Lessons Learned

It has now been 5½ weeks since Oslo’s surgery. It’s easily been the craziest, most draining, most incredible 5½ weeks of our lives. We have learned an awful lot in the last lot about ourselves, our marriage, our dogs, our friends, our family and even the kindness of strangers….

In the last 5½ weeks, in no particular order, we have learned:

1. Even if your pet is not exhibiting any outward signs of being in real pain, that does not necessarily mean that they are not IN real pain. This is especially true for members of the ‘bulldog’ family.

2. Trust your gut. If you think there’s something wrong, stick to your guns. Even if one doctor says that things look fine, or your husband says that you’re over reacting… If something seems wrong, something probably IS wrong.

3. Get pet insurance. Do it now. 1 in 3 pets will have a serious health issue in their lives. MANY of these pets are put to sleep even though their condition is treatable because of the costs of said-treatment. Don’t be in the position where you have to decide between your entire savings account, or your beloved furry family member. Get. Insurance. Today.

4. Not everyone in your life loves your pet the way that you do and not everyone in your life will even make the effort to understand or respect the love & dedication that you have for your pet. It’s disappointing, but it’s also okay… For every family member or friend who doesn’t get it, there are 3 perfect strangers out there who would blow you away with their love, support & compassion. Don’t get hung up on the people in your life who aren’t on the same page as you. Focus instead on those who are.

5. Familiarize yourself with the serious health risks associated with your breed of dog/pet. Know the symptoms, know the triggers, know the potential costs of treatment. Know how to avoid these things. It can be scary & overwhelming but knowledge is power.

6. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. You will be amazed at who out there is ready & willing to lend a hand. The kindness of strangers is absolutely incredible! But you’ll never get help unless you put shame & pride aside and just ask.

7. A positive attitude goes an awfully long way. Eliminate the words “try”, “hopefully”, “maybe”, and “perhaps” from your vocabulary. Don’t think that something will maybe happen… don’t try to accomplish something… That’s not good enough! It will happen and you WILL accomplish it! Using positive & decisive language make a world of difference. Positive thinking leads to positive actions, which lead to positive results. Besides, don’t you know that optimism will make you healthier?

(If one more person tells me that they “hope” Oslo will walk again, that someone is going to get throat-punched. He WILL walk again, dammit! Save your uncertainties for yourself and shove ’em!)

8. Marriage/A Committed relationship is truly about being a team. When things are stressful & hard, lean on that other person. Share duties. Ask for help. Communicate. Help each other. It’s not the easy, stress-free moments that define a marriage…. It’s how you were during times of adversity.

It has really been a hell of a journey so far.. and while I wish that this never happened to Oslo and I wish that we could have saved him from all that he has had to go through… If it had to happen, I absolutely would not have done a single thing differently. I’m proud of my little family over here. Of myself, of Justin, of Jersey and especially of Oslo. Things have been tough, but together we are kicking serious butt.

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6 thoughts on “Lessons Learned

  1. I just read and re-read all 8 points in your update and having gone through a similar experience I would say that I strongly agree with every single point you’ve made. It takes strength to get through stuff like this, we learn a lot getting through it and WE DO get through it. Keep kicking butt. – Wendy

  2. Beautiful entry Tamara, and very well written. I couldn’t agree with every point you made, especially the power of positive thought. Of course that lil munchkin is gonna walk again. He’s gonna walk and he’s gonna run and he’s gonna play crazy w/his adorable bro Jersey. Love to the whole family!

  3. Nicely put, Tamara. All of it’s so true. You and Justin are in a very similar position as Michael and I – living in a city far from our families or where we grew up. It makes you realize how important it is to be a team, and just how much your dog(s) become a part of that family. I totally understand where you’re coming from and I KNOW that you guys will pull through this small glitch with happiness, success and appreciation for all of life’s good things.

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