Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hoping For The Best

Ranger went back to his surgeon for a check-up today.

It's been two weeks since he had four tumors - four blessedly harmless and cancer-free tumors - removed from his red, furry body. Time for the forty-some-odd stitches to come out and his general recovery to be assessed.

Now, the surgery yielded nothing but good news, medically speaking.

And the little lad has done a great job of healing during his recovery.

^ "Extra treats are very beneficial to a speedy recovery. More, please." 

But I have to be honest. The reports that came back from the surgical staff suggest that my sweet angel was not exactly a model patient during the day of the procedure.

When I dropped him off early that morning, he was in a typically delightful mood. Greeting the various office workers and vet techs, he wagged and frisked happily, his usual exuberant self. When the moment came, I gave him a low-key farewell and then watched him trot off down the hall with one of the women. His luxuriantly fringed red tail swinging happily, head held high, ears alert, I could tell he was blessedly trusting all of us and expecting only the best.

They prepped him for surgery almost as soon as I walked out the door. He was conked out for a couple hours, and then woke up in a kennel especially designed for post-surgical comforts.

That was when the trouble began.

As the surgeon put it to me over the phone, Ranger "expressed his displeasure with the accommodations."

Which is to say that as soon as our little patient woke up, he stood up in the kennel and began to whine.


One of the staff thought he might need to go potty. So she opened the little door of his cage and took him outside. He didn't go, but when she returned him to his kennel, he stopped in the entry and froze in place.

My darling invalid, just moments after regaining consciousness, stood in the opening of his comfy kennel and refused to budge in or out.

He just stood there. And whined some more.

That kindly worker then went so far as to gather up some work from her desk and move a chair within eyesight of my naughty lad, so he could stand where he pleased. She also thought, quite hopefully, that perhaps a human presence would calm him down.

Nope. More whining.

Now if you have ever heard Ranger whine, you'll understand when I say there is nothing cute about this noise of his. It's a high-pitched, modulating series of squeals. And he repeats the pattern with shocking regularity, bombarding the eardrums with a devilishly rhythmic and tortuously shrill tone. Honestly, he drives me to misery with two minutes of that nonsense, and I'm his devoted and loving human.

I can't imagine how the staff survived his drama. At first, I suspected Stockholm Syndrome.

But then the woman fessed up. They sedated him.

Yes. My dog is such a drama king that even after major surgery and major pampering by a full staff of kind-hearted dog lovers, he needs tranquilizers in order to calm down and take a nap.

Needless to say, he was happy to see me at the end of the day, and when we walked out the door, he shook himself as if to say, "Ugh! So glad to be leaving that pit of despair."

^ "I don't care who sees my pirate scars and hideous haircut. Let's go on a walk!!"

So it was with some trepidation that I led him back through those same doors today. Ranger's memory is quite sufficient to remember his unpleasant previous visit, and as I checked in at the front desk, I watched him carefully for signs of impending rebellion.

The office worker - the same woman who had tried so hard to calm him - seemed to share my concerns, because she leaped up from her chair and quickly greeted him, "Hi, Ranger! Let's go get those stitches out!"

Sure. I saw what she did there. Dump the little whiner on the surgeon as soon as possible. Good strategy.

But to my surprise and absolute delight, Ranger did not protest in the least. In dazed disbelief, I watched him stroll contentedly down that same hall with his old friend, brilliant red tail wagging in the morning sunlight, head held high, ears alert.

Somehow, my good-hearted and infinitely optimistic dog decided to trust all of us, and once again, hope for the best.

" Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home. And my mom's lap."

* * * * *

Here's the backstory on Ranger's medical drama:

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