LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Good for all ages, pets come into our homes and become a part of the family.
As an owner, you have the responsibility to love, protect, and care for them.
"I'm tore up," said Tonja Dykes. "I'm just so upset about it."
Dykes is bringing Juicy Brooke to the vet after labor complications.
The four-year-old chihuahua gave birth to a stillborn puppy Monday morning.
Dykes says this was the first litter she attempted to breed.
"I would love to have more babies from her," Dykes said.
Dykes says her dog struggled through labor for nearly eight hours before she decided to bring her to the vet. In hindsight, Dykes says she wishes she had decided to seek help sooner.
"It might've helped her, and she might've had an easier time," Dykes said.
Dr. CR Shilling and his team at West Loop Animal Clinic sprang into action to help.
He says it's not uncommon for pet owners to seek help after the fact.
"There's things, if people had brought them in earlier, there's a lot we could have done that would save them money," Shilling said.
That's why Shilling suggests annual pet check-ups and routine vaccinations, especially this time of year.
He says the summer months are the peak time for fleas and ticks to spread disease.
"It's harder to cure it than it is to prevent it," Shilling said.
Another must: spaying or neutering to prevent cancer, which can be fatal for pets.
"Depending on what type of cancer, as it is in humans, it could be extremely serious," Shilling said.
And if one dog or cat isn't enough, animal shelters provide pets that are ready to love.
"We have a lot of animals that need homes, that are up for adoption that are being surrendered," said Tim Alvey, the executive director at the Angelina County Humane Society.
Taking proper care of your extended family lets your pet know how much you care.
The Humane Society also suggests that every owner micro-chip their pet.
That way, if they wander from home, it will be easier to reunite a pet with its family.
The shelter is also offering a discount on cat adoptions this month.