Source: Sherman Publications

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Guest viewpoint: Lady Hugs
Bullet can't keep dog down

September 21, 2011

I am a black lab mix with a white chest and perfect white toes. So many people over the years have told me I am a beautiful dog, many of which were total strangers.

In January 2000, I was picked up by a very kind lady near Hadley and M-15 Roads in Clarkston. She took me to the Michigan Humane Society in Rochester Hills. They estimated I was about nine months old.

In February 2000, I was adopted by wonderful woman from Romeo. She is known to her nieces and nephews as Auntie M. Auntie M has taken wonderful care of me over the years. I came into Auntie M's life after a difficult time. I have heard Auntie M say that I had brought unconditional love, great joy and companionship, and taught her how to laugh at home again. I am so grateful to be a blessing in her life as well as she has been in mine. Soon after my adoption I was given the name Lady Hugs.

Auntie M has always told me that before my eye was injured, I must have lived with a wonderful family because I still squeal with delight when I see children. She also said that I was very well trained when she adopted me. When others inquire about my eye, Auntie M says she wishes I could talk so I could tell her what happened that horrible day.

Soon after my arrival to my new home in Romeo, I was taken to see Dr. John Wilson, DVM. After an exam and evaluation Auntie M was told I probably wouldn't see because of the damage due to the stick in my eye. Though I couldn't see out of that eye, I did really well until late 2006. I began to develop further eye complications due to glaucoma and cornea issues. At that time I had further testing and evaluating and was referred to a canine eye specialist. Both of my doctors recommended removing my eye to avoid further complications. As a result, my eye was removed. A sphere replaced my eye and my eye was sewn shut. I recovered well after the surgery and have done extremely well since.

Auntie M tells me I am beautiful with my one big brown eye. I think so, too. People always feel bad for me but this is all I've ever known. And like I said earlier I have had a very blessed life with Auntie M.

In 2009, I received the Canine Good Citizen Certificate, and became a registered Pet Therapy Dog.

After passing the Canine Good Citizen test which was held in Imlay City, Auntie M ordered a rib eye dinner from Lucky's Steak House for me and I shared it with her. Also, in my honor, I even have an email address and a Michigan license plate with my name.

Beginning in 2010, Auntie M and I have visited children in elementary schools, summer school, vacation bible school, and Sunday morning children's programs and have been invited numerous places. We also have visited adults in nursing homes, assisted living centers and did a bible study on "Unconditional Love" and went to Healing School. I have put many smiles on so many people.

Recently, I have been having throat issues. Auntie M took me to Dr. Wilson again and had him check me out this last Tuesday. The last thing he did was order x-rays. When the x-rays were done Dr. Wilson came in and asked Auntie M to remind him of my eye history. Auntie M told him that I was found in Clarkston wandering the streets with a stick in my eye. The Michigan Humane Society in Rochester was going to put me down because they don't have the money to help injured animals with medical costs. A wonderful evaluator recommended my life be spared, saying this black lab mix was so sweet and loving despite being punctured in the eye. Shortly thereafter I was put in a wonderful foster home and the rest is history.

Or so we thought.

What Dr. Wilson conveyed next was that the x-ray showed a bullet had entered into my eye socket,that has since fragmented into four pieces (three remain near the eye socket and one near the throat). Yes, you read that right, someone had shot a gun and the bullet went into my eye. Outrageous would be an understatement as Auntie M heard those words and saw the x-rays for herself. I am so happy that Auntie M knows more of my story now. And I am so glad that my story is being told.

On Aug. 17, 2011 when Dr. Wilson told me (Auntie M) the results of the x-rays I was stunned. At the same time I knew Lady Hugs the same on the 17th as on the 16th . . . nothing had changed at least for now. And I was so thankful for that. I woke up the next morning with such peace. It was like Lady Hugs had given me the example of how we are to forgive others as she has done for so many years.

And while she cannot tell me what happened verbally; the x-ray spoke for her. To me it truly is amazing that Lady Hugs would have anything to do with people after all her excruciatingly painful experiences early in her life. Yet she has been unconditionally loving to everyone she has ever met. For me Lady Hugs has been an earthly example of God's unconditional love.

Maryann Stroup lives in Romeo.