Many years ago, while living in Mississippi, our single Pastor saw a sign in his mother’s neighborhood regarding some lost beagle puppies. He had been considering getting a small dog so he took the number down.
It so happens that on this day a group of us from church had planned to go to the Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Jackson to pass out business sized outreach cards. That is where we first heard of the beagle pups. Our Pastor planned to call the number when he got home. The next morning our Pastor and SS, his neighbor from across the hall, were full of stories about five beagle puppies and their mother which were now in residence in their small apartment building. We were a bit confused as to how this came to be. As it turns out, the person who had put up the signs was not able to continue caring for the puppies until the owner was found due to her landlord not allowing it. I believe that she had been trying to locate the owner for a week or so. So our Pastor, caring guy that he was, told her he would take care of the puppies.
Our Pastor lived in a tiny apartment building with only five one bedroom units, so all of his neighbors were soon aware of the situation. CB, our Pastor's downstairs neighbor, happened to have a sister-in-law who worked for a veterinarian. They got her on the phone and she informed them that the Animal Clinic where she worked rescued strays and adopted them out. Our Pastor, of course, had his eye on the runt of the bunch and planned to adopt her from the clinic.
Mr. Macchiato decided it would be fun for our family to take a little Sunday drive to go check out the puppies. I warned him that we would most likely have to leave there with screaming children if we did not get one, but he didn’t seem to think it would be a problem, leading me to believe that he was of a mind to get a puppy. We spent an hour and a half or more at our Pastor's playing with the dogs. During this time there was much begging and pleading with Daddy for a puppy, of which I was also a part. Mr. Macchiato stood his ground and we did leave with a car full of bawling children. His reasoning was sound in that we really could not afford to have any vet bills.
Well, the next morning our Pastor called from the vet’s to tell me that the shots and deworming would only cost $25. I immediately called Mr. Macchiato to do a little more begging and he relented. Well the vet bill was actually $30 along with a $40 trip to Petsmart, but we were pleased to have a wonderful little puppy. She was beautiful and we named her Maggie Mae.
Less than two days later she had diarrhea and she was not eating or drinking. I knew immediately that it was parvo because I had smelled it before. Our golden retriever, Reggie, that we had in CA, had gotten it after Mr. Macchiato and his mom took him to a dog park, even though he'd had all his shots. He was six months old and we spent nearly $1,000 saving him. When we moved to MS, we gave him to my mother-in-law because we couldn't sell our house and we were going to have to rent a place. We did find a place where we could keep him but she was so attached to him that we couldn't bear to take him from her. It was a good thing too because he got her through some pretty rough times.
There was no way that Mr. Macchiato was going to pay $1,000 to save a dog we'd just gotten days before. I was heartbroken. I called the vet and told him my suspicions and he had me bring her in. He ran a test and yes, it was parvo. He told me that I could pick out another dog from the litter and he wouldn't charge me. I asked if he would save her. He told me they would have to put her down. I stood there and cried. I asked him if there was any way for her to get through it without IV's. He said it would take a lot and the chances were slim. I told him I had to try. He was a wonderful man and he told me what to do and then taught me how to give Maggie Mae shots whenever she had diarrhea/vomiting. And he only charged me his cost for the shots.
I took her home and set her up in the laundry room. I set the alarm for every 20 minutes and slowly drizzled Pedialyte down the back of Maggie Mae's throat and I gave her the shots as the vet had shown me. Mr. Macchiato, our Pastor, and many of our friends all told me to just pick out another puppy. I just could not let her go. On the fourth or fifth night I was so exhausted. Sometimes the alarm would go off for 5-10 minutes before I was roused. Some of her diarrhea puddles were so large that I just didn't see how they could have come from her. There was a point during that last night that I just wept, sitting with her in my hands. She was completely limp with her head rolling back and I felt it was hopeless. I prayed for what had to be the hundredth time.
Just hours later... she began to improve. I could not believe it! Within a day, it was clear that she was going to survive. A couple of days later I was bathing her in the kitchen sink when the phone rang. There was a very angry woman on the other end of the line.
"You have my dog and I want her back NOW!"
To Be Continued...