Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Story of Miss Willie Mae

I know that many people, including myself, love their pets like family members.  Other people think that it is rediculous to treat animals like humans.  To each his or her own.  There was never another person on this earth whom fought so hard for a beloved pet.  Let me tell you the story......

In 2005, my mother was working as a home health care nurse.  She would go and help people who were too old or sick or in the last stages of life.  This is something that would be hard for me to do but she was a very caring person and loved her clients.  One of her clients had a dog that just gave birth to several tiny puppies.  These people in rural Arkansas don't have much money, especially the elderly and sick ones, so many of them can't afford to get their pets spayed or neutered or take them to the vet, for that matter.  Anyway, the client kept the mother dog and her newborn pups in a doghouse outside.  My mother looked after them when she would go over to her house.  It got very cold outside and the client, or one of her family members, decided to put a light in the dog house to keep the newborns warm instead of just bringing them inside.  Well, the light caught the little dog house on fire and when my mother got there, all that was saved was little Willie Mae.  She named the dog Willie Mae because not much earlier that year, my step father died from cancer and it broke my mother's heart.  So my mother took the only survivor home and nursed her back to health.  It turned out that Miss Willie Mae grew into a very large Labrador Retriever mix!  She was very loving and playful and was my mother's best friend.

A couple of years ago my mother had to stop working due to a disability.  Social Security does not pay very much so she had a very limited income and Miss Willie Mae had to go off of her heartworm meds for a while.  When she finally could go to the vet, they discovered that she tested positive for heartworms.  Now, I know many people would be forced give the dog up for adoption or put it to sleep.  With no money, my mom couldn't afford the VERY expensive treatment for Willie's heartworm treatment.  She called around to numerous vets asking if she could please make payments.  Finally, she found one that would let her pay out Willie's medical treatments monthly.  That was Vilonia Animal Clinic (shoutout www.viloniaanimalclinic.com).

Willie got the heartworm treatment and my mom worked very hard to raise money by selling handmade beaded necklaces around town at shops.  A few years later, Willie started getting sick again.  Just as my mom made the last payment for her heartworm treatment!  This time she was having problems with her kidneys.  After numerous tests, treatments, medications, a large bill had accumulated.  My mother would do anything for that dog!  But, in the end, she was forced to face the reality that the vet had done all there was to do for her.

My mother called me Sunday morning that Willie had passed.  She sat out in her doggie cabin with her for hours saying her goodbyes.  Monday morning, I helped her take Willie's body, wrapped in a hand made blanket by my mother, to the vet in Vilonia.  They were expecting her as they knew Willie would not make it through the night.  It broke my heart to see my mother's best friend being taken away.  They asked her if she wanted her blanket back that she had made so it could remind her of Willie, but she could not bring herself to take it back and told them to keep it for another dog in need.  I used what little money I had to pay for the cremation and wooden, inlaid box for Willie's remains so that her bill did not go higher.  That dog was what my mother lived for.  Everything she did was to help Willie to be healthy and safe (and a little spoiled).

To help my mother raise the funds to pay off Willie's medical expenses, I painted a portrait of Willie from my mom's favorite picture of her.  I have put it up in my society 6 shop and it is a lovely print but you can get it put on a coffee mug, pillow, totebag, you name it.  The link is listed above.  Thanks for your help.  My mother said that after Willie's expenses were paid off, she was going to use any extra funds to help poor people get the proper medical treatment that they need in emergencies for their pets.  If you would like to make a donation in Willie's name, you are more than welcome to contact the vet yourself.

God Bless.
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