A Gem of a Dog

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Mississippi's Hero

At that moment, however, Jewels was anything but cool. She was staggering, and her lips and neck were beginning to swell. Misty realized Jewels had been bitten and loaded her up for a trip to the vet. The facility was normally a 30-minute drive away. "I got there in about 10," says Misty, who describes speeding along roads lined with piles of hurricane debris. When she arrived, she wept as she kissed Jewels and turned her over to the veterinarians.

The prognosis was not good, Misty recalls. Jewels' heart rate was dropping. She was quickly given anti-venom serum and put on an antihistamine intravenous drip. Misty remembers the vet saying, "We'll call you if anything happens. Plan on picking her up in the morning unless you hear from us."

Skip, who would be getting off work in the morning, promised to fetch Jewels. Misty was awake the entire night, thinking, "Please, phone, don't ring."

It didn't, and the next morning at around 8, Skip pulled into the driveway. "It was like a movie," says Misty. "I said, 'Dad's home!' The kids ran outside, and there comes Jewels flying out of the truck." The dog's legs were bandaged because of the IVs, but she jumped up at the children, licked them, then ran laps around the yard before flopping down in the house to rest.

After a month on antibiotics, Jewels was back to normal and more protective of the children than ever. When the kids play in the yard, Misty and Skip watch, amused and relieved, as Jewels prowls around the plants. They're sure she's checking for snakes.

Jewels recently added to her laurels when she became the first four-legged winner of the South Mississippi Hero Award, given out by the local ABC affiliate, WLOX-TV. Misty wells up whenever she replays a video of the newscast. "When people see her, they say, 'That's Misty's dog.' Jewels and I have the bond I dreamed about."

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, December 2007.


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