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This is Flossy. She’s a Cautionary Tale.

April 5, 2011

Our Happy Beginning

So, first there was Tiger.
A tiny incredibly sweet shih tzu I brought home from a pet store, way back when
I first believed pet stores in Jakarta were reputable places. I mean compared
with “puppy street”, a block in Jakarta-the periphery of which is
dotted with scoundrels selling cute scruffy pups in cages, perusing a pet store
seemed like the smart option. That was then.

We brought our little black and white baby boy dog home, to squeals of delight from our kiddos. Everything was so idyllic and everyone so happy. The pet store owner had handed us his
shot record and pedigree information and we were patting ourselves on the back
for being responsible pet owners.

Then, Tiger started coughing. Not anything ominous sounding. Just a slight little cough, which  unbeknownst me would  signal his slow decent into the wicked illness that is distemper. We tried everything, from nebulizers, to vitamin therapy, antibiotics…everything. Along this two-week
tortuous journey there were moments when he seemed like he just might make it.
Like he might be one of the very few that pull through and come out the other
end a survivor. But when the seizures started, I knew I couldn’t let him suffer
anymore. And we were responsible pet owners.

I would love to say right now that that’s the end of this story. That we were smart and never went
back to that pet store. BUT, that just isn’t the case. The pet store owner
seemed like a very nice guy.  I believed him when he said he was so sorry
and offered us store credit. He said this had never happened before. That he
wasn’t going to use that breeder anymore. That he felt bad and wanted to make
things right. (Being that this is Jakarta, he also mentioned in passing that
bad spirits may have been to blame and he had taken corrective measures on that
end too). But we left and didn’t look back…not for a year anyway.

Fast forward one year and we again were feeling like our family needed another addition. We still had
that store credit….my mind was wandering back over to the pet store. Perhaps
Tiger’s illness had been an anomaly. Since then we had known friends that had
purchased from that store without incident. One afternoon I ventured back in.

I ended up falling in love with a little guy that looked almost identical to Tiger. Tiger who had now
been officially canonized by our family and remembered as the greatest dog
ever. But, this guy who I named Poppy didn’t have all his shots. So, I patiently
waited. Two weeks went by before I could bring Poppy home. Everyone needed to
know he was healthy and that his shot record was accurate.

When we finally brought Poppy home our family was overjoyed. We felt like lightning wouldn’t/couldn’t
strike twice….that would just be too cruel. And things were good, until they

Again it started with a slight cold. I immediately took Poppy to what is considered the best vet clinic in Jakarta. They looked at his records and assured me this was just a cold. They gave me
some vitamins, an antihistamine, some eye drops and sent me home. He did seem
to get better. Poppy had a charming disposition. He was yappy for sure. Vocal
about his desire for food and attention and he never lost that spark. Then a
slight tremor in his back let set in. I captured in on my cell phone and took
him straight to the vet. X-rays ensued, none of which found an injury. His cold
started up again, and nebulizer treatment was prescribed. Every day I took him
to the clinic. Every day they assured me-this wasn’t distemper, he was just a
sickly little guy, not healthy because he was taken from his mother too soon. Strange
how that sad assumption was comforting at the time. I tried to ignore my inner
voice telling me this was serious. I went home and faithfully gave Poppy his
vitamins, eye drops, antihistamine, pain-killer, neuro med, stomach medicine
and special dog food. I felt like a puppy nurse. I told myself it would all be
worth it when this was over. But it wasn’t.

When the incessant crying started I knew, for sure, that the doctor at the clinic was full of it,
and Poppy was in fact really ill. I looked in the phone book and found a 24
hour animal hospital and took Poppy there. This place wasn’t at all like the
fancy clinic he was used to. This was a rundown very busy place with no expats
in sight. Very little English was spoken. Through my tears in my broken Bahasa
I explained to the vet that my dog was sick. That he was taking many medications
for  an illness that the clinic said was definitely not distemper. This vet
examined him asked me if I had a translator with me. I didn’t. He said he did
in fact have distemper. I broke down. The Vet through his own tears said I
needed to euthanize him as his case was advanced and he was suffering. I could
barely read the paperwork through the relentless tears that came without
invite. I signed what I didn’t want to sign. I held him. I said goodbye. And
ventured home to deliver some horrible news.

This is where things pick up. After a few weeks I became more determined than ever to get a dog.
This need for another family member now turned into a desire to conquer what
felt like a curse. On one of the many visits to the clinic with Poppy a nice
man told me I should have gotten a dog from a special breeder only website. He
said that’s where he got all of his beloved rottweilers. Pet stores, he said,
were criminal places…this, by now, I had already learned.

So I looked it up, sorted through breeders. One Golden Retriever ad said “Not for pet stores,
for dog lovers only”. I called this one. Determined to do things 100%
differently I purchased a large breed (originally I wanted something small),
female (Tiger and Poppy both male) Golden Retriever. I named her Flossy.

Flossy is not what we wanted in the beginning but she is exactly what this family needed. She’s a
happy lady. Fun loving and loyal. I’m overprotective of her–no play dates
until all her shots are done. And I found a good vet who comes to the house to
care for her and who doesn’t mind my random over-cautious question driven phone
calls.  It seems, for now, we have found the happy ending we were looking for.

And what about that horrible Pet Store, that sold me two sick puppies? I never went back. I just
couldn’t. Not even to tell him how wrong he was and how cruel his business
practices had been or how he broke the hearts of my kids and cost the life of
two great dogs. I did however read recently in Time Out Jakarta, that very pet
store was highly recommended as a great place to get a pet…I may have a
letter to write.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Pamela Stacy permalink
    April 7, 2011 5:04 pm

    Waiting for more…love your style of writing! Keep it coming! Tell me about your jewelry business and its focus.

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