Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


The head still wants to run


I’m happy to report that my beloved dog Gem is not on her last legs.

The past couple of days, I’ve noticed her limping around the house. My wife and kids have noticed too. No one has been happy to see it. I called the vet all day yesterday  and despite an answering machine that said their hours on Friday were 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., no one ever answered, leaving me with a trembling dog and the worst imagined fears. The dog has been a part of the family since February 2000 and, in these parts, is famous for being my favorite member of the family. I like my whole family, but the opinion is that I like her even more.

This morning the vet’s office finally called my  cellphone and I sprang out of bed to answer, quickly dressed, and hurried the dog over. She was noticeably happy when I got her harness and leash, and delighted when I encouraged her to spring into the back of our van with my two younger kids: Generally, this means we’re going to an hours-long hike. You can imagine her canine response when I opened the back of the van a couple of miles distant and she found herself outside the building where many dogs go to die. She tried to run cowering in all four directions at once.

The vet looked her over and then decided to keep her for a while and run x-rays, and at 2:30 he reported that the x-rays showed nothing, but she had a small gouge on one paw. He gave her some shots and a painkiller and said that if the limping didn’t go away in 10 days, then it wasn’t the little gouge, it was early arthritis. All things considered, that didn’t seem so bad for a 12-year-old dog, especially when I had already envisioned all sorts of canine medical horrors. I drove back home, relieved, and I guess visibly so, because my wife gave me a hug and then decided to personally bathe the dog, which is not her forte.

Meanwhile, I ruminated on what the vet had said when I dropped off the dog as she stood there shaking and trembling and as I told him that she had been so eager to cavort around town the past two days but that I couldn’t bear the sight of her limping. His comment applied to her and seemed to presage my own future as well:  “The legs are weak,” he said, “but the head still wants to run.”

One Response to “The head still wants to run”

  1. Uncle Rich Says:

    I just told Ruth about the dog being your ‘favorite’. She said, “Well, yeah. Doesn’t everybody like their dog better than anybody else in their family?”

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