At times like this, the idea of wandering down to the kitchen for a midnight snack of olives becomes a very bad idea indeed.
Sammy’s eyes, you see, are in there. Tupperware never served a nobler purpose.
Returning from a business trip to find how Sammy is faring in the wake of eye removal surgery, I am advised by my wife to be careful about the fridge, since his eyes are in there. The Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue Society, so helpful to our entire process of engaging life with Sammy, wants to make sure that genetic testing is done to find out at what point bad eyes came into the mix and how to prevent the calamity for the breed’s future puppies.
Meanwhile, Sammy bumps about the house with his enormously clumsy ‘Elizabethan collar’ protecting his eyes from sudden jolts and sharp corners. He clearly dislikes the idea. It’s good for him, we tell him over and over.
Our sympathetic friends at the Michigan Road Animal Hospital called to ask Linda to pick him up previously to the appointed time. Sammy, it seems, was not a happy camper, eye sockets aching amid the chaotic canine chatter of the recovery kennel. He refuses to lie down, to sleep, and even bites angrily at the clinic’s care-givers. ‘Sammy will be more comfortable at home, with people whom he knows love him’, we were told.
They were right, of course. After having been plunged back into the kind of environment that represented his fearful life prior to coming to live with us, Sammy reverted to behaviors that we had almost forgotten. But now, back in our home, dressed up in his plastic Elizabethan accoutrements, he day by day reverts to form, becoming before our eyes—if no longer before his— the Sammy we have come to know.
Within three days, he is playing with adopted sister Rosie again. For her part, she clearly enjoys the new advantage provided by the Elizabethan collar. As Sammy opens his enormous mouth in the traditional hope that Rosie will run into it for a good gumming, she dances happily about him, secure in the knowledge that there is no geometry in the world that will get her into the cone and, then, into his jaws.
As I write this now, Sammy lies at my feet. The collar is long gone and he’s dreaming about happier things. A persistent infection around the surgical incisions means he couldn’t get his stitches out yesterday, coming home instead with a course of antibiotics to combat the offending invaders. Yet, for a boy with his eyes in the fridge somewhere between the salad dressing and the parmesan cheese, Sammy is one noble, playful, hopeful little beast.
Eyes were always over-rated, anyway.