Hunter squirms in her arms, crying and whimpering. She cradles him, quietly whispering and trying to calm him down. They are waiting for the veterinarian to return; he squirms and she hopes for an answer, a good answer.
On a cold January night, Hunter, only a tiny, four-pound fluff at the time, cries in his little crate. It is his first night in his new home with his new humans, and while he had lots of fun scampering down the hallway during the day, now it is night and he is alone. His human sleeps on a bed several feet away and the distance is unbearable. He cries through the night, while his human shushes him until they both fall asleep.
As the air gets warmer and the days become brighter, Hunter learns many new things from his new family. He learns that while it is very fun to do his business in the living room, his human prefers he go outside. He learns that if he wants his human to give him a treat, he simply needs to go over to the corner cabinet in the kitchen and push it with his nose; if that doesn’t work, whimpering normally does the trick. Hunter learns that Killington, an older dog who doesn’t enjoy Hunter’s puppy games, will begrudgingly share his food. Hunter also learns that’s extremely fun to dart out of the front door and run in circles while his human tries to catch him.
As spring fades into a scorching summer, Hunter begins to notice changes in Killington. While Hunter loves to jump, run and play chase, Killington has become slower. He has become less interested in eating and more interested in sleeping. While Hunter bounds out the front door in the morning, Killington has trouble climbing the front steps. Then one day, Hunter looks down at Killington’s empty water dish and his human’s teary eyes.
Eventually, Hunter’s small puppy leash is replaced with the bigger leash that used to belong to Killington. While Hunter’s puppy energy does not leave him, he begins to calm down. He starts to listen when his human calls his name. He tries his best to walk in a straight line during his walks, instead of tangling up his human’s legs. He learns to nudge the bell with his nose when he wants to go outside. He learns to retrieve his toothbrush from the cabinet and bring it to his human. And he finally gets to leave the crate and snuggle up with his human in her bed at night.
As the years pass, Hunter continues to be a little shadow to his human. If she is sitting on her bed, then Hunter is also sitting on her bed. If she gets off the bed to walk two feet across the room, then Hunter also gets off the bed to walk two feet across the room. When she leaves the house, he stares at the door with the look of complete abandonment on his furry, little face.
“Well there are a lot of possible reasons for a dog to have a seizure, but with his age, it is possible that he may have a tumor,” the veterinarian explains tentatively. Hunter whimpers and squirms as his human tries to process the words. She pulls Hunter closer and tries to simultaneously calm him and herself down. The vet goes on to calmly explain that there are many other possible causes for a dog to have a seizure. First they need to do some blood tests to rule out the more severe possibilities; if the tests come back normal, the only thing left to do is monitor him and report any other episodes.
Hunter happily bounds out of the vet’s office, tail wagging as he heads towards his human’s car. Safe and snuggled in the car, Hunter falls asleep while his human drives them home. Back on his familiar street, Hunter gladly drags his human on a walk down the block.
***We heard back from the vet and Hunter’s tests all came back normal 🙂