You never realize how much of a companion a dog can be

So what’s missing from this picture?

It’s a beautiful late afternoon, the first day we’ve had without rain in what seems like a couple months. I built a fire in the firepit to celebrate, while I sit outside, do my devotions, and read.

A nice day, a gorgeous day, in fact. But something’s missing, see if you can pick it out before you scroll down.

 

 

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Wheaton, our Golden Retriever.

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He’s usually my I-wanna-go-everywhere-with-you buddy, but last week he wrenched his neck somehow… and we aren’t even sure that is what his trouble is. Being a dog, he can’t tell you what’s wrong. Our Vet tells us that it could be anything from a sprain to a cracked vertebrae, to a slipped or herniated disk, to … a tumor (oh, Lord, please no…), because he’s a Golden.

So we have a course of steroids, pain meds, and a doggy-version of Valium (to keep his nerves calmer because he can’t move so well) and we’re following that. My smart wife had me stop and get a harness for him so we wouldn’t be clipping the leash to his neck, plus an elevated food and water bowl set.

The last couple days, he’s been unable to lie any way but nearly upright; and this has to be tiring for him. He tried to bark Saturday morning, and it came out as a start of a bark, followed by a heart-piercing yelp of pain. Meanwhile, he’s going from place to place, parking himself for a while in a way to take the pressure off his neck, and snoozing:

But maybe some good news last night: I saw him roll ever… so… slowly onto his side, and heave a giant sigh of relief.

What kinds of prayers can one say for a dog? I suggest they’re about the same you present for any family member.

Meanwhile, because of the steroids, he drinks an awful lot, which means many, many more trips outside. Including several in the middle of the night.

But in the end, that’s okay – he’s my buddy. And you’ll do anything for a buddy.

Minor edit to add Wheaton’s pic, to show where he usually chooses to lie near me.

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