stomach rubbed. Mention a walk to most dogs, and they leap about in
excitement. Mention a walk to mine, and she hides. Saying she was
lethargic was simply describing her normal existence.
Nonetheless, I was badgered into taking her to the vet. The first
thing he did was weigh her. Now the other thing my dog is really good
at, besides lying around, is eating. Apparently, this is a trait of
most beagles. As I say, she hides if you try to take her for a walk,
but open the refrigerator, pick up her bowl, make any sound no matter
how slight, if it suggests food, she will hear it and appear within
seconds. That's about the time it takes her meal to disappear, too.
A love of eating coupled with a distaste for exercise does not
make for a slim dog. Cassie exceeded the suggested breed weight limit
by 10 pounds, so when the vet pushed on her stomach, frowned, and
said, "She's awfully tight," what did he expect? The 10 pounds has to go some place.
Anyway, I left her there, they did x-rays and found a mass in her
abdomen that couldn't be explained away by obesity, and so she went
under the knife.
It was a lonesome couple of days. It's amazing how much space an
animal takes up, especially when you live alone. I found myself
oversleeping because there was no impatient dog poking me with her
wet nose and telling me it was time for breakfast. When I ate my own
meals, it felt strange not to have two black eyes focused on me with
the intensity of a laser, trying to manipulate treats. And when it
was time for a walk, I could just go. There was no hunting down the
dog, wrestling the leash on and persuading her out the door.
Finally, though, the vet called and said she could come home. She
arrived with an array of pills and a long list of instructions, most
of which emphasized that no matter what the dog's desire, I was to
restrain her from activity. Clearly, they didn't know the dog they
were dealing with. She came home and did what she always does -- went
The next day my daughter came over.
"Look at how much better Cassie's doing!" she exclaimed.
I looked at the dog, who was lying in the same spot she'd been
lying in for most of the past 24 hours. "How can you tell?"
"She wagged her tail."
She was right. In Cassie's case, that was practically cavorting.
* ROBERT GARDNER is a Corona del Mar resident and a former judge.
His column runs Tuesdays.