Letting Kids Provide Care

Abby card

Six years ago our family went to the animal shelter and a beautiful Black Lab named Abby picked us to be her family. It only took one look at her sweet brown eyes and we were smitten. She has been a great family dog. Even though she’s 50 pounds, she curls up with our daughter on the floor when we watch movies. Please don’t tell her she’s not really a lap dog. Our daughter has grown up with this dog. So far in this relationship it feels like we have gotten way more from her than we provide.


Then this week we took Abby to the vet to get a root canal. Two days later, she developed sores in her mouth and down her throat. By Thursday evening she was lethargic and dehydrated. We don’t know if she ate something caustic or if it’s a reaction to the surgery, but it landed her in the emergency vet hospital for two nights. Needless to say, with the surgery and ER stay, it has been an expensive week, but we know if we hadn’t take her to the emergency vet, she’d be gone. It was our chance to help her – and was totally worth it.

Through all of this over the weekend, I was able to see how much our daughter really loves this dog. She was so concerned, barely sleeping the night after my husband left with Abby at 10 p.m. for the vet ER. And even with all of the back to school excitement, she really missed her dog. She made this card for her, with a bow to attach to her collar when she got home.

We picked Abby up yesterday afternoon. She is doing better, but has a special soft diet with frequent small feedings and half a dozen meds to take on a crazy schedule. Our daughter has been administering diluted green tea every few hours to sooth the mouth sores and helping my husband give Abby the meds and feed her. She woke up today before 8:00 a.m. to give Abby the meds and food. And anyone who knows Middle Schoolers knows that’s not a kid’s normal wake up time on a weekend – especially after the first week of school!  She is doing this because she wants to – out of love and genuine concern.

So I’m sitting here this morning with my coffee and a Black Lab curled up at my feet thinking once again, Abby is giving to us. She is giving our daughter an opportunity to provide care for another being. To step up and show responsibility and make a difference in the life of someone else. And that’s a pretty big gift.

Thank you Abby and get well soon!


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