I was in my veterinarian’s office twice last week, once for each dog for what I could only assume was life threatening conditions that would result in one-way trips.
It started with Skye, my baby girl German shepherd. She was sore from our 5-mile hike the previous weekend, but her soreness gave way to an inability to get up. That she has zero pain tolerance, and that she reigns queen of dramatizing everything, didn’t cross my mind.
It was 10:30 on a Friday night when I called my vet. I didn’t intend to leave him a 3-minute message on his emergency voicemail describing my dog’s ailments; my intention was to find out if his office was open on Saturdays. But when the vet says “leave a message,” you do. So I did.
I spent the rest of the night worrying. I made a makeshift hot water bottle and sat with it on Skye’s hips. I researched hip dysplasia, knowing her breed lends itself to that terrible joint disease. And because I have a tendency to dramatically overreact, I was convinced that’s what she was plagued with. At one point tears floated around in my eyeballs.
They say that the longer owners and pets live together, the more they physically resemble each other. I don’t think I look anything like them, but Skye and I do share one thing: the ability to worry and blow something out of proportion.
As it turns out, my vet sees patients on Saturdays, so I made an appointment for my dog-who-couldn’t-walk.
The dog-who-couldn’t-walk dragged me into the vet’s lobby, and when I spoke to the receptionist (“I’m here with Skye, my German shepherd who can’t get up and walk”), Skye jumped up and put her front paws on the counter. “I don’t know what’s going on right now,” I said. “She couldn’t even get up last night.”
The vet tech called us into the exam room. Skye was spinning in circles and promptly propped the front half of her body on the windowsill to look outside.
At this point, I felt like the paranoid dog-mom I suspected I was. I peaked at my vet, embarrassed to say the following words: “Skye couldn’t walk yesterday…” He smiled. She spun in another circle. My vindication was when the vet told her she was a little bit overweight. Ha! She might have proved me to be an overdramatic dog-mom, but she was told to go on a diet, so we’re even.
The verdict was that she’d pulled a muscle.
Fifteen minutes and some doggy muscle relaxers later, we were on our way home. She was happy she got a car ride out of the deal, and I was blissfully relieved that a pulled muscle couldn’t kill her.
Three days later, my other dog and running partner, Tuck, started limping on one of his front legs. I forced him to rest for a couple days, but when it didn’t get better, I made an appointment to visit the vet. With a smile, he asked how Skye was, and I laughed. “She’s doing great,” I replied, and he chuckled and wiped imaginary sweat from his brow.
Tuck’s diagnosis? A pulled muscle. I was charged to not run with him for a couple more days and to limit his activity, which for a 14-month-old German shepherd is not easy. He makes getting to the front door an Olympic sport.
We’re about 10 days removed from our vet trips and all the pulled muscles have healed. We went hiking last weekend and had no muscular mishaps, and Tuck is back running next to me.