Whenever we can, we let Hachi and Shyla play together. They seize each day that they have a chance to play.
One evening when they played in a grassy meadow, Hachi started sneezing violently, one sneeze after another. My heart fell because I thought that it was a foxtail up his nose. That's a serious matter that can require a rapid visit to the vet.
As he continued sneezing, my mind started racing ahead. We'd have to take him to the emergency vet, muzzle him, and then he'd have to go into the hospital by himself (due to Covid precautions). My mind then visualized how terribly the vet visit would affect him especially without us being by his side. The emotional trauma would probably set us back months in his behavioral rehab. I then started fervently sending up requests to the heavens that he'd sneeze out the foxtail without needing to go to the vet.
As he kept on sneezing, I started wondering if there are things that can be done to help a dog like Hachi not be so completely terrified by a vet visit and then suffer for months afterwards. A few days later, when we talked with our behavioral vet, she said that yes, there's a protocol for pups as fearful as Hachi. It involves immediate complete sedation with specific amnesiac drugs before they even examine him at the vet hospital. She said that she'd write us a letter to take with us on an emergency visit to the vet to increase the chances that the ER vet would actually do it.
I was glad that there is a protocol for a dog like Hachi. I was a little surprised that I had to ask for instructions (rather than them being offered a long time ago when the degree of his fear became obvious). Regardless, I'm glad that there's an option.
On that evening walk, Hachi sneezed out whatever was in his nose so it didn't end with a fast trip to the vet. Instead, he got to play some more with Shyla. Phew - that was a close call.
I know that someday, he'll need a visit to the ER vet, and I'm glad that we'll be a little bit more prepared so that he doesn't have repercussions for months afterwards.
We love our Hachi, fearfulness and all.