It all started when….
He hadn’t eaten in 4 days.
Thump…Thump…Thump. His beautiful big brown eyes usually so expressive were flat as he once again sniffed his breakfast and walked away. At this point in the morning, his basket filled with every bone, ball and squeaky toy would be emptied and its contents strewn over the floor. Again today it was untouched.
“Yes, four days is way too long for a retriever not to eat,” said the vet tech. “I’ll get you and Cesar right in to see Dr. Randy.”
We drove in silence. As the pit in my stomach grew stronger, I thought of the dogs in the past who were such an important part of our family. Each was unique in its own way but my Cesar was extra special. Maybe because now it was just the two of us that our bond was so incredibly strong. He followed my every move….
As we pulled into the Animal Hospital, I looked into the rear view mirror. Our eyes locked.
“You are going to be just fine my sweet boy.”
With gentle precision Dr. Randy examined every square inch of his patient. His genuine love for animals was so apparent as he held Cesar’s head in his hands while staring into his eyes looking for answers.
“I’d like to run some blood work. I’ll have the results in two days and hopefully that will help to fill in the blanks.”
With blood drawn and the exam complete, Dr. Randy walked to the opposite side of the room where a big glass jar was strategically placed. He reached in and pulled out a crunchy treat which normally would send Cesar into a frenzy but this time there was no reaction. He placed the treat in the center in his open palm. Cesar looked at the treat…sniffed it…then walked away.
There was no confusing the look of concern on Dr. Randy’s face.
This was not good.
The next 48 hours seemed like an eternity until finally the phone rang.
“Chris I need to see both you and Cesar today. Can you bring him in?”
This can’t be happening. It was only three weeks ago that I had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and now this. It was just too much.
“Chris…are you there? Can you bring him in?”
“Yes…of course I can.”
A few hours later Dr. Randy came into the room where Cesar and I were waiting. I tried to keep it together but the tears once again started to build up.
“After examining Cesar and after reading the results of his blood work…I have to say…Cesar is one of the healthiest golden retrievers I have ever seen.”
Cesar’s cold nose nudged my hand.
“He is perfectly healthy.”
“So….” said Dr. Randy with slight hesitation. ”What’s going on with you?”
Looking into his eyes I saw not only the vet who had taken care of Maggie and Mollie, Kalmar and Kosta and now Cesar…but a friend. I found myself telling him the story of my Parkinson’s diagnosis made just a few short weeks prior...a story I had only shared with a few.
“Cesar is grieving with you…not eating…no energy. He’s feeling what you are feeling. Dogs are incredible creatures. When you start to feel better, so will Cesar.”
So once in the car a celebration was in order and where better than Frosty Freeze. With a vanilla swirl doggie cup and a vanilla swirl cone with sprinkles, we started our healing together.
This amazing animal gave me a life lesson on how intertwined all our lives truly are and how our actions can in fact affect others. Mostly though, I learned about loyalty, unconditional love and the power of the paw.
“How’s that ice cream sweet boy?”
“I love you too!!”