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Pet Stories: In Your Own Words

Twister

By: Stella Mattos

NOTE: Stella and her husband have been in the United States for two years, moving here from Brazil, her birthplace.

Dogs truly do work on all twelve dimensions. I have a Rat Terrier named Twister. He'll be two years old in June. My husband took me to lunch one day, and we decided to stop in at a pet store that was near the restaurant. This precious little Terrier seduced both of us immediately with his loving personality. We fell in love with him immediately—I am still not sure if he chose us or we chose him. He curled up in my husband's lap and fell sound asleep.

He's a very good boy. He is potty trained and we praise him with lots of love and treats. Everytime he "goes" he comes to tell us and waits for his reward.

We used to take him to the dog park every Sunday where he has made many friends: Max, Roxy and Rocco were always there to welcome Twister. I walk every day and Twister is always with me, enjoying the mornings.

One day our lives suddenly changed. I began to get very sleepy, with no energy. I noticed that something could be wrong as I wanted to sleep all afternoon. A friend of mine told me I might be pregnant. I immediately took a pharmacy test and learned that she was right! We were all extremely happy. Twister slept with me by my side and never leaves me alone.

When I was seven months pregnant I got a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), which is common in pregnant women, but it is a very serious health problem. It kills.

After a week being in the hospital and then full bed rest at home for the rest of the pregnancy and two injections of Lovenox a day, I finally (and safely) delivered a beautiful baby girl on November 10, 2003.

Twister was there with me every single day. I don't think I could have made it without him.

On top of all of my problems, one day at the dog park Twister twisted his leg and that became a problem.

We took him to the vet to learn that he has a disease called patellar subluxation, which the doctor explained to us is very common in small breed dogs. We were devastated. Twister needed surgery, plus he could no longer go to the dog park—no more jumps and playfulness. He'll need to slow down his behavior. How can we slow down a Terrier?

He had twisted his left leg one week after the right one. The right one was worse, he couldn't couldn't stand up and get the leg to reach the floor.

We had a situation. I couldn't work; money became a real issue. I went through the Internet looking for help. I tried the Humane Society and a type of non-profit organization—no way would they assist. I would have to pay for the surgery. Something around $1,000 for each leg. We felt helpless.

Some friends gathered around to help. One of these friends helped me with his credit card. This way we could pay a minimum amount monthly. Thank God! Twister had his surgery on his right leg just three days before I delivered my precious baby.

Coming back home with the baby we had Twister locked in the cage—our only way to settle him down for the 6 weeks that the vet had recommended.

By my side of the bed we had the bassinet with baby Beatriz, and by my husband's side was Twister in his cage. He was very sad. He would get upset with me and not respond when I talked to him. He wouldn't even look at me.

I had to continue my injections twice a day and he had to have his twice a week. My husband Tom took care of all of us. He gave us our shots, love, support and patience.

Twister is very good with his knee, in fact he developed a new way to sit down. He is very careful with that leg. He has joined me in my walks with the baby in her stroller every day. Unfortunately, no more dog parks.

His left leg still bothers him but I hope that I can pay off our debts before he absolutely needs a second surgery.

He's very attached to me, following me around the house, sleeping with me and giving me all the love he can.

I've found the a very good definition of my beloved pup on the Rat Terrier Club web site:

R = Rare

A = Athletic

T = Terrific Tempermant

T = Tolerant and Obedient

E = Eager to please

R = Reliable

R = Rodent Catcher

I = Intelligent

E = Easy to Train

R = Represents the "All American Breed."

Also I read once that dogs think they are the masters, but Terriers, "They are absolutely sure!"

After three months we are beginning to get back to a normal life. Twister loves baby Beatriz! He licks her feet and when she cries he gets scared.

I'm very happy to have these three precious beings in my life: my husband, Tom; my 3 month old daughter, Beatriz; and my best friend forever, Twister.

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