By 11PM Friday night, I knew something was really wrong. My dog, and one of the loves of my life, was in severe pain, confused, and couldn’t operate his legs properly. I had gingerly placed him on the couch and placed him in a cocoon of blankets, being sure to give him enough wiggle room, hoping that he could sleep a little bit. I called my boyfriend in a panic, hysterical, and sobbing. I was trying to convince myself that he had gotten hurt during one of his puppy-like rocket jumps through his doggy door, yet I instinctively knew that it wasn’t the case. There was something in the way he curled into my chest later into the night, the way his brown eyes looked at me, the way tears had dried on his face and matted the black fur, that told me Showdy, miniature dachshund, stud muffin extraordinaire and king of our household, needed veterinary care.
Morning arrived. I tried feeding him a little food, he sniffed it and placed his head in the palm of my hand. Somewhere between calling a family friend to take me to the vet and carefully picking him up and into my arms, I began crying. I’m not talking about little baby angel tears that appear sad yet ladylike, I’m talking full-on Kim Kardashian level ugly-crying. When I wasn’t crying I had a very thin grip on dry land, the smallest thing set me off—my family friend offered me food at one point and I peeled into another round of crying, mentally thinking “Showdy likes food, too!!” I cried when I held him in my arms and he was scared. I cried when the nurse took him away for blood tests. I cried when I got texts telling me it was going to be okay. I cried when the assistants gave me sympathetic glances. I cried when strangers handed me a box of tissues. I cried when the veterinarian said that it was either that-day surgery or euthanasia. And then I cried more. I’m pretty sure I’m part camel, that’s the only way I could have had that much water stored in my body.
We’ll be able to pick him up and take him home tonight or Tuesday evening, if all goes well. The surgery went by flawlessly and the staff raved about how it couldn’t have gone better, and “oh, he’s such a handsome boy” (as if that weren’t totally and completely obvious. Showdy is thirteen pounds of pure looks and Napoleonic ego).
These past two days have felt like a lifetime and time seems to slug through every minute—and I’m not just talking about myself; I’m pretty sure this event has been more traumatizing for Showdy than that time he was viciously attacked by seafoam.
But you know what? If it means that I will be able to cuddle with him and sing him songs in a key I invented, it’s all worth it, because I love him. Even when I say I don’t (usually when he’s been whining for food for two hours), I do. I really, really do, and that’s why I accept the hurt. The huge amount of pain I feel when I saw him in agony directly corresponds to the love I feel for him. After all, when pets look at you, whether it is through the wide-eyed stare dog who is begging for the bacon you’re eating or the lazy malaise of a cat who is blessing you with their presence or even a goldfish that has a deep understanding of the human mind, it’s a portrait of unconditional love. The least we can do for them is return the favor.
I’ll let pop-culture sum it up for us:
Pet owners generally have lower stress, are less likely to suffer from depression, and help “find meaning and joy in life” through owning a animal-child. Which is why people who “hate pets” or “just don’t understand them” don’t possess a soul, as far as I can see. Animals are a great indication of how you treat other people, because they hand you devotion, loyalty, and love without knowing any better – how you utilize that love shows how you view interactions with humans, since you actually have to work for that shit where people are concerned. Not to mention, if you kill animals there is a huge possibility that you are a serial killer. Even the nastiest individuals I’ve met crumble to pieces before a kitten and the one time I’ve met someone who actually viscerally hated pets, he turned out to think he was a demon lord who could control people by cursing them. Also, he knocked up a stripper. Is it a coincidence? I think not.
Maybe you don’t own a pet but like giving all of the pets to your friend’s cat/dog/iguana/parrot/elephant—that’s okay, too. It’s all about seeing that look in their eyes that say you human, you are my world. And I want some food, and loving it. These past few days have been horrible to say the least, but in the end I would do it again.
I mean…look at his little face:
Try looking at that and saying “no, I wouldn’t move mountains for you.” You can’t, because you know what love is and I don’t need to show you. You seem like a good person. We should be friends.