Recently,we had a big scare. BIG. Huge. You might think it is trivial, and if you aren’t a dog person, I get it if you think I am a ninny.
We are dog people. Since our children are grown, our dogs are our ‘kidlets’. They keep us on schedule, they smile at us with their silly grins, tongues hanging out the side of their mouths, tails wagging so hard that you think their butts are going to levitate. They come to us in the morning, floppy with sleep, and lean their heads against our legs, giving a good morning lick to an ankle. They take their positions in the family room at night, touching each other, and yet able to watch us both as we sit down or get up and putter around the house.
We know their moods, their likes and dislikes. They know when we are making up the story about the bunny in the yard to get them to go out. They know exactly when it is time for supper, whether or not it is Daylight Savings Time, a weekday or a weekend day, and they let us know with bouncing and speaking to us to tell us to get with the program and fill those bowls!
Anyway, we took them for general checkups yesterday to Petsmart. The staff at the Banfield Hospital at Petsmart in our town is nothing short of a bunch of angels as far as we are concerned. Bear is, by their account, the biggest dog they have. Bella has already become a petted darling. They have donated their own time on multiple Sundays to helping Bear get over his fear of the doctor. So none of us were prepared when Bella’s blood test came up positive for Heartworm.
We looked at each other stricken with fear. I felt the blood drain from my face, and I think Dr. Bell was wondering if she was going to have to sedate me, rather than the dog. We had her re-tested, and waited the long, agonizing 2 hours at home until they called to confirm it. We were all worried about Bear, and even though he still wasn’t ‘ready’ to allow an examination, we went back to Banfield to get him a blood test.
There we were, five adult humans, in this small space, hoping that Bear wouldn’t freak out and eat us while we were getting a blood sample. He did allow me to put on his muzzle, but immediately sensed something was up. And so was Bear. All 150 pounds of him. Rich was in his face, distracting him with treats, while Dr. Bell and I grabbed his collar and wrapped our arms around him, riding him like a bucking bronco. The two vet techs were behind him, trying to stabilize one leg long enough to draw blood.
Poor Bear. He eventually realized that we weren’t going to do anything worse than a pin prick on his leg and possibly feed him cookies until he exploded. He settled down, and after we were finished and removed his muzzle, he made the rounds with his head down, wagging as if to say “I’m sorry I was so silly! I love you. Do you still love me?”
His test came back negative, which was the first ray of sunshine in the whole overcast, steamy day. We are still waiting to find out about Bella’s treatment, but since it was caught so quickly, we feel confident that she will be just fine. Since it’s a holiday weekend, we have to wait until at least Wednesday to find out the next step.
You think that when your children are grown, you are through with sleepless nights. You think you will never again spend the night watching your little one sleeping, praying that they will be ‘better in the morning’. But having a pet is like having your little ones all over again. They are the furry wrappers around our hearts. Each one unique and precious. Which is why it is so scary when one of them is sick.
I wouldn’t change a thing.
Sandi Tuttle is the host of the Blog Talk Radio show “An Average Woman in a Superwoman World” (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sandi-tuttle).