I won’t win any dog-mom-of-the-year awards, that’s for certain.
She had surgery two months ago.
A benign cyst had grown on her rump for five years and the vet said it was time for it to go.
So it went.
And the surgery was fine. She was fine.
She was her dramatic queeny self from the time I picked her up from the vet to the time we arrived home,
And every day in between.
Two months passed –
the rest of December, all of January, half of February.
We started feeding her expensive dog food – the kind you re-organize your budget for.
She still preferred to eat laying down.
And she still required that we place the bowl between her front legs.
On this day – the one two months after the surgery – she tried to jump on the couch next to me and then paced anxiously until I fetched her dog bed from the master bedroom and placed it in her spot in the living room.
That satisfied her.
In other words, she was normal.
Then my husband petted her, as he often does,
And asked: “Does she still have her stitches?”
My mind whirled into a tumble of emotions: disbelief, helplessness, but mostly, defensiveness, because, of all the things I am in this world, of course I am not a bad dog mom.
The stitches were probably dissolve-able.
Why didn’t they dissolve?
My husband asked: “Why didn’t the vet have you bring her back to remove them?”
And in truth, the vet had – to check the internal stitches.
We’d made an appointment. It was on my calendar.
I hadn’t gone.
Should I have taken her back?
Why did I cancel that appointment?
We both crouched over her, just as she preferred.
My husband’s fingers guided mine to the former incision site.
Sure enough, there they were.
Eleven purple pieces of plastic meticulously knotted and looped, holding some semblance of now-healed flesh together, hidden by the fur that had been growing back for two months.
We cut them out in two sessions. One before dinner and one after dinner.
Thankfully I, a journalist of all things, have experience with the mechanism of a stitch.
Slide one edge of the scissor down between the plastic thread and the skin.
Snip. (Hope you didn’t catch any skin.) Pull it out by the knot.
My husband held the flashlight and talked to her.
He told her we were almost done and that she was doing a good job.
She laid there, contented because she captivated the attention of the two household humans.
“We’re finished,” I announced.
I scooped up the small mound of snipped plastic, looped knots and scabbed fur.
She sauntered to the door and asked to go outside.