It was an absolutely gorgeous fall morning and we had a few hours to kill before Ray's date with destiny. His eye appointment was at noon and Gregg had taken the day off to support us in case Ray required surgery. Since Ray had slept all day Sunday because of excessive partying at the autumn Beer and Bonfire on Saturday, he was more than ready to go for a nice long walk. We needed to distract the dog to keep his mind off the fact that he wasn't allowed any food or water until after his potential surgery.
"I don't know," replied Gregg, "Let's check the book."
We spent a few minutes skimming Doggin' Northern Virginia, the 50 Best Places to Hike with your Dog in NoVA and at the end of a short discussion, we decided on the Battlefields of Manassas, a place we hadn't visited in years. It was just far enough away, and the trail was just long enough, that we could kill the requisite amount of time.
Ray was thrilled to be going somewhere new. Every time we stopped at a red light, he would uncurl himself from his usual travel position to hang his head out the window, sniff the air, and whine a bit. Then, when the car would start moving again, he would curl back up until the next red light. By the time we got to the battlefield, Ray was ready to GO; he literally hit the ground running.
|Be careful of what?|
The park was virtually deserted. We were watching the clock, trying not to get distracted by the beauty of the day. At exactly 11:30, we were back in the car and headed to the doctor's office.
|Let's go. Let's go. Let's GO.|
|Hey, is it legal to pee on part of a national monument?|
|Can't you let me off this leash for just a second? |
I promise not to go too far.
|Ok, I'll pose next to it, but it doesn't mean that I condone in any way, |
any act of aggression, on the part of anyone or anything.
|I don't know about you, but I'm having a GREAT time.|
"What are you here for?"asked the assistant.
We told him that we were here to get Ray's eye pressure checked and then surgery if the pressure was still too high.
"It'll probably be another 30 minutes," the assistant told us. "Do you want to wait outside?"
We nodded our assent, too nervous to engage in idle conversation. We went back through the door and headed towards the adjacent neighborhood. We walked Ray up and down random streets, killing time, meeting no one but an ancient Indian man with a white beard and top-knot. He was wearing a traditional kurta pyjama and had a silver bracelet encircling one thin wrist. As he checked his mailbox, we wished him a good morning. He smiled at Ray, said hello, and asked if Ray was a good dog. We assented. The old man came to pet Ray who's interest was taken by the old man's Pomeranian yapping at Ray through the front door of his house. We told the old man that Ray was blind and that we were waiting for the eye doctor. The old man tsked, shook his head, and asked how Ray became blind.
"He was born that way," I told him.
The old man tsked some more.
"So terrible," he said, real distress in his voice and on his face.
"No," I replied, "He doesn't know."
The old man was still tsking, stroking Ray, then bent down to try to hug him. Ray edged away a bit. The old man persisted. Ray, sensing the man's pain, relented and tried to give him a kiss. Delighted the old man hugged him again. He wished on Ray some of God's blessings and we continued back to the doctor's office.
The doctor came out in her scrubs with mask and hair cover in place. She retrieved her instrument to check Ray's eye pressure, shone it in his eye, looked at the reading, then looked at me.
"It's 10," she said.
"That's good, right?" I replied.
"Yes, that's in the comfortable range," she said, "The meds are working. He can still have the surgery, but if it was my dog, I wouldn't do it. Make an appointment for two months out and we'll check him again. Because he has secondary glaucoma, he may never need the surgery. If it was primary glaucoma, he would have to have the surgery eventually, but this is different. We'll just monitor him and see what happens."
Gregg and I thanked the doctor profusely. We led our dog out of the office, bundled him into the car, and headed home. The old man's blessings had obviously worked. The blind dog had dodged a bullet and we were thrilled.