This was originally going to be a heartwarming tale of a dog's life past, my old best friend, and our journey together. Of course, I should know by now that my plans never work as they should and today was no exception. A new story was already unfolding as I made the preparations and headed to my office space to begin the story outline.
I should give you a piece of the backstory at the least in hopes some may understand the reason behind the chaos. First, there is Thor, my five-year-old Catahoula. He is a giant baby, a royal pain in the rear, and my best friend. The third time I clipped his nails as a puppy, I unfortunately took one too short. From that day forward, not a soul has been able to touch his feet. No sedation is strong enough, no restraint can withhold him, this is truly the ONLY time his name fits.
The second thing you should know, I grow way too many plants in the house. With all this moisture comes fungus gnats and one cheap hands-off approach is to leave sticky rodent/fly traps around. These are all used on shelves around the high humidity plants, none are on the floor mind you. Thor has managed to get these stuck to a paw on numerous occasions when I used them on the floor. Imagine a bucking bronco just breaking through the gates all while screaming bloody murder, 90 pounds of dog just wreaking havoc.
Thor and his best friend Carl (a Beagle/Boston rescue) were already downstairs in my work area. As I sat down and opened my notebook, I noticed the dreaded sound of plastic hitting the floor with each step as Thor approached. Luckily this time, the situation did not immediately escalate to crisis mode. Thor really had mellowed out as the years went by, now he just sat by my side holding the affected paw in the air, with a dreaded look in his wise eyes. Thor knew the process it took to get one of these off, yet he still refused to let me touch the paw, warning me with a low growl followed by the hung head of shame. He knew he was in the wrong, yet I respected his only boundary always. (I wore his nails by constant walks and runs).
Now here we are in the garage, with my father there as well for backup and ingenuity. We had attempted restraints to an obvious failure, tried simply stepping on the trap hoping he would pull his paw off after pouring things like goo be gone and alcohol on the glue. None of this was a calm endeavor. Luckily, we reside in the country, so the blood-curdling screams were only heard by us and nature. I promise at this point no pain has occurred, keep in mind, I can simply take my fingertip and brush one of his toes on a normal day and he will scream, bark and then get the zoomies. My dog is broken.
The list of things we tried over time is endless, the best being a very long pole to press on the plastic and let the dog do the rest at his pace. This time we were just approaching the pole idea and I was down on my knees trying to keep him calm. At this point, he was just lightly whimpering, probably more so in self-disappointment wondering how he always gets himself into these situations. (I still hadn't figured out how he got one off an upper shelf either, perhaps the little dog Carl played a role in this). My dad stepped in and tried to step on it as I was still down on his level, and this was working until Thor realized he had been tricked. I quickly let go and as I was on my way up something popped. Right then and there my back said, "I am done!" and down I went.
My world stopped, after realizing how bad I was hurting, I decided to abort this mission, let Thor work on it himself, and get me off the floor. Now, the story was still on my mind and with all the pain I still managed to laugh at the situation. Clearly, I was meant to write a different story, maybe a lesson to let go of the past and appreciate the present? I could probably write a different story about Thor every day, he is just that awkward.
That night was long, nothing I did would relieve the pain. Thor had actually removed the sticky trap rather quickly and of course, now his paw was layered in dirt and debris. I will deal with it in the morning I thought. He slept down at my feet with is unusual, he also never came for his nightly belly rubs. He knew I was hurting, knew he was bad, and also probably still had a grudge against me for the life-threatening torture that occurred. I looked at him and it occurred to me, perhaps Thor was hurting worse than myself. Now I felt absolutely terrible for being upset with him for my sore back.
The morning after, Thor and I made up, and my back was still really out of whack. Because of how the events the night before played out, I hadn't noticed what went on prior to me sitting down and hearing the trap against the floor. As I went to check on my plants, I discovered that this incident had started long before I came into the scene.
There was a tarp under a group of larger tropical plants, and it appeared at one point Thor must have gotten stuck to the tarp. Do you remember in the cartoons when a character would pull a tablecloth out from a dining set, and everything would remain in place? Well, somehow, he had managed to do the same, not a single plant had been disturbed! He sat at the entry and watched as I replaced the tarp, I could tell by his body language that he felt like he was in trouble.
A simple pat on his chest on my way by was answered by a huge sigh of relief and a happy tail. I thought to myself what kind of journey today might bring us now that this debacle was complete. Whatever the day brings, I know my best friend will be right there with me unconditionally.