It’s been a while since I’ve seen a dog in as rough shape as the black Lab in the quarantined area of the intake building. Just to visit, I had to don a full-length smock and latex gloves. The dog doesn’t yet have a diagnosis, but the shelter’s clinic staff has made him as comfortable as possible, treating him with antibiotics and providing round-the-clock nourishment.
Huge pieces of his belly, torso, and legs are completely – for lack of a better word – skinless. Any contact in those areas must sting like crazy, so I’m careful to stroke only his head and back. Amazingly, his sad eyes seem to say thank you. Thank you, I want to tell him, for not losing faith in people. (I wish I were as optimistic.)
I stopped petting for just a moment and he placed his paw on top of my smock. “Please continue,” I think he meant. So I did. This was no time to let him down.