Pet of the Month March: Abby by Nicole Arruda

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak. – Thomas Carlyle


When working at North Town over a period of time, you start to notice many familiar faces. There are many pets and parents that visit us on a regular basis, and will walk in, be greeted by name, and often pick up on conversations from their last visit. Some of you reading this may understand what I mean through personal experiences!

One of those familiar faces as of late is Abby – a fifteen and a half year old female cock-a-poo. Every time Abby and her parents Heather and Steve visit North Town, the staff members say hello and ask for the most recent updates on Abby.

Heather clearly remembers the day she and Steve welcomed Abby into their lives. “She joined the family in 1998 when we responded to an ad about Cocker Spaniel/Poodle puppies for sale a few weeks after getting married and moving to Brampton. At 5 weeks old Abby was pretty tiny, but she was ‘the one’ from the start.”  The new parents’ ride home was spent cradling their puppy. “For a while, we considered changing her name, but “Abby” stuck! On the day I met her I jokingly said she was ‘heaven sent.’ Abby is a joy, although a little mischievous and rambunctious at times, but she quickly steals a piece of everyone’s hearts when they meet her!”

Christmas day of 2013 was a tough day on Abby and her family. While other families and their pets were surrounded by gifts and keeping warm from the ice and snow, Abby came to North Town having collapsed at home. “Steve and I rushed her to the clinic with Grandpa and Grandma in tow (who had just arrived at the house for Christmas dinner) despite the horrible snow storm outside. The North Town team quickly deduced that Abby was suffering from severe anemia due to internal bleeding caused by a gastrointestinal ailment. This was compounded by a stage four heart murmur.” Heather and Steve did whatever they could do to get to the bottom of their fur baby’s condition.

After radiographs and other diagnostic testing, Abby’s parents were told Abby needed an endoscope to find the source of the problem. “We were troubled to find out that because of her age and significant heart murmur that would not be a viable option. Instead, a course of medication directed at a stomach ulcer was prescribed hoping that was the cause of the internal bleeding. Abby was admitted to the clinic so the North Town team could administer the medication while watching all her vital signs.”

Unfortunately the medication wasn’t bringing Abby’s red-blood cell levels up enough and the veterinarians recommended she receive a blood transfusion. Heather and Steve took no time at all before agreeing. “All we could do was hope this was the boost Abby needed to rebuild the red-blood cells in her aging body.”

After a few days in the clinic, Abby was released to come home, but would have to visit the clinic regularly to check her red-blood cell counts to ensure she was continuing to get better. Her parents were informed of signs to watch out for, and factors to monitor, such as the colour of Abby’s stool.  “Never has anyone been so excited to see brown poop! It was a sign to us that the internal bleeding had subsided! While the collapse, and subsequent diagnosis of Abby’s condition was traumatic and very difficult for Steve and I to come to terms with, the team at North Town and the support of family and friends provided the foundation for us to make a decision based on Abby’s well-being.”

“Abby is continuing to receive care at North Town.  When Abby knows she is visiting the vet, her tail wags ferociously, she can’t get into the car fast enough, and when she gets there, she is always excited to see the staff.” Abby takes her treatments well, never leaving her parents’ sides while patiently waiting in the lobby for her turn. Heather and Steve have been committed to Abby’s care, and have done whatever has been recommended for her.

“We can’t thank the North Town team and our families enough for the expertise, support, and compassion they showed us during this difficult time.  Words can’t express how much we love Abby as she truly has become an important member of our family. We have truly cherished all the great times we have shared with Abby over the almost 16 years she’s been a part of our family as our ‘fur-baby.'”

There are many wonderful pets and parents that grace North Town every day. Many of them will do whatever they can possibly do for their furry friends. Abby and her family are a perfect display of the power of perseverance, and of what just a little faith can do.

Written by Nicole Arruda