“Ok, so it’s been 18 months since he was in, is that right?”
Yes. It has. I know. He needs to come yearly.
“And he needs his rabies shot?”
She was matter-of-fact. Just gathering information.
Yes, he needs his shot. That’s what finally got me here….
“Wait, I see it says here his rabies shot was due in March. Did you guys have that shot?”
Well, no. We didn’t. I meant to. But the baby was four months old. And I was struggling.
Somehow, taking the dog to the vet was more than I could handle.
“And is he on heartworm preventive?”
Yes. Well, no. Not exactly. He’s supposed to be. But I ran out last fall ,and I kept forgetting to stop by to get more.
“And what about tick protection? Have you had problems with ticks?”
Yes, we have lots of ticks in our yard. But that, thankfully, is something I’ve remembered. Mostly.
“He’s getting older, almost eight….How about exercise? Walks?”
Um, well, he used to. Before the kids were born, I walked him for at least an hour a day. Often more. But it’s hard now. Managing two kids and two dogs is a lot….
My voice trailed away.
My excuses and explanations and guilt hung in the air.
It’s a lot.
It’s always a lot.
And the four-legged ones are the first to suffer.
On the table in between us, the little dog, all seventeen and a half pounds of him, turned towards me.
His brown eyes, so dark they seem black, were full of trust and love.
He was my first baby.
On the night we brought him home, I sat in the backseat, my hand reaching through the wires of his crate, to comfort the carsick and frightened puppy.
We survived house training and teething and a fractured growth plate.
I used to come home from work to walk him at lunch, rather than eat with my friends.
Then we got another dog.
And we had a child.
Strapped in the sling on my hip, my newest baby squirmed.
Smiling, she reached for him.
Dogs are one of her favorite things. She grunts her laughter when they come into view.
But her grip is far from gentle.
I turned sideways, to shield him from her hands.
Trying to protect him.
As best I can.
I’m so sorry, little guy.
I still love you, every bit as much.
I hope you know that.
At least I have finally convinced my three-year old that our dogs aren’t ponies. And yes, that’s him. Sitting on the back of the sofa. And no, he’s not allowed to sit there.
Looking for the Essence of Now linkup? It’s here. And don’t forget to get your pictures ready for Friday!