Within a few minutes I return and set him free. He drinks two bowls of water before he's ready to go outside. His panting stops. Outside he does what he needs to do and all seems normal.
I reward him with a soft treat. When we are inside the apartment he lies underneath the doorway between the dining and family rooms. He ignores the sound of his breakfast hitting his food bowl. Zilla lies by the front door and keeps me company while I eat breakfast and watch the weather forecast.
From the bathroom I can see him in the bedroom. He is lying down and panting again. Later when I'm putting on my makeup I peek at him. The sound is so loud at first I can't tell if it's him or my husband snoring. It's Zilla.
Before leaving I talk Zilla into getting on the bed with my husband. He lets me rub his belly and accepts the hugs from my husband. When I leave the bedroom Zilla follows me and ends up in front of me. He stands at the top of the stairs.
"I'm going downstairs."
He moves closer.
"I'm still going downstairs."
I stand beside him and step on the first step.
He bounces down the stairs, legs straight and beats me to the bottom.
Zilla escorts me to the back door.
"Do you have to pee?"
He runs forward. I clip his leash on and out we go. Back legs on the sidewalk, he braces his legs and barely makes his grassy target. I laugh at him.
We return inside and he begins to eat his breakfast.
In the car I realize I've forgotten my palm pilot. Since I haven't left the parking lot I return to get it. Zilla is waiting for me by the door. He follows me upstairs. Once upstairs he stays with my husband.
With all that heavy breathing I fully expect our vet will tell me I need to go to the emergency vet right away. His attitude is good - he's not complaining though I know he's uncomfortable - and he still wants food, it's just difficult to eat.