My paid subscription to M-W unabridged is ambiguous on the matter. Apparently ‘docken’ or ‘dok’ was Middle English for tail…
Anyhow. Hannah has a docked tail now, just like many dogs do. She’s unhappy; if I were to anthropomorphize her, on the way home, she had a quiet breakdown over all the terrible things that have happened to her lately. She’s in her cage now. Her sutures are unbandaged and leaking mildly, especially when she moves or pressure is put on them.Â When she inevitably tries to sit up, it’s going to be grim. Hopefully the longer we can keep her resting, the better.
A 24-hour vet after hours is… a raw place.Â They try to keep things private at human hospitals but pets aren’t protected the same way. By the time we left, the score (counting Hannah) was 3 pets leaving alive, 2 pets… not. We came in alongside a pair of women with a tiny dog wrapped in blankets. It had stopped breathing on their drive there. They kept mimicking its final cries to the doctor as they tried to explain and understand what had happened. It was horrible and depressing and I had to press my face against Kevin to avoid hysterical laughter. They didn’t know what had killed it but they signed up for an autopsy to find out. They were shocked but calm, so calm I wondered if it was their own dog or a child’s. I’m glad they were calm, though, because otherwise I would have cried myself.
Right after them, another pair of women came in with a dog who was choking, or at least wheezing. The techs took him back and brought him out again five minutes later, with a stick that had been wedged in the upper part of his jaw. The vet didn’t even charge for that, and it balanced nicely against the tragedy 5 minutes earlier to prevent a wash of PMS-enhanced despair.
And finally, near the end of our relatively short wait, an exhausted man brought in his fading cat, carried in a cat bed, to be put to sleep. I think, balanced out, I’d rather be in his position than those women whose dog had died on the drive over. I’d rather make a decision than have a life slip through my fingers in the midst of desperate, frightened confusion.
The fifth pet had been hit by a car; her person was waiting when we came in. The dog survived with a limp and abrasions, and would be going home that night with the usual suite of medications. We talked to the woman some, and she clearly felt awful about her dog jumping the fence to get into the street, and frustrated at her inability to train the dog to stay out of danger. But I was a little jealous on Hannah’s behalf, all the same. A limp and abrasions. Poor Hannah.
But tail docking is pretty standard, even among adult dogs. And as I told the techs, I’m very happy to still have my dog with me. I think, once a bit of time has passed, she’ll go back to being happy to be with us, too. After all, she was just a few days ago.