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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Puppy's Near Death Experience

Reef has always wanted a little puppy, we decided to see if we could find him a shih tzu.  Reef had spent a week watching Diary of a Wimpy Kid over and over again, so for his new puppy he settled on the name Brock (named after the character Brock Branigan P.I.) for the new puppy.  After a few days, I knew the name had to be changed.  When Reef, in his five year-old voice with a certain dialect called his dog, it sounded more like Barack than Brock.  Political views aside, it didn’t seem right to have a dog called after the president of the United States, so we had a family vote.  Considering all the kids are named after Arizona towns, we looked through an Arizona almanac and found the name Parker.  It seemed to fit.

Well, imagine our heartache when a few weeks ago Parker was run over by a car; a suburban none the less.  The back tire completely rolled over his torso.  I was outside with the younger kids when it happened and watched as Parker yelped and ran into the bushes whimpering.  I knew he wouldn’t make it.  Our little puppy would die.

We put Parker in a box and before rushing him to the vet, prayed that he would wouldn’t suffer too much.  I prepared my sons Reef and Mayer, confirming what a great puppy Parker had been, that he was meant to be in our home for a while so we could love him, but sometimes God takes puppies back to heaven.   While I signed Parker in with the receptionist, Reef and Mayer rummaged through a candy bowl on the counter.  I was crying over a puppy having a near-death experience in a box while my little kids were deciding if they should have a pink or purple lollipop. 

The doctor inspected Parker and asked questions.  In between sobs, I tried to give as much information as I could.  Mayer had his own set of questions, starting with how they took Parker’s temperature.  Let’s just say I wasn’t as patient with Mayer as I was with the doctor.

“We could start with x-rays to see how bad the damage is, but my personal suggestion is to take him to an emergency clinic where they’ll give him an IV and monitor him overnight.  I’m not sure if he’ll make it either way, but at least he’ll have a chance,” the doctor said, giving me some pain meds in the meantime.

Well, after the counselor’s recent run-in with an ax in his foot, there are no more funds for hospitals or overnight care, even if it is in an animal clinic.  If Parker was going to be nursed back to health, it would have to come from the living room Lofgreen clinic.

My neighbor the caterer had a kennel to offer (this way Parker stayed put) and suggested we give him water with a medicine syringe.  My sister Rachel, recently return-missionary from Argentina and pre-med student quickly came to my aid.  She came up with idea to feed him jars of chicken baby food.  Parker didn’t want any of it, but with a little encouragement, we were able to feed and keep him hydrated.  By the fourth day, it was still touch and go.  My friend Alicia helped with is medication and I continued to keep his cage clean.  

My mom came over; my mom with one foot in heaven and one foot on earth, my mom who always seems to see the eternal perspective of things, my mom who knows my heart and she said, “Laura, I think that puppy’s going to make it.  He’s got a will to live.”  And with those words, I started to look at the situation differently.  Parker wanted to live too; he would just need some help.  Like usual, the Lord answered my family’s prayer through kind-hearted people. 

On the fifth day, Parker finally pooped.  I’ve never been so happy to see a dog poop in my life.  It appeared all his organs and bowels were working properly.  I couldn’t believe it.

His recovery has been speedy and miraculous.  For two weeks he didn’t walk, but with the help of the pain medication and as he began to heal, he started to scoot and shuffle.  Now, he has full use of his back legs again.  It’s wonderful to see him healing so quickly.

It’s interesting the lessons one learns about life from a hurt puppy.  
My kids believe in prayer.  When they arrive home from school, each child attends to Parker and showers him with love and affection.  We’ve all developed more sympathy for those who live through accidents because we know there are times it’s more than a puppy who is hurt.  I love vets who attend to pets the minute we walk into their clinic.  I appreciate inspired ideas that come into your mind at just the right time.  I’m grateful I don’t throw away old towels because I’ve never needed them more.  And I’m grateful my mom was able to change my pitiful attitude to one of hope and survival because it looks like after all Parker went through, he did have an amazing will to live.
Maybe his girlfriend Winnie had something to do with it. 
Disclaimer: Please note this blog post is the Reader's Digest version.  I did not write every detail of what we did to help Parker.  I'm sure I did not do it perfect, but I did the best I could and I learned so much if I ever encounter a situation like this again.  I spent many sleepless nights attending to my dogs needs and I'm so grateful he made it.  Now that he is healed, I think he suffered a fractured leg because he has full use of both legs again.


  1. Animals are incredible. Surely they are angels sent to change our lives.

  2. what an incredible will to live and testament to the power of prayer. May Parker enjoy many years with you

  3. what a wonderful story and lesson for you and your children....And he had the will to live....animals are a reflection of God's love....

  4. What a beautiful story, as only you can tell it. I am so happy Parker is doing better. Our pets are family, and he sure has an amazing one!

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  6. Wow! I am so glad your little dog pulled through and you heeded the wisdom of your mother. I too have had injured pets and had to care for them myself. So because we cannot always afford medical care we should not own a pet? One of my grands took a permanent marker and drew stripes on my chihuahua and he was so sick when I came home from work one day, then I noticed the markings and washed him, but he kept vomiting. I had to cough off $98. for a vet. It meant making a payment arrangement on other bill, because I live paycheck to paycheck but he recovered fully.
    By purchasing your dog from a rescue home you most likely saved him from being put under and then you loved him enough to nurse him back to health and to care for him. Our shelters only hold pets for a few weeks then euthanize them if they do not get adopted so going home with you was a blessing for our fur buddy.

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  8. I'm so glad your doggy is okay. These pictures and thoughts were so sweet, thanks for sharing!