Oh, Mercy! How a rescued dog rescued me
A dog love story to touch your heart…and bring tears to your eyes
Eleven years ago a shy, emaciated, bird dog was spotted in the backyard.
It was obvious she’d had a litter of puppies recently, and she was dragging her left rear leg.
She was terrified of people and would only eat the food left for her after we went back inside.
We could see her skeletal system through her taut white and black spotted skin. She was one of the worst looking dogs I had ever seen. She slept in the back of a pickup truck with old carpet we were replacing inside the house. I will never know how she got into the truck with the injured leg.
On the third day, we were able to catch her in the truck and forced her into a crate. We drove her to the vet to find out how bad she was physically. Radiographs revealed a shattered hip, probably caused by being hit by a car.
She was littered with pellets from a shotgun.
She was also heartworm positive.
She was painfully shy.
After the veterinarian told us each of his findings, we simply said, “Mercy!”
Well, that became her name.
Over the next eight weeks, we had Mercy’s hip repaired, and treated her for heartworm disease. We spent hours daily at the vet feeding her, giving her treats, and trying to show affection. As Mercy became healthier physically, she also became affectionate to us.
We brought her home to finish her healing, and to find a home for her.
The four Scottie’s we had were not pleased. Mercy was a big, awkward goof who didn’t understand the hierarchy of our home. She displaced Gus from the sofa.
She tried to eat the other dog’s food.
She didn’t understand basic commands.
She also became my constant sidekick.
She talked to me constantly. While on the phone, people would ask who was talking in the background, and when I replied “Mercy”, it was perfectly natural.
My faithful, funny companion
She was often mistaken for a person from a distance when riding in the car or golf cart. She had her own rules in the car. Look straight ahead and vigilantly scan for trouble. The door was chewed to pieces from her response to perceived threats. She ducked under overpasses.
She constantly talked, in heavy traffic she was like a nagging backseat driver.
I was the imbecile who couldn’t drive without her help.
She loved me like I was her child
Mercy also became very protective. She always placed herself between me and friends or strangers. She slept on the right side of the bed with her head on the pillow. She snored louder than I did. Mercy loved me like a mother loves her child. She had found her home. I just didn’t know it yet.
After several failed introductions to wonderful prospective homes, I realized Mercy was here to stay. For ten years she nagged the Scotties. For ten years she chewed the car door to pieces. For ten years she talked to me for hours each day. For ten years she chewed a cloth leash in half within minutes of it being attached to her collar. For ten years I was one of the few who thought she was a wonderful dog.
For ten years she loved me vehemently.
This past August, Mercy woke up late at night, and sat straight up breathing heavily. Since she was beside me, I woke as well. After looking at her for a few minutes, I knew something was wrong.
Oh, Mercy. Oh, sweet Mercy…
I placed her in the car and drove to the veterinary emergency clinic 45 minutes away. We talked to one another during the entire drive. Once again, radiographs revealed bad news. Mercy’ s lungs had fluid in them. The incredible staff of the clinic were thorough and gentle with Mercy, and I was comfortable leaving her to their skilled and loving care.
I drove home and crawled into bed. Minutes later, the phone rang. The veterinarian explained that Mercy had Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, and I needed to come back immediately. The staff rushed me back to Mercy upon my arrival.
She had waited for me to say goodbye.
Mercy left me, her head in my hands, staring into each other’s eyes. The wonderful staff gave me time to finish saying goodbye, and gave me her collar.
I will always remember how devastated I was walking to my car as the sun began to rise in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
I was physically bowed.
Tears were pouring from my eyes.
I hurt with every fiber of my being. I had lost the one thing that had loved me the most. Thankfully, that love helped me over the next few days.
While driving back home from the emergency clinic, Mercy’s collar on the dashboard, my mother called to say I had to come to their house immediately.
My father’s fight with pancreatic cancer was over. He would die 48 hours later…
…almost to the minute of losing Mercy.
Months later, I still call her name to go for a walk.
I wake up startled that she isn’t in the bed.
I still smile when I think of her.
If you wonder about doing a good deed, helping an animal or friend, or performing a random act of kindness, please remember Mercy and know that you will be rewarded.
Mercy for Mercy’s sake.
– Frank Huey, Beaufort, South Carolina
If you enjoyed this story and would like to listen to Frank recount his story of the unbreakable bond he shared with his dog named Mercy, please listen to the The Buzby Dog podcast: Oh Mercy! How a Rescued Dog Rescued Me.
To hear all of integrative veterinarian Dr. Julie Buzby’s podcasts, check out The Buzby Dog Podcast page.
If this dog love story touched your heart, or if you have a story of your own you’d like to share, please comment below.
For more touching dog stories, check out: