[I am a storyteller. Sometimes when reality is ugly, I make up a story, and fill in the blanks, to make it better. You never know, it could be...]
The landlord checked out the apartment. Poor old lady, he thought to himself. Not a single "next of kin" and what was he going to do with all this stuff? Well, that china cabinet might be worth something. He didn't even see the small dog trot out through the open door. He did see the dog dishes in the kitchen, but assumed the police had taken whatever it was to the pound. Then he noticed the small black dots on his pant legs. Oh, great. Fleas.
The two friends were talking about what a scorcher it was going to be as they walked around the corner, and the two whippets they were walking went into "small furry animal" alert. Straining on their leads, heads and tails up, eyes trained on a little something hobbling in the parking lot.
"Oh, no," the woman said to her friend, Karen. "It's a dog."
It was a blessing that Karen had just recently started walking with her, as there would be no way to approach the little dog with the whippets barking and being whippets. Karen held her two dogs, with the woman giving the younger one a firm 'sit, stay' command. As she got closer to the little dog, her stomach lurched.
It was nearly bald, and what coat it had was filthy and matted. The temperature had already reached ninety-four degrees with stifling humidity, at seven thirty in the morning. The little dog, which she could now see was a Shih Tzu, was panting with raspy breaths. And limping.
The woman tossed a small blueberry dog treat from her pocket in front of the little dog. "Come here sweetie." The little dog smelled the treat, and then wagged up to the woman's voice. "Oh, you poor dear. Let's get you out of this heat."
Karen led the two curious whippets, and the woman carried the little dog home. "I'm sure it's a Shih Tzu. I wonder if this is mange, look how swollen and inflamed its skin is. I don't see any fleas or flea dirt at least."
"She must be old," Karen said.
"I don't think so. because she doesn't have cataracts. Look how black her eyes are." The woman lifted a lip. "Oh and her canines are sparkly white. She's had a litter though. I think she must be maybe around two?"
After her dogs were walked and Karen had gone home, the woman got the little dog out of the crate. She was pleased to see that she had eaten the senior food and had a nice drink of water. The little dog wagged and then convulsed in long raking coughs. The woman saw a flea. She picked it off, only to see three more. Bath time.
She bathed the little dog in a flea repellent herbal shampoo, followed by a soothing oatmeal shampoo. She tried to cut off some mats, which were pulling the dog's face in a twisted, grotesque distortion. The little dog struggled, setting off another debilitating fit of coughing. "No more of that for now," said the woman. She wished she knew more about coated breeds. And she wished it wasn't Sunday.
She took the dog outside to dry. Now the warm sun and hot breeze was just the thing, and the dog was dry in an instant. And so were the fleas. Scores of them, leaving the mats in droves. The woman shuddered, and made her decision. She sprayed the little dog, much to the dog's delight, and toweled off the dead fleas. The little dog had another bite to eat, and another drink of water, and after another coughing spell, she curled up on her clean bedding in her crate and slept.
The next morning they were at the vet's at nine-thirty. This woman just loves her vets. "I think she's young," the woman said. "But I'm really afraid of her cough. Could she have an irritation from being out and panting so much?"
"It could be a tracheitis," said Dr. Compassion. But her face betrayed her concern. The woman told the vet that she had found three toenails in the crate bedding this morning. The vet said, "Mmmm. She looks like a thyroid dog. She's completely blind, you know."
The woman said, "What! Her eyes are so black!" The vet explained that she had a disease where the cornea is replaced with pigment, and is like a window with a blackout shade pulled down. Then, after looking at her teeth, she said, "She's probably more than ten."
"What! Her canines are pearly white!"
Dr. Compassion showed the woman that all the bottom front incisors were not only gone, but the gum had long ago healed over. She explained that all the roots were exposed, and the constant itching in the long coat had flossed those canines clean. "This is an old, old girl," said the caring vet, giving the little dog a gentle caress. Then she put her stethoscope in her ears and listened to the dog's chest. "Oh dear. Did you listen?"
"No," said the woman, who was a retired nurse. "I'm no cardiologist."
"You don't have to be," said the vet, handing the ear piece over.
The woman listened. No lub dub. Just a rapid, loud, leaky wusha-wusha-wusha. The little dog started to cough again, a long, wheezing, choking rasp.
Dr. Compassion continued with the exam, giving the woman a moment to digest what she was learning. "Her knee joint is destroyed. I can't even find her patella. Oh, there it is. Poor, poor girl."
Tears were forming in the woman's eyes. "Damn," she thought. "Damn it all to hell."
"This heart might last four months, if we're really aggressive, but it would not be a good four months for the dog."
"I just can't walk away from them when I see them. I just can't," the woman was crying.
"No, I know you can't," said Dr. Compassion. "I'm glad you brought her in. She's not out in that heat, alone and blind and lost. But now? It would be a kindness."
And there, where ever "there" is, a lady opened her arms in delight. "Sweetie! My little darling! There you are! Oh how I hated to leave you, but here you are!"
The little Shih Tzu, long silky coat in glowing beauty, tail gaily wagging, proudly trotted up to her Lady. She looked with eyes that, after so long, could see again, and with legs which felt no pain, she jumped up onto her Lady's lap, and kissed the face she had loved. And she felt her heart, strong and full, dance in the loving embrace of her Lady, which would now last forever.
hug your hounds
4 hours ago