And isn't it interesting how life always provides you with a bit of clarity just when you need it most?
A couple days after that little inner conversation, I came home a little late from a night out with friends (as I typed that, I felt like I needed to clarify because it sounds like this a regular occurrence when in actuality it was a rare treat to celebrate a good friend's birthday...and I was home around 10:30...not crazy late...again just to clarify...anyways..). I came into the door, and while Chipper is usually there to greet me, he was nowhere to be seen. I went back to our bedroom, and sure enough he was laying there in bed with Josh. I greeted him with some pets and went to pick him up and he yelped, a loud, piercing yelp. I was a little concerned, but reasoned we really couldn't do anything at that time of day anyways, so I put him to bed out on the couch hoping he would sleep it off.
The next morning Josh went out to go to work per usual, and when Chipper didn't attempt to come back to our bedroom (as he usually does immediately), Josh went to greet him. And again, as soon as Josh petted him, he yelped. I came out from the bedroom and we poked and prodded a bit and determined that the problem seemed to be around Chipper's neck, or ear, or tooth. We decided to watch him, but I already knew I would be calling the vet as soon as they opened (I'm not very patient when it comes to these sorts of things).
Over the next couple hours, Chipper's condition scared the crap out of me and broke my heart. My usually playful pup (yes, at 5 years old, he is still much more puppy than grown-up dog!) was completely immobile and clearly in pain. His face was the worst; his expression literally reminded me of the images of the abused dogs on tv. He looked so terrified and in pain. And it was just awful!
Well, Josh came home from work to take Chipper to the vet, and luckily his official diagnosis was just a pulled muscle in his neck. They prescribed him a pain reliever and an anti-inflammatory medication. At around 3:00 that afternoon, the medication must have kicked in because all of a sudden Chipper leaped off the couch (I had had to pick him up and down all day), went outside to go to the bathroom, and came in and started playing with his ball. I thought he would slow down after the medication wore off, but a couple weeks later, he hasn't. In fact, he's very much back to his same ole, mischief-making self.
While I can hardly say I don't get annoyed with him any longer, our little scare certainly reinforced the fact that Chipper is a very important member of our family. He was technically our first baby, and even though the human ones that came along after him kind of dominate the attention getting these days, I will always view Chipper as one of our children. I remember my mom used to tell me in my teenage years that she may not always like me, but she'll always love me. Well, I guess that old adage holds true for my Chipper dog.