It Really Does Take a Village

Tessa and Dave: There’s that saying that it takes a village to raise a child. A parallel saying is that it takes a village to save a dog. In our case it couldn’t be more true. Whenever weird freaky things happen like your dog eats a bunch of wood and comes close to death, you never survive these things without the help of others. So a big thanks to all of you who wished, hoped, prayed, sent emails, phoned, dropped off food, made cards for Reub, and gave us a wide margin just to deal with everything. Every single last thing has been appreciated and who knows maybe it nudged Reub in the living direction rather than the not living direction.

I feel like this is a bit of an Academy Awards acceptance speech. You always wonder why they go on so long with that big long list of boring names. I guess they do that not just to nudge their careers in the right direction but because damn-it, it takes a lot of people and thank yous to make something happen. So not only were family and friends fantastic but none of any of this would matter if we didn’t have all the amazing veterinarians and vet techs who actually did the physical work of saving Reuben’s life.

Super special thanks to Dr. Uschi Craigdailie for immediately recognizing that Reuben had dehissed (intestinal wound had leaked at surgical site) the first time at the Vancouver Animal Emergency Clinic. Special thanks to Dr. Cindy Chow and anesthetist for getting up in the middle of the night and operating on Reuben. Super special thanks for not thinking he was a lost cause when you went in and saw that his intestine had completely fused together.

Thanks to Betsy, Reuben’s blood donor (also Dr. Cindy Chow’s dog). She is adorable. Veterinarian hospitals like regular hospitals rely on blood donors to save animal’s lives. Many hospitals rely on the pets of family and friends for donations but Vancouver Animal Emergency actually has started its own blood donation program  modeled out of one from Texas. If you have a healthy dog go to your vet and ask about it.

Vancouver Animal Emergency recommended that we send Reuben to Canada West Veterinary Specialists and Critical Care Hospital. Without their dedication to excellence in animal care Reuben and many others like him would not stand a chance.

Everyone at Canada West from the receptionists, to animal caregivers to the hospital administrator were nothing short of amazing. Special thanks to Dr. Trevor Ennberg, Dr. S. Karlyn Bland, Dr. Braun, and Dr. Kuzma. All of the people who worked in ICU helped make what was one of the worst experiences into an incredibly memorable one for both Dave, Reuben and I. I’ve never come across a more giving, gentle, smart group of people who spent 24 hours a day watching Reuben, giving him his meds, kisses, hugs and spending time with him in his pen. Big thanks to Jayne and her daughter Annabelle (who drew the cutest get well card for Reub),  Fiona, Amy and Shian and all the others in ICU. Also, thanks to Sharon Brown the hospital administrator for her warm support.

When we brought him back from a visit he sat in the waiting room wagging his tail waiting for one of his girlfriends to come out and give him the love. Now that’s love!

There is one person in particular, however, that we owe the biggest thanks to because without her we would never had the resources to allow all of the above people to do their job to the absolute best of their ability. Within days of Reuben’s illness we were shocked to find a large sum of money in our bank account. Somebody had unknowingly deposited a substantial amount of funds to us knowing that we couldn’t ask but also understanding what it would really take. When we found out who it was all she said was “Do whatever it takes. He’s your boy.” When we knew it would take another $10,000 to go into the fourth operation and we were told the odds were 10% to 25% she looked at us and said “I’d do everything I could.” I don’t know too many other people like her. I don’t know anybody like her. So we owe a very big debt of gratitude and much more to Bettye who has made a few things possible for us. Her generosity and her patience at taking our manic phone calls at all hours of the day & night and explaining all the medical jargon, truly helped see us through.

The music is now playing to get me off the stage. So see you everyone and again, thanks so much.

Tessa Dave and Reuben



Filed under Dog Stuff

5 responses to “It Really Does Take a Village

  1. D. Peace

    Wow. I’m really happy for you and I’m truly impressed by whomever is willing to fund your dog’s operation like that.

    I don’t know if my posting on this blog was any consolation, but I hoped it helped a bit.

    I’m just glad everything is OK. You’re certainly right to thank all those people… without them, Reuben would be dead.


  2. Hi there,

    Hey, you’ve been great right through the melanoma to this and believe me when the going gets rough every ounce of support is super important. I’m hoping the drama for this year has passed for awhile though!
    Going through this thing is weird because there are people who don’t have the resources to make the choice to see something right through to the very end. The little dog beside Reub in ICU also dehissed and his owners chose just to do two surgeries so who knows what might have happened to Oakley had they gone one more time. There are lots of people who can’t even do that. We ended up getting a bursary from Vancouver Animal Emerg for $1000 from a fund that people and vets give to to help people out. I had no idea that even existed.

  3. D. Peace

    Hey, good for you.

    Yeah, I can see that most people don’t have the resources to devote thousands and thousands of dollars to animal surgery. I can understand that most animals in Reuben’s situation just have to pass on.

    That’s why I’m glad for you. Great news and enjoy every moment you have with him.


  4. I think your comment is interesting because truthfully we don’t have the money or the resources but we did have someone there who was willing to help us out. We will repay that debt for sure. We’re definitely not rich people. I understand when people are in circumstances where they definitely don’t have the money to pay for it as in their bank, loan capability is at zero but I think it’s really weird when people DO have the resources and simply chose not to go the distance… and I think you see alot of that.

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