“Precious love, I’ll give it to you, blue as the sky and deep in the eyes of a love so true. Beautiful face, you make me feel light on the stairs and lost in the air of a love so real. And you can count on me…”

The words of the Jefferson Starship song wafted in and out of my cat nap dreams the other night. While others rested sweetly in the dark night surrounding us, my sweet Labrador retriever and I huddled together on the floor of the deck behind our house. He was recovering from a diabetic crash and, while we did not know it yet, pancreatitis and a highly elevated glucose level. Ever sweet in spite of the challenges he has been hurdling this year, Sam napped quietly next to me in between bouts of being ill, a small amount of water being too much for his sensitive tummy. And so, all night we laid close to each other in his favorite place. The harmony of tree frogs and crickets normally would have brought calmness to my thoughts, but the anxiety I was feeling refused to yield. I knew something was wrong with Sam. I knew it was serious. But I didn’t know if it was the kind he would recover from or not.

At times, fatigue would take over and the restless brief spells of sleep would capture my mind replacing the sound of the red fox screaming in the nearby woods with Jefferson Starship singing “Count on Me.” I remember waking and trying to pray for Sam, but concentration eluded me, and I could not find the right words. I was reminded and calmed by the knowledge that the words matter not, it is the thought. And the thought is that we can count on Him.

Counting on someone is a rare and wonderful gift. I have counted on Sam for about 10 years now. His companionship fills me with comfort and happiness. His joy is mine. I have a repetitive dream of the day we first let him lead the way on the perimeter trail at Hargus Lake without the restrictions of a leash. I realize I am confessing breaking a rule, but it was worth the risk to experience Sam’s elation that day. His joy was recently rejuvenated with a surgery to restore his eyesight after the devil of diabetes had stripped him of his vision. The song continues, “You make my song into the night and saved by the light of a love so strong. You can count on me…”

With the help of our amazing veterinarian, Dr. Hammond, and her team in Circleville, Sam has come through so much this year. They introduced him to Dr. Webb and her crew at MedVet in Columbus for his ophthalmologic surgery. And Dr. Hammond’s team has expertly guided Sam through all of his challenges before and after. This will be another victory for Sam. And that you can count on.

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