Don’t make the mistake that I made
Throughout my career as a newspaper writer, I’ve often grumbled over the fact that any time I may make a mistake, whether it be a typo or a factual error, it’s not just my boss or coworkers who know about my error, but everyone in Oxford — and sometimes beyond, thanks to the internet — witnesses my blunder.
It’s part of the job, however, and I guess it can be good motivation to try not to make mistakes.
Sometimes I make pretty dumb mistakes in my personal life too and then choose to share them with the world when they would otherwise not be known by most, except possibly those close to me. Why? Maybe it’s my small way of trying to at least have some good come out of my stupidity by sharing my story in hopes of keeping someone else from making the same mistake.
I get in trouble often for assuming things. The saying about the word “assume” is quite true as the act of doing it has often made me look like an ass. However, in this case, it made me a pretty poor pet owner too.
I have two dogs who are starting to get up there in years. Baby, a lab, is 10 and Bear, a chow/lab mix is 9.
Several months ago, money got tight and it was time to buy the dogs their heartworm medicine. You guessed it, I made excuses and I assumed.
I assumed that since my dogs are indoor dogs and only go out to do their business and head back inside that their chances of being swarmed by mosquitoes, which carry heartworms, were slim and that one skipped month wouldn’t hurt.
Except that one month turned into a few months. I learned you can’t just put the dogs back on the medicine before having them tested as it could make them deathly ill. Now we’re talking about a vet bill and that’s even more money. It was late winter and again, assumed mosquitoes shouldn’t be a problem — except we had a very mild winter which didn’t quite kill off the little buggers.
I’m sure those reading this know where this is going and are already face-palming and shaking their heads in disapproval and I get it, and I deserve it. Judge away. No one can say or think anything I haven’t said or thought to myself already.
Baby somehow escaped my lack of better judgment; however, Bear did not and tested positive for heartworms.
By trying to save $30, I will now be spending hundreds in Bear’s treatment, because despite how it appears by my admission, I do dearly love my dogs.
Thankfully, we caught it early before Bear has shown any symptoms and with advancements in heartworm treatments, it’s not the death sentence it was years ago, and his vet said Bear should live to the normal life expectancy for dogs of his breed and size.
I’ve since learned Mississippi and most southern states have the most reported cases of heartworms, even in North Mississippi where winter temperatures can get below freezing. Warm winters, even up here in the hill country, happen frequently.
If you are a dog owner, don’t assume your indoor dog won’t get bitten by mosquitoes. Don’t make the same uneducated and plain old dumb decisions as I did and keep your dogs on heartworm prevention throughout the year.
Alyssa Schnugg is Senior Writer at the Oxford Eagle. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.