About The Author

Kim Hiss, an associate editor at Field & Stream, has hunted ducks, antelope, turkeys, and deer throughout the country, enjoying a number of women's hunts along the way. She lives in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Click here to email Kim.

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« And the Gear Goes To... | Main | Happy Holidays! »

December 22, 2008

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Quite A Dog

     I thought we'd start some feel-good holiday programming with a tale of a dog owner who saved his retriever's life -- then the retriever saved a life right back.

     According to this North Carolina News & Observer story, state resident Peter Maynard was living in Massachusetts in 2006, when his retriever, Clyde, started sneezing blood. The vet couldn't figure out what was wrong, and Maynard stayed home with his ailing dog while relatives brought him food. When he later moved to North Carolina, doctors there found a tumor in Clyde's nose and gave him a few months to live. But Maynard was willing to do whatever it took to help his dog, and had doctors administer a round of radiation. Clyde responded well to the treatment and seemed to pull through.
     Fast forward to last October, when Maynard's partner Gloria Mitchell was home alone and asleep with a cold when the recovered Clyde jumped into bed to wake her up. Despite her groggy objections, the dog forced her out of bed, at which point she realized she wasn't groggy from a cold, but from smoke coming from a fire under the house. 
     Since rescuing Mitchell, Clyde has again begun sneezing blood and is undergoing another round of radiation. Maynard says he's spent $10,000 on treatments for Clyde, but he feels the sacrifice is more than worth it. 
     I don't own a dog (unfortunately!), and I don't have $10,000 to spend on one if I did. But I can certainly understand the motivation to do anything in your power to aid an ailing pet -- I'm sure many of us do. -K.H. 


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Sarah M.

I thought that was a great story about man's best friend. I keep hearing stories about dogs saving their owner's lives and just hope that either of my dogs could do the same for me! I have two dogs, a black Lab pup and a Shih Tzu (I know, I know- but he is a good dog! ). As much as they get on my nerves (like jumping on my head while I'm trying to sleep after a long night shift), I can honestly say that I would do whatever I could for them. $10,000 is a lot of money and even if I would be willing to spend that much, I would never have that much money just lying around. Guess I need to start saving up!


Ahhhhhhhhhh I love dogs, especially large ones. Clyde sounds like a real champ! Would I spend that kind of money on a my dog, I can definitely say I don't have that kind of money, is it spent spread out over a few years then yes maybe. I did spend over a thousand on tests for my dog (who has since passed away) but it was over a years time. I have had my current dog for less than a year, I took him in as a rescue. On the 4th of July he ate a loaf and a half of bread dough I had put out to let rise. I called animal poison control who charges $65.00 over the phone before they even discuss the emergency. They told me to get him to emergency clinic. In the meantime my girlfriend told me to give him ice and ice water to keep the dough from rising. I was ticked off that Poison control did not have the sense to tell me this. We drove to emergency clinic which was an hour away, and they brough Bailey I into a room and gave him an examination. They then informed me that they would like to keep him for observation but that I would have to sign papers stating that I would be willing to pay for tests which would cost up to $1,200. I don't have that kind of money and told them to give me the dog back. I was devasted, thinking I was going to watch my dog die overnight, but I also thought this place was one big scam. He survived fine and we went to regular vet in the morning at a normal price. My vet said giving him ice and ice water probably saved him.
If Clyde's owner has the money to pay for his treatments, I say go for it by all means. Dogs are the most loyal, loving and trusting animals you can ever have and deserve the best that you can do for them when they can't help themselves.

Sarah M.

Ok, so I know that I already commented on this topic but I just can't stop thinking about it! I got in the shower and all I could think about was how even if a dog (or a cat or any other animal for that matter) doesn't save you from a burning building, burglar or wild boar, they save us on so many other levels.
I know that when my boyfriend and I are working separate shifts and I come home to a house without him, I still have my dogs to keep me company. They prevent me from getting too lonely (even if I probably sound like a crazy person talking to them!) and keep me company.
I have heard numerous times about the health benefits of petting an animal and have to say that I think it's true. I decided to look this up on the internet and you would not believe how many articles there are on this topic. For example, one website talked about how companionship with animals can lead to lower blood pressure and decreased chances for heart disease. It also said about how people are more likely to get off the couch and go exercise with their dog rather than alone. Now those sound like some life saving benefits!!

Lou Alexander

The timeing of this topic is quite appopriate for us. Our yellow lab, Minnie, has been diagnosed with an auto immune disease. The first round of biopsy's were not conclusive, so she had to go for more yesterday. So we are in a hurry-up and wait zone. Since she is nine, it will depend on how treatable this is before we decide how to progress.

I am all about doing the right thing for our pets. Their quality of life is the most important thing to me. Being an old NICU nurse, I don't believe in the un-necessary suffering of any being just because it makes us feel better. Quality over quantity!

There may be some tough decisions in our near future, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it, with any luck it will be an easy one.

