it could have been worse.
that’s putting the best face on yesterday morning’s events.
and, yes, i know the rules. never stick your hand in a dog’s mouth. and never get in the middle of a dog attack.
yesterday i broke both rules, and ended up spending nearly six hours in the Queen’s emergency room as a result.
But what was the option?
i’m typing this post with my left hand. the big bandage wrapping the thumb and first two fingers on my right hand, and part of my forearm, make two-handed typing impossible, for now at least.
here’s a short version of the tale.
yesterday started normally enough. we launched our walk just before dawn, and got down to the beach right on schedule. we were just past the restrooms at kaaawa beach park when i noticed Big Dog trotting alongside her person and a friend about 50 yards ahead, walking in the same direction as we were. Big Dog isn’t her real name, but will do for this description. she is one of the many dogs that we’ve gotten to know along the route we take most days as we walk the back streets of kaaawa.
suddenly Big Dog stopped, looked back in our direction, and came charging back towards us. when it became obvious she was going to barrel past us, i turned and saw Small Dog and her person, both friends, just toodling down onto the beach.
in a flash of muscle and speed and intense focus, Big Dog had small dog by the back of the neck and had locked down, trying to do further damage by violently shaking her prey. i was right behind, trying first to pull her off, and when that proved unsuccessful, to keep her from dragging Small Dog away, while still trying to pry her jaws open. Small Dog was yelping and crying in fear and pain, Big Dog’s people had gotten there, bystanders were rushing over to help, everyone was trying to do something.
it was chaos.
I think Small Dog was ultimately saved by her harness, which interfered just enough with Big Dog’s bite. BD kept trying to get a better bite. periodically loosening her jaws slightly while trying to get a more deadly hold.
BD was in a zone, some kind of deep-in-the-dna, biochemical attack mode, suddenly transforming her into a terribly efficient killing machine, wholly focused, for whatever reason, on poor Small Dog.
i’ve seen our cats access a similar place in their inherited ancestral feline brains. something just takes over and they are driven by forces we can’t see or fully appreciate.
but i did not want Small Dog to be killed, so it didn’t occur to me to just step back and get out of the way.
then, in one of those moments when Big Dog tried to shift and get a “better” bite, we were able to pull Small Dog free and pass the terrified pup back to her person, who immediately set off for an emergency run to VCA in kaneohe.
that’s when i looked down and saw blood, my blood, it turned out, and i saw the injury and knew we needed to get to the ER, but first i had to walk home. that was a very, very long walk, although it certainly took less than 15 minutes.
with morning traffic we were at the ER by a few minutes after 8 a.m., and i finally got out of there just around 2 p.m.
“when was your last tetanus booster?” one nurse asked pleasantly. “not in living memory,” i replied.
at the end of the day, Small Dog was bloodied and chewed pretty well, but escaped without life threatening injuries. i’ll recover, but one finger will be a tad bit shorter than previously. Big Dog? i don’t know what has happened to her.
meanwhile, i’ve got pain meds to get me through the next few days.
i’ll just have faith that a slightly shortened finger won’t interfere much with my typing, once it heals up.
and i tell myself again, it could have been worse.