So there I am in 2007, 27 years old, married for 6 months and our first “purchase” as a couple is running around the garden….with pieces of my hosepipe!
Miller is now seven months old and as any Labrador pup full of live. I look at him and cannot help but smile! In the 4 months that we’ve had Miller he has drastically change our lives. He has provided a bond between myself and my wife and makes our home feel like what it is….a family!
Whilst smiling at my wife and laughing at his antics we notice however that Miller seems to be limping, slightly favouring his right side.
I still remember the day so clearly…
I take him to our local vet and as I hand Miller over for his first series of X-rays I feel this feeling of trepidation. Miller is diagnosed with elbow dysplasia. But the vet explains that he is still young and there is a very good chance that it can be rectified. So Miller’s left front leg is put into a cast. I take him home and true to form he seems just as happy except for this nuisance on his leg. He hops on three legs everywhere I go and does not leave my side. In the day I lock him in the garage to try and keep him still but I have to go home at lunch every day because he refuses to use the newspapers supplied for him. What a sight when you open a garage door and see a 3 legged happy pup running for you…then past you to the grass for a wee…
Anyway after three weeks the cast is removed and he is X-rayed again. No improvement. I leave him for a few months and at just over 1 year old I take him back to the vet as the story repeats itself. This time after removing the cast the Doctor says she is out of options and refers me to a specialist in Randburg. So off we go, full of hope still that they will help our boy!
Now the words that stick in your memory….
“I’m sorry sir but without surgery on both front legs your dog will probably not make it to two years of age”
I’m stunned and the whole way home I’m choking back my tears…How can I save my Best Friend? That evening after discussing the issue with my wife we both agree that we are not keen on surgery as we cannot justify putting this bundle of joy through so much misery. There HAS TO BE another way! We search for the next few months and just by chance my wife listens to a radio interview with Dr Tanya Grantham from Animal Health and Hydro. Little did we know of the significance of that moment…?
My wife phones Tanya and schedules an appointment for Miller. On the day we show up Miller is all fun and games as usual but my stomach is turning. What if this does not work…? Dr Grantham assesses Miller and agrees with all her colleagues findings, except the fact that she says we have a chance to help Miller!
So we start swimming him diligently every Thursday at 4pm. Soon I no longer refer to Dr Grantham as such, but simply as Tanya. A friendship starts to develop between her and Miller, and between her and us as a family. After six months the difference between the diameters of his front legs has drastically decreased. He is limping less and less now and he is full of life as usual.
So we’ve made it to 2 years with no operations, pins or cages…what now?
Well if you want to meet Miller he will be at Animal Health and Hydro on Thursday at 4pm, as he has been for the past six years! He is still my best friend and at the age of nearly 9 years old he has been with me and my wife on vacation a couple of times, through all our hardship and most importantly through all the joy and my prayer is that it stays this way! I can honestly say that Tanya saved Miller’s life and in so doing gave me and my wife some of the best years of our life together with Miller and his little “sister” Minki (but that’s another story).
So Thank You Tanya for giving us hope, for your friendship, always giving us good advice and above all for giving us time!
We love you!
Bennie, Lindi, Miller and Minki