Monday, July 14, 2008
Where Love Resides Pt. 2
Guess what? The pity party is over. I don't need to pinpoint when I was in love in the past, or why it didn't work out, or live with angst over lost opportunities. I don't need to prove to anyone, including myself, that I've had great loves in order to give my life some sort of cinema-inspired purpose. I have love in my life right here and now. True blue unwavering love. This is where love resides. In the face of this sweet, adoring puppy. A puppy I found, or found me, just a few months ago. Who makes me laugh every single day. Who snuggles with me while we watch TV. Who counts on me to take care of him and protect him. And most importantly, and miraculously, who trusts me completely.
I didn't know Riley for the first seven months of his life so I don't know exactly what his childhood story is. I know that the Humane Society brought him up from a shelter in North Carolina just a few days before we met, but they knew nothing about his background. He adamantly refuses to tell me anything about his previous life - which I find very frustrating. There are signs, though, that his life was difficult. When we first met, he was so thin his ribs were showing. He has small scars on his nose that won't seem to heal. He has a large chip in one of his front teeth. He was terrified of certain rooms in my house - especially the ones with tile on the floor (he has since overcome this fear). If he felt he did something wrong, he would literally bow down submissively at my feet and wimper (he has since overcome this as well). But his absolute sweetness, his loving nature, and his silly antics completely won me over.
My biggest concern was the limp I noticed a few days after he came home. At times he would be running perfectly fine, and then suddenly he would pull up his one leg and hobble along. The vet said it was probably just an old injury and gave him some medicine. The limping seemed to get better, but I couldn't help but notice that his hip wasn't quite right. So back we went to the vet for x-rays. When the vet came back with them, she told me that there was one thing she expected to see, and another she didn't.
What she expected to see on the x-ray was that Riley's hip has dysplasia. The vet believes that he was not born with it, but that he was either beaten, hit by a car, or even possibly thrown from a car. I was horrified by this news. I could not, and still can not, believe that someone injured him so badly that his hip actually grew incorrectly. It is beyond my comprehension. His hip will need surgery to repair the damage.
What she did not expect to see was the big white spot on the other leg. What the hell is that, I asked. Please tell me it's not a tumor.
It's not a tumor, she said.
It's a bullet.
Someone shot him when he was just a little puppy.
Someone. Shot. Him.
This dog who runs to everyone he meets with tail wagging - was shot. This dog who sits at my feet waiting for hugs - was abused. This dog who lies on his back on the bed with his head on my shoulder - was mistreated. This dog who allows small children to pull his tail and stick fingers in his nose - was treated cruelly.
He holds no grudges. He feels no self-pity. He loves unconditionally.
He is my inspiration.
And he is where my love resides.