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Robin's Story

A short story from one of the original PugZone* readers, Robin Saltzberg, who was the inspiration behind our emergency preparedness article:

“My husband Ron and I were sound asleep on July 6, 1999. Our 4 year old Pug, Ramsey, was sleeping quietly nestled between us as usual when I fell asleep. At about 3:30am, I awoke, feeling wetness on the bed, and hearing Ramsey gasping for air. Thinking nothing worse than he wet our bed, I turned the light on and screamed in horror. Ramsey was lying motionless in a pool of his own blood, struggling to breathe.

Ron tried to see if there was something obstructing Ramsey’s breathing while I ran frantically to the den looking for my phone book. We didn’t have our vets number memorized because Ramsey had never been sick and had only been there for regular check ups. I couldn’t find the address book anywhere. I couldn’t even think straight. Ron came rushing in with the phone book and found our vets number. He called, as I sat there in the bed crying, trying to comfort Ramsey who was by this time letting out low whines of pain.

Ron got an answering machine when he called and wrote down the number for the emergency vet. He called and was told to bring Ramsey in immediately. He got the address, not thinking to get directions. I looked at the town this vet was in and I knew how to get to the town, but had never heard of the street they were on, or how to get there. Ron called again, but the office didn’t have a good idea of where we were and how to get there from our home. She did the best she could, but we couldn’t find their building.

We drove around and around, using our cell phone to communicate our location with the vets office. “Birch Street!” the receptionist shouted over the phone, “head east 4 blocks and make a right onto Wilkes Avenue, take that straight down about 2 miles, bear left at the fork onto Lighthouse Road and you’ll see us right there on the right”.

We did as she told us to do, and screamed into their parking lot, leaving tire behind. Just as I was about to hand Ramsey over to the vet who ran to our car, Ramsey let out a loud yelp and died in my arms.

It was 4:35am.

The vet put Ramsey onto the ground right there in the parking lot and tried to revive him, but he was gone. I sat there on the ground holding Ramsey. I was crying so hard that I could barely breathe. I’m crying as I write this letter.

It has been almost a month since this awful day and I haven’t gone more than a few hours without reliving it in my mind over and over again. I don’t think I would ever get over Ramsey’s death no matter how it happened, but I can’t help thinking what if.

What if we had the vets number programmed into the phone or over the phone? What if we had known where the emergency vets office was? What if we had gotten Ramsey there in 30 minutes instead of an hour and five minutes? Would he be alive right now? Sitting on the floor next to me as I type this letter on my notebook? I should have done better for Ramsey.

PugZone? I hope you will share my story on your wonderful site so people can learn from my experience, without having to experience it themselves. If it helps one pug and their family, then putting my letter and my name out there for the whole world to read will be worth it. Thank you.

Robin Saltzberg

*Article first appeared on the original PugZone web site in August, 1999, and is republished in its original context.

Photo of Smudge submitted by pug forum member gothpugs.