Sometimes Dogs Just Know

Last week I had a tooth removed for the first time in my life other than my wisdom teeth in my teens. Without going into the ugly details, it was not good. Not good at all. In fact the experience was two full hours of not being good.

By the time I arrived home I was no longer numb and could not stand to wait at the pharmacy for the pain meds that the dentist prescribed. My husband volunteered to pick them up for me on his way home from getting our oldest girl from play practice. Unfortunately play practice got out much later than planned and by the time he and my medication arrived home I had been there for over an hour, the pain getting worse by the minute. 

When he finally arrived home I was close to tears from the pain and the entire situation. Jackson and Tinkerbell had been hovering close by since I got home, not used to seeing me like that and not sure how to react. I was grateful for just their soothing presence and their calm demeanor, since they are normally crazy with excitement when I return from being away for several hours.

I sunk down into the sofa in pain, curling up in misery with tears streaming down my face.  Tinkerbell jumped up and lay across me, licking my tears as they fell, her whole body wiggling gently from her wagging tail. “Baby girl, are you trying to make Mommy feel better?” I asked, tears still streaming down my face, “You’re such a sweet girl.”

In the last few days since the extraction I have still been in extremely bad pain and have had a rough time focusing on writing. I am grateful for working for myself and the flexibility I have to take a few days off without having to call a boss and feeling guilty about letting people down. What I am most grateful for, though, is how well behaved my dogs are and how I can go into low energy recuperating mode for a few days without them bouncing off the walls or becoming destructive. 

As priceless of an experience as puppy rearing is, it is nice to have grown dogs who are calm and know the rules of the house and who can go a few days without leash walks.I realize that I should not feel guilty during times when a health issue causes a bit of human down time because they “only” have a fenced yard in which to frolic, toys to fetch, each other for zoomies and short daily training sessions to work their minds. They don’t seem to mind that we haven’t been for a long walk since Tuesday, that they haven’t sniffed their social media feed, which is what I like to call the invisible but alluring trail of “data” left behind by other dogs. In fact not only do they not mind, they seem to just know that I don’t feel good from some sort of extra intuitive dog sense.


In fact this week reminds me of a day when Jackson was just around three months old and at the height of “insane puppy” mode. I was at work when the stomach flu hit around 11 am. By the time I was able to leave the office and head for home it was noon, the time when Jackson’s puppy sitter came for his midday potty break on days when both my husband and I had to work. I was going to cancel her as I got in my car but then realized that with the way that I felt and the amount of energy in his twelve week old Labrador body, I could use someone playing with him for an hour even if I would be home right as she was leaving.

When I finally got home the dog sitter was gone and Jackson was waiting in his crate for me. We went outside for a quick potty break and then I brought him inside and lay on the sofa in misery. I figured I could throw his ball to him from there and play tug-o-war from my horizontal position for awhile. To my surprise, though, he jumped up onto the sofa (something he had recently grown big enough to do) and curled up in a ball against me so that I was spooning him. At some point I fell asleep and I woke up in a panic, afraid of what a three month old Labrador might have done without supervision; then I realized that he was still sound asleep next to me. In fact the entire rest of the day he played peacefully with his toys like an adult dog instead of our high energy puppy.

The next day when I was feeling better and my husband was home to watch him, Jackson was back to his normal little puppy self, racing all over, figuring out which household items were contraband and which were ok, including trying to convince us that he should have ownership of the leg of the desk chair that he so desperately wanted to chew. Fortunately I was back to my normal self, too, ready to take on puppy rearing. Hopefully the next few days I will be back to my normal self again, too, with a mouth that doesn’t hurt and two dogs who are happily exploring the world outside of our fence side by side with their momma.

 

 

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