My plans for the day were pretty simple. Everyone actually slept in until a reasonable hour. I thought maybe whichever kids were interested could come with me to the AirExpo before the heat and humidity became oppressive, then maybe the pool or sprinkler or beach.
And that’s when the dog’s tail got chopped off. I didn’t see that one coming.
Justin and Alex were dancing to Shakira in my room and Penny kept trying to get a ball that Justin didn’t want her to have. But he kept letting her back in after I shut the door repeatedly. He decided he wanted her out for good, but didn’t wait until she was all the way out before shutting the door.
“Justin!” I said, when I saw Penny’s tail between the door and the frame, “You shut Penny’s tail in the door.” I wondered why she was just sitting there outside the door because her tail didn’t move. Then Justin opened the door and the fluffy white end of her tail dropped to the floor. Penny was long gone.
First I thought it was just fur. Then Justin yelled, “Mom! Penny’s tail, it’s bleeding!”
Poor thing was cowering under the kitchen table, a few drops of dark red blood led me to her. I coaxed her out, tried to put some pressure on it with a paper towel, but she shrieked and wouldn’t let me touch her tail.
I calmly sat on the floor with her for a second, just trying to assess the situation. Unfortunately that is impossible to do in my house, where the two eldest males prefer to let panic dictate how things are handled. My husband came upstairs and immediately began yelling, “What happened?” Then when David, who was also hysterical by this time, filled him in, they both started in on poor Justin, who, even though the responsible party, was being the most helpful by getting me a towel to sit Penny on.
Not important right now how or why it happened, can we just focus on the patient and calm down? She was shaking by this time, probably more from all of the commotion than the pain. I asked Barry to get some kitchen cleaner and clean up the blood while I tried to call the vet. “It makes me sick,” he said. Meanwhile David was asking me if she was going to die, Alex wanted to hug her, Cameron wanted to look at the blood. Everyone was talking a hundred miles an hour.
This is when clearer heads (mine) finally prevailed, and I rolled my eyes at him, told everyone to shut the hell up and calm down. For the love of God. Finally everyone chilled out, sort of, and took orders. Alex, go get my cell phone. Barry, get over yourself and clean up the blood, David, sit here and just help me hold her still and keep her quiet, Justin, put the piece of her tail into a Zip-Loc bag. The vet wanted me to bring her in so she could get started on antibiotics right away.
The bleeding had already almost stopped so I knew she would be fine, the only reason I had to get to their office in a bit of a hurry was because they closed at noon. That didn’t stop everyone from hassling me about being so selfish as to dry my hair before leaving. Seriously, in emergency situations in my house I want to be able to push a button to activate like a Xanax fog so everyone will relax and put things into perspective for five seconds. No, I don’t think having a good hair day is more important than the dog, as Cameron said, but that doesn’t mean I need to go out in public looking like a complete troglodyte.
Unfortunately the vet had to put her under anesthesia to clean the wound, take it back up to the next vertebra so it could be closed, and suture it up. So that along with the heartworm test and pills that she was due for anyway ended up costing me a tidy $486.
Yesterday David was talking about the job he wanted to get when he’s old enough. He wants to work at Caribou Coffee. That’s fine, but he’s a really good swimmer, and I suggested he go through lifeguard training because that would be a cool summer job. He dismissed that immediately. I asked why, and he said it was because he was afraid of something happening and that he wouldn’t be able to save someone.
I probably should have thought about that for a minute. He’s not one to keep his head during a crisis, definitely illustrated by his reaction today, so yeah, lifeguard is probably not a good career path for him. Gotta chalk one up for him being self-aware.
Anyway, Penny is fine. She’s sleepy now. The biggest problem has been getting everyone to leave her alone. She gets the bandage taken off Tuesday, and has to wear the “cone of shame” for a week. I’m tempted to make Justin wear one too.
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011