Wednesday, October 19, 2011

For the Love of Dogs

For Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be to care for my puppy after her surgery today. At six months, Ziva went to the vet’s for her scheduled “spaying” operation. By 3pm she was ready to be taken home. I’d been surprised by the fact that she was not staying overnight. I am almost sure that our previous dog Charlie had an extended stay after her surgery, but I obediently picked up Ziva after work.

Still loopy from her anesthesia, Ziva needed help getting into the van and then into the house. After learning how to carry her to avoid injury to her sutures, I lifted her from spot to spot until she was safely on the couch in the family room. Fitted with an “Elizabethan” dog cone collar, Ziva was miserable. I took off the collar and vowed to watch her to prevent her tearing at her wounds. For the next six hours the children and I took turns comforting our puppy.

Although I knew that she would be much improved come morning, it was so hard to see our normally happy and energetic pup looking and acting so out of sorts. I was immediately transported back to the start of the year when 16 year old Charlie needed strict supervision as she experienced “doggy dementia” in her final month of life. Pulling Charlie gently out of the confines of furniture and room corners was a daily affair. Now with Ziva appearing comatose and refusing to move when the “Cone of Shame” was placed on her whenever one of us could not watch her, memories of the days and weeks spent caring for Charlie came flooding back.

I felt helpless today. There was nothing I could have done differently to help Charlie last winter, and likewise, it seemed at first that there was nothing I could do to help Ziva today as she was recuperating. But with my family’s help I did my best to keep her safe from injury. I could not take away the discomfort and confusion and no matter how much I wish my words would soothe my furry babies, dogs do not understand why things happen. But I have to believe that both Charlie and Ziva have sensed my devotion and my love. Perhaps only fellow dog lovers will understand, but it is amazing how much I have learned from loving them both.

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