World’s Best Canine Patient

I am the world’s worst patient. Probably because I have none. Patience, that is. Ask me to wait five minutes for my computer screen to load? My brain melts. Primarily, I have zero patience with myself. I expect myself to perform at full capacity at all times and if I don’t cut it? I chuck myself out. It doesn’t matter what the task is. Watercolour painting, horseshoe throwing, or computer programming. If I can’t do it perfectly after a quick lesson? I quit.

When I was fifteen I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed. None of them had actually grown in yet so it required full on anesthesia. All I remember is panicking that I wasn’t going to fall asleep and then waking up several hours later wondering why this strange woman kept telling me it was time to go home. I wanted to keep sleeping. Forever.

I gave myself a day of feeling like crap. My mother drove me home and told me to go to bed. Bundled in with ice packs on both cheeks – no way was I swelling up like a chipmunk – I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity. The constant taste of blood at the back of my mouth, the wooziness of the sedation, and the headaches resulting from the pain medication, I let myself give in for one whole day.

But the next morning? I fully expected myself to be one hundred percent better. No way was I going a day without showering.

Much to my horror, I was not doing much better. The nausea had faded but the rest was still there. Still tasted blood, still felt dizzy, still was in pain. To me, this was unacceptable. I had things to do, people to see. I was schedule to volunteer at a food bank two days from now and dang it, I was going to be fully presentable before I ever went out in public. I didn’t handle the disappointment well. Not only did I take my frustration at not feeling better out on myself, but I made sure everyone around me felt my pain. Including my mother.

It wasn’t pretty.

Luckily for the rest of the world, I haven’t been that under the weather since. Regardless, even when I am suffering from a cold, I am pretty impatient with my symptoms. Feeling ill, in my opinion, is no excuse for not being able to get out of bed and get things done.

Until now, I have never projected this impatience on to other people. No, I am not the world’s best nurse but I understand that everyone handles sickness differently. I don’t expect others to jump up and walk the dog at five thirty in the morning even when they feel like their lungs are trying to escape out of their throats.

But with Shiva, for some reason, my expectations are skewered. We are on her second week of kennel rest and – to my shock – she seems to be doing okay. Sure, she grumbles a little when I pick her up to carry her down the stairs, and she sighs when I slide the cone back over her head after taking a potty break outside. Yet on the whole, she seems to accept the current situation. She’d love to chase the cat when he rolls around on the floor in front of her, but she refrains with nary a whine. It’s strange,

I've got food, I've got water, I've got a cute purple coat, what more do I need?

I’ve got food, I’ve got water, I’ve got a cute purple coat, what more do I need?

At first, I wondered if she was just depressed. Maybe she has given up hope of every going on a real walk ever again?

Or maybe, just maybe, Shiva has more patience with herself and with us than I anticipated. Maybe she understands that she feels off and that this is just the way things are going to be. She doesn’t put up a fuss when we lay her on the couch and prevent her from doing things on her own. Instead, she wags her tail when we shower her with affection and waits for us at the bottom of the stairs before we carry her to bed at night.Perhaps a part of her knows this is temporary, just a resting place.

If it was me who was in her position, I’d drag myself up every single one of those steps. I’d refuse to pee unless my humans let me walk outside by myself. I certainly wouldn’t tolerate the cone without looking as pitiful as I possibly could. Heck, I’d rip that thing off the instant they left me alone.

Luckily for us, Shiva is nothing like me. With only some understandable stress, she has kept it together, remained positive. In many ways, she is the world’s best canine patient. Even injured she has a much stronger spirit than I.  Once again, she has shown me just how much I have to learn.

16 thoughts on “World’s Best Canine Patient

  1. I know the dogs are much better to me when I’m sick than I am to myself! I think this is one of those human issues that animals don’t struggle with so much. I’m sure Shiva will be back to driving you to the brink of insanity soon!


  2. Glad shiva is coping with her R&R.

    I think you are too hard on yourself. You are a wonderful young lady. You have your whole life ahead of you. Embrace it and meet it with a smile:)


  3. Maybe you were wrong? And Shiva does have some sense of self-preservation? 🙂

    Glad this time of recovering is going easier than you expected–for both your sakes.

    BTW, I could totally relate. I once got a severe case of food poisoning. I should have gone to the hospital. But I couldn’t live without washing my hair. I crawled on my belly to the bathroom (I was too weak from dehydration to stand) and pulled myself up on the corner of the tub so I could partially wash my hair.

    Oh, and then there was the time I nearly passed out on a city bus after giving blood because I had too much pride to ask someone to give me their seat. I managed to ring the bell and stumble down the steps while blacking out so I could sit on the sidewalk long enough to recover myself to walk the remaining miles home.

    What? Get on the next bus? And waste the fare I already paid? Piffle.

    Luckily, Pamela in her 40s takes better care of herself than Pamela in her 20s. 🙂


  4. I can relate to the lack of patience. Unfortunately, mine is with others more than myself. I sometimes feel like I have to beat my own best time, and if someone is in my way, well, let’s just say it isn’t pretty. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve been learning to “stop and smell the roses”, or at least force myself to slow down. Callie and Shadow are used to my impatience and just roll with it…after all, they’ve been with us for 9 years. Ducky challenges my patience constantly, but it has been good for me. Because I hate to see her get frightened by my impatient reactions…not good for her or our relationship. I guess it’s an age thing — or maybe inherited — my Dad was an impatient soul until he had been retired for a few years; then he started mellowing out. I’ve been away from the corporate world now for nearly 5 years, and I’m starting to mellow out some, too.


  5. I’m so glad it’s going well. I’m sure she’s still feeling sore and knows to take it easy. I’m glad she’s not going stir crazy from not being able to go for walks and run around. Hoping she’s back to normal soon!


  6. I’m amazed when I hear that some dogs come out of surgery wagging their tales. It’s like they seem to know that it was all for their own good.


  7. Having nursed a dog through leg amputation surgery, I know how inspiring it is to see them just accept whatever life hands them. (Unfortunately, this can also be a downfall for dogs – it’s probably the precise reason beagles make such good lab test subjects. They just accept the situation and do not try to fight it. Poor things!)

    Sorry… didn’t mean to end on a downer there. Glad Shiva is handling her recovery well!


  8. Dogs seem to accept things so much more readily than we do. It’s one of the things I admire most about them.

    Glad it is not going as poorly as you had feared.


  9. I’m so glad to hear she is handling her time off so well. I have experienced both ends of the spectrum, the girls are fine when they have had surgeries in the past, Toby on the other hand…

    Amazing that you were that driven at fifteen! I can see now, as adults we often push ourselves to hard, but as a teenager I would’ve loved a day to slack off, hide in my room, and read. 🙂


  10. I’m glad Shiva is a good patient. Like you, I’m a terrible patient. I had laser surgery for a cyst last year and rather than go on bed rest for a week after, I got bored in the middle of the first day and rearranged my living room…by myself. Moving furniture is like bed rest, right??


    • Heh, you are hilarious, but I do hope you didn’t hurt yourself! Bed rest for a week sounds like an unreasonable kind of hell. Though, I am actually an incredibly lazy person, as soon as I am told I can’t do something, I immediately want to. I guess I didn’t rebel enough as a teenager so I never outgrew that phase?


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