*I wrote this entry last July 4, but didn’t post it then because my sister didn’t know until Sunday that our dog was shaved. Forgive the rambling.
A few days ago, our dog went to the pet spa kicking and howling, and came home two hours later bald and defeated.
Our dog is a Siberian husky, turned six last June, and is the prince of the house. He has doors opened for him, owns his personal electric fan, and he stays in air-conditioned rooms longer than most of us do.
We named him Coffee, after the family favorite beverage, and only because the name Cappuccino–Cino, for short–ended with the syllable “no”. According to the dog trainer, that would be negative reinforcement. Or some other psychological mumbo jumbo.
Coffee is a handsome dog–so handsome that, despite my initial fear of dogs and the fact that he’s a big one by doggy standards, I fell in love with him right along with every other member of our family. He isn’t an affectionate dog. He rarely acknowledges us when we enter the house, save for when he’s in dire need of a bathroom break or if my sister is in town.
My sister has always been his favorite.
When I come up to play with him because he’s too darn cute, he sometimes bats me away with his paw or gets up and moves to another spot. Most times, he doesn’t pay attention to me.
Coffee’s smart. My parents say he’s like a little human. Cuddly and sweet when he needs me to scratch behind his ear for him, picky with his food, angry when we leave him home alone, and moody as heck.
He hates to get his feet wet–simply freezes at the scent of wet grass, wet pavement, wet anything aside from his water bowl. And when I try to urge him toward the grass, he just digs in his paws and refuses to budge.
Sometimes, when I look him in the eye and talk to him seriously, his ears prickle up and his eyes search mine, like he’s trying to figure out what I’m saying. And sometimes, I feel his moods the way I feel the moods of my siblings or my parents or any other person I’m close to, for that matter.
So when he came home, his glorious coat of fur stripped off and his royal bearing a lot droopier, my heart clenched in my chest. It still does every time I see him curled up on the floor, looking naked with all his scabs covered only with the slightest fuzz.
Because he has dandruff. There’s a long specific term for it, but what it basically boils down to is dandruff. And according to the two vets who saw him, the best solution was to shave him, change his diet and give him medicated shampoo.
It seems so silly that something as simple as dandruff would lay someone–a dog, for that matter–so low. But I guess when you’ve been oohed and ahhed over your whole life and you’ve been stripped of that protective shell, it’s no small, simple matter. I know I’ve cried over a bad hair job more than once, so it’s easy for me to feel for my dog and the loss of his crowning glory.
The vet said it should grow back pretty quickly, and I pray to Lord it does. Because when I see him so still, so withdrawn and quiet? There’s no way you can convince me that dogs don’t have emotions. And I know that my dog is depressed.
So everyday, I’m going to spend time with Coffee on the floor, pestering him ’til he loses his doggy wits and hugging him just like he’s my personal fur-covered pillow, because with or without hair, he’s still the dog that I fell in love with (even though he peed on my table that one time).
**If you’re wondering, Coffee’s back to his usual mischievous/cutesy/snobbish self nowadays. His fur is far from how his original coat was, but it’s on its way there.