Sunday Snuggle: Rugby Learns Empathy

The accident happened in 2011.  I had a bad sprain of my upper and lower ankle.  My ankle was so swollen it looked like a tennis ball was under the skin.  And if anyone tells you that you can’t really injure yourself that badly by stepping off of a sidewalk, just laugh.  I’m living proof that you can be laid up for three full months by stepping off of a sidewalk in the wrong way!

Up until then, honestly, Rugby never seemed to care or really even notice if anyone in our family hurt themselves.  He was oblivious and carefree.  I had never owned a dog who didn’t really tune into an owner’s pain before, so this was further evidence of Rugby’s original emotional state in his first few years with us.

This accident changed everything in that regard.  I cried and cried when it happened, not only from the pain, but also because I was just sure that I had broken it, and I was anticipating an expensive surgery and extensive healing time.  I escaped the break, but the healing time was substantial, and it was in that healing time, that Rugby learned how to have empathy.

The first two weeks I simply kept it elevated and iced.  After that, my doctor put a cast on it for a few weeks to keep it completely immobile. Rugby was rarely away from my side, and often propped his head and / or paws on my leg when it was in a cast for a few weeks.  He was so attentive to me, and really loved the extra daily snuggle time that he got with me!

And ever since that time, any time I even wince at something, he’s right there, trying to lick my face to let me know he cares.  He’s persistent in making sure that I really am okay, and it’s a genuine concern that he shows….much like what I’ve seen from my previous dogs.   This injury really helped Rugby understand that he was finally part of a pack and that this pack sticks together through thick and thin!

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