She Didn’t Know What to Say

Freya with tummy ache
Freya with a tummy ache

Freya was sick a couple of Saturdays ago, so we called the vet and grabbed the first appointment we could get.

It’s always tough when a pet is sick, but Freya is probably the most difficult of all of the dogs we’ve had. She’s the most fearful at the vet’s office and a tough dog to read at the same time. So, making a call on when it’s time to put her through the stress of a doctor visit is like trying to see colors in the dark.

But it stopped being a tough call that Saturday morning. We packed her into the car and headed to the vet for a 1:00 PM appointment. My fears were confirmed when the doctor called it pancreatitis.

It took at least an hour from the time we arrived until it was time to go, so Dagmar took her out f the office while I waited to settle the bill and get Freya’s meds at the front desk. When I finally made it outside, I couldn’t find them because Dagmar decided to let Freya “walk it off” in the big church parking lot next door. While I was looking, another car pulled into the lot.

A woman got out of the driver’s seat and scrambled to the back door of her car. She made a bit of a commotion, so I paused to watch. A man got out of the other side and watched the woman fuss as she was leaning into the back of the car. A smallish black and white dog popped out and walked away from the vehicle, his leash dragging behind him.

I don’t like seeing this anywhere, but especially don’t like it as my vet’s office, because there’s a busy street on the other side of the building. The man finally grabbed the dog’s leash after a few seconds, though.

Then, an old dog got out of the car.

The woman kept fussing in the car, exclaiming that one of the dogs had relieved himself on the back seat. The man looked overwhelmed and stood there, watching.

The old dog made a beeline for the edge of the parking lot. I say “made a beeline” because it was clear he wanted to go there, but he was moving slowly and didn’t have good balance. This wasn’t a dog that should be wandering in a parking lot. I’ve mentioned before that I used to be a dog trainer. (Actually, I sort of am a trainer again.) One of the bad things about being a trainer is that you tend to see the worst case in many situations. An unattended geriatric dog in a public place presents a host of worst cases.

The man watched helplessly. The woman continued to fuss.

So I walked over, picked up the dog’s leash, and let him guide me to the edge of the lot. I spoke to him as he frantically searched for a place to go. I’m not sure if the old gent heard me, because he very much needed to finish what he probably started in the back of the car. I’m not sure he could hear at all.

My compassion for the old dog was the primary thing on my mind as I held his leash. I was upset because my dog was sick and seeing him, barely able to walk, probably blind, with a patchy coat, hit all of the feels. But I won’t lie. I was really annoyed with his owners. A mess in the back of your car is nothing. It’s not even nothing; it’s part of owning a dog. (Pro tip: seat covers.)

Right as he finished up, the woman approached me with a plastic bag to clean up the mess. As I gave her the leash, we made eye contact.

She didn’t know what to say.

I could see that she wanted to thank me, but she had no idea how to do it. I’ve been there. You have too. We did something we’re ashamed of. Someone helped us anyway. We know we should thank them, or apologize or just do something. But we couldn’t. After a few milliseconds looking into her eyes, the judgment fell away. She was having a crappy day. Just like me.  Probably worse. So, she screwed up. Good thing I was there.

I nodded and gave her the leash.

As I walked back to the car, her husband called to me. I looked over, and he said something like “Thank you. There are angels in this world.”

My turn to not know what to say.

We live in troubled times, but we’re all in it together.

(Freya is all better now.)





Freya, not Rufus.

I woke up feeling groggy and sluggish as I do during allergy season. June is late for allergy season, but all bets off this year regarding what happens when. I think it’s part of everything being great again.

So Freya wakes up unusually bouncy and exuberant. Freya is a lazy dog. The laziest. Basset Hounds talk about her behind her back she’s so lazy. But not that morning. She was all wags and play bows as she followed me down the stairs (nearly tripping me) and into the kitchen. I did my best to acknowledge her excellent mood but was in no condition to keep up. After a couple of minutes, she asked to go outside to do her business, so I opened the door.

We have a fenced-in backyard, so I could drowsily watch her through the window as I sipped coffee from the pot Christian had made and contemplated pouring it over my head to speed up its effects.

As I finished my coffee, I saw Freya do her business, so I grabbed a bag to clean it up and headed outside. As I walked back to where the mess was, I saw a flash of yellow to my right, and the other side of her fence! A dog was running in the neighbor’s backyard!

My mind raced. There was no way for Freya to get on the other side of the fence. Right?  Not unless it had been damaged.

So I called Freya and she came running from the far side of the house and still inside the yard. Phew!

But she barreled past me, and right up to the other dog who had popped out of the bushes in my neighbor’s yard and was looking at her. At her from the other side of the fence.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Freya is the most dog-friendly dog we’ve ever had. She’s lazy, and she loves other dogs. That’s Freya in a nutshell. Add a love of peanut butter and iceberg lettuce, and you’ve got her figured out.

Freya and the dog were in love. They immediately started playing, starting out oblivious to the fence and then literally whining because they couldn’t get to each other.

So I had a problem. I didn’t want to let this dog get away and run into traffic or get more lost than he already was. But I didn’t want to just invite him into the yard with Freya there either. While he seemed friendly, that kind of immediate introduction, especially on one dog’s “turf,” is risky. (Seriously, don’t do stuff like that.)

I managed to get Dagmar’s attention without leaving the yard. I sent Freya inside (and was impressed that she obeyed) and told Dagmar to head to the front of the house with a leash while I tried to keep the dog’s attention through the fence.

Even without Freya there, he stayed nearby. He was a friendly guy. He knew “sit,” and I read his name, which was embroidered on his collar, and he responded to it. I worked with him until my wife came around to the other side of the fence. He went right to her and let her leash him.

His collar had a phone number on it too. I called the number, and an older man answered. He was relieved to hear someone had Rufus.

Down the street from our house is the Knickerbocker Country Club. It’s one of the reasons I liked this house when we saw it a few years ago. Not because I have the money for a Country Club (or would spend it that way if I did) but because Country Clubs are large pieces of land that people do quiet things on.

It turns out Rufus’ owner is a member and told us he has special permission to let Rufus run free there. (He must be an important member.) Rufus wandered through an open gate, and there he was.

So it worked out well. And it woke me up, too.

Meet Freya

She's sleeps often, which is good.
She’s sleeps often, which is good.

It’s been a while since I posted but I think a new puppy is a decent excuse, and since it’s my blog it will have to do.

Freya came to us a few weeks ago and at first things were very rough. She did not get along with Buddha at all and we thought we would have to re-home her. Find a new home took some time and things started to work out while that was happening….so here we are.

More soon, including updates on the book.

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