Filling a Puppy-Sized Hole in my Heart

Laine and her dog Karesen
Laine, before her undergraduate graduation, and Karsen, the service dog she raised, who graduated to become a diabtic-alert companion for a woman in Arizona.

It’s funny, the things you look forward to in life as time goes on and things change. Looking forward to the break has always been a constant in my life and now that I’m nearing the midpoint of my second year in vet school, I only have two winters and one summer left to cherish—what a thought!

I’m looking forward to going home and visiting my family, of course, but I’m also excited to go back and work for the veterinary clinic I’ve been helping at since I was 16 years old. They’ve always been a second family to me and I’ve never failed to learn something from the staff there as I practice my new knowledge. It’s never really work when you’re with people you love, doing what you love.

That isn’t the only reason I’m excited to return home this winter, though!

As an undergraduate student, I raised a service dog that is now in Arizona doing diabetic alert for her forever partner. It’s been so fulfilling knowing I’ve made a difference in someone’s life, but there’s been a hole in my heart where a lovable dog once was and for the continual work that kept me ever-busy.

After watching my friends’ dogs recently, I’ve noticed this hole growing even larger. Most recently, I puppy-sat my friend’s two dogs while one of them was recovering from back surgery, performed at none other than the Texas A&M Small Animal Hospital. All the extra time I spent taking him out to the bathroom in a sling and medicating him every 12 hours made me prouder of my future profession and the magic it can do. Already he’s gaining mobility back in his hind feet and beginning to wag his tail again.

This experience has also served to remind me just how much I miss having my own dog to care for regularly. So, finally, I decided to fill this hole.

This break I will be picking up the little sister of the service dog I raised to keep as my own pet. I cannot express how I excited I am! I hope to continue working for the community through dogs by either training her for search and rescue or therapy work. I know that with my new best friend, I’ll be able to change even more lives… but I have to make it through the slipper-chewing and the potty-training first, all over again. Wish me luck!