by Catherine Garriga
(Ocean Springs, MS)
12 years ago I was told by my doctor that I was going to die. I have a genetic liver disease that is extremely rare, but that runs in my family. They sent me to Tulane University for a liver transplant. By this time I had spent years undergoing many medical tests. I was sick and I was tired. I was diabetic and had thyroid disease. I had already had a hysterectomy for cancerous tumors. I prayed and then walked out of the hospital. My life would be in God's hands now. I stopped all meds except for my thyroid and diabetic medication.
I got better. Before Katie's (my daughter) adoption I was testing clear, and since the Hurricane (Hurricane Katrina) I've had a little trouble.
10 years ago I was sick. I moved here from NC with my mother. My brother had been murdered, my grandmother had just died from cancer, and my stepfather was threatening to kill my mother. So we ran. This was the only place I knew to go.
I was out with my sheltie Max and a lady asked me if I was interested in breeding him for pick of the litter. I said yes and along came Halley. Her mama ran out of milk when she was 5 weeks old. I went to get her. She was the ugliest puppy I ever saw! She was so mean I couldn't touch her without getting bloody. I could no longer work, mostly I was in bed and I watched her.
First thing, I decided she had to have something done with her ears. They looked like two satellite dishes on top of her head, working independently of each other. Her dew claws were horrible blobs on her legs. So Miss Halley had cosmetic surgery. She was still really mean. It took me 6 skittles an ear to change her bandages. (I don't want any comments about the skittles. This puppy was really mean and that's what it took!)
If I gave her a chew toy I could pet her as long as she was chewing. I spent every waking hour with her because I couldn't do anything else. If I put her on the bed with me she peed on me. If I put her back on the bed because she had already peed on me, she peed on me again. Puppy heaven. She hated me. I'd take her to the vet and tell him she was crazy and she would just sit there like a little princess and make me look crazy. When she was six months old I had her spayed. No more demon dogs here!
When I went to pick her up, she got so excited to see me she peed on me! Only this time it was different. She was HAPPY to see me. Since then she has never left my side. She would sleep with me, keep me company. She is my friend, my baby. I love her. She goes where I go. When I was sick, she would lay by me and it made me feel better. I started getting better. I believe that she helped me get better. There were many days when I was too weak to get out of bed. But as time went by I started healing. My days were spent with her by my side. We bonded in a way that defies logic.
She is 10 now and she has arthritis. So she can no longer get in my bed. It's so bad it even hurts her to be picked up. She sleeps in her own bed beside mine. Every morning I get up and I lay on the rug beside her.
During (Hurricane) Katrina my house flooded. We had to seek shelter in a neighboring home. I had the babies (8 foster children) safe, I put her in the dry house next, she jumped out into water over her head and would not leave my side until I went in too. By the time everyone was in and safe she was about drowned. I had to carry her in. She didn't save us, but she's my hero, she was brave. I love her so.
So this is about my dog, Halley. She is so much more to me. I love her the way I love my children. God reached down and gave her to me.
This was written 3 years ago. Today she died. I named her after Halley's Comet. Because I thought she was so rare and special.