White Dog wanted to go...desperately. She did not understand why Steve was going to such great lengths to chase down her sister to put on HER harness.
"Opal must go to the shot clinic," I explained to White Dog. "She needs her rabies shot so we can renew her city license. I am SURE you are not volunteering to take her place."
Steve came up and handed Opal to me. She was panting and shaking. "Can you help me get her into a harness and leash?" he asked. I motioned for him to give me a couple of minutes with her as i stroked her side and whispered nothings in her ear. I held her tightly. Then I nodded to Steve to bring the harness.
My Sparkling Girl immediately drew her arms tightly to her chest. Working gently Steve moved the straps into the correct position while I provided her anchor. He snapped on a leash. To Steve: "I know you know this, but PLEASE be very careful with her. She is so frightened, she would be a flight risk." He kissed my head. To Opal: "It will be very quick and you will come right home. Dad will be with you and he has treats in his pocket. I will save the last of my coffee for you. Be brave. Hurry home."
All of the White Dog Army watched Steve carry Opal out to the car. (She refused to walk on the leash). And fastened her safely in Pumpkin. Then they drove off. Everyone waited and watched.
After what seemed like forever but was in actuality about thirty minutes Steve called to say they were almost home. "How did it go?" I asked.
"Pretty much as expected. She would not walk and spent the entire time shaking and whimpering. She would not eat any of the treats I had and her eyes about bugged out of her head when the tech came near. But she wasn't the only one. Another pup had to be scooped up for his shot as well."
Pumpkin pulled up and the van door slid open. Steve helped Opal out; she looked around unsure for a second but saw and heard the White Dog Army singing their song of greeting. She was at the door in an instant and could not get inside fast enough.
"Where is my bravest girl," was my greeting as she threw herself gratefully against me. "I told you it would be OK." Opal made a fast circuit around the house, checking, I think, to see if everything was the same. Satisfied, she took the treat rewards she refused while out and looked pointedly at my coffee mug.
"Yes, I promised," I said as I handed down the creamy remains of my cup. She emerged with a mustache. For a brief while she basked in the spotlight as the WDA sniffed and questioned and Steve (feeling guilty) pampered.
Finally she came and rested at her usual spot next to my desk. I looked at her. "Momma," she said, "Will you be mad if I am NEVER comfortable going out into the world?" "Sweet brave girl," I told her, "I want you to be yourself and feel safe. Sometimes, like today, you will need to go, but you will ALWAYS came back because this is your home. If you choose to be a homebody I am ok with that."
She stretched under my hand sliding down her back. "Momma?" "Yes Sweet One?" "There really IS no place like home."