Our dog, Sadie, came to us in a very roundabout way. Before I explain that part of our story, let me give you some history. My husband and I have two young daughters and we’ve had a cat for many years. Just one big fat happy cat. I’m just going to refer to him as “cat” because my oldest daughter named him when she was four years-old and his name is rather embarrassing for him. Trust me, he has a horrible name. The cat was happy and I was happy. Life was good!
However, my husband and kids thought we needed a family dog. I wasn’t sure if my kids were ready for the responsibility of a dog. If you can’t find your shoes on a daily basis, maybe you aren’t ready to take care of a dog. These are just logical “mom thoughts.” I knew caring for a dog would be a lot of work and I wanted to make sure we were ready for that before committing to a new pet.
The discussion of getting a family dog went on for at least a couple of years and it was my husband and daughters on one side of the debate and me on the other side. I hate being out numbered, but I held my ground for quite some time. However, my youngest daughter is truly an animal lover and I felt that I was depriving her a bit by not allowing her to have a dog as part of her childhood. This is what I refer to as “mom guilt.”
Finally, I agreed and the family was ready to take on a new family member. If only our story was that simple!
Some friends of ours were fostering a dog at the time, named Sadie. She was a beautiful black lab but very small for a lab and was only four years-old. Our friends heard we were looking for a dog and approached us about taking Sadie. They had taken her in from a family who felt they could no longer care for her and had fostered her for close to a year.
After years of discussions about a family dog, Sadie finally made her way to our home in the fall of 2014. We didn’t tell our daughters she was coming. My husband just brought her home one day and the joy and excitement they had when they saw her for the first time is something that I will always remember. They cried, I cried, it was a very sweet moment for us. The big fat happy cat, however, was no longer happy. His quiet, peaceful life had been disrupted….permanently disrupted. Poor guy.
So, there we were with Sadie, this sweet girl who had now had three homes in the four short years of her life. She didn’t know how to walk on a leash. She didn’t know how to walk up or down steps. She had missed out on learning a lot of basic things because of the lack of consistency in her life. But she loved us and we loved her (well, everyone except for the cat). We worked though getting her adjusted to her new home and teaching her new things.
All was going well for a few months until I noticed Sadie was having some digestive issues. This led to many trips to the vet and months and months of treatment for perianal fistulas. I was thankful for a dedicated vet who was willing to work with us even though it was hard to determine exactly what was causing her problems. The vet told me the perianal fistulas could be caused by a food allergy or an autoimmune disorder, but the exact cause would be hard to determine. We agreed to put her on Cyclosporine, which was more recently discovered to treat and even heal the issue. We were hoping this would work since the other form of treatment is surgery.
After a few weeks of this medication, we saw improvement and after several months of the treatment, she was cured. I was very thankful during this time for pet insurance that helped us cover the vast majority of those medical expenses allowing us to nurse her back to health.
Sadie has been a member of our family for two years now. Two years later and the cat finally tolerates her. Sadie loves the cat, by the way, and has since day one.
It’s been an adjustment for us to say the least, but so worth it. I love seeing my kids play with her and all the happiness that she brings to our family. I’m beyond thankful for the childhood memories that my kids will have because of this little black lab that finally made her way to us.
I hope someday our cat will forgive us.
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