Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bela the Great

It’s 5pm on a Tuesday evening and I am trapped in a 9ft by 10ft office lacking windows with my dog’s veterinarian. Amelia is balancing on my lap while holding a pink plush stuffed animal nearly half her size. Jake is sitting Indian style on the floor, our dog’s head resting in his lap. My dog smells funny. She is emulating a scent of wrank breath and farts. It’s not pleasant. Everything the vet says is in a whisper as if she thinks the volume of her voice will not reach my children’s ears, even though they are sitting just as close to her as I am.

She thinks my dog will die, I can tell. She doesn’t say it. I think mostly for the sake of the kids, but it is implied by her demeanor and the way she solemnly pats Bela on the head, and places a handwritten phone number to a 24 hour vet clinic in my hand saying, “Just in case” before ushering us out.

That night I cannot sleep. I go downstairs and cuddle up next to Bela who is more annoyed by my presence than anything else. She still isn’t eating.

In less than a week the two year anniversary of my dad’s death will be upon me. It seems too familiar—the shallowness of Bela’s breathing, the lack of eating, the knowing fear that I will wake up and she will be gone.

Over the phone earlier that day I told Aaron that I didn’t think there was an ounce of fairness in the idea I could lose my dog so close to the anniversary of my dad’s death. He doesn’t know what to say, he never does. He has work to do, he tells me, so he hangs up.

Aaron bought Bela for me the first Christmas we spent together. I was just nineteen at the time. I was pregnant with Andrew. Bela was our “pretend baby”. She has been the quiet and not so quiet, presence in our lives for all the big things—the births of our kids, the blossoming of mine and Aaron’s relationship, the fights, the tears, the moments of pure and utter happiness, our cross country move to San Diego.

After my dad died I felt like Aaron was too emotionally distant to be there for me. He tried in his own fumbling way but I resented him for his lack of sensitivity. In fact, I felt like there wasn’t a single person apart from my mom and my sister who understood how sad I was. Bela was the only one I cried in front of.  It was Bela who would quietly sit by me when I was at my saddest. It was almost as if she knew how heartbroken I was. She would make her way towards me and reast her head in my lap--the dog version of offering a tissue.  It’s odd to say but I felt more bonded to my dog then anyone else in those days.

Now Bela is sick and it breaks my heart.

This morning I made Aaron go down stairs before me to check on her, just in case. I didn’t want to be the one to find her. “She’s okay” he shouted up to me.

She was. Despite the very dismal report from our vet, today she appears to be doing much better. She was even drinking from her water bowl and polished off a little bit of her food. After dropping the kids off at school she barked letting me know it was time for her walk, something she hasn’t had the effort to do in three days. I’m thinking she might make a full recovery.

Right now I am thinking that I hate my vet for putting me through some serious emotional terrorism. More than anything I am just thankful that my dog is going ot be okay.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Glad to hear Bela is doing better :)