Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Dog Named Blit, Chapter 8 "4th Year, Part 4"

For background on this serial, please click here. You can also start at the previous section

I first met my buddy Fuzzy my freshman year at college.  He was loud and funny and loved to hunt and fish.  My type of guy.  We hit it off right away, and became close friends.  We remained close after school, often hunting and fishing together, standing up at each other’s weddings, and just doing things that friends do. 

That closeness all changed when his wife went off the deep end, had her version of a midlife crisis, and viciously ripped Fuzzy’s heart out of his chest by ending their marriage. She was cruel, hurtful, and Fuzzy saw none of it coming.  He was vulnerable.  Hence, the blindsided hit he took left him a complete wreck. 

With his world collapsing around him, he turned to me.  I’m not sure why he did, but I ended up a sounding board, psychiatrist, bartender, and shoulder to cry on all in one.  In his darkest days he stayed with Vera and me, and I held him once as he cried and said “My wife doesn’t love me anymore…”  When that kind of thing happens, you go from buddy to something far deeper. 

He is more than a buddy to me, and vice versa.  So when he left work early that day to hear about Blitz, he was being more than a buddy.  He was taking care of me, because that’s what we do. 

I got to the bar and found Fuzzy had beaten me there, and had a Grain Belt Premium already waiting for me. I told him all I knew from what had happened and from what the doctors had told me, and he offered an optimistic “let’s wait and see what happens,” response to all of my greatest fears and conclusions.  Back and forth we went, and the talking was helping.  Unfortunately, the beer was making it tough for me to control my emotions.  He was telling me “Hey, she’s a young dog.  In great shape. Who am I kidding, she’s in perfect shape.  If any dog can pull this out, it will be Blitz.”  At that point I started to crack.  “She has to,” I said, with my voice quivering, “I got her to help me get over losing Dad.  I can’t lose her too…”  As I trailed off, hiding my face, a strong hand grabbed my shoulder and a soft voice said, “I know.” 

We finished our beers, and I was off to see my wife.  Vera was waiting for me when I got in, and I fell into her arms an emotional wreck.  We cried and talked most of the night, and finally agreed that we could do nothing until we got word from the doctor in the next days of what we were dealing with.  All we could do was hope. 

The two day wait to pick Blitz up took forever, and I had a tough time working as I was waiting to get her back.  I struggled on my concentration, and spent a number of minutes in the men's bathroom trying to restrain my emotions.  Part of me was embarrassed by my emotional reaction, and part of me didn't care who saw what when it came out.  I was hurting bad, and frankly had other things to worry about other than what some coworkers thought.  Some were incredibly kind - in one of the lowest moments I had a woman that worked with me come into my office and rub my back while I sobbed - and some were total idiots.  "It's just a dog..." I heard them whisper. 

Yeah.  Just a dog. 

On the appointed day I drove to the University with very mixed emotions.  I really wanted to just get Blitz back and hold her, but I was also fretful for the results of the biopsy.  Unfortunately, we'd not be hearing on the test results for a couple of more days, and that added to the anxiety of the situation.  Regardless, Blitz would be coming home where she belonged, and that was the most important thing. 

I arrived and checked in, and nearly immediately a door was burst open by a wiggly yellow lab escorted by three young vet technicians.  No matter where she when and what procedure she needed, Blitz always loved vets.  She loved meeting new people, getting attention, and the treats that often came with the visits.  Similarly, veterinarian staffs loved Blitz back.  She was a genuinely happy dog; her tail always wagging regardless of the situation.  She never whined, nipped, barked, growled, or showed any kind of negative emotion.  She was just a happy dog, and all of the vet employees enjoyed her regardless where she went.  Judging by the entourage she had with her, it was obvious that she made some good friends here as well. 

Blitz was limping quite significantly, and that's when I saw the wound left from the biopsy.  Far from the small chip of bone that I expected them to remove, Blitz was missing a distinct piece of bone, about one inch by a quarter inch, from her knee.  She had a significant, sizable divot taken out of her leg.  Immediately, I again went back to that first day I picked her up and promised I'd take good care of her.  This procedure, this shockingly invasive and destructive procedure, was it necessary?  Regardless of the diagnosis she did not have long to live, so why the hell did I do it in the first place?  What was the use?  What the hell what I thinking?  Yet again, I broke my solemn promise to her.  Idiot! 

In mid-guilt trip, Blitz's eyes met mine.  She instantly went into a joyful frenzy, as if to say "Hi boss!  Man, have I missed you!" I went to my knees and threw my arms around her neck.  "I'm so sorry," I whispered to her.  Her thumping tail let me know that once again, all was forgiven.  No hard feelings at all.  Just like all the other times before.

After the reunion, I met with the surgeon to review the procedure, discuss when we could expect results, and discuss Blitz's convalescence.  We finished our conversation, and the surgeon looked at me with hurt eyes.  Given what they must see on a daily basis, I was surprised at her expression of emotion.  "I'm so sorry Mr. Sidders," she said.  "Blitz is such a sweet dog.  I wish you both luck."     

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