Taking care of Annie feels like mothering to me

I’ve been mothering my dog today. She has yet another ear infection, despite repeated home treatment. The doctor pointed to her floppy ears and said she’s a “poster child” for ear infections. Sunday, she started scratching her ears and shaking her head, sulking in misery in-between. I kept looking at her ears and couldn’t see the problem, but it was worse yesterday, so I called the vet first thing this morning. Out with the work schedule. Annie is more important. I have some things I should see my own doctor for, but not when my baby is hurting.

Annie is always happy to go for a ride, but as she began to realize where we were going, she started shaking. I drove with one hand and held her with the other. At the vet’s office, she ran up to the counter and greeted the receptionist. Then she leaped onto the padded seat to sit next to me, putting her paws in my lap and her head on my shoulder. She was trembling. I held her and tried to reassure her, especially when other dogs cried out from beyond the closed door.

Finally it was her turn. I told the lady vet about Annie’s symptoms and what I had been doing for them. I held my dog as an aide took her temperature and the doc swabbed gunk out of her ears to have it analyzed. I got instructions for medicine and ear wash, and we talked about Annie’s diet because my pup’s getting a little chunky. I’ve been giving her too much chow. Am I measuring her food, the vet asked. Uh, no. This diet is going to hurt me more than it does my dog.

Annie gobbled a few dog cookies, I paid the bill, and we walked out together, her tail wagging, my bank account bruised. I foresee a lot of difficult sessions getting medicine into Annie’s ears, but I will do it. I will let her shake goo all over my clothes, just as I let her lick my face and jump in my lap–all 81.5 pounds of her–because I love her, and it’s my job to take care of her.

If that isn’t mothering, what is?

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