Holiday Angel

A neighbor's kind deed saves a dog and inspires an owner to stop a bad habit.

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Posted in , Dec 17, 2014

Colleen Hughes

Of course I turned right to the article called "Holiday Angels" in my local news magazine.

We run a "Holiday Angels" feature in Angels on Earth in our Nov/Dec issue every year, and maybe the article would something for us to tell our readers about.

Dr. Jessica E. Downing, DVM, had an amazing story for all of us. This veternarian should be an editor at Angels on Earth! Here's her story:

"The scent of cigarette smoke filled my nostrils as I walked into the exam room," she says. Cassandra, a nine-year-old Shih Tzu, sat on the exam table with sad eyes, her chest heaving with every breath. 

"She's been like this all night, Doc," said one of the two humans with her, an elderly woman with a raspy voice. "Finally I called my neighbor to give us a ride here. I don't drive."

Cassandra's x-rays revealed severely congested lungs, her airways inflamed. Years of cigarette smoke at home had taken its toll. She steadily improved overnight in an oxygen cage, and medication reduced the swelling. By morning she was breathing comfortably.

"The elderly woman was ecstatic when she came to take Cassandra home," the vet says. The neighbor was smiling too.

"I don't know how to thank you," the woman told the vet. "I made a deal with my neighbor that if my little girl lived through this, I'd quit smoking. Not only did you save Cassy's life, you saved mine too."

According to Dr. Downing: "The kind neighbor was an angel, delivering Cassandra and the elderly woman to the animal hospital for care.

"Cassandra was an angel too, her illness a loud and clear message to her owner that smoking was harmful." And lastly the good doctor considers all the people she works with to be angels who've "devoted their lives to protecting our most precious friends."

I'd say Dr. Downing herself is not only a holiday angel, but one all year round.

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