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For me, medicine has always had a deeply spiritual component. I often say little prayers for my patients and their owners, and it is for this reason that I started to think about what I would pray for if I were a mere pet owner, and not a veterinarian asking for medical miracles. Here’s what I, as a dog lover, would say:
Thank you for the gift of canine companionship. Let me always strive to be the person my dog thinks I am, even if that level of awesomeness is completely unattainable.
Please remind me of the innocence of dogs and of my responsibilities to those I take into my home. Forgive me if I get frustrated with my dog, feed him the occasional table scrap or make him wear a holiday costume for a few quick photos. I promise I will try my hardest to always be a good owner, friend and family member.
Lord, during puppyhood, please help him figure out the house-training thing as quickly as possible. I’d like to walk barefoot indoors and sleep soundly again at some point, so I will take him out regularly, especially when he wakes up, after he eats and during intense playtimes. I promise I’ll celebrate his successes like a bridesmaid who just caught the bouquet, if you could just see to it that he catches on.
Please let my dog have a respectable appetite and agreeable palate so that selecting a healthy food that he will actually eat is less expensive and time-consuming than the construction of a skyscraper. Please spare him from food allergies, but if he must have them, please grant me the patience and dedication required to do a proper food trial so I can sort out the right diet for him.
And if and when my dog gets into something delicious but dangerous, could you slow him down a little, so at least he doesn’t eat too much of it? Then I’ll get him veterinary help right away.
Speaking of the vet, Lord… please help me find a veterinarian (and veterinary technicians) who will love my dog and whom my dog will love back. Let the vet play with him, give him treats and stealthily vaccinate him before he even knows what is happening.
Help me to do all I can to make trips to the veterinarian relaxed and happy. And if my dog still doesn’t like going to the vet, please let him be bad at geography so he won’t realize where we’re going until we arrive.
If I ever get concerned about my dog’s health, please help me not to freak out about what I read on the Internet until I talk to my vet. Because, Lord, there is some crazy stuff on that Internet.
I know that I have enormous control over my dog’s food intake and opportunities to exercise. Please help me keep him in shape so that he can live the longest, healthiest life possible. Bless him with the persistence to drag me off the couch and out the door for regular exercise, because he deserves it and I could use it myself.
Grant my dog also the drive to chase a ball when it’s thrown instead of watching it bounce away and then looking at me like I’m an idiot.
Oh, and I’ll do my best to keep him leashed or in safely fenced areas. But if my dog ever decides to escape from our yard, let him get the daylights scared out of him so that he doesn’t try it again. Just please, don’t let him get hurt.
When we meet other dogs, please help him to be the cool dog who’s easy to get along with, not the one all the other dog owners wish would go home or the one who humps the other dogs.
I promise also to do my part to keep my dog healthy by making sure he receives timely vaccines, is parasite-free and gets a heartworm preventive regularly. (Feel free to give me a nudge if I forget his monthly dose.) I’ll also do my best on tooth brushing, but please help me remember to get my dog’s teeth professionally cleaned when needed, because gum disease is nasty.
If my dog ever gets ear infections, bladder stones, parasites, diabetes or any other type of malady, please grant me the patience and dedication to care for him the best I can. When old age comes for my dog, I will stay by his side and make him as comfortable as possible. I ask only that you grant me the dignity to stop sobbing like a baby at some point after he’s gone.
May you smite dog fighters, animal abusers and anyone who would ever deliberately mistreat my best friend. Seriously. We both know they have it coming.
If some of these things don’t work out, Lord, that’s OK. Just please help me to give my dog the life he deserves, because he is one of your most wonderful creatures.
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