Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Waiting for Junior

Junior knew this vet visit was different. I could see it in his eyes -- a nervous scanning of the office, maybe noticing the place was empty at the end of the day. Maybe he could feel the small injury that resulted from his exuberant reaction to my arrival at doggy daycare when he banged his head against something as he strained to communicate, “Daddy’s here!”. Sedation and stitches were in his future.

So I wait.

Waiting for Junior.

I picture him coming through the door, wobbly from drugs, drunken on shaky legs wondering if he’ll be able to jump into his crate in the back of the van or if I’ll have to heft his 81 pounds like a sack of potatoes. It’s been 30 minutes -- the vet said it wouldn’t take long to fix him, close the cut in his face just below his right eye.

On the counter is a picture of a man hugging a yellow lab. I know that look. I’m reminded of the intense, shimmering lives led by dogs that seem to sparkle past in an instant. I’ve had a lot of dogs.

Waiting for Junior.

A stuffed dog perched amidst pamphlets for pet insurance and memorial services provide no comfort. It’s dark outside. Just a little injury, a small mishap in a dog’s life. Still, I miss my boy.

The dark side of imagination works through unlikely scenarios. Still, sedation is never a minor activity. Or so I believe sitting alone in the waiting room.

Waiting for Junior.

A technician emerges, smiles, and tells me they’re almost done. The room brightens and I see Junior running through green fields leaping toward an orange rubber ball. I imagine giving him dinner later -- letting him lick the dregs of milk and cereal in the morning.


Waiting for Junior.

A large inflatable tick hangs from the ceiling over a display of healthy pet treats. The technician who took Junior steps into view, stops, and softly speaks, “Come on Junior. That’s a good boy.”
Junior walks slowly, struggling to keep his legs under him, moving uncertainly. His eyes find me and his gait increases as he heads home. His body touches my leg and he melts onto the floor, tired, disoriented, relaxed. I know everything will be ok. I am reminded again of the place dogs have lived in me.

Later I hear his breathing, soft and regular, at my feet. I read on his discharge papers, “Junior was a very good patient today”.

He slept well, worn low by the day.

In the morning I took a close look at his injury. Small, almost insignificant. And I almost wonder why I was so nervous.

My dog Junior.


Bryce said...

So, tell us why you love Junior?

Very lucky dog, very happy owner.

Go forth the two of you on the
journeys of your lives.

Now about that sidecar for the Vespa so you can take Junior with you...

Charlie6 said...

Wow, Junior dang near lost an eye there!

Glad he's OK. So you're getting a sidecar for the Vespa then? ;)


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Dar said...

Poor fellow! Being a pet owner (actually my dog owns me) is an amazing thing, they love us unconditionally. It's at moments like this that you realize just how much a part of your life they are. I'm with Bryce I think Junior needs a sidecar & to be you co-pilot.

Steve Williams said...

Bryce: Love Junior? What gave you that idea?

A sidecar for Junior -- a nice idea but I'm not sure if his temperament is well suited to that riding life. His interests run more towards the dog world, leaping and running and chasing small moving targets.

I bet he would love the chance at herding sheep but I fear he'd find riding a bore.

Steve Williams said...

Charlie6 (Dom): It was close to his eye. I hope however it happened he had his eyes closed.

Bryce is starting rumors. Don't go down the sidecar road for Junior. Junior believes in riding and he says sidecars ain't riding.....*grin*

Another dog he plays with, Gus, just told us his master ordered a sidecar for their Goldwing. Come spring Gus is taking to the road. I'll have to watch how that unfolds.

Steve Williams said...

Dar: Dogs are magic. Kim and I are blessed with Junior (though at times he can push for his own way -- read that more treats).

No sidecar!

Allen Madding said...

I have been blessed with many dogs in my life. One stray we adopted had to go thru heartworm treatment. It was a tough rode but the two of us got through it.

I'm glad Junior is doing well. Y'all enjoy each other.


chessie said...

What a great tribute to your pupster.... couldn't ask for a greater love. A sweet fur-baby there.

David Masse said...

Very nice post Steve. Dogs are amazing. I think they make us more human. I also think that in some ways we'd be better off if we were more dog- like. I like the repetition of "waiting for Junior". I'll bet Junior had "Where's Steve?" running through his doggy brain on repeat.

Steve Williams said...

Allen Madding: I always worry about heartworms here. Junior will have his annual test in a couple weeks and we give him medication through the year but it's always a risk.

Dogs are a wonderful creature. I'm glad we have the chance to share the road with them...

Steve Williams said...

chessie: Thanks for the kind words. Junior is a great pup!

David Masse: I never thought about what was going through his head. I guess I don't like to think about him in any kind of emotional turmoil. The vets and their staff are great though. I knew he was in kind hands.

hrw115 said...

Jason thinks that Junior looks like he has war paint on - especially with the grassy background. He looks like he is "in the bush".