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Bridging the Worlds
PO Box 9109
Santa Fe, NM 87504
Raymond had a diaphragmatic hernia. X-rays showed that part of his stomach and intestines were in his chest cavity, so he could not process food and was slowly starving to death. Following an extensive veterinary exam, this one-year-old Lab mix faced two hard choices: quiet euthanasia or risky, costly extreme surgery. The odds of survival were 70/30, the cost would be over $1000. The emergency medical fund was depleted and the practical decision seemed to be choice #1, which created heavy sadness, but only made sense.
What happened next is not for everyone. If you don't like mystery and mysticism, then read no further. If you'd like to hear what Raymond had to "say," please do read on.
We all went to bed, knowing that in the morning we'd have to call Dr. Hinko to schedule Raymond's last visit. It was a hectic morning -- they all are! -- Robert and I had a hard time finding a minute to plan. Then, suddenly, without preamble, Robert shared the bedtime "conversation" he had with Raymond. No voices, no language, really. Nevertheless, Raymond gave Robert the clear understanding that he "knew it was a one-way ticket." I asked, "What does that mean?" Robert believes that Raymond knew something was wrong and that he had come to us to die. Robert also got the understanding that he was "afraid to ask for the surgery." We cried. All our self-messages of limitation and contraction shriveled and died -- as they deserved.
Q - What causes a diaphragmatic hernia?
A - A blow so hard that it actually drives the organs through the diaphragm. X-rays show Raymond was also shot in the back. He was abandoned in a casino parking lot in 95 degrees, and approached his rescuer with difficulty because the searing tarmac had burned his feet.
Q - Why would anyone do this for "just a dog?"
A - If that phrase held meaning for us, we'd probably get real jobs, take vacations, sleep nights!
Q - Do you realize how many healthy dogs you could save with that amount of money?
A - We asked ourselves that very question, and that's where the messages of limitation and contraction reared their ugly heads. Raymond is Raymond, worthy to receive the care he needed. With help we believed we could do this for him -- without depriving others.
When we called to say, “Let’s do it," the Animal Clinic cleared their calendar and Donna Hinko said, "OK. Tomorrow."
Dr. Hinko and Vet Techs Susan, Josette, and Morgana went to work about 10 am, finished at 1 pm. During the surgery, a machine breathed for him. In his chest cavity they found the expected stomach and intestine AND his liver and spleen! When I returned to the clinic at 4:30 pm, a hangdog and sleepy Raymond actually walked to the car to be transported to the Emergency Animal Hospital. He had survived the surgery, but still faced a critical night -- would the lung so traumatized by the pressure of the misplaced organs regain function so Raymond could maintain the ability to breathe on his own?
ER Vet, Kim Freeman, promised to call if anything began to go awry. Every silent hour that passed was a gift. Morning brought jubilation! Raymond was not only alive, he was thriving, eating with gusto, properly pooping, wagging his tail! He came home that afternoon and the major challenge of the first week was to keep him "quiet" when he wanted to pounce on Rosetti, leap and play like an Otter with Sky, and gnaw his stitches.
Next morning when Dr. Hinko checked him again and removed the catheters from his chest and leg, the mood among us was euphoric. The surgery had been more severe than expected, yet his dramatic comeback was faster and smoother than we could ever have dreamed. I do not doubt that Raymond sailed through this experience because so many people wept and cared and held him in their hearts that day.
YOUR response was as dramatic as Raymond's. Your gifts began to pour in within an hour of our request for help, continued throughout the week, and total over $7000. You showed us we are not alone in this work.
Besides paying his hospital bills, you replenished our Medical Fund -- renamed Raymond's Gift, because this dog taught us not to be afraid to ask for help.
UPDATE: Raymond found his forever home several months later. He is now happy, flourishing and loved.