The abscess #SOL2021

The face cloth was moist and warm, folded so a flat spot could be pressed over the open draining wound. We were walking him when he noticed blood dripping down his back leg. Dogs rarely complain – being natural Buddhists choosing delight in the moment over a focus on their own suffering. He didn’t seem to be limping so we kept walking agreeing to check it later.

Once home, we shifted his frame to expose the underside of his belly and found a weeping hole on the inside of one leg. He was frightened and a bit jumpy, but he let us investigate perhaps using past experience to inform his sense of trust. It was warm and clearly painful – an oblong segment of raised skin had been licked raw and a hole exposed yellow liquid. Pressing gently nearby more yellow puss squeezed out which confirmed it as some kind of infection. Yet, with love, any quiet doubt needs attention.

“We need to call the vet. Let’s take him today.”

I heard the tension in his voice, but I had a hint of what it might be. I grabbed my phone and searched for images of abscesses. Squares of red and yellow, black and brown, skin and hair filled the screen. All manner of shapes appeared and it was difficult to decide if these represented the wound that we discovered on Duke, our three year old Standard Poodle. I read some descriptions from veterinarians on how to treat the area quickly grabbing some rubbing alcohol, gauze, and an antibiotic cream. I thought, he’ll just lick it off, but I put it on anyway thinking a moment of disinfection is better than nothing. Any quiet doubt needs action.

“When this happens in the wild, they just lick it to clean it, so maybe we should just leave it.”

I watched and listened to George’s voice as he swung back and forth between doing and not doing. He didn’t have dogs growing up so despite the past 20 years of experience, he still feels ill-equipped as an owner. Yet, then there is love. He loves Duke. And Duke loves him. His quiet doubt temporarily attended.

6 thoughts on “The abscess #SOL2021

  1. Poor Duke! I remember finding something on the neck of my Golden Retriever many years ago. I was brushing him and found a tender spot on his neck. The vet was sure that another dog must have bitten him but he was a lover, not a fighter, so I don’t know how or when that would have happened! He was my baby and rarely out of my sight.

    I hope Duke’s boo boo clears up quickly. I can relate to your husband. I’ve had cats my whole life but feel very ill-equipped to doctor them.

    You really have a gift for writing! Even the mundane task of caring for our pet has been share so elegantly here.

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  2. Poor dear Duke. I do hope he’ll heal quickly. Dogs ARE uncomplaining; they carry on, as lovingly and faithfully as ever. Most are such good old souls. A few years ago I had a yellow Lab who developed a hot spot on the side of his face; by the time I discovered it, half his face was badly swollen. The vet had to put him under and shave that side to clean it and get it to heal. I felt horrible for not noticing sooner but the vet reassured me that these things develop and go rampant very quickly. Get well soon, Duke!

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  3. I love this: “Dogs rarely complain – being natural Buddhists choosing delight in the moment over a focus on their own suffering.” I want to be a dog :). Hope that Duke of W is better soon!

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  4. Oh, poor Duke! What I most like about this piece is how it is infused with love, how you use repetition to underline what is truly important – not the abscess, but the love. Here’s hoping the compress and the cream and the care mean that he’s on the mend!

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