Somebody said recently that just when life feels good and things are clicking, it seems the hammer falls. I never liked to view life that way, anticipating the next problem. I preferred to be surprised. (This approach is under review.)
Our beast, Champ, was still elated over a visit from his lady friend, Bailey the body slammer, when I noticed he was having happy tail issues.
Happy tail sounds like a good condition, right? It is, unless it hits the wall so hard, it bleeds.
That would be Champ's tail.
The Walls are Bleeding
I saw what appeared to be blood on the walls a few years ago and did not know what to make of it. How could it be blood? I'd cleaned it off, thinking perhaps it was just some weird splatter (you know, the inexplicable kind.) Noway could it be blood.
My son came along and saw me cleaning.
"Are you cleaning blood off the walls?"
"Oh, my gawd, yes!"
"I've been cleaning it, too."
"Why didn't you say anything?"
"Dunno. Haven't seen you, I guess."
Wow, we need better communication.
That night, while I pondered the freakiness, my husband examined Champ's tail and discovered his wound. It healed and never became a big problem, until I stood in the vet's two days ago, waiting for the doctor to evaluate its sore condition.
Unleashing Enthusiasm, Limiting the Damage
Champ cannot help the tail whipping. He is an enthusiast, and whatever he does, it is done intensely, whether he is hunting a racoon, guarding his buddy, Bon Bon, from the evil, scampering squirrels or listening to the sounds of nature, interpreting its sounds the night before a historic storm. His tail wagging is all about joy, love and pure hospitality. I can almost hear him speak when his whole body wags: I am so glad you are here! Step right in! Woohoo! Joyfest!
It was a shock when the vet shaved the tip of his tail and used the word amputation. How could joy be so punishing? I sought something to blame, and since old habits die hard, I started with myself. Then I moved onto more concrete, practical things, like... Why do we have to have so many walls in our house anyway?
I slipped into a crying jag while the sweet doctor continued to speak. (If you must have a meltdown, the folks at Peace, Love and Pets are very kind. I mean, I have not been escorted out yet.)
"Dogs don't grieve or miss things the way people do," she said. "They don't even notice something's missing. They compensate for everything. He will be fine."
Releasing What Ain't Working
I looked at the big lug, spread out on the floor. We always laughed when his tail smacked us at just the right angle. The unyielding walls were a different matter.
Heck, some people elected to have their dog's tails docked. What was the big deal?
Somebody get the smelling salts.
The surgery was yesterday, and when we picked him up, his tail was covered in spongy material, in tact, and it whipped around like a weed wacker, to our horror, smacking our legs. He'd only lost a few inches. He has been whimpering since he arrived home, not because of pain, but because he is now back to wearing the dang cone.