Friday, April 01, 2005

Dog Scare 

Outside on the lawn today, Willow in her new spring bee boots stomping through the muddy snow under the neighborhood swingset, Zellie the the Jack Russel Terrier zigzagging collarless and unfettered as usual. Across the lawn we spotted baby Zinnia and her daddy, musician Peter Siegel, with their own dog Lucy, a big grey Lab mix.

Peter and I are both on the jobhunt these days, so though we knew Lucy has a thing about small dogs, after a few call-and-response across the wide ever-more-green expanse, we found ourselves grouped, comparing notes about the interview process.

Until, with no warning whatsoever, Lucy pulled out of Peter's grasp and lunged for Zellie, pinning her to the ground like a tiger on its prey.

It's funny how the panic instinct kicks in in moments like these. I have a vague memory of a single, tiny yip, Peter and I together struggling to pull this suddenly huge dog off little Zellie, a suddely grounded Zinnia screaming in the background. I remember it took perhaps a minute, maybe a few seconds more, to extricate Lucy's teeth from Zellie's neck; I remember I was screaming something, maybe Lucy's name, and Peter was, too.

Funny, too, how polite and casual one can be in the aftershock of a scare like this. It took another minute, maybe, to part as cordially as possible, reassuring Peter all the while that the dog was surely fine, that we knew this was going to happen and shouldn't have been talking, that we'd better get inside.

But under the politeness, I think I already knew Zellie was hurt. Though there was no limp in Zellie's walk, there was blood on her neck and shoulder. And she wasn't making a sound -- which, if you know anything about Jack Rusell Terriers, is a sign of serious injury indeed.

Back home, imagining the worst, we called Darcie, who was at the library, and told her to come home. Willow was a little confused, but I think she still doesn't really understand what happened, or why -- a truth of immaturity for which I will always be grateful, as I imagine this could have been a major trauma for her as well in other, more mature circumstances. Me, I was terrified, listening for a bark or whine that never came, trying to imagine the perils of letting a dog with no warning system, no voice box, run free.

Minutes later, we were in the car, on the way to the vet, Zellie wrapped in a towel. Willow spent the drive trying to figure out what happened -- Mommy, is Lucy going to be okay? Why is Zellie in the car? -- and trying not to panic. In other circumstances, her worst outburst (No, Daddy, you can't asnwer that question! It's mine!) would even be funny.

Me, I just prayed.

After a long wait for the vet -- she was removing some dog's teeth when we arrived -- over the course of a nervous hour, we began to hear the whine of a dog's bruised voicebox coming back to life. No surgery was necessary; though the vet discovered serious bruising over half of her body, and the shaved patches have revealed some pretty deep and gory puncture wounds, we are assured that Zellie will recover fully.

Thank the lord for small miracles, I suppose. But God, if you're listening:

Things are a bit fragile these days; we're still jobless as of June, about to be homeless, expecting a second baby in 13 days, now. I'm overworked, falling behind trying to cover work responsibilities and the jobsearch at once, skimping on kid and wifetime already, wondering where I'll be able to find the extra time and energy for a new baby and a post-C-section spouse. Not sure how much more of this I can take.

Please, stop testing me.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:18 PM |

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