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Cornerstone PT Patients
Seeing as we’re squarely in “the dog days of summer,” I wanted to write about the furriest member of the De La Fuente family, our yellow lab Bristal. At 9 years old, she’s getting up there in age, but she’s still as loving and full of joy as ever. Every time I come home, she’s right there to greet me, always putting a smile on my face. Of course, Bristal wasn’t the first dog in the family. Before her, and before our kids were even born, we had Raider. He was a great dog in his own right and really lent a helping paw in shaping our family. In many of these articles, I mention how my wife and I are a team, working to make sure at least one of us can be there to support our kids despite their busy sports schedules. Raider was the one who trained us how to do that. We adopted him one year after we got married, and we realized how much our schedules needed to change. We were young, busy professionals, used to coming and going as we pleased. Now, we had this other being who needed our care. So, we had to coordinate with one another to make sure he always had food and a walk no matter what. Thanks to Raider, we knew we were ready for a family. Of course, eventually Raider passed on. We didn’t immediately jump to get a new dog after losing him; I think we needed that time to mourn. But then other tragedies struck our family. My wife lost her father and grandfather in rapid succession, and we were all wracked with grief. It was becoming clear we needed to bring a spark of joy back to our household — and that’s when we learned about Bristal. My uncle is a veterinarian in Pennsylvania and always keeps an eye out for animals in need of a good home. He introduced us to Raider all those years ago, and, right in our moment of need, he told us about Bristal. He first mentioned the young lab to me and my wife at a holiday party, and we weren’t sure at first. But, over the course of the week, we found ourselves talking about the pup MEET BRISTAL! ONE FOR THE DOGS
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more and more. My wife had a lot of questions about Bristal, and eventually, I just told her to call my uncle and ask. When she got off the phone the verdict was clear: “We’re getting the dog.” Unwilling to wait any longer, we set off on the day after Christmas in the early morning. We wanted it to be a surprise for the kids, so we had to sneak out. Unfortunately, the worst snow storm of the year was on its way to meet us. After the two-hour drive to Harrisburg, the first flakes started falling. Knowing the storm was on its way, we didn’t have too much time to chat with my uncle. We got Bristal into the backseat with my wife and headed straight back to New Jersey. Along the way, the snow fell thicker and thicker, but Bristal did great in the car. She and my wife bonded instantaneously during that trek, and to this day, they are almost inseparable. By the time we made it home, 26 inches of snow blanketed the town. I trudged inside and had the kids sit on the couch and close their eyes. When they opened them, there was Mom and their new best friend. I’ll never forget how our kids jumped for joy. Nine years later, Bristal is still making us smile — she’s a constant reminder we can always find happiness in the simple things of life. I’m grateful for the lessons she and Raider have taught our family and all the great memories we’ve made with them.
The best compliment we can receive is to have one of our patients refer a friend or family member to our practice. If you refer someone and we are able to take them as a patient, both you and the person who was referred
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Here’s to all the ways pets make our lives better,
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