When my friends Molly and Cocoa were diagnosed with eye issues, I tried to assure their parents that we dogs can function very well without vision. Our sense of smell and our whiskers can help us navigate through a dark world. But I underestimated one of the reasons that parents become distraught about their dog's lack of vision: They will no longer get the look.
Our eyes provide many functions besides vision. We convey our personality, and our love, through those eyes. We also transmit the love and absolute trust we have for our humans via our eyes. If we are unable to convey that our parents are denied the comfort our eyes provide.
One of the emotions we express via our eyes is absolute trust. When we look at our parents, we are telling them that we know that they will always take care of us and never let anything bad happen to us.
That is what haunted my parents when they dropped Pocket off for her dental work. That morning Pocket was bounding around the house happily. She was thrilled to get a car ride. Then they arrived at the vet’s and passed Pocket over to the technician. They didn’t want to see her eyes, but they wanted to give her an assuring look. What they got back was “why are you leaving me? Where are you going? Who are these people? What is going on? Help!”
Even though Pocket needed the dental work to improve her life, and avoid many problems, the eyes also said: “I thought you would never leave me, never hurt me, never let anything bad happen to me.” The pain that Pocket’s eyes left my parents with was worse than any pain Pocket suffered from her dental work.
The worst thing about love is sometimes it is necessary to be cruel to be kind. Our parents have to do what is best for us, and, like in Pocket’s case, sometimes that causes pain.
Then comes hours of equal worry. We dogs worry if our parents will return, and, our parents worry if the procedure will be successful and the dog will wake up.
The gift that dogs have been granted is that as soon as our parents return to pick us up all that love and trust is restored and the abandonment forgot, our parents become the ones who are either going to make the pain stop and take care of us, or, in rare instances, if our heartbeats have expired, help us get to the pain free, stress free eternal life. Either way, the love and total trust inside the dog is restored on sight.
It takes our parents a lot longer to recover. That sad, scared look their beloved dogs give them as they are lead away sticks with them. They begin to spoil us with lots of love.
While we appreciate the spoiling, I must let you know, dear parent, that you are always forgiven, no matter what you do. You are all we need and seeing you is like clicking our reset button.
All is right in the world when we see you because you are our world.