This afternoon, I was sitting on the deck reading, enjoying my first day of summer vacation, when I heard one of my dogs "screaming" in pain.
If you have never heard a dog screaming, it is a horrible noise.
I jumped up immediately to see what was wrong. Deck furniture was being pushed around, Oreo was scrambling to come out from under the table. Then, I saw that poor Misty had her foot caught under the deck railing.
Just as I reached Misty to help, she was able to pull her foot free on her own. There are scratch marks on the deck from Misty's toe nails, as she struggled to get loose.
I held Misty's leg, looked for blood, and bent it back and forth, watching her face to see if the movement caused any pain or flinching. I wanted to make sure nothing was broken.
Misty seemed to be fine. I rubbed her leg for a while, and tried to soothe her. Then, she heard a noise next door, barked, and took off across the yard. Duty calls.
Guess she was OK.
When Misty returned to the deck, Oreo kept following her around. Oreo would smell her leg, lick it, and then he would go over to the railing where Misty's leg had been stuck. Oreo did this over and over.
Even half an hour later, when I brought them inside, Oreo was still concerned with Misty's leg. He followed her around the house, sniffing her leg.
It reminded me of the time when Oreo had been bit by the evil St. Bernard. That day, I had to leave Oreo at the vet. I walked Oreo and Misty to the back room of the vet's office, and helped Oreo get settled in their big crate. I stood up, and let the vet tech shut the door. I wanted to leave quickly, as to not prolong our good bye, when the vet tech motioned for me to look at the crate.
There was Misty, sticking her nose through the crate's wires, as if she were trying to tell Oreo that everything was going to be OK. Misty was saying good bye to her buddy.
Oreo and Misty occasionally get into spats, usually over hunks of rawhide. It never lasts long though. Just a brief second. Sometimes, Oreo annoys Misty with his puppy antics, and she quickly puts him in his place. Otherwise, they get along great, and seem to love each other's company.
Today, I realized that dogs are capable of displaying what I consider to be compassion, or perhaps sympathy for one another. It was especially surprising to see Oreo, a young dog who is typically self absorbed, show real concern for his sister's well being.
It was truly a beautiful sight.