Anyone who has a pet knows that it's just like having kids with fur. They need love and attention and medical care. That's exactly what our dog Ray got this past week.

Ray is our very old, blind chihuahua. We had been a foster home for Ray before we moved here, and when we decided to make the move, we knew that Ray would be coming with us as a permanent member of the family.

Just like when humans get old, strange things start to happen to old dogs too. Ray had a thick nail on his front paw that grew like crazy. We would have to take him to the vet every couple of months to have it trimmed. And it hurt. He already walks very slowly because he can't see, but having this nail made it even tougher. And the reason we hadn't had it removed was because of Ray's age. He's pretty fragile and putting him under or putting drugs into his system is always risky. Until last Sunday.

We were on our way home from a weekend away and somehow Ray ripped his nail. Ouch is right. He howled in the car all the way home. So we headed right to the vet before we even dropped the other fur kids off at home. Thank goodness we have an amazing vet staff who work a regular day on Sunday!  They whisked him back, gave him an I.V. and removed that awful nail completely.

The next 8 hours or so were exhausting. Making sure Ray was comfortable. Checking his every bark. Holding him, assuring him the pain would go away soon, trying to get him to drink some water. He finally barked himself to sleep around 9 that night. And by the next evening, he was eating and drinking like a champ!

Fostering, and then adopting Ray has been worth every minute. He has given all of us a lot of joy. And while he may be quite old, and completely blind, he still loves to snuggle, bark at whatever the other dogs are barking at, eat bacon by the pound, and sniff around the yard for hours.

Please consider fostering or adopting an older animal from a shelter near you. In St. Cloud, you can contact the Tri-County Humane Society to ask about their foster program.

You won't regret it!