21 Days of Fearless: Day 13

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

JacksonThe day was emotional. I took my 11-month-old puppy in for minor surgery at 11:30 am, and walked out of the vet’s office crying. I worried that it was more than just a cyst on his skin from an insect bite. I worried that he wouldn’t make it through the surgery. I worried that I’d never see my little guy again.

At 2:11 pm my worries were set to rest. The vet called and son was awake and doing well, ready for me to come pick him up any time. I immediately got in my car and went to pick him up. His little tail wagged with his entire body at the sight of me, and he walked unsteadily toward me. The lampshade around his neck made it difficult to walk.

He held his head low, unsure how to react to his new-found tunnel vision. I knelt down to greet him and asked for kisses. He licked my face slowly, still groggy from the anesthesia. I walked him to the car and had to help him through the door, as he wasn’t used to the extra material around his face. I helped him into the backseat of my car and cautiously drove him home, taking extra care around turns and slowing to stops.

Once we were finally in, I helped him up onto the couch and took off his lampshade (which I was explicitly told not to take off–I figured they just meant while he wasn’t on the couch with me). I laid his head in my lap and let him sleep until his other mommy came home. We let him outside to take care of business, then let him drink a little more water. He laid back down and soon began to shake. Not in the way of a seizure, but in the way of pain, and maybe a little fear.

When we first got Jackson in December, I did what all new mommies do: I took him to the vet for every little thing. Since then, I’ve learned to trust that he is a puppy and things will happen, and he will be just fine.  But seeing him shake like that, I trusted my intuition and called the vet. They hadn’t given us pain medication for him to take, so I went and picked some up. He settled pretty quickly after taking the medication and went back to sleep.

I hated seeing him be so unsure of himself when trying to get up with that lampshade around his neck. He would just stand there with his head hanging, unmoving and wait for me to take the stupid thing off. Erin had to keep reminding me that he needed to get used to the collar, and I reluctantly agreed to keep it on.

The whole experience has been difficult. I think when you don’t have kids, you treat your animals like the children you don’t have yet. Our two cats and the dog are our children, and when they hurt, we hurt. I hurt. I want him to just be better. I want him to be well. I want him to learn how to function with his new collar soon, since he’ll have it for the next couple of weeks until the stitches come out. I want to take away his hurt and his pain. I want to move forward in time and skip over all this that’s happening right now. And I know that it’s not only impossible, but unhealthy.

He needs to go through all of this, just like I do. I need to learn how to trust him to grow into the “self-sufficient” puppy I’m raising him to be. This is what we do with our kids, right? I’m learning that fearlessness isn’t always about not having fear, but about moving through it–feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

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