Maia had some minor surgery last Friday.

She's fine. Great, in fact.

I had scheduled a teeth cleaning. Her canines had way too much plaque and tartar. Both girls have always had good teeth, but at nearly nine years of age, Maia's finally were looking bad. I thought a thorough cleaning was warranted for her overall health.

This required that she be sedated. I also opted to have her start antibiotics three days in advance. I'd read, somewhere, that especially with older dogs problems can occur if the removed tartar enters their digestive or blood system. I didn't want to take any unnecessary risks with Maia.

Since she would already be sedated, I asked the vet about removing two small growths near her left eye; both had appeared rather suddenly in the past year. The one below her eye kept growing. The vet said sure.

I brought Maia in at 9 AM. Right away they gave her an injection of something that would relax her (the "happy drug"). Then I led her to the kennel portion of the vet's practice where she would wait until they were ready to start. There were several barking dogs who really put up some noise as we came through. I was asked to put Maia in a small kennel between two that had noisy, highly agitated and growling inhabitants. The solid portion of the dividing walls came up only to Maia's chest, and her neighbors were putting their muzzles and paws on the wire mesh portion of the walls, snarling at her. Maia was clearly distressed and letting out little defensive growls as she tried to find a place to hide. I told the vet this wouldn't work. She agreed and let me move Maia down to the end of the row of kennels, into one where she had no neighbors. She wasn't happy as I her left behind. Not happy at all. I felt awful.

I returned to the car. Meadow was waiting, and clearly upset that (a) I'd taken Maia in without her, and (b) returned without Maia. Meadow and I went off to a nearby town where I was scheduled to do a mediation. I was glad I had the distraction.

I returned to the vet's around 1 PM and Maia was ready to go. They said her teeth looked great, no hidden cracks or problems. She came out of the anesthetic well with some IV fluids. I went back to rescue her from her kennel. She was talking to me even before she saw me ("Get me out of here!"), warbling little Malamutes howls. She couldn't walk a straight line, but was moving under her own power. She made a beeline for the front door, then for my car.

Her right eye made my stomach clench in sympathetic pain. Both eyes still had some filmy goop in them, drops given during surgery so they won't dry out. The goop made her eyes - and her - look sad and old and woozy. But her right eye looked like she'd gone ten rounds with George Foreman before finally losing the fight. It drooped a bit, was red in the corner, and there were two small incisions - one above, one below - with two blue stitches in each.

She clearly wanted to go home. Now. We did. Slowly. She wanted to stand in the back of the car, but was still unsteady on her feet. Eventually she curled up in her usual spot.

I took these photos shortly after we got home. At the time, I was worried that her right eye's lower lid would permanently droop a bit, making that eye look more like one belonging to a Basset hound. But it has since returned to it's normal appearance, and she continues to heal remarkably quickly. She's amazing. The only reason it looks as though she has a black eye is because the hair below the eye was shaved and the skin underneath is dark. And lest the reader think she was feeling as poorly as she looked in these photos, let me assure you that she was sitting in front of the kitchen cabinet where the treats are stored, demanding a treat. She got lots of treats that afternoon. Her appetite ever since the surgery has been amazing. And her teeth sparkle.

There was, however, an awful smell to her for about a day. Does anyone know - is this a result of the teeth cleaning? I kept smelling the fur on her face, thinking it was some topical antibacterial substance used for the surgery, but I couldn't detect anything similar there. It's hard to describe this particularly awful smell. To me, it smelled like illness. Some people, when they get sick with a flu or cold, give off an odor from their bodies that I find pretty horrid. I was a bit nauseous on the drive home because of the odor. The whole house smelled as well once she'd been there a short time. I'd go outside, and upon returning, felt like I'd entered a hospital death ward. I put out a couple of those air deodorizers, hoping to diffuse the stench. Since her fur didn't smell bad, I have to assume it was her breath. Now, three days later, the smell is finally gone. Whew.