Working Dog, Helper and Hero

Meet King, Sean’s Shepherd from Animal Instinct

Dog inspectionExcerpt from Animal Instinct, Book One of the Time After Time Saga with Tami Dee

Sean tried to shrug away the tension gathering in his shoulders and the back of his neck. He’d seen the clinic on his way home yesterday, and he didn’t know where any other vets were located. He prayed someone would be there, and they could take his dog. The sting the poor boy got during their morning run was swelling around his eye and his breathing seemed more shallow than just a minute before. As a first responder, he knew the signs of anaphylactic shock, and he was terrified. He shifted King’s weight and kept on jogging, a slower jog with the extra hundred pounds, but he didn’t want to waste any time. He was close, just another half a block. “Hold on, King, I’ll get you some help.” He shouldered his way through the door. He barely took in the prim ladies with their lap dogs on leashes. He only had eyes for the person behind the counter who could get him some help.

“Doctor Al’s office, Carol speaking. How can we help you and your pet today?”

She wasn’t talking to him. She was answering the phone. He rested King, all sprawling, hairy, panting, wheezing dog, right on the counter in front of her.

His swollen eye was on her side of the counter. She couldn’t miss it.

“Just a moment, I have an emergency,” she said to the caller. “I’m putting you on hold.”

The woman was quick and competent. She called over her shoulder, “Doctor Al, we have an emergency in Exam One.” Then she turned to Sean as she opened the door to the side of the counter. “Follow me.” She opened another door into an exam room, grabbing what he recognized as the new epi pen on her way through. He carefully placed King on the table in front of them. “I will get you some paperwork in a minute. Do I have permission to treat your dog?” He nodded and she put the needle against King’s neck and pressed the life-saving drug into his system just as Doctor Al came into the room.

King was already breathing easier.

Sean’s whole body relaxed in relief. “Thank you, thank you.” He pressed the hand of the lady from the front desk; the motherly one who had acted so quickly.

“You’re welcome. Doctor Al will look at your dog now. Stop by before you leave.”

 *****

 Doctor Al was a woman. That was the first thing that registered. She was petite, with very small but competent hands examining King’s body. “Carol has given your dog a dose of an antihistamine to quiet what appears to be an allergic reaction.” She flicked her gaze to him. “How long ago did this bite or sting happen?”AnimalInstinctCoverArt_1

Her presence was calming. He shook away the tears that formed in his eyes at the thought of how close he’d come to losing his partner, his best friend. “Only a few minutes.” He cleared his throat in an effort to dislodge the fear and grief clogging it. “Maybe ten minutes ago. I was a couple of blocks from here, and figured it was faster to run in than to risk going home for my car.” He looked down at his running sweats, gave her what he hoped was an apologetic grin. “I know I stink and I don’t have any I.D. with me.” Embarrassed heat warmed his cheeks. “Or money, because we were out running. But I don’t live far,” he assured her with a quick gesture of his hands. He hoped he could count on small town acceptance. “As soon as we have this situation under control I’ll go get them.”

She nodded, continuing her examination. “Has this ever happened before?” When he shook his head she added, “Looks like there is only the one sting. What’s your dog’s name?”

He slid a glance to his dog. “King Solomon, but I just call him King.” At the sound of his name King raised his head, then got to his feet on the exam table, standing eye level with him and a head taller than the doc. He leaned in and licked at his master’s face. Sean laughed, partly in relief, partly in the surging joy that his dog really would be okay. He put his arm around King’s neck and the dog rested his chin on his shoulder.

Doctor Al lowered the stethoscope and looked into his eyes, and his breath locked in his lungs when he realized how beautiful she was. Auburn hair brushed her shoulders and framed her face, and eyes the color of the bluest sky met his. His knees went weak. He swallowed.

A hint of pink touched her cheeks and she averted her gaze from him back to King. “I’d like to watch him for a couple of hours, make sure we don’t have any further reaction.” With gentle fingers, she touched King’s face above the swollen eye. “I also want to clean this wound once the swelling has gone down, make sure we have the stinger and that we don’t risk infection. Can you come back after lunch?”

Sean nodded. He usually didn’t have so much trouble thinking of something to say, but Doctor Al left him speechless. He cleared his throat. “I’ll have a break at work around 2:00. Would that be okay?”

She nodded. “I’m sure that will work. Check with Carol at the front desk before you go.”

She smiled, and dimples appeared on both sides of her mouth. Kissing dimples. Where that thought came from, he had no idea, but he wanted to brush his lips against those smooth cheeks, flick his tongue into the little crevasses and claim them, claim her, as his own.

Download and read  Animal Instinct, Book One of the Time After Time Saga with Tami Dee.

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