As I write this, Scout stands a few feet away behind me, staring at Zoey with a listless look on her face. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word listless to describe Scout.
Around 7:30 a.m. this morning, I dropped Scout off at the vet’s office. We sat in the little room together that she’s been in so often lately, and I tried to keep her happy and upbeat. She sat next to me, leaning against my leg, and let me jabber on to her in my puppy voice, looking at me every now and again and wagging her tail. When they took her away, I tried to remind myself that they weren’t even really operating on her, and left for work.
B and I waited all day for an update, and around 2 p.m. we got a call from the vet tech. Dr. C had removed not one, but two, sizable chunks of wax buildup from her ears. He cleaned her right and her left ear; her left ear, our infection culprit, was pretty bad. There were a few levels of sedation that he could give her, depending on how cooperative she was acting. Scout got the full dose, and has the little spot on her front right leg to prove it. Apparently, Scout and the dog in the room next to her “sang” to each other all morning. The vet tech used this word to describe it, and said that sometimes the pain medication that they gave Scout can make them a little anxious and loopy. But other than an impromptu song and some heavy wax, the procedure went normally.
When I picked Scout up at 4:30 p.m. today, I immediately noticed that she was acting strange. Instead of bolting out the door and showering me with happy kisses, Scout barely noticed me. She went straight to the front door to leave, growling at a family with kids cooing over her nearby. Growling. At children. Who is this and what have they done with my dog?
I opened the door for her and took her outside. I barely had control of the leash as I fumbled with my keys and purse and her discharge papers, but it didn’t matter. Scout went right over to the grass, peed, and then booked it to the car. As I bent down to put her into the travel harness, she let out a whimper. I melted, and tried to pet her head and tell her that it was okay. She wanted none of it. She jumped right into the passenger seat and sat there, stoic. A little hurt, I walked around to the driver’s side and got in beside her.
As I drove home, Scout continued to whimper every now and again, the kind of sounds that break a pet parent’s heart. “I know, sweetie, we’re going home,” I kept telling her. She wouldn’t even look at me.
When I got Scout home, she didn’t even wait for me to walk around to her side of the car. She bolted out the driver’s side and ran to the front door. I think if I hadn’t gotten out of the car first she would have dove over me. B let her in, and she greeted him, subdued, but still. It was something.
We’ve been home a half an hour now. Scout won’t come near me. If she does wander over to my general area, she won’t let me touch her. I’m not going to lie, the first time she walked away from me when I bent down to give her some loving, I cried. Scout has never ignored me before. In fact, we’ve been pretty inseparable for almost two years now.
Out of all the things I expected from this procedure, being pegged as the bad guy wasn’t one of them.
I know that this is just because of the anesthesia and pain meds, and that by tomorrow she’ll be back to her old loving self (or at least, that’s what I’m telling myself because that’s what the vet tech told me), but tonight…well, it really sucks. My heart feels a little broken. B tried to cheer me up and make me laugh by joking that Zoey’s constant ignoring of me (she prefers B) was to prepare me for this. I chuckled and wiped my eyes. For a moment I even considered offering Scout my tissue to try to make her warm to me. You know how she loves tissues. But then she walked away.
Here’s hoping that all of today has been worth it. That from now we can start with a clean slate and give her new grain-free food and get her well. I think we need it.