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She told us she was old and she was angry but we didn’t know which of those things was most important.

She called for help with euthanasia. She said her older dog had tried to bite her several times and she was done with it. She said she didn’t deserve that after all she’d done for him.

Then she said if we couldn’t help she was going to take him to the park and leave him there. The answer to our earlier question about what was more important, her age or her anger, well, let’s just say we got the answer to that one.

When does your dog try to bite you?

When I pet his head.

How long has this been going on?

A few weeks. Maybe longer.

When you pet his head, is it in the same way you’ve pet his head before?

Yes. Well, sort of. Mostly he tries to bite me when I pick the scabs off his face.

She also said he had stopped being happy. He wasn’t eating as much food. He was just moping around. She said he was dying and she knew it was time to let him go but she could not afford the euthanasia. What she said, those are hard words to say.

His name was Cabot. A 14 year-old mix of several other mixes. A little guy. And as we figured out after asking a few more questions, for the last several weeks he had been fighting the intense pain from an infected mouth and a messy abscess.

She was doing what she could do to help. Please remember that. She could have done more but the anger part, that was making everything a lot harder. And in that moment, we had a feeling she also was battling a lot of pain and sadness of her own.

But for now, we needed to focus on Cabot.

She said her vet had sold his clinic and she could not afford the prices the new vet was charging. She was impatient, she wanted this done. We understood. She had finally made the call to ask for help and she did not want to chit-chat about it. She was ready to say goodbye.

But from across the miles, we had a sense this dog was not dying from illness. He was dying from anger. Not his. Hers. And we needed to keep this call going to find a way to help.

Oh yeah, one more thing. They were several states away.

She went to the vet. She told them her version of what was going on but that’s what she wanted to share. She told them to call The Pongo Fund. A little while later they did.

A sweet vet tech told us she was calling about Cabot. She shared what they were told. That The Pongo Fund was going to help pay for the euthanasia. We said not exactly.

We told her we wanted to know more about him. Was he happy? Was he healthy? What did he need?

She let out a big sigh and said she was so happy to hear that. Because he didn’t need to be euthanized. She said he was great. She said he even laughed at her jokes. She said she tells really corny jokes and not every animal appreciates her sense of humor but he did.

She shared what she could. We shared what we could. She said they wanted to treat his issues because he was in good shape otherwise. She suspected his appetite and malaise was most likely from the abscess, the pain, and the infection. His bloodwork came back great.

He just needed some better care than he had been getting.

The woman had a lot more going on than anyone knew. Taking care of Cabot was no longer possible for her. It had been that way for quite a while, likely leading to some of her anger. Because those kind of conversations are really hard.

The CVT said a few more things. But then it seemed like she was kind of beating around the bush. We sensed that she was having a hard time asking about who was going to pay for his care. So we took the next step and asked how much the bill was and what was still needed. We wanted her to know we were there.

And that’s when she got silent.

She said it was nothing.

The bill was zero.

She was beating around the bush because she had fallen in love with this little guy and she wanted to take him home and love him every day for the rest of his life. Because that’s what you do with a dog that laughs at your jokes.

We helped connect the rest of the dots. The woman knew the importance of this opportunity and she made the hardest decision that any of us could make. And Cabot is now happy and healthy and running and playing and spending his days laughing at jokes.

And sometimes he tells some pretty corny jokes too. They are the perfect match.

Did you hear the one about the dog who loves to laugh?

Well, now you have.

For Cabot.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

The Pongo Fund / Portland, Oregon