Wednesday, June 22, 2011
B.A. Kelly Shares a Cautionary Tale for Pet Lovers...
I read Billie’s instructions for writing a blog for OTP—It should be about writing, but then again it could be about something else.
O.K., so I think this one will be about something else which I feel is very important for all animal lovers out there to be aware of.
I recently lost my dog, Riva. She wasn’t supposed to die. She was to young and full of life to die.
I rescued Riva from the Ventura County Animal Shelter. The sign on her kennel stated she was part Australian Shepherd. I had been searching for an Aussie for some time and decided to settle for a part of one. So, she came home with me and I named her Sheila.
As it turned out, two dog experts declared, “That dog is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. I sent her photo to a rescue group on the Internet and they agreed, “That’s a Toller. Also at one time known as Little River Duck dogs.”
Well gosh, I thought…She’s French. And that’s when she became, Riva, which my French dictionary defined as meaning along the river shore.
Riva brightened my life. She must have been about 7 years old when I got her. Because of some health problems, I had decided that I could no longer deal with the demands of a puppy. I learned that an older dog had issues and I imagine she thought older people have issues too, and I learned right from the start that her issues took precedence over mine. In other words, we’d do it her way. An obedience class verified who was right. It was Riva. The teacher thought we should repeat the class, but I decided I could live with the demands of an older dog and after about two years we reached an understanding and she finally agreed to come when I called her.
Every time she went outside, Riva would eat grass. I never thought a thing about it because a lot of dogs eat grass. We hadn’t been going for walks as often as we should have because at times my health problems kept me from our daily excursions. I noticed that Riva had been putting on weight and blamed it on the lack of exercise. However, one day I looked more closely at her and decided, this is not normal weight gain. She looks bloated.
I called the vet and she took one look at Riva and stuck a needle in her and I’ll just say that what came out should not have been there.
Riva came home while the vet waited for test results and then ordered an ultra sound. The doctor who did the ultra sound said it looked like a parasite, one that comes from eating snails. California gardens are full of snails—no matter how you try to keep them under control. I imagine Riva was eating grass and ingested a small snail without even realizing it.
She died at home before the test results came back. Her vet, who has a PhD. in veterinarian medicine had never heard of this condition before. The ultra sound doctor said there is probably a 1 in 10,000 chance of this happening. The parasites invaded all of her organs and we discovered it too late to treat her.
I was told this condition is treatable and that is why I decided to write about this. Perhaps knowing will save someone else was losing their best friend and family member. In Riva’s memory I hope it will.
B. A. Kelly
Author of Blessings, Bullets and Bad Bad Men
Coming soon from Oak Tree Press