I’d seen depressed dogs before, dogs who were completely shut down. Oso seemed more than shut down – he seemed heartbroken. He slowly sat up when I crawled into his kennel. I crouched on the blanket with him, and he leaned his massive head against mine. Within a few minutes, he was slumped back down again, resting as much of his body on my lap as would fit.
I felt awful for this dog. He sucked in every ounce of affection I could give and seemed to ache for more. It was as if he sensed he’d been abandoned. I sat there for a half hour, tears streaming down my face, cooing, petting him, assuring him it would be all right.
With puffy eyes and a lump in my throat, I went to find a shelter administrator. I’m really worried about the dog in SD36, I said.
“Big jubilant Oso? Yeah, he’s a bundle of energy! Course I imagine he’s a bit mellow at the moment. Just got back from being neutered – probably still feeling the effects of anesthesia.”
Anesthesia. Well. I guess it resembles heartache if you’re not expecting it. I smiled. Being wrong never felt so right.
Note to self: Lighten up.