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Man's Best Friend

August 19th, 2009, 11:45 AM
This article was in our local paper and thought I would share a happy story.

Man's best friend

An aged dog hobbled by a 17-lb. tumour would be, to most owners, a likely candidate for euthanasia.

But Jason Collins isn't most owners, and the debt he feels to the black Lab he credits with saving his life demanded something more.

So rather than putting him down -- an option many people, including veterinarians, suggested -- the 37-year-old Londoner invested in a major, risky operation that saved the 13-year-old dog, Corona, and has given the "best friends" a few more years together.

"I was told by so many people I should just put him down . . . but he's done so much for me," said Collins. "I could see the life in his eyes.

"I at least owe the dog the same thing he did for me."

It was earlier this decade when Collins, dealing with serious health woes, passed out in a bathtub, fading in and out of consciousness while bobbing in and out of the water. But Corona was there quickly.

By the time Collins came to, his dog was halfway in the bath, pushing him up against the tub wall and licking his face. The owner says he owes the animal his life.

When he eventually found a veterinarian, Dr. Murray Smith, willing to do the four-hour procedure -- which normally costs $2,000, but was done at a reduced price -- Collins made what for him was an easy decision.

Smith, 81, performed the marathon surgery at his London office July 21. He removed the tumour, which he described as "like a 17-pound turkey" and unlike anything he'd seen in his 50-year career.

Collins had been told, when the tumour was the size of a baseball, that it was no threat to Corona. He credits Smith with committing to remove it -- "It was like a watermelon," Collins said -- and saving the dog.

"He (Corona) saved my life, Dr. Smith saved his life. I'm just in the middle," said Collins, a recently-recalled autoworker. "Without (the doctor), nothing would be possible."

Despite having performed much trickier surgeries decades ago -- such as operating on a horse on a barn floor in the dead of winter -- Smith admits the Corona procedure was a challenge. But after watching the role of dogs grow more important in families over his career, he says he understands the commitment of owners like Collins.

"Now, the . . . dog is a member of the family," he said. "Don't underestimate the intelligence of animals because they understand every word you say if you know how to talk to them."

With Corona nearly fully healed, Collins hopes to get him back in the water, where he's happiest, by summer's end.

August 19th, 2009, 12:40 PM
OMG, I love this vet and owner. :lovestruck: :cloud9:.

August 19th, 2009, 01:49 PM
What a great story!

August 19th, 2009, 06:33 PM
It is refreshing to see a vet in that light. Most vets now adays are more into the money...sad...I am sure they first start out doing it for the love of animals, but after a few years it's money money money.


August 20th, 2009, 02:38 PM
A very nice story - thanks for sharing!