Man’s Best Friend

Man’s best friend is a quaint saying. But there’s a lot of truth in that statement for Lauren and Sheba.

Sheba is a six-year-old Labrador Retriever. Sheba is also Lauren Berglund’s guide dog. Lauren was born with significant vision loss due to a genetic condition and one month after graduating from high school, Lauren was matched with Sheba, her first guide dog.

“Not only has Sheba been my guide dog for years, she has been and always will be my best friend,” Lauren says. “Having her by my side every day for almost four years, I’m sure one can imagine just how close we are. Sheba means the absolute world to me.

“There are days that the only reason I get out of bed or smile are because of her.”

So when Sheba was admitted to the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center in Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Lauren was understandably concerned.

Sheba came to Iowa State’s small animal hospital due to continued bleeding after a dental procedure at her local veterinarian. After a physical exam, it was determined Sheba should be hospitalized for additional testing. Sheba’s condition worsened when she collapsed in the ICU after going for a short walk.

Lauren wanted the best for Sheba but finances are a stretch for the Iowa State student who is a senior child, adult and family services major on campus. Because of the nature of the case, Iowa State veterinarians suggested Lauren apply for the ISU Iron Dog Fund.

“I was extremely concerned about my ability to pay for Sheba’s care,” Lauren said. “I was so worried about having to make decisions for her care based on cost and not what was best for her.”

The Iron Dog Fund supports animals hospitalized in the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center (LVMC) to help pet owners afford curative treatment options when available. Through the efforts of Dr. Elizabeth Soler, a small animal intern at the LVMC, a portion of Sheba’s treatments were covered by the Iron Dog Fund.

“Now Sheba was able to get the absolute best care regardless of my ability to pay,” Lauren said. “To me, this meant the world as I would have been devastated had I not been able to help Sheba after all she has done for me.”

Sheba has recovered although after her hospital stay and diagnosis for hemophilia, Lauren decided it was best to retire Sheba from being a guide dog but keep her as a pet and best friend.

“I cannot thank all the students, staff and doctors ICU at the small animal hospital for going above and beyond and all the amazing care they provided to Sheba during her stay,” Lauren said. “When I was reunited with Sheba, her little kisses and tail wags meant so much in that moment.

“I cannot imagine going on without her and am eternally grateful for the care she received at Iowa State that allowed her to still be with me today.”

March 2019