In his medical folder, I have a full body X-ray of Chase when he was several months old. Puppies get under your feet. They get in the way. They get stepped on. This was the case when Chase somehow got his paw stuck in the front door on a Saturday afternoon. Chase cried, he limped, and he held his quivering right front paw several inches above the ground. I cried. I was a bad person. I didn't deserve him. I scooped him up, placed him in the car and raced to the animal emergency hospital. I carried him in, paid the three hundred dollar entrance fee and was ushered into an examination room. The vet rushed in, Chase wriggled from my grasp and promptly forgot about his injury. When he remembered he had hurt his paw, he seemed to forget which one it was and tried the hurt paw pose on his left paw and then his right. Since we were already there, I agreed to an X-ray of his paw but because Chase was still so small, his entire body was scanned. No fractures, no injuries…I felt betrayed.
I firmly believe that dogs prefer to injure themselves on weekends or after regular veterinary hours in order to incur costly bills to their human companions. My pet companions have proven this theory many times over the years. I have also realized that Chase is a bit dramatic when it comes to his wounds. I was reminded of this a few nights ago when his friend Marty, a tough little dog from three doors down came by to play. Chase and Marty romped through the back yard doing dog things until Marty was called home. Chase raced up the deck stairs but tripped on the top step. He circled me a few times visibly limping. Concerned, I followed him into the house where he was balancing on three legs with his right paw lifted in the air. I examined his paw carefully. It wasn't swollen; his recently trimmed nails were fine and there were no splinters or blood. I released the paw and it began to tremble. Chase limped to his crate and I attempted to apply an ice pack. This proved to be an impossible task so I decided to leave him alone.
An hour later I checked on him. Chase’s left paw was bent at a strange angle and I couldn't see his other paw. I had forgotten which paw he had hurt. I touched the left paw. Chase pulled his right paw out from beneath him. The paw started to tremble. I brought him some water since he was apparently too injured to move. He lapped it vigorously. I left him alone again and returned to the kitchen where I offered the other three dogs a treat. Suddenly, I noticed Chase was dancing around my legs, demanding his treat, too. No more paw trembles. All four legs firmly on the floor. Chase… my heart, my mini-me, my drama dog.