Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bit by a Dog

So Ash and I have this revolving joke we say every other day or so. We either say, "Coulda gone without that!" or "It's been rough!". Both are meant to lighten the mood during trying times. Saturday night was the latest debacle in 2013 that will go down as a year in the books for me. And not in the happy fantasy section. More like horror :).

Here's the story:

Saturday night was my buddy Pete's b-day bash. He was turning 29, and (in typical Pete fashion) having a rager of a time in the city. Ash and I are not big put it mildly. We rarely go out drinking, but Pete will be a best man in my wedding and we wanted to rally with him and show him that despite our party-pooperesque ways, we can still get down with the best of 'em.

Earlier that week, we had committed to watching our neighbors' dogs. I'm unsure how in depth I've mentioned this, but I founded a Dog Watch Co-op in our complex. We have about 15 members and have occassional get togethers in our party room to get to know one another.

The family we were sitting for knows Leroy quite well. When I was in India, we actually paid their older son Owen to feed and walk him at lunch. Did a heck of a job too, we were very pleased. Good kid.

So now it was our turn to return the favor.

At about 8:30 P.M. we were getting ready to get our game faces on (meaning I had like half a I was halfway drunk). Ash was putting on make up and I was...well...I managed to take my hat off, so that's a start.

We wanted to take the dogs out before we left for the evening, so off we went to their apartment. Once we got in, it took us a minute or two to locate where the dogs were, and upon opening their crates (they're beagle-looking dogs but not beagles) they didn't budge. We could tell they were skiddish and afraid of us.

So we walked away and finally they both exited and walked over tentitively to their food bowls. I poured in the food but they wouldn't touch it b/c I was standing too close. So I backed off. They stared at me pensively and refused to eat. So I shrugged and figured we'd walk them FIRST and then they'd work up an appetite and be more comfortable around us.

I got the leash on one of the dogs, but the other dog was playing keep away. Ash was trying to coax it near her with treats, but the dog was too scared to approach. I walked outside the apartment in the hallway with the other dog hoping to persuade his brother to follow suit. Well, that happened, but not before I could close the door (and sans leash). The dog BOLTED out and ran full speed down our corridor.

Granted...our complex has more hallways than the Pentagon, so we knew this was NOT. GOOD. Thankfully we still had one dog on the leash as collateral. We had a hostage. We were hoping familial loyalty would prevail. We were wrong.

So we walked with one dog on the leash and the other somewhere in the endless maze of the 3rd floor. We tracked it down within a couple minutes and somewhat cornered it.

And here's where things got outta hand very fast.

In the heat of the moment, I realized we would spend literally HOURS chasing this dog around. As fat as it was it was evasive as Adrian Peterson. And we had plans tonight, with little time to waste. So as the dog came jogging past me, I reached down to grab its harness.

And in this split-second lunge (one that...admittedly wasn't well thought out) my grip was victorious. I snatched the collar and immediately felt an odd sensation in my hand. Couldn't tell exactly what it was though, kinda like when you touch something EXTREMELY hot or cold. There's a thousandth of a second, when despite the extreme temperature, the body can't recognize exactly what's happening.

So lucky me, I keep my hand down for another half-second which was just long enough for the dog to lock his jaws around my wrist and hand puncturing both sides with ferocity.

YOOOWWWWWWW! As soon as my reflexives kicked in (too damn slow if you ask me!) I yanked my hand back. But the damage was done. My flesh was torn and I had deep, gnarly gashes in my left wrist and upper hand.

The dog had also peed and pooped in the moment, so clearly he was scared shitless. Now I understand where that quip comes from. Nice to learn something on the battlefield.

It'd be an exaggeration to say my hand was gushing blood, but the blood was trickling down like a leaky faucet. And it hurt like a mother. Like an evil mother. Like a step mother. Like a widowed step-mother who steals your inheritance.

I crutched my left hand in agony and told Ash matter-of-factly (and dare I say oh so calmly :) ) I'd been bit. We were both in a state of trauma and shock. After 28 years of being around dogs, I had never once been bit.

And now, the FOUNDER of the damn dog co-op gets bit! Crazy!

Not to throw a pity party, but between my achilles injury, concussion and road rash, shingles, fainting spells (and India disaster), and a dog bite (I'm actually leaving some other petty stuff out) 2013 HAS been rough.

Good god. I couldn't sleep last night. Was tossing and turning clutching my hand.

I'm big on composure. I think the way a person composes him or herself in the face of adversity and difficulty is perhaps THE MOST important character trait. I always strive to compose myself with gratitude, grace, kindness, etc. I often fail, but I STRIVE to be better. I strive to not 'lose it' even when life throws you lemons. Or Greece stock...don't ask.

But to put it mildly...2013 HAS been rough. And my hand is still throbbing dammit! Have ace bandages wrapped around it like I'm a gymnast.

Thankfully my boy Leroy is treating me well and nursing me back to health. He's a good pup.

But man, can I say I'm damn well hoping for a better 2014. 


Anonymous said...

"And it hurt like a mother. Like an evil mother. Like a step mother. Like a widowed step-mother who steals your inheritance." Hilarious and witty description!

So awful about the dog bite though, but it sounds like you couldn't have done anything else. You didn't know the dog, and had no reason to know grabbing his harness would have such an effect.

2013 has been rough...that's for sure.
But, you got engaged, moved into a new place, decorated the new place and discovered a love for interior design, went to Spain (and Morocco, and UK, and Grenada), crushed your tri season (before the Achilles injury), and became a force to be reckoned with in the stock market. Plus, you, the pup, and Ash seem to have a good thing going establishing your little family!

Cheers to a happy, healthy and fulfilling 2014 ;)

Andy said...

next time bite back and show you're the true alpha dog.

Anonymous said...

So how much an hour do you charge to freak out man's best friend?

Anonymous said...

Oh do you ever have a way with making a rather sad and hard situation so funny. You really do have a great way of writing,a most captivating and entertaining way. So sorry about the bite, but life sure can throw us some crazy situations. You have had a rather eventful 2013. Perhaps the number itself is bad luck for you, as it is for many. Next year with your wedding and graduating with a masters, how could things not be better. Hang in there.