It was a traumatic evening for Ms. Rip and me. I had let the horses out on the lawn while I cleaned stalls. The snow is almost gone due to the past four days of rain, and they were eager to take advantage of the winter smorgasboard. Rip as always was keeping close watch on both of them. The temp had dropped, and Trudy was feeling a little frisky. She kicked up her heels — and connected with the side of Rip’s skull. I heard a “klunk” and looked up to see Rip lying in an unnatural position, belly-up. She lay there and started to bark. She was at the top of the hill, a bit of distance from me. Clifford and Trudy were quite surprised at her condition, standing side by side, stretching their necks out, sniffing at her as she lay there barking.
“Rip!” I said, and at the sound of my voice, she jumped up. She ran in a large circle, once, twice around the back yard, and then disappeared in front of the house.
I called her again and she came running, scooting up to me. I looked her over and couldn’t see anything wrong.
“Boy, are you ever lucky!” I said.
I finished the stalls and put the horses away. Rip followed me into the house and I went to the cookie jar to get her a biscuit. When I looked down, I noticed sometihng strange about her eyes. In the dim indoor light, only one was dialated.
Off we went to Kern Road Veterinary Hospital. Rip’s pupils, though not matching, were reactive, and Dr. Surch thought that was a good sign. She gave her an IV anti inflammatory and antibiotic. Rippy is home now so I can keep her under close watch for the night, in case she seizes again. Her eyes are looking better all the time, so I am optimistic.
The sweetest part of this story involves something that happened in the waiting room, before we were called in for the exam. I was sitting on the bench talking to the receptionist, and Rip was lying at my feet. A man came out of one of the exam rooms. He was carrying a rolled-up blanket under one arm. He didn’t look at us or say anything, but Rip jumped up and tried to run to him. She wasn’t on a leash, and I had to grab her and physically restrain her from going to this man. Rip is friendly, but this insistent behavior was completely out of character for her. Even after I had a hold of her collar, she still kept lunging and trying to get to him.
Intuitively, I knew exactly why, and Dr. Surch later confirmed this.
The man had just had his dog euthanized. Rip, even with what must have been a slamming headache, was moved to do the job she was born for. She is the “Sympathy Dog,” acquired for the sake of comforting Cajun and me after Scorch died. She was so driven to attend to this man that it was all I could do to hold her back.
I was so touched by her generosity, as well as her single-mindedness. Rip truly has a magnificent heart.