I have been trying to prepare Duncan for today for the past week, ever since I made the appointment with the groomer to get him all handsome for our trip to Idaho and his visit with Grandma. He doesn't like the groomer––the driers frighten him––so I knew it was going to be a difficult afternoon. Before we left I even gave him a shot of Valerian root to calm him down but he's smart and the instant we arrived he wasn't happy with the situation. So I sat with him a moment, reassured him that Papa would never leave him, that I would always come back for him, gave him a treat, a kiss on the nose, and stood to leave. His whole body was shaking and he started screaming––screaming!––when I turned away. His groomer is a perfectly nice woman and her business has very high marks on Yelp! so I wasn't afraid for him or concerned about his safety. I just know how much he hates the roar of the driers and being away from me.
And I'll be honest, it was just as difficult for me. I had tears in my eyes by the time I got to the car and talked to myself all the way home. "He's going to be okay. He's safe and it'll be over before we know it." Suffering from anxiety as I do, I understand the feeling, that all-over body fear, and I hated that I was doing it to him, just so he could look good.
But a few hours later I went back to pick him up and all was well with the world. They'd loved him, said that once I was out the door he calmed down and was a perfect gentleman. They're good people and I appreciate the job they do, but I appreciated having him back even more.
I'd promised him a trip to Hero's for a treat if he was good, so that was the first place we stopped on our way home. I told him to pick out anything he wanted, so of course he headed straight to the bones. The big ones. He grabbed an enormous Boo Lannie, a bone named after Chelsea's dogs, Boo and Lannie. Patty, the woman who makes them, is someone I actually introduced to Hero's several years ago when she was in nursing school and I was still at the college bookstore. She eventually stopped being a nurse and dedicated herself to producing high quality pet treats from local Colorado suppliers. You can read about her on her website, Patty's Patties.
Duncan couldn't wait to get home to devour his treat but consented to a quick stop at The Glen to roll in the grass and pose for a picture or two to show off his fancy new look. But once we were done with that he was ready to get to work on his new bone.
He loves his bone but he loves being home even more. And in a few days, when my mother is slipping him treats and suckers, and playing with him in the yard among her flowers, he'll love it even more.