small and scared

wesley at the vet2

Wesley’s been walking wounded. We’ve pawed over his left front paw and leg and just can’t figure out why he’s limping for the last week and a half.

So today I drag him through the door of the examining room, and while we wait he lifts his feet to my lap and shakes so hard I think his whole body might just shatter.

The vet’s a fill-in today, and she’s shocked at his size. He weighs in at 16.6 pounds, which is rather large for a Havanese. But we’re used to super-sized labs, and I think how small he is. And what must it be like to cower at the towering. I know what it’s like to be scared out of my comfort zone.

His trainer calls him a “nervous” dog, and he’s repeating beginning obedience class for more socialization. This week they let all the dogs, most of them bigger than him, off their leashes to play, but he hid behind my husband.

Anyway, Wesley shies away from the vet when she comes in the room. She bends down and loves on him, and then I lift him up on cold metal while she checks him all over–head, mouth, teeth, neck, body, behind, and belly before she moves to his feet. He’s still shaking and leans hard against me, stuffs his nose in my armpit, tries to climb right down my neck.

“It’s okay,” I whisper. Just be still.

“What a thick, fluffy coat he has,” the vet says. And I think how his coat covers up his small and how water exposes it.

In the end, she finds nothing. She offers an x-ray, which I decline for now. And then she prescribes an anti-inflammatory and stillness.

I write the check, then gather him in my arms and carry him out to the car where he finally stops shaking.

Once at home, he curls up on the couch and goes to sleep.

Still small, but unafraid.

wesley vet3

In the stillness,


Joining Lisa-Jo and the Five Minute Friday Community

on the word prompt: small

Five Minute Friday


  1. says

    in from 5MF-I loved reading this, very sweet to see the trust this small one has in home and in your arms. It’s funny, I can relate by the way you write it! very enjoyable to read. thank you.

  2. says

    Sweet little guy! Our Lab has had a couple limping-without-visible-reason episodes. Just about the time I think we’ll have to visit the vet, it eases. Sometimes it’s nothing more than a pulled muscle from rough play. The times we do have to make the trip, even though he’s 90 pounds big, he has a little-dog look that says, “I’m trusting that you’ll look out for me.” It’s how I feel about God when facing uncertain situations. He calms and stills my soul. :)
    Carol J. Garvin recently posted..Repetition: Reinforcing or Boring?

  3. says

    My little dog just ate a tangerine that a child fed him under the table. next thing you know, he’s gagging it up in a most horrid way.

    But once he got through the spasms, he took a drink of water and nuzzled right up next to us. And of course, he was begging for more tangerine. Dumb dogs!
    David Rupert recently posted..The Spin Cycle of Truth

  4. says

    Our golden retriever puppy pulled a little muscle in her leg which caused her to limp for about 2 weeks – she was just so energetic! I need a coach. She doesn’t hide. She just needs to stay:) She just turned one and she loves running and playing. She’s also very social. She loves to wrestle! Hope your little pup feels better soon!
    bluecottonmemory recently posted..Like a Spider to a Web: To be Made Less

    • says

      I hope so, too. In spite of himself. To keep him on the resting side will be practically impossible. Maybe he’ll work himself out of it. At least I know we weren’t missing something stuck in his paw.