This was the winning entry for FidoJournalism’s 2011 Unconditional Love Contest. Kelham the Goldendoodle and his family have an amazing story of unconditional love!
“I would like to tell you about our 16 month old miniature goldendoodle, Kelham Dennis. Had we named him after getting to know him for more than 24 hours, his name would be Dennis….as in Dennis the Menace!
Ever since we brought Kelham home, we have had to prove to him over and over again just how much we love him. In a seven-month period, we spent over $10,000 on medical bills. Yes, you read that right. Over $10,000. And that does not include regular vet visits, food, shots, toys, dog walker, training, etc.
Kelham first came down with a human-like cold. He was sneezing up a storm and boogers were flowing out of his nose. After that was taken care of, I noticed his eyes were extra gunky. We soon learned that he had a really bad ear infection that had then spread to his eye. His vet told us he probably had the ear infection for three weeks. His first vet did not catch it during his first vet visit. Fail. Clearly, he didn’t go back to that vet.
After his eyes and ears were cleared up, Kelham came down with a virus that took over his entire body. For four days he could not lift his head, walk on his own, sit up, etc. His leg was shaved to administer IV’s and when he was allowed to come home, we were given strict orders. Since he could not move, he lived on the couch. A fan was on him at all times to help with his fever. We applied rubbing alcohol to his paw pads every three hours and cooled him down with wet cloths every thirty minutes. Every three hours we had to check his temperature (not fun) and keep track of it to update his doctor when she would call each night. For four days we carried him outside and held up his hind legs while he did his business. One of us stayed home those four days to keep a constant watch on him. He finally took a turn for the better and was good to go after finishing his two weeks of medicine.
Life was good until 48 hours after his last dose. All the symptoms immediately returned. After two nights at the Pet ER, he returned home once again. This time they shaved his other leg, shaved his belly for a sonogram, did a biopsy when tests showed it might be cancer and he even met with an Internal Medicine doctor. Thousands of dollars later we were told it was the same virus as last time but he needed to be on the medicine for six weeks as opposed to two. Double fail.
This time around we were professionals. Instead of taking him to the vet each morning and evening to get fluids, we were taught how to insert the needle in his neck and get the proper amount of fluids in his body each time.
You would think this dog would be the most well-behaved dog in the world after all we did for him. Not!! Kelham has consumed at least eight size 14 men’s dress socks. Six or seven days later he spends most of the wee hours of the morning dry heaving until he throws up the entire sock. He has also managed to swallow a pair of my sweaty gym socks. The socks came out separately, about 30 seconds apart. He has managed to chew off all six bows that go on our bedroom pillows. We didn’t know he did that until we saw his poop! He has torn all of his stuffed toys to shreds and has managed to snag food off the counters that makes him have diarrhea for days. Kelham jumps on people like a crazy person when he sees them and sometimes even pees himself due to the excitement. He wakes up at 7am Mon-Sun even when he knows his mom and dad had a late night. It used to be 6am so he feels like its an improvement. He has learned how to push the tray in his crate out so every night when we come home, he is in the crate and the tray is pushed out the front. We still have no idea how he does it. He really loves to stick his nose in our friends and family members butts. And I’m not talking a sniff….he gets down low and sticks his nose right up their butt cracks. It’s mortifying.
Even though he does all of these crazy things, I would not trade him for anything in the world. He has tested us beyond belief but it made us so much stronger during our first year of marriage. Kids will be easy as pie after dealing with Kelham! We have laughed at him, yelled at him, cried over him and lost countless hours of sleep worrying about him. But as his parents, that is our job and I am honored to call him mine.”