You loped into the room, long legs striding, head up, tail down. A true Westminster Dog Show entrance. I was sitting in a metal chair in the corner when the trainer led you over to me. You confidently placed your snout in my lap. The first thing I noticed was your “movie star” handsome looks. Clear brown eyes ringed in black with a chiseled snout, framed by long velvet ears. True confession, Dwight. It was your looks that I fell for. I knew I had to adopt you. Of course, after I got to know your personality, I loved your goofiness as well.
When we go walking, I frequently hear, “what a good-looking dog.” I respond with “thank you” as if I have something to do with your appearance. You are a looker, Dwight. I should have known that the combination of your handsomeness and your training at the correctional center would lead you to an acting career.
Your nonspeaking roles were mastered early on. Our fenced yard is adjacent to a neighborhood walking path. Many dogs walk by sniffing and barking. Kids zoom down the blacktop on skateboards and bikes. You remain stoic. Sphinx-like. Non plussed. One walker actually thought you were a lawn ornament. Great performance Dwight.
Your “woe is me, I am so hungry” performance is pretty convincing too. You sit by your empty bowl with that hang dog hound face that’s hard to resist. I’m very mindful when I feed you, as I’ve almost fallen victim to your “fake hunger” a few times. Lucky for you that I keep account of feedings, as too much food could ruin your good looks.
But these performances were just practice. Clearly you were training for the lead role. The diva dog performance of the year. You got your chance a few weeks ago on a sultry summer evening. Your BFF Frazier came over for a run in the backyard. You ran around for a few minutes and then went into the house (you can open the back door independently) and retrieved a toy. You leaped from the back step, ran a few feet and then fell to the ground, licking the bottom of your left front paw. When I approached to investigate, you limped off. There was no blood, but there was a lot of limping and licking. We ended the play date and came inside. I was sure you’d just put yourself to bed and all would be well by morning. That’s not what happened. You licked, you panted, you paced. You panted so hard, I feared you might have a heart attack. Without a muzzle, I knew I didn’t stand a chance of looking at that paw. There was no calming you, even with a peanut butter slathered treat.
Concerned, I called the Emergency Vet and was told they were not busy. So, we donned your harness, grabbed our masks (COVID protocol) and got you in the car. When we arrived, you jumped out of the car and walked, bearing weight on all 4 paws, into the building. I looked at you sitting calmly at my feet. I told the receptionist I wasn’t sure we needed to be there afterall.. As if on cue, you held your left paw, limply up in front of you. I relented. She put us in a room. I filled out the paperwork as John calmed us both, Dwight.
The vet tech came in. Acting as a typical mother, I advised her that all she needed to “fix” you, were a muzzle and a pair of tweezers to pull out the thorn or the splinter in your paw. I elaborated on your medical history of a tracheal injury and warned her of your hound dog histrionics. She nodded agreeably and took you back to the exam room. A few minutes later we heard you howl and bay. You walked back into the room with the tech. I was pleased that the whole ordeal was over. But no. The vet tech looked at me and said, “Dwight’s not comfortable with us looking at his paw. The doctor wants to know if its OK to sedate him to get a better look.” I was looking to you to speak up at this, Dwight, but you just sat there.
My mom instincts kicked up a notch. “I told you he will howl. You muzzle. Pick up the paw. He howls. You pull out the thorn. De-muzzle. He’s your best friend. Just like the fable of the mouse and the lion with a thorn in his paw.” The tech replies, “The vet wants to sedate.” I say, “How much will that cost?” (Not my best mom moment) The tech says she will get the doctor to come and talk to us.
A few minutes later the vet comes into the exam room. She says she didn’t want us to have to endure the anguish of listening to your fretful howls, Dwight. We told her we were used to it and promised her it would be brief. Just muzzle, unsedated, remove splinter. She agreed and said, “Wait here while I wrangle up a crew to help me hold him down.” You offered no comment, Dwight. We had already been there 30 minutes and were waiting patiently, when we realized you were sound asleep next to the door. No panting. No pacing.
We decided to wake you and leave. As we walked down the hall to checkout, your tail was wagging, and you were bearing weight on all 4 paws without a problem. We paid our $101.00 examination bill and left AMA (against medical advice). You leaped into the car and happily jumped out when we returned home. Yawning, you put yourself to bed, exhausted after your harrowing performance. And the Oscar goes to…Dwight, best hound in a leading role. Congratulations D Man.