Love Is… a Therapy Dog, a Sloppy Kisser, a Survivor

For Valentine’s Day, three Pet Health Central fans tell us why they love their pets so much.

“Our Glen of Imaal Terrier, Winston, is a 2 year old Delta Society Pet Partner (pictured above). Winston visits assisted living facilities and nursing homes with me as a therapy dog. This year Winston is giving out Valentines to all his friends he visits in the facilities. One of the facilities we visit has memory patients who often have a lot of emotions, but may have a difficult time expressing their emotions. The visits from Winston really brighten their day and help make them smile. Even the residents who are not able to talk love to see Winston and will give him a big smile or clap their hands. We have patients who request to see Winston every time he visits. Many residents will talk to Winston as if were a person, but are not very interactive with others. It is rewarding to see him make such a difference and to see people smile when they see him.”

– Kelli Whitfield

“Last September me and my dad were riding in the car with Bucky (our beloved beagle) and got into a car crash. The front window had smashed out of the frame, so he jumped out of the wreck. He found a nice spot on the grass and patiently waited. When I ran out of the car, he tugged on my pant leg and started to walk home. When I followed him he practically jumped in my arms. I ran home and told my mom and brother. They went up to where we crashed and me and Bucky stayed behind. He looked fine, I checked his paws and there were no cuts. I looked around his back face and belly. He was fine. I started stroking him because I thought he was in shock. He jumped off the couch and went up to my room. He brought me a toy. That made me smile. He once again took off. He came back with my stuffed animal from childhood. I gave him a hug. He gave me sloppy wet kisses.”

-Anna Smith

“It was a sunny afternoon in May of 1986. The kids were on their way home from school, and I was heading out for an appointment. I stepped outside to see a car and a bunch of people congregated by the end of my driveway. As I was walking towards the crowd I asked what was going on, and they said a cat had been hit. I immediately froze. I said, “Is it dead?” They said no, so I proceeded forward. This beautiful grey and white cat was laying there, and as I bent down I said something. I don’t remember this many years later what it was, but that little guy lifted his head up and turned it back towards me and looked at me with a plea of hope in his eyes.

The lady that hit him did stop and was very distraught. The kids that were on their way home from school were all trying to decide what to do. I asked the kids if any of them knew whose cat it was. One kid suggested it might be a neighbor of his up the next street. So I decided to go try to find the owner. The lady who hit the cat said she would take it to the vet up the street.

I was not able to find an owner. After going to the vet and telling him we could not find who the cat belonged to, he said he would be willing to put the cat down for free. I asked about his injuries. He said preliminary exam just seemed to show the back leg was crushed, but really couldn’t know more without a more thorough exam. I gave about 3 seconds thought to this and said, “Check him out and let me know. I will take care of the bill for now and if we find the owner will deal with that later.” He did the exam and called with the results and said that the leg was his only problem. He said he could amputate the leg and the cat would be fine. He said it would be a more complicated procedure than normal amputation but he talked to the U of M Medical School and found out what needed to be done. He did the surgery the next day, and after 2 days of recovery time at the vets the kitty came home to live with us. We named him LUCKY.

Over the next days and weeks this little guy gave me so much inspiration. He never complained about his new limitations, or I’m sure the pain he probably was in. He just moved about and explored his new home. He became the love of my life. For the next 15 years, he was my Lucky Duck. He was the beginning of a long line of new loves in my life. I had always had cats as a child, but when I found cats were the #1 thing I am allergic to, I hadn’t had any animals after I moved out on my own. But Lucky changed all that. I had to help him and fell in love so quickly.”

-Sharon Piper

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