Miracle of Flight (in Black & White)

Dogs have always been a huge part of my world; I have had a canine companion through every season of my life. Fly is my 7th and at only 8 months old, has already inserted herself into that space reserved for "heart dogs," those special companions whose presence in our lives is particularly remarkable. Often, it takes time to recognize a heart dog, but Fly made it obvious from the start. I've always wanted a border collie, particularly a female, and had the name "Fly" reserved in my mind for whenever such a dog came into my life. Of course first, all of these variables had to coalesce.
I was still reeling from the loss of my beloved companion, Rigsby, and just starting to think about bringing another dog into my life, when the Extraordinary Eleven were born. I was a few months yet from seriously embarking on a puppy search, but 2-day-old baby photos found their way to me, and I felt drawn to one pup in particular. After looking them all, I went back to the photo that had grabbed my attention and clicked on the description: a little female: and her assigned puppy name was "Fly." They say heart is like a compass. It either leads you closer or it shows you another way, and if it's meant to be, it will be. At the time, it seemed like too much to be coincidence, but the whole litter was lovely so I remained open. When I visited at 5 weeks and looked into those sweet eyes which beheld a depth beyond comprehension in that same pup, I knew I had found something special. Perhaps more appropriately, she had found me. Some things are "just meant to be" and I went back to Maine two weeks later to bring her home. Six months into our journey together, and I have no doubt it was destiny, for Fly has eased into my life as though she has always been part of it. She shares my need to be outdoors in nature- I can sense the freeness in her spirit every time we are on the trail- and she holds great potential as my new Agility partner. A total love bug, she gained fame quickly for her "Fly hugs."
Fly's active lifestyle came to a screeching halt when she recently came up limping and was diagnosed with Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) in her right shoulder. We traveled to Veterinary Orthopedic Sports Medicine Group (VOSM) in Baltimore on Monday, 10/21 for surgery. Much to my relief, Fly came through surgery with "flying colors." Although commonly bilateral, her left shoulder was beautiful. In the right shoulder though, part of the extra cartilage formed in the OCD lesion had broken loose at some point in time, and was floating around, abrading more of the joint and increasing inflammation, making her right shoulder quite the mess. Dr. Canapp was impressed with the size of the lesion compared to the size of the dog. After an overnight in the hospital, we returned from Maryland.
The road ahead is still a long one, but it is all recovery from here, and the prognosis is good for a full one. While the logistics feel a bit endless or even impossible to me, I have also come to realize that capable doesn't have anything to do with having it together or standing on a strong foundation; it just has to do with having the ability to do what needs to be done in the moment"” jumping in with both feet, doing all that you can, and making it work. The determination is even stronger when it involves someone I love and care for, and Fly is one of those loves worth every sacrifice. I am working to take things day by day and even moment to moment. Through the challenges of the past few years when it seemed as though life barely allowed a chance to recover before the next brick hit, I've realized that the old cliché is true"” Everything really does happen for a reason, and what is meant to be really will find a way.
I've also come to realize that with every season, comes a lesson. Vet bills are currently at $4,500 in diagnostics and surgery and continue to increase with a schedule of intense post-op care. Physical therapy costs right now are $940 and climbing. I have been asked how I am paying for all of this and I don't have a concrete answer; I am simply believing that where there is a will, there is a way. What I did not realize, as I came to this conclusion, was how many people would reach out to help me find that way. An Agility fundraiser was set up to help cover expenses for Fly's surgery, and people who are unable to attend, are asking how else to donate. I realized then that there were people around me ready to help with life's challenges, if it had ever occurred to me to ask. I just never got good at asking. With Fly's tragedy help seemed to come knocking, but I still felt awkward. And then I read the words below on the website of a local student animal rescue group:
":And as for Jenny Murtaugh, she used to be the Vice President of the Board for the MCSPCA and had been volunteering her time there for years. She single handedly organized multiple fundraising events for the shelter such as their holiday pet photos where she not only organized the events but took the photos herself. She has created fundraising websites for many of the shelters events and personally has raised THOUSANDS of dollars for the MCSPCA. The hours and the money that she's dedicated really can't be logged, but all I know is sometimes those who do so much work behind the scenes need a little help themselves. She also works for the DEC helping with all sorts of wildlife! If someone deserves some help right now it's really her; she's given so much to the community I would really be honored if we could give some back. Her dog Fly is such a special girl. I really appreciate your time, and I could give any information anybody wants on Jenny or what is wrong with Fly, just ask. Thank you all for your time and your big hearts."
Wow. I was touched. I was moved to make this part of the Fly mission"” to accept help, to realize that as easy as I find it to give, I need to challenge myself to also receive. So from that, comes Fly's Page. Impossible situations can become possible miracles. Now for my Fly, we are working toward the miracle of flight once more.
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Jenny Murtaugh 
Schenectady, NY
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