year old mini-labradoodle who had been going through some tough times. His previous owners had him for 10 years and gave him up due to their own health reasons and their house burning down. This guy needed some love and a home.
When I went into the adoption process I made it clear that I could not take on a dog with major medical problems, I need a dog that was ok with being at home with me (as I work from there) and was ok with being in an apartment. With all that being said I COMPLETELY understand that medical things pop up with dogs unexpectantly just like they do with humans. But I wanted to make sure that the dog was completely healthy when I first adopted it. Enter Owen.
He was deemed healthy, just a little slow at walking and had some anxiety – sounded pretty manageable. And darn was he cute and had the sweetest eyes. I took him home immediately – the other positive was that his owners had kept 10 years of medical records for him so I knew exactly what his past history was…everything checked out…or so I thought.
Owen is depressed y’all, super depressed all the time and it’s understandable. He was with a family for 10 years (pretty much his whole life) and then they gave him up. They had health issues which I’m sure he witnessed happen and then a house burned down. Ever since I’ve had Owen he just hasn’t really seemed all that happy.
Over the course of the 3 months that I’ve had Owen we have been to the vet every other week. The first was for allergies, then to clear up an infection all over his paws, then for kennel cough, then for anal glands, then this past week it all fell apart. Owen began peeing and pooping all over the apartment constantly, he is housebroken so this was super unusual. He dropped 10 pounds, for a 38 pound dog that’s A LOT. When I took him to the vet they ran all sorts of tests and x-rays, Owen was diagnosed with diabetes and is an anemic (he also got diagnosed with dry-eye).
With that being said Owen permanently wears diapers which need to be changed every 2 hours, including during the middle of the night. He also needed two shots of insulin per day administered by me at 6AM and 6PM but only after he ate all of his prescribed weight food. Then he needed me to administer the medication for his dry eye. Owen refused to eat which meant that I had to call the vet immediately because we could not help him if we could not give him the insulin. The vet called me in and I was then introduced on how to administer an IV bag of fluid to him when he did not eat (and also give him a pill to increase his appetite). Essentially when Owen refuses to eat I have to take a IV bag, insert the needle and give about 200 ml of fluid to him, give him his pill and then inject the 6 counts of insulin into his body. All of this, twice a day.
I am 28, I am single, I have two jobs and not a crazy amount of money. In order to rehabilitate Owen he needs around the clock medical care which I could not provide unless someone stayed at home with him all day and monitored him.
I finally emailed the adoption clinic to give them an update on Owen’s first 3 months. They immediately emailed me back and apologized to let me know that they had no idea about his issues and that they would have done things differently if they had known. I appreciate that and this post is in no way bash them. They suggested that I return Owen back to the farm so they could provide him with all the care he needs. I spoke with my parents and friends and they all agreed that in order to keep Owen alive then he has to go back, eventually I agreed too. The farm is a no-kill shelter and they have around the clock care and experience with diabetic dogs.
This decision was not easy. I never thought I would be a person that would return a dog after adopting it. I pride myself that when I do something I stick to it and Owen had become a part of my life. He is the warm body in my bed that I feel at night, he is the tail wagging greeter when I come home, he is the grumpy old man that loves sleep – he is my buddy. But my buddy needs more help than I can give him and I definitely don’t want to be the reason why he dies. So I gave Owen back to the shelter.
It wasn’t easy, it’s still not easy but I know he is in a better place that what I could provide for him. And he is alive y’all, that’s the most important part – this is keeping him alive. So Owen buddy if you ever read this (which would actually be really impressive) know that I love you and that I didn’t abandon you, I want better for you and know you are in a better place right now.
**Further update 05/01/19. Since this post Owen has passed away. He only lived about a month after I posted this. The shelter told me that they could not regulate his insulin and Owen decided it was time to join his family up in heaven. Love you Buddy, I hope you are at peace now.
March 8, 2019