A Different Kind of Service Dog

By Brenda Fulcher
ICU Technician
BluePearl Veterinary Partners – Tampa

Kayla was a mixed breed puppy about three months old when I first saw her. She had a broken right hock and had been brought to our Florida hospital for a surgical consultation. But her owners never came back for her.

I immediately fell in love with her black and red fuzzy face. She looked so sad and scared in her cage, and I couldn’t understand how someone could just walk away from her. I was brand new to the veterinary world and was just a volunteer at the hospital, but I was determined to adopt her.

I spoke to the surgeon, Dr. Preston Stubbs, who then spoke with the BluePearl CEO Darryl Shaw, and he told me that if her owners still hadn’t come back for her after the established abandonment period of two weeks, I could adopt her.

Two weeks never seemed longer to me, and when it was finally over, Kayla had her surgery, and she was officially my dog. When I brought her home, she become fast friends with my other dog, Chessie and we named her Kayla Rose, which means “Pure Love.”  I know it sounds a little cheesy, but isn’t the love we receive from a dog truly pure and unconditional?

Before Kayla was even a year old, she had three more surgeries one on each hip for severe hip dysplasia and, of course, a spay surgery. My poor little fuzzy face had four surgeries in her first year of life! As we say in the veterinary world, technicians and doctors always adopt the most expensive animals – they come to us for a reason.

As Kayla aged, she made more visits to the hospital for various reasons – gastroenteritis, chronic hepatitis in her old age, but most importantly to be a blood donor. Kayla was the universal blood type, and she donated blood every two months to help save other dogs. She didn’t know that it was important, but she appreciated the treats afterward!

Kayla passed in March 2012, and she was 14 years old. She came to say hi to me when I got home from work as usual, sat down, and couldn’t get back up. I knew she had herniated a disc in her lumbar spine, and I knew it was time for her – I couldn’t let her go through any more, because I loved her far too much.

Kayla may not have had the title of “Service Dog,” but she performed many services in her time with me. She was my clown, alarm clock, guard dog, cuddle bug, and a lifesaver to other dogs. I miss her every day and treasure my memories of her.