The instructions on my service dog’s tags read DO NOT Separate Dog from Handler. The same words repeat on the rear window of my van, emphasizing that wherever I go, he goes. We’re a team. Even in an emergency, we both board the ambulance.
Yet, here I stand in the parking lot of the urgent care clinic watching a vet assistant lead him inside without me by his side. I feel half-dressed, only one pant leg on. I wish there were instructions sewn onto my COVID mask that read DO NOT Separate Handler from Service Dog. Even in a pandemic.
When a pet falls ill, it’s heartbreaking. They don’t complain. If only they could explain how they feel, where it hurts. So, we do what we can: fluff their beds, sit by their side stroking their fur, break the rules and hand-feed them slices of roasted chicken. We try to live up to the faith they have in us that we’ll take care of them.
When a service dog falls ill, it’s heart-wrenching. All the while I’ve been fluffing, stroking, hand-feeding, he’s still trying to take care of me. A month of blood work, urine samples, ultrasounds have only shown what isn’t wrong with him. Today, he’s at the clinic for a day-long test fest to determine what is.
To be continued . . .