Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blackie - A Lesson in Determination

Today my guest is Mary Ricksen. One quality shared by all writers is determination. Without persistence, the road to publication can be a dead end. Mary shares a real-life story that shows she has what it takes as she relates one of those unexpected, but worth the effort things, that grew to be more than she expected. Welcome, Mary!

Determination, that’s what it took, that and believing in the impossible.

We didn’t know about puppy mills when we saw him in the window of the local Pet Store at the Mall. I must have stopped there five times and gone in to pick up that fluffy black puppy. He was a pure bread German Shepherd and he was adorable. I fretted when I saw others look at him, or have him taken out to play with. I had to have that baby dog.

We’d just lost our first German Shepherd, he was rescued from a place where his owner had died, and my heart had a hole in it only a baby doggie could fill. It took some talking to get my husband to agree to buy him. I don’t know what it was, but when I looked into those big golden brown eyes there was a connection. I knew he had to come home with me. My heart about burst when I held him in my arms. He smelled so good, like a baby of any kind usually does. Little dog kisses washed me face and I fell in love.



That night we had spaghetti for dinner and the little boy just tried to dive into a plate of it. I gave him a tiny piece of meatball and he attacked it. He chewed merrily through the evening on all of his new toys and rawhide strips. We had a great evening and he slept on the end of our bed. Little doggie breaths and grunts made us smile. My husband wanted to call him Blackie, and though I had better names I let it be Blackie, just because he got me the dog.

Then morning came. The night and day difference scared me to death. The little fellow was so lethargic, and I barely got him outside to go when the first bouts of diarrhea hit. What didn’t come out of that end came out of the other and he coughed a lot too. I freaked, so we rushed to the pet store and they sent us to a local veterinarian. He diagnosed kennel cough, gave us medicine and we went home feeling much better.

He didn’t improve and I brought him back to the vet again and again. His kennel cough turned into pneumonia and antibiotics were added. He didn’t eat at all and I tried every food I could think of.

He got even worse and finally the vet told me he had distemper. He suggested we put the puppy down, and they would give me another dog. Put him down! What! I had this little bundle of sweetness in my heart already. Put him down; not on my watch. So here’s what I was stuck with. Lots of medicines and something from the pharmacy called parepectolin. I had to sign for it but it was an over the counter medication at that time. It had a small amount of codeine in it and it kept the poor baby sleepy, but it stopped the runs. How could I get him to eat?

I went and bought baby food, there were several kinds of meat foods and I added water to them to thin them down. I used a large syringe to draw up the food and them I put the tip of it behind his back teeth in that little area dogs have back there. I forced syringe by syringe full of food down him mouth and gave him the other medications and carried him in and out to do his duty. He slept most of the time.

I cared for him for six months and then one day he tried to eat out of my plate. I bought dog food and for the first time in six months, he ate on his own. Eurekia! Victory! He got better every day and he became a wonderful family member. He was a wonderful dog and we loved every minute of the ten years he lived.

He ended up to be a huge dog at 140 lbs. Black as night the only marking on him was a small white patch on his chest. What a beautiful and affectionate animal he turned into, he seemed grateful for every day of life. I was grateful for every day of his life and I will never stop missing him. Someday I hope to see him in heaven, I know he will make it there, I hope I do too!

So, to me the moral of the story is: Never say die!

Mary has lived in Florida for a number of years. Her current baby is her German Shepherd, Junior, although at nine he is no baby. She and her husband plan to move to Western North Carolina in the near future. The Great Smoky Mountains are inspiratioal. She is an avid reader and an avid writer! Visit her at her website.

21 comments:

Terry Odell said...

Thanks for being with me today, Mary. I'm still in Colorado with very little Internet access, so I appreciate you filling in.

Carol Kilgore said...

What a wonderful, inspiring story. When our chow-chow died, we had to have another dog. A rescue border collie chose us. And now he has a brother.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

What a great story, Mary!

I'm glad this one had a happy ending...after the little guy had such a rough start.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Mary Ricksen said...

He sure did, but there was no way I'd let that baby die.

Emma Lai said...

Great story, Mary! It's amazing what we do for our pets. We rescued a crazy Jack Russell mix. Everyone told us to put her down because she had major issues, but after years of work, she's a normal dog.

Judy said...

Good post, Mary! We're dachshund people and have many wonderful, very funny stories to tell about them. We're on our fifth one, a long-haired dachshund named Winston, who rules us very kindly. Dogs are wonderful family members. Thanks for sharing your story!

Patrice Wilton said...

Hi Mary,
Great story, and brings to mind the love I had for my Australian Cattle dog who moved around the world with us, and gave us so many happy memories before she finally went to her last resting place.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Mary,
What a marvelous, touching story. I am going to work now with smeared eye make up. And I am not even a dog lover.

Terry Odell said...

Here visiting family in Colorado, I've enjoyed the company of Otter, my son's Golden retriever, and Juno, my daughter's Rottweiler. Hubby is starting to say things like, "Maybe we should get another dog when we move."

Unconditional love is a priceless commodity.

Marie Tuhart said...

Mary,

What a beautiful story.

Marie
www.marietuhart.com

Maeve Greyson said...

Oh Mary! You almost made me short out my laptop with my tears. What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it.

Mary Marvella said...

I admire your determination in many things. When you love, you love strong!

Mona Risk said...

Mary, what a beautiful story. Your love for Blacky shows in your post.
You not only saved hime but you also gave him a happy life.

Mary Ricksen said...

I just couldn't give up on him. He was just a baby. When he looked into my eyes with those droopy sick ones. It made me more determined to save him. I hate to give up on something or someone I love, you're right MM. My it's amazing how many people love animals. How can you not reciprocate unconditional love? Whether Dachshund, German Shepherd, or cat, if it loves me I will do my best for it. Even people too!

Mary Ricksen said...

Thanks for having me Terry. Enjoy your trip!

Scarlet Pumpernickel said...

What a wonderful story Mary! You were Blackie's angel of mercy sent to rescue him! Our four legged friends are such loyal creatures. We have a Pom and she is every bit a part of our family. Even the DH loves her and he doesn't like animals in the house!

Autumn Jordon said...

Ah, Mary. I felt the same way when I first saw my big guy. Great story. You can tell you a proud mama.

P.L. Parker said...

I love my pets too. The poodle in my picture had a bad heart. Cost us mucho bucks at a time when we really couldn't afford it to save her, but I don't regret a penny spent.

Sheila Deeth said...

Oh wow. What a story. Never give up indeed.

Celia Yeary said...

MARY--I was glued to the very end. He is so gorgeous, and I'm happy for you that you saved your little darling. Celia

Mary Ricksen said...

Thank you all for coming!