Who do you consider your best friend? When my husband was still around, he was my best friend. In our later years we did everything together. Even though I was still working when he was retired he waited for me to get home from work so we could go visit someone or get groceries.
Today my children are my best friends. I treasure the relationship that has developed from one of dependence on me to independence and friendship. I am happy when I am with my family.
The article today however is not about my children and grandchildren. The friends that I have really come to rely on are my pets. They ask so little, but give so much. My dog with her waggly tail greets me the moment I return home. (I had trouble here with the word waggly, but I will use it anyway. You must remember that doggie in the window with the waggly tail!)
My cat does not wag his tail, but he is on hand to greet me the moment I walk through the door.
Last week as I returned home from one of my volunteer duties, I opened the garage door as usual to let the dog out. We have been doing this ritual for years. She runs out of the garage, then, waits for me to park the car.
This time was different. I opened the door, she ran out, but then I heard a thud and felt a bump. I stopped the car and jumped out. I fully expected to see a fuzzy black lump in the driveway. The dog was not there. She ran into the yard. That was a good sign. Even if she was hurt, she was able to move.
I parked the car then looked for her. I had to be sure she was alright. She was nowhere to be found. I walked all the way around the house. At this point my imagination and my fears got the best of me. I figured she had gone somewhere to die.
Finally I spotted her in the bushes. I coaxed her into the house so I could get a better look at her. Her front paw was causing her to limp, but other than that I could see nothing wrong. I know that all injuries are not visible. We lost a dog years back when a neighbor hit her. Although she seemed fine, she died two days later.
Something was wrong. Hannah did not want food. That is a big deal because anything that hits the floor is usually gobbled up before it could be retrieved when she is herself.
I bundled Hannah into the car for a ride to the vet. Getting her into the car was no easy feat. She firmly planted her backside on the ground and refused to move. I picked her up and put her into the car. The vet office was closed for lunch when I arrived but my son, seeing me drive in, came out the door. He was not surprised to see me since I stop there often when I shop in Jamestown. He was however, surprised to see Hannah.
A quick physical exam revealed no broken bones. Whew! He ran a blood test to check for internal bleeding. The first one was fine, but he needed me to wait awhile so that he could run another test later to check for a difference in levels.
I know people baulk about blood work, but believe me it was well worth the time and expense. Blood is the lifeline of the body so it offers the first clue about what is going on. The blood work showed nothing out of the ordinary as far as the emergency was concerned, but it did reveal that an ongoing condition was not where it was supposed to be.
They sent me home with medicine that was an antibiotic and another one for pain and stiffness. Doc told me she would be stiff in the morning.
I stayed at home to be with the dog. She rested, but other than that I noticed no sign of pain and suffering. I gave no medicine since she did not seem to need it. That night she walked up the stairs the same as usual and hopped up on the bed. She snuggled right in and went to sleep. She never awoke until the next morning.
My son and daughter called the next morning to check on my dog. She was nothing short of amazing. She was not sore. She was ready to eat. She even wanted outside on her own on a rather chilly morning.
I am grateful for the wonderful care the vets provided, but even more than that I am thankful that this story has a happy ending. My dog really is my best friend. This house would be so lonely without my pets.
The dog has gotten away with murder this week just because I had a real scare. I even let her sit up on the couch with me. I know not to give her "people treats" but I did not fuss when the grandchildren supplied her with toast scraps. A little bit of toast now and then would not hurt.
Hannah has been with me for ten years. In her early days her thick coat absorbed many tears as we dealt with the cancer that humbled my husband. She was a real pal to him, too, sitting beside him as he slept when he was just too tired to move.
Pets really are part of the family. I am glad to have more time with my faithful companion.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org