A few weeks ago, I noticed that my dog was limping on his front right paw. So, I set out to take him to the vet.
Let me tell you a little about my dog, Derringer. He’s a Labrador retriever/Pit Bull mix. Well, something like that. He’s got one of the shiniest black coats you’ll ever see, and he’s the friendliest little pup around.
But he’s lazy. He doesn’t like walks, he doesn’t like to play too many games, and he dang sure doesn’t like getting in the car on his own. Did I mention that he weighs 80 pounds?
I got him as a shelter dog a few years ago. I adopted him to fill a void that had been left by the passing of Kip, the chocolate Lab who had been by my side since I was five years old. The best cure for losing an animal is to get another one, they say.
When I got Derringer, I was busy with work and school – so much so that I didn’t get to work with him on obedience training as much as I should have. And now, I’m paying for it.
When I noticed that Derringer was limping, I called the veterinarian and scheduled an appointment. That was the easy part. Next, I had to get him in the truck.
Derringer, who has had very little time riding in vehicles, was reluctant to load up into the passenger seat of my truck. Even though I had his favorite blanket gently spread across the seat – and even though I dangled his favorite dog treats in front of his face from the cab – he wasn’t about to hop up in the seat. He ran every which way but toward the door before planting himself firmly on the driveway. He laid down and defiantly looked up at me as if to say, “Checkmate.”
I looked up to the sky and sighed. I bent down, looped my arms around him, and plopped him right down into the seat where he belonged. Off to the vet’s we went.
On the way there, Derringer was pretty mild-mannered. He didn’t move around too much, which was great considering that I had not taken anything out of my truck beforehand. But once I got to the office, I was left wishing he’d move a little more.
As I prepared to open up the door to walk in the office, Derringer realized where he was. He stuck all four paws on the door-mat and froze up like a statue, determined not to receive medical attention. Finally, after much persuasion, I was able to coax him off the mat and into the exam room. I tried telling him this would make him feel better, but he wouldn’t listen to reason.
Once he was in the room, I let the veterinarian do her magic. I walked back into the lobby.
When she returned with Derringer, he was panting like he’d just run a 5K, and the doctor was sweating like she had just picked up an 80-pound dog and put him on an X-ray table. Because she had: Derringer, in another fit of perpetual stubbornness, refused to climb up on the table. She had to put him up on the table, and then she had to take him back down once the X-rays were done. He couldn’t be bothered with that.
Luckily, the X-rays came up clean, and we decided that Derringer had probably just been playing around too hard. It was hard for me to imagine him playing too hard, though. He’s lazy and never moves, at least not when I’m around. I guess he has a secret identity.
Just before I loaded him back up in the truck, Derringer decided he needed to sign the guest book, so he peed right on the counter in the lobby. I was embarrassed, but I hear it’s the most formal thing a dog can do out there other than shake paws. Then again, Derringer probably wouldn’t be up for that.
Throughout the entire trip, Derringer did almost nothing, even though he was fully capable. He’s clearly able to roughhouse. But on this day, he wouldn’t walk, wouldn’t get up on the table, wouldn’t get down off of it, and wouldn’t get up in the truck. I thought he was lazy before this trip was taken, but he redefined the word. Eat your heart out, Webster.
Still, I have to love him. And I do, even when he’s being a dog.
I finally got Derringer back into the truck and headed for home. As soon as I had him back in the seat, he gave me the happiest ear-to-ear grin a dog could give.
It was a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. He finally did something.