You've heard the expression "Pride goeth before a fall?" Well, it's not just an expression; I happen to know first hand that it's true. Being too prideful for my own good, I get my share of comeuppance.
One thing I'm prideful about is my perceptiveness. I pride myself on being perceptive about people as well as my dogs.
My people-perceptiveness is based on another expression, "Know thyself." What I know about myself (which is a lot, and not always pretty), I apply to other people and my insights are often correct. It comes in handy in my people-oriented business of divorce law.
My perceptiveness about my dogs comes from my attention to detail and order (also handy in divorce law). I have an excellent sense of hearing and an annoyingly sensitive nose (something I don't always appreciate with certain clients). I am very good at spatial comparisons and I easily perceive patterns, symmetry, and asymmetry. All of this leads me to notice when something is off kilter. I notice when one of my dogs is acting even slightly different than normal and I've saved their lives on occasion by being attentive to those almost imperceptible variations in their behavior.
However, as with all prideful people, I'm not as smart (perceptive) as I like to think I am. Hense, my intimate familiarity with pride going before a fall. And if I forget that, my dogs are here to remind me.
Take what happened last night, for example. After John and I watched an hour of national news on the TV in our little den, we followed up with a movie while Phoenix slept on the couch.
I kept inviting Figaro to come up on my lap, but he wouldn't. He would just stand there, looking at us. Sometimes he seemed to want to jump up on the couch, but for some reason he wouldn't do that either. So I would pick him up and put him on the couch, only to have him jump back down and resume standing there, looking at us. This went on for hours.
Because of an injury Figaro had sustained several years ago, I thought he might be in pain. He had blown out the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee, leaving his leg hanging and useless. He had a lovely thousand dollar surgery which fixed him right back up, but the vet attached the ligament slightly shorter than normal because he said it would likely stretch with use. Since then, Figaro's back left leg has turned ever-so-slightly outward, the ligament never having stretched like the vet thought it would. Therefore, once in a while, Figaro limps. But Figaro loves to run and jump and chase and stand on his back legs, so most of the time he appears none the worse for wear.
Recently, though, Figaro has been doing this thing that makes me think his leg is bothering him. He'll stand there while all of us are sitting around relaxing. Just stand there. And look at us. And he'll pace in and out of the room. And he'll want to go outside every few minutes and come back in a very few minutes later. All of which adds up to him not lying down for hours. That is what he was doing last night.
At one point, Figaro walked out into the hall, scratched the wall and stood staring at it. John and I, in turn, scratched our heads, wondering what the heck?
I was sure he must be in pain, because one symptom of a dog in pain is not lying down. I told him, tomorrow we're going to take you to the vet and see what's the matter with you.
I even brought a dog bed into the den so Fig could walk into that and lie down if he felt like it, but it sat unused all evening long.
I gave him a Rimadyl for the assumed pain. But two hours later he was still standing, looking at us.
Toward the end of the evening, not having been off his feet for 3 hours, Figaro stood in front of the desk in the den and scratched it and whined a little, staring at it. On a hunch, I got up , looked under the desk and pulled out his filthy tennis ball and gave it to him.