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Tested values

Posted 2/3/2010 9:39am by Julie Hurst / Roy Brubaker.

I was reminded this week the important role personal experience plays in determining one's values and principles.   In the past I've been pretty critical of persons who are extravagant with their pets.  How can one justify spending thousands of dollars on chemo or surgery for a dog or cat when so many people do not have the health care coverage they need for even simple medical procedures?   But this week my principles were tested.
 Last week Mac leaped for a frisbee and slammed his knee into a log that had been dragged into the pasture for firewood
.  He went down in obvious pain, but in a few minutes he was up again, gingerly limping around and after a short while he seemed fully recovered.  On Tuesday however, when jumping for yet another frisbee, he twisted his leg in mid-air and came down in a heap.   We suspect he has either strained or torn his ACL and may need surgery to have it repaired.   I was surprised how quickly I felt like a protective parent of our dog -- with little hesitation we decided we would do whatever it takes make sure his leg heals completely.   I can't imagine our energetic and life-loving Mac trying to herd sheep with a limp but preventing him from doing what he loves to protect him from harm seems just as unfair.   But even while we feel committed to making sure his leg heals, we know the reality is that there are limits to what we both afford and justify for our dog.   Thankfully today he seems to be improving and several conversations with vet friends have convinced us there are options to try before an expensive surgery.   Mac's youth and general good health are in his favor.   But I had to think... what if... what if he had cancer? What if he needs a $5000 surgery to regain strength in his leg?  Mac has become part of our family.  He communicates with us.  He plays, works, and rests with us.  We really love this dog and not only that; we depend on his skills to manage the farm.   So aren't we justified to go to any extent necessary to care for a loved one?   I guess the best answer I can give is ... we'll do what we can, understanding there are always limits to what we can do, even for our human loved ones.