When You Get Down To It

I’ve had a post planned about Ray’s TTA surgery for weeks now and I’ve even started and deleted it about sixteen times.  The timing also corresponded with the super-cool Giveaway at Oh Melvin’s Project Joy which is focusing on anxiety dogs and is seemingly tailor-written just for Ray (and me.) But the downside is that writing about the anxiety is just so difficult.  Upon reflection, it seems more like snapshots that flash by on a screen rather than prolonged issues that we deal with.  Or maybe because the issues we deal with are prolonged, we don’t realize that it isn’t just our way of life?

We’re so used to Ray being Ray and acknowledging that his way of life is different than that of Julius or even Sugar, that it doesn’t seem different.  It’s like having two kids and you make them each a sandwich.  One kid wants his sandwich cut in squares and the other wants triangles and it’s no big deal to accommodate each preference. You just know what needs to be done to make each kid happy.


Ray wears an Adaptil collar, has Anxitane tablets to take in anticipation of Vet visits, we’ve tried and rejected Prozac, he owns but hates his Thundershirt and has to be pretty much snoring before I can attempt to trim his nails.  He likes being in his safe places so while he loves to greet guests, he also can “nervous” pee and since that upsets him, we’ve learned how to have people ignore him until he feels comfortable enough to be greeted.  We adjust. We often gate him and guests don’t seem to realize that we don’t do it for their safety-we do it for his comfort.  While Ray enjoys being with people, he enjoys being in his safe zone as well, so we work on keeping him safe and happy.

How did some of this happen? Despite monthly visits to the Vet’s office to practice stepping on the scale and picking up meds, Ray became filled with anxiety there.  In a practice with three doctors, he once drew one who was noticeably leery of big dogs and the visit became a disaster filled with screams (yes, open-mouthed screams) thrashing and blood.  We now request the one doctor who understands him and takes the time to make him as comfortable as possible, but the deed now is done.  We had his surgery done at one of the referred Vet’s offices.  After months of stalking researching on the websites of the list of recommended Vets, calling the office to discuss the issues that I knew would arise, scheduling a personalized tour with Ray and finally the surgery, we still didn’t cover the contingency of post op care.  The standard is to remain in the Vet’s care for 2 days post-op.  That wasn’t meant to be with Ray who, it was felt, would thrash about too much in the care of strangers and ruin the surgical procedure, so home he came to recuperate.  We do what we do.

The same thing happened with his nails.  I took him every month for a nail trim which he stood for-until he got quicked and then that’s all she wrote.  We know that about Ray so we just make adjustments for it without even thinking about it being “special” it’s just how we do things.

Recently, I noticed that Sugar’s nails were too long, so I took a pair of clippers over and because her nails are luckily white/clear, started clipping.  What I didn’t count on was that with her longer nails some of her quicks grew longer as well and on the first nail, she yelped and I realized I had quicked her but we grabbed some paper towel, applied pressure and when on to clip all the remaining nails because we knew we could.   Different dog, different outcome.

We just do what we need to do in the manner that we need to do it.  It’s how we live and it’s how we love.

One thought on “When You Get Down To It

  1. I love that sitting down to write Ray’s surgery/anxiety post caused you anxiety, poetic. The true love stories in life rarely refer to the struggle as a anything but ‘our life’. Ray landed in the right arms.

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