In like a lamb: tale of “the perfect dog”

Michael daughter and Emma

The dictionary defines ‘lamb‘ as one who is gentle and innocent, words that describe the ‘perfect dog’ honorably adopted by Michael, a career Air Force veteran, as a promise to his young daughter. She wanted to prove that she could be responsible to care for a pet of her own, and even spent her allowance to help pay for the dog’s adoption fee.

Our thanks to Michael for sharing their story. 

Emma, the perfect dog

I stood there, holding Emma while I signed the paperwork and reflected on her past five months with us.

Back in May, a nine-pound mini Dachshund at the shelter climbed in my daughter’s heart and impressed my wife. Two days later, Emma, who had languished at the shelter for a month, came home to live with us. At the time, we had me, my wife, two children and our exchange student in the house. Emma slid right in as the ‘pocket sized dog’ that always fit in the crook of your arm and hugged you with her body. Michael Emma and family

Our exchange student left just a week later and we took our newest addition in to get a check up. Turns out, Emma had a bladder stone…the size of her bladder. This was horrible news and it arrived at a time we could not afford to keep her, but I got on the phone with Pets for Patriots immediately. Beth launched a Pet Chance to save Emma from hospice care for what would have been three to four more weeks of life.

And you responded … beyond expectation. A vet, Doctor Khianey at Prince George’s Animal Hospital, offered to do the surgery for free, leaving the Pet Chance for after surgery care. We took him up on that and it was a complete success. That stone was HUGE. Emma was an absolute trooper. Michael Emma daughter Dr Khianey

From then on, it was like she was a three year-old and not an eight year-old. She kept up with our larger dogs, pranced up and down stairs, chased squirrels and always always jumped up into the nearest lap for scratches. Despite a continuing UTI [urinary tract infection], she was the perfect dog.

About two weeks ago, Emma developed a ‘stitch’ in her side and would whine when she was up. She did not refuse the inevitable ear scratches and love from the family, though. But she quickly stopped wanting to jump down to get food or out of bed, and needed to be carried up the stairs in our multi-level house.

I took Emma to our local vet after work and found out that huge bladder stone was probably what kept the bladder cancer at bay. The prognosis was not good, three to six months, maybe. One of the vet’s coworkers had the same issue and even chemo did not help the situation. Our vet said the key to knowing when things were too far gone was when Emma would not longer urinate, and when she became lethargic and did not want to move to get food.

Michael daughter and Emma

I took Emma home and we gave her some beef with gravy, something off her diet for four months with the UTI and stone concerns, and loved her lots.

The next morning I walked with our dogs out to the beach and brought her back home as usual. I put her in bed with my wife to get warm under the blankets and went back downstairs. When Emma did not come down with my wife, I went to fetch her. I scratched her head and stroked her side to pick her up…and she yelped….loud enough to reach the second floor. And I knew. 

I signed the paperwork and the most difficult thing to do was to remove her collar.

I want to thank Pets for Patriots and Pet Chance and you on Emma’s behalf for making her life four times longer than it would have been in the shelter. She played with us. She loved with us. If we knew then what we know now, we would do it again. She was the perfect dog for the rest of her life.


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