Who is Jackie of Jackie’s Play & Stay? Jackie was my beloved border collie who died in 2010 a few months before she turned 5. She was poisoned while in the care of a boarding facility.
The facility where she was boarding was her “home away from home”. We took training classes there, I shopped there, and when their doggie daycare facility opened, we were frequent customers. Whenever we visited, they would say hello to her BEFORE they said hello to me and I liked that. I trusted the staff 100%.
When I dropped her off on a Friday she was healthy happy Jackie. When I picked her up on Sunday, she was very sick. That evening she started vomiting and continued for 1/2 hour or so. Knowing dogs and cats can become dehydrated very quickly, I decided to take her to the Emergency Animal Hospital hoping they could stop her vomiting. Luckily, they were able to stop the vomiting and put hydrating patches under her skin and instructed me to get her to my regular veterinarian first thing the next morning. We arrived at Dr. H’s office at 8am. They ran blood tests and she had to stay overnight. The next day, Tuesday, I went to visit my baby. Dr. H told me the numbers representing her organs, pancreas, liver and kidneys, were so high that they were off the chart, literally. For example, if the highest number on the chart for canine kidneys was 275, illustrating very sick, Jackie’s kidney number was 900. She had to stay another night. In the meantime, Dr. H told me to call the boarding facility and ask them if they could tell me what happened so she would have a better chance of saving Jackie. When I called them, I explained that I did not care to have the names of who made the mistake, I just needed to know what happened. I begged them to tell me. The response was always the same, “nothing happened.” No one took accountability.
I visited Jackie everyday that she was in the hospital. Thursday was my birthday. I went there that day thinking I would be able to bring her home because she was getting better. Dr. H walked into the room and told me that she didn’t think my Sweet Sweet (my nickname for her) was going to make it. At that moment, everything went dark and I was in shock. I NEVER dreamed I would have to worry about Jackie leaving me for another 10 years or so. My happiness as I knew it was over. Jackie’s daddy came to the vet’s office and we decided to take Sweet Sweet home. Later, we would realize that we both were thinking the same thing…that we could love her back to health. I had always been able to make her feel better, cure whatever was wrong with her and love her back to health. This time would be no different, I thought.
Friday morning she did seem like she was feeling better. I was able to clean house that day and she sat outside in the yard enjoying the snow. She loved to be outside when it wasn’t too hot. I was so happy she was doing better. I knew I could love her back to health. However, by Friday night she had gone downhill quickly. She was gasping for breath and extremely lethargic. She had that faraway look in her eyes that made my heart just ache for her. I guess her condition that morning can be described as “the calm before the storm”. I had been feeding her soft food with a giant “Alice in Wonderland” size syringe. By Saturday she couldn’t even keep that down. She wasn’t sleeping more than an hour at a time. I suspect the pain was too great for her to be able to sleep. We took her back to Dr. H to have her numbers checked and get more hydrating patches. I truly believed, even though she was not doing well, that her numbers would be improved and the news would be good. My greatest fear became reality. Her numbers were even higher with no improvement. Dr. H was going out of town the next day. Through tears and shock we made plans for Dr. H to come to our house that night where we would say goodbye to the love of my life.
I sat with her in my lap and whispered to her for hours until Dr. H arrived. Early that evening Dr. H arrived and Sweet Sweet went to Heaven and I went to bed. I wanted to sleep forever. My heart had never been so broken, nor had my spirit.
I could not let her death be in vain. I was determined that something good would come from it. She was too special not to honor her memory. I knew that if I could help it, no dog would suffer as she did and no pet parent would ever feel that helplessness and sorrow that I did. I would create an environment where pet parents could bring their dog(s) and feel secure that their beloved friends/children would be safe and taken care of as if they were my own. As I had whispered in her ear during her final hours, she whispered in mine a few months ago, “Mom…the name is Jackie’s Play & Stay” My promise to you, your dog and to Jackie, is that your dog will be protected and cared for as if they were my very own.