“Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog” :Reggie Visits the Psychiatrist (A Children’s Story)

My enthusiasm and zest for life really has disappeared in these past few weeks. My thoughts have changed since the death of my dog friend Karim and after the dog attack by that mean German Shepherd Layloo. I am not very hungry. I sleep less and the quality is poor. I am not excited about our walks even to the golf course where Dillie and I can roam free without a leash. I am not very sure what the future holds for me but I am frightened Bob and Fay will return me to the rescue society because I am not myself and am so unhappy.

Bob and Fay are worried about me as they know I am not acting normally. But I hear them talking and they mention it is because my dog friend Karim died and the recent German Shepherd attack. Bob sits on a patient advisory board at a local hospital and another board member who is a psychiatrist at the hospital suggested that I be taken for a check-up to see if anything was physically wrong with me. If I am “fit as a fiddle” as my animal doctor likes to say then the psychiatrist knows of a colleague at a veterinary college outside of Toronto in a place called Guelph that is experimenting with dog psychiatry and he could contact that person to see if he would see me. Psychiatrists deal with people who are mentally ill according to a BBC documentary I saw dealing with post traumatic stress disorder of soldiers after their tour of duty in Afghanistan. I am Reggie a tough dog and no way my mind is unwell! How ridiculous!

So Bob takes me to Dr. Murray at our local animal hospital and examines me and says I am “fit as a fiddle”. Bob explains my behaviour after Karim’s death and the Shepherd attack and Dr Murray says he is not a psychiatrist but with humans the death of a good friend can lead to depression and serious violent physical attacks like the Shepherd one can lead to post traumatic stress disorder. He advises Bob to keep a close eye on me over the next two weeks and if matters do not improve Bob should see the dog psychiatrist.

Well matters did not improve and we are off in the car to see Dr. Kureit at the University of Guelph Veterinarian School. Bob is asked to fill out a “Beck Depression Inventory” sheet about me and chats with Dr. Kureit about Karim’s death and the Shepherd attack. Like a British soldier suffering from post traumatic stress disorder he thinks the Shepherd attack has brought about recurring memories of the Cairo dog attack that I am reliving and that the loss of Karim has caused my brain to get mixed up and chemically imbalanced. I like Dr, Kureit who sounds like a narrator on a BBC documentary and what he says makes sense to me. Dr Kureit explains there is an experimental canine depressant called WoffLoft but Bob is reluctant to have me take drugs so he follows Dr. Kureit’s advice to show me I am loved emphasizing that, I am safe and I will never be forced to leave Bob and Fay’s house. And give the little guy some belly rubs whether he wants them or not!

Bob and Fay speak to me often and give me more hugs than usual and at first I don’t want the belly rubs but soon I am looking forward to them. We go for long walks at the golf course and there is more sun now and I feel like the gloom around me is disappearing. Dillie and I now have rice and ground beef with sweet potato dinners every Friday and that helps me with my appetite. I am eating and enjoying my chicken kibble and drinking cold and clean water. I don’t think about the Shepherd attack much and finally find peace about Karim realizing neither I or anyone, except for Allah could have changed that. That makes me feel much better and I know that Karim is in the world beyond with Anwar my former master in Cairo that was executed as a traitor by the Egyptian government. And Dillie the West Highland Terrier has been so understanding as he could be jealous about the extra attention I am receiving but seems to understand I need it and if I have a bad night he asks me into his comfy bed and I feel safe and protected and sleep peacefully. Not only is Dillie brave but he is wise.

Then the season called spring arrives. There is more sun and warmth and there are new smells I have never experienced again. One day it hits me how lucky I am. I have love, respect, affection, toys to play with, wonderful walks to go on. It has taken me weeks to think how wonderful it is to be alive. Whatever robbed and damaged my spirit has been chased far away. I thank Bob, Fay and Dillie for being so patient and caring. Bring on more belly rubs please and I am looking forward to many things I ignored in my “sad period”. The smell of spring and the care of Dillie, Bob, Fay and animal doctors have shown me once and for all humans can be trusted….at least most of them!

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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