Darby quickly led them into the first treatment room and slid a cushy mat onto the exam table, where Tommy slowly and gently laid the dog down.
Darby took a steadying breath and whispered something.
“You say something, Doc?” asked Buddy.
“Praying. Yo-day-ah tza-deek ne-fesh b’hem-toh. Sort of like saying grace.” She knew the simple prayer centered her, prepared her for whatever unknown lay ahead.
“What’s it mean?”
“It’s Hebrew. ‘A righteous person knows the soul of his animal.’” She took another deep breath. “Let’s see what we’ve got.” Her stomach clenched, fearing the worst, but she hummed softly as she slowly lifted the edge of the yellow blanket. A sob caught in her throat. “She’s just a puppy.”
She looked across the table at Tommy. Smart, strong, tough-as-nails Tommy, fighting back tears.
“A dachshund,” said Buddy, who had backed up and leaned against the far wall. “Love these little hot dogs. My mom used to have one. Named him Frank.”
“Frank?” asked Tommy.
“Yep. Frank, as in frankfurter, one of my favorite things to eat.”
“Anything that doesn’t move fast is one of your favorite things to eat.”
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