Judy Black

I have a wonderful story to tell...I am a firm believer in "everything happens for a reason". This is proof.
Scott had hunting dogs but they were always in their pen and even though they were pets, they weren't "pets". They didn't come in the house, they didn't snuggle with you at night.
We had had a falling out with his family over some property and it was ugly to say the least. It actually kept us up at night..yeah, that ugly.
Well, one night a noise out on the deck made me get up and turn on the light. We had coons that came up on the deck at night so when I didn't see anything, I just assumed it was a coon, shut the light off and went back to bed.
The next morning Scott went outside and there was a dog on the step. She was a border collie mix, her hair was matted and she was hungry. She followed Scott around like she had been there forever.
We bathed her,cut the matts out and fed her. We watched the paper, put ads on the radio and nobody claimed "Sandy". She became one of the family.
Sandy went everywhere with Scott, in the truck, on the tractor or just for a walk to check on the cattle and horses. Always right on his heals when he walked out the door, Sandy filled our hearts and lessened the hurt from the family fight.
The passing of time healed the family fued and Sandy remained the loyal best friend anyone could ask for. Unconditional love is a wonderful thing.
One day, about three years after she showed up, I went away for the day with my sister. On my drive home I noticed Scott was in the tractor working one of our fields. I drove to the house and walked out to the tractor. He stopped and I climbed up on the step. The look on his face told me something was terribly wrong...Sandy was not in the tractor. "I killed Sandy he said", my heart sank and I walked back to the house.
Scott came up to the house and sat on the step where I sat crying. He said he was driving the little tractor with a piece of equipment hooked on it and Sandy was riding with him, like many times before. They were going down the road and something caught her eye on the side of the road and she jumped.
The implement ran over Sandy but it didn't kill her. Scott had to pick her up and take her home. He ended up having to shoot her as she was suffering. He then buried her in the spot she loved to dig in.
Both of us were devastated and her loss left a huge void in our lives. But...
I feel that God sent Sandy at one of the lowest times in our lives to help us through. She brought us joy, love and happiness at a time that was full of anger and dismay. He loaned us Sandy and when we got past the hurt and anger he took her away and loaned her to someone else.
We now have another very, very spoiled Jack Russell that showed up at our office 9 years ago. He is one of the family and when his day comes it will be like losing a child.
Pets accept our love and give back ten fold. Can't imagine life without them.
Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy the time with your family and pets.

Lou Alexander

You are so right Judy, they are part of the family and it only takes a few hours for it to feel like they've been with you forever.

The bond with pets runs very deep with most people. My husband had never had an indoor dog, just hunting dogs, until he we got married and I brought Cody the dalmation with me. He quickly realized how special it is to have that extra contact.

I can't imagine not having a dog. They bring nothing but joy, and a little agrivagaion if you have a naughty one :), during their short lives.

I'm having trouble reading these comments because my cat is in my lap and refuses to move long enough for me to see the screen! It sounds like most of us have had a special animal in our lives, and I completely agree that I can't imagine life without a pet. Lou, I wish the best to Minnie. -K.H.

james ti

if you would be willing to spend ten grand on your children you should be ready to do the same for your dog. you take on the resonsibility to give that dog whatever it needs when you decide to take it into your home. they would do the equivilent for you.

Laura Bell

What a wonderful story and one great dog.
I've always been a dog lover and always will be. I have 4 hounds right at the moment, and maybe here in a couple months some little pups. 2 of my TW's stay outside, 1 is a full time inside dog and the other is in and out. He's my oldest so when it gets too hot out, he comes in the basement, and when it's cold out, like now, he gets to spend the night in the basement. He's my big Teddy Bear, and one nice cooner might I add. ;)
I'm not sure what I'd do without my dogs. They've never saved my life or anything, unless you count from boredom. I'll tell ya, never a dull day with dogs! Just today for Christmas my 20month old pup, Tanner, gobbled down almost a whole Cheese log while we opened presents. I guess she wasn't satisfied with her Camo Chew Toys, Christmas Shaped Rawhides and MilkBone gift set.
I keep meaning to send Kim some Pics with a couple coon we've treed, I'll get around to that one day soon...

Lou Alexander

We got a confirmed diagnosis on Minnie, it is treatable with a drug made for us humans and steroids. She still looks like she tangled with a pit bull, but she seems to be feeling better. We should know in a month or so if she is responding to the meds.

Minnie is the sweetest dog, and has a supper temperment. She was born an old soul. The complete opposite from Stella, our naughty dog :)

Got'a love'm


I am not much of a dog person, but I do enjoy playing with friends' dogs that I can return! I do have a cat though, and he is pretty entertaining and good company when I'm home along. I don't have that kinda of money either, but I do take him to the vet and make sure he is getting all of the shots that he needs. Hopefully it will never come to a decision of thousands of dollars or his life, I hope all our pets get better and stay healthy!!

Glad to hear Minnie is feeling better, Lou. I hope the new year brings good things for her. -K.H.