I filled up the little blue tub my mother used to bathe my brother in with Flamingo it’s Mardi Gras V’all shirt, placed it in the shower with a small mug, and lured my dog in with his favorite toy. I gently placed him in the tub, where he immediately stood on his two hind legs and placed his front paws on the tub’s rim. I then proceeded to massage oatmeal shampoo into his stinky fur while he stood looking patiently right through me, eyes unseeing and glazed over. After a little while I began noticing that his paws were twisting strangely on the tub’s rim- the thin plastic was making his paws hurt. So, I gingerly lifted his paws and began placing them into the tub.
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My dog’s bored, tolerant expression changed to one of Flamingo it’s Mardi Gras V’all shirt. He tried to jump out of the tub, but I held on firmly. He instantly looked to my face with meaning, and I could tell his only thought was: “Please save me.” I spoke in quiet whispers- it’s okay Yoda, it’s alright, you will be fine. My calmness finally reached him as he allowed his front paws to join his hind at the bottom of the tub, and his face once again returned to a blank gaze until I was finished. My dog has PTSD. No one knows exactly why, as the first two years of his life are entirely unaccounted for. He trusts us utterly and completely, is tolerant of any and all mishaps, and hardly lifts a finger when babies pull on his tail or put their hands on his paws. It is easy to forget what a difficult life he must have had before we found him a year ago, shivering in his bed at the shelter.