Dog Day

One day, while Mom was in town, we were playing out in the yard, all five of us and our dog. He was in the road for some reason, either chasing a ball or coming back from the creek, I don't really remember. He was just a little hound and we all loved him.

A blue van came over the hill and hit him right in the middle of the road. They slowed down and then sped off and left us standing there in shock.

I was fairly fast on my feet and knew this needed the Mom. I sent one girl to call her and I asked one for a blanket, I slowed down and looked for traffic but I was to him before they could reach the house. I didn't care about the cars that might come, I cared about that dog. I told the sisters and brother left to stay back and sent them up the hill to flag cars for me.

I dropped there in the road beside him. He was screaming dog pain and it ripped my heart. I looked him over and knew moving him would hurt, I had to wait for the blanket and my extra set of hands.

I spoke, I know, going, "Oh Ozzie I am so sorry, it's going to be ok", and such like that in a calm voice. Then I reached out my hand to comfort him, just to touch him on the head.

He bit me.

I stared at my hand and then the pain hit. His lips were drawn back and he growled and shook his head. That ripped my hand more. I tried to pull it back. He had his jaw locked down tight. I started crying, too.

I couldn't get him to let go and I finally hit him in the nose and yanked my hand as hard as I could to get him to give it back. I needed it to get him on the blanket.

Now he let me go when I hit him. I cradled my hand and ran back for the house with blood all over it. I called the other kids in with me and we left him lay there alone. I knew then and I know now that dog loved me but it was blind in its pain and bit on instinct. I knew the kids would be risking a bit and called them away.

While I tended my hand and the littlest girl snuck back out the upstairs window and found him where he had dragged himself. Mom got home. We loaded up and headed for the vet.

The poor dog had no bite left in him by then. My one hand was wrapped in wet towel but I held him on my lap and used the other one to touch him and I talked to him in case he could hear. "I know you didn't mean it, I'm sorry I hit your nose. It's going to be ok. We are going to the vet." and all the other things a girl might say to comfort her pet.

We had to put that dog down.

Mom took me to the doctor then because I wouldn't go until the dog was taken care of and I was screamingly sure of it. She accepted that from me, even after she saw my hand. I could wait while the poor dog needed help right now.

It was not Dad's good night to come home. Five sad crying children and a mother at the end of her rope.

I couldn't use that hand for awhile. I had tears in the palm and knuckles. I had scars, they don't show much now, but at the time they made me shy about reaching out that marred hand.

The neighbor dog started coming down and they gave him to us. He wasn't Ozzie, but he was neat and ran through our days with us. Our hearts accepted him for himself. He had lots of tricks. When he got old he used to fall on his side and have little sizures. We would pound on his chest and he'd get up and stagger a minute and be fine.

I like to think I will always be able to reach out and help, no matter how scarred up the hand I have left to do it with. I have had lots of dogs since then, and accidents that happened. I never left one with out my help, even with my fear.

Can you see the sadness in hurting each other in pain? If you love each other you can get through it, knowing the pain and love are both real but one stops and the other is always.

Even a scarred hand can show love for a friend. Keep reaching out your hand.