Rebel had his final heartworm treatments last week. It was especially rough because he had receive treatment two days in a row and the shots are quite painful. It was hard leaving him on the first of his two visits. The last sight of Rebel that morning, was of him with a vet tech who had to practically drag him away as he looked pleadingly at me to save him. It broke my heart.
As bad as that was, day 2 was even worse. That second morning, when we went out to the car, he wouldn’t get in and had to be lifted. At the vet my husband had to practically push him through the door and again, he would not go with the tech. We felt like we were leading the lamb to slaughter, but this time, the lamb knew exactly what awaited him. He didn’t struggle or nip at anyone, instead, he quietly acquiesced to our wishes. If that wasn’t heart breaking enough, when we arrived home that evening, instead of being happy to be there, he didn’t want to get out of the car. Was he afraid of what we might do to him? It simply broke my heart. I coaxed and pleaded with him, promising I wouldn’t let him be hurt again. When I tried to reach for him he laid back to escape my reach. Finally after some tugging on his leash, he decided to move. Once inside the house he looked tentative.
I gave him some pain medication; he ate his dinner and went to lie down. A soft barely audible whimper came from him as he lay in the darkened room. I sat with him, stroking his head wondering how many times he sat, enduring his pain alone. I could only think of all of the people who hurt him in the past. The gun shots, the bullets, the missing teeth, all of the pain he was left to endure alone. I whispered to him telling him he wasn’t alone any more, while wishing he understood me. It was a long night and each soft, almost inaudible cry, broke my heart a little more than the previous one.
Day two was better, but he looked as if his spirit was broken again. It looked as if all of our progress was gone and I felt helpless to tell him we hadn’t abandoned him. Day 3 and 4 passed, and with them, the pain from the injection. On day 5, I saw a little spark return to him. I picked up his leash for a short walk to go potty and he brightened up and did his little happy dance. My heart jumped with delight. I think I was happier than he was quite frankly. Knowing he hadn’t given up meant the world do me.
Rebel began to return to us and started to enjoy his quiet life again. He began carrying his ducky around and came trotting over at the sound of the treat jar. Things had returned to normal and I was thankful that this ever-forgiving soul chose to forgive one more time.
So we continue, Rebel and I, taking pleasure in our short walks, and hopefully giving him reasons to have faith in humans again.