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I took Stanley to Dr. S., Flash’s vet, on Wednesday. I made the appointment and canceled it three times before I had the courage to walk in. It was, thankfully, easier than I thought. I imagined that all those memories of Flash’s last day would assault me, but they didn’t.

I really liked seeing Dr. S. He was the greatest friend to me during Flash’s cancer, holding my hand and seeing me through every step. I valued his participation in the whole awful thing and I wanted to go back to him with Stanley.

Anyway, Dr. S. told me about losing his lab in May. Poor guy, his father died May 3rd and his dog died two weeks later – of hemangiosarcoma. He said that he’d thought of me during that time because it mirrored what I’d gone through with Flash – the surgery, believing it would be okay, then the bombshell. We talked about Flash a lot, which was strange and lovely, and regaled the new vet tech with stories of Flash, his electric toothbrush, his treadmill, and all the amazing things he could do.

Dr. S. gave me some pointers on dealing with Stanley’s anxiety and I’m going to try them out. Stanley got a clean bill of health and another negative heartworm test – that’s the main reason we went. He was a street dog and heartworms can be missed on one test, but be found six months later. Stanley also gained FOUR POUNDS. Yep. He no longer weighs 20 pounds. He now weighs 24 pounds. So, no more treats for him.

He was very vocal during the appointment which amused everyone. I do not look at him or pay any attention when he whines. So, when he starts, he escalates in volume until I walk away or get involved in something. He was so loud in the exam room that we all just started laughing.

He’s such a goofy dog, but he’s a darling, too. I think that, with enough time, he’ll come to realize that this is his permanent home. He’s already doing well when I go outside to do the garbage. He doesn’t have a fit, just waits until I come back inside. I’m going to make my errands longer and longer, but I’ve already learned my lesson. No more wood gates.

Baby steps.