10 September 2013

the dog incident

As you {might} know.  Our big dog was attacked last week while I was jogging with her and the jogging stroller. 

{P.S. GMA did a segment this week on #petselfie pics, and I might be slightly addicted.  You can tell Koka is the least excited about this activity!}

Ok.  On to the story.

See, the four of us have settled into somewhat of a sweet spot in our weekly routine.  We would head out for a morning jog after the big boys are off to school. {Its important to add that I did try running before Brad left for work a couple times, and it was just crazy to be outside running before the sun came up.}  Its still super hot here, so Muskoka was usually just running 2 miles and I was slowly inching her up to the 3 mile mark. I'd loop close to home so I could bring her in for water when she got hot - and usually grabbed a snack for the babies. {I do still call them that sometimes!}

I set the goal to run the Callaway 10k and was following my training plan so carefully.  I ran over 60 miles in August.  SIXTY!  And it felt really good.  It was the one part of our routine that was predictable.

My friend, Jana, had asked me to consider running the soldier half marathon with her.  At first I laughed at the idea, but then as I looked over the training plans I realized it was totally doable.  Brad looked over the plans with me last weekend too.  He found the one he liked the best and I looked it over - pretty surprised that I was actually going to be able to train for a half marathon.

Last Monday, Labor Day, was my first official half-marathon training run.  I felt pretty pumped up.  Wilson and Walker were home from school, so I would be running my short loop up and down the nearby streets.  I had to run 4 miles, two of them were to be at a pretty fast pace.  I would be running 3 of my little loops.

I had my music on, my super-fast-running-skirt and my babies strapped in.  I think Koka was picking up on my vibe and had her prance going pretty steady.  I had to slow myself down for the warm-up half mile, reminding myself that I was going to run a fast mile here pretty soon.  I think I was almost giddy.  I was at the furthest point of  my tiny loop when a lady was walking two dogs toward us - across the street from us.  I run in the street {have you ever run with a double-jogging stroller on a sidewalk?}, Koka runs between me and the grass.  I was about a quarter-mile in to my first fast mile.  I kept pace and Koka kept on prancing.  I vaguely remember hearing the lady calling her dog as we passed by.  I kept my eyes forward.

Then I heard a somewhat panic-y yell, "She's off her leash!"  And a big white dog ran from behind and stopped on the grass in front of Koka.  They sniffed each other.  I thought the owner was right behind me.  The white dog jumped - moving its body toward the stroller but keeping its face toward Koka.  Koka matched that jump putting herself squarely between the stroller and that dog.  There was a growl.  I grabbed closer onto the leash and scolded Koka.  As I tugged her back, the other dog attacked.

No nipping.  No barking.  Full-on clamped jaws on Koka's neck.  Then that dog would violently shake its head.  I had a flashback to an AFV episode with dogs spinning on the ends of suspended ropes and Brad had told me something about how strong their jaws were.  I screamed, "GET YOUR DOG!"  She tried.  She really did try to grab that dog. I think she may have even loosened its grip on Koka because the next time I looked it had its mouth on Koka's torso just behind her front leg instead of her neck. It was still violently shaking its head as it tore into my big dog's body.

I don't remember if Lincoln and Franklin were screaming.  I don't think they were.  I remember trying to steady the stroller because we were on a slight hill {and 60+ pounds on big wheels rolls super easy down a slight hill}.

I looked back at Koka. I remembered that Brad had always told me to just leave her if anything ever happened {I have encountered so many loose dogs in our neighborhood}.  I knew I had to leave her, but I couldn't think rationally, so I didn't think to unclip the jogging leash from around my waist.  As I looked at the jaws on her neck again, I knew I couldn't unclip her collar.  At this point I think I started screaming "HELP!"  I also think I screamed at the woman, "YOUR DOG IS KILLING MY DOG!"  I remember thinking if I screamed loudly enough a soldier would come out and shoot that dog in the head. 

I tipped the stroller backwards so it was resting on the brake and wouldn't roll anymore and I think I began to kick that dog.  But I don't know for sure.  I don't know if I closed my eyes, or if I am blocking it out.  I just know that moments later I was facing the stroller and I heard a man yell, "WHERE IS YOUR LEASH?" to the other woman.  His voice was steady but stern.  I looked behind me and he had pinned that dog down somehow.

Koka ran over to me, shook her head and her collar slipped off.  I pet her wet neck and told her to sit then slipped her collar back over her.  She was panting so hard.  I just wanted to fall over next to her, but somehow I didn't.  She sat right by the stroller while I got the woman's contact information.  I dropped my phone, my hands were shaking so badly.  I didn't know if I needed to call the police right then or not.  Brad was at work.  I texted him the dog owner's contact info. After the woman walked away, the soldier that pinned the dog down told me I needed to call the MP's.  I got his contact info too, just in case.

I called Brad.  Tears started falling before he even answered.  I honestly can't tell you what I said to him.  Likely, "Koka was just attacked.  I sent you the owner's contact info.  My leg is bleeding.  The boys are fine. Should I call the MP's?"

And his response was, "I'm on my way home, call the police.

I tried scrolling through my contacts on my phone and couldn't find the MP number.  My  hands were still shaking.  I could see that woman walking about a block ahead of us.  She kept bending over to deal with "that dog."  I called Brad back and he said he'd call the MP's, and told me to apply pressure to Koka's wounds when I got home.  I could see the bloody spots through her curly-cream hair.  She seemed to be limping and kept looking at me as I sobbed.

Lincoln and Franklin kept asking, "what happened?"  In stereo.  Very dramatically.

As we walked up the driveway, I realized Wilson and Walker were probably going to be pretty scared too.  I told them I needed their help.  I laid a blanket out on our beige carpet - if our girl was going to die, it was going to be on carpet and not on the hard floor.  {This is the sort of thing that rolls through my mind.}  I couldn't apply pressure to all the spots so I just applied pressure on the spots with the most blood
.  I didn't know who would arrive first - Brad or the cops.

I wasn't surprised that it was Brad.  He ran in with his aid bag and bandaged up our big dog.  He repeatedly said to me, "you did everything right.  you did the right thing."  Over and over.

The police came in asking "who got bit?"  While we were explaining everything to them, an ambulance rolled up and the paramedics ran in, "Who was bit?"

The paramedics did clean up my leg - at that point I didn't know why it was bleeding.  {Later, I figured out that I cut it open while trying to prop the stroller on my foot to keep it from rolling.} They decided it did not look like a bite, but offered me a ride to the hospital in the ambulance.  I declined.

I won't continue with the play-by-play.  I'll tell you that the dog owner's contact information was correct, her husband also came home from work.  The dog was up to date on its shot and had no history of aggression.  Muskoka got 14 staples in about 5 different spots along with a few smaller puncture wounds.  The owners have paid her initial vet bill and have promised to pay the next bill as well {when she gets the staples out}.

I figured out a day or two later that my right arm felt like it had been wrung around a tree a few times.  I went for a run last Wednesