This past weekend I came down with a bad case of new parent syndrome. Elle and I had gone to the vet Saturday and picked up heartworm preventative for her. We had Elle's most recent medical history but none of her history prior to being rescued and the vet wanted her covered for Parvo so she had a vaccination.
Sunday morning was particularly quiet. I hadn't been woken by Elle's tail thumping on the wall or her loud yawning. She didn't have her head in my face reminding me that it was morning and she needed food. In fact, where was Elle? I popped out of bed and she was still sleeping, curled in a ball. As I woke her up she made a whimpering sound that wrapped itself around my heartstrings and yanked. I panicked.
I reasoned that if she ate food she might be alright and survive whatever ailed her. She passed the food test. Still, no tail wagging, no following me around the house. Only yesterday she was in perfect health. How could she suddenly be so ill she whined? I felt her nose. Hot and dry. She had a temperature. More panic. Why was I panicking? I have had dogs my entire life? Why couldn't I remember what to do?
I checked her entire body for signs of injury. No swelling, no redness, all the limbs bent at the right places. Lord how could I have managed to kill off this giant dog in a week? Was this going to be my first trip to the emergency vet? Finally it came to me: aspirin. I Googled it. Yep. You can give dogs aspirin; I had Shasta and Aiden both on baby aspirin at one time. I opened her giant mouth, popped in some baby aspirin, gave her a Milk Bone chaser and waited. An hour later the old Elle was coming back and I began breathing again. It had probably been a reaction to the vaccine from the day before.
In two weeks I've learned a great deal. Elle is a good communicator. She is going to tell you when she needs or wants something. My job is to figure out what she is saying. She is a bit leery of new sights and sounds, yet her curiosity frequently gets the better of her and she investigates despite her misgivings. She didn't love going on walks at first but she tolerated them. Now she happily holds her head up so I can attach the lead. She truly struggled with the concept of the dog door being more than a window. No longer. It is now both a window and a door. Elle has let go of her past and embraces today. I think I will be learning a great deal from Elle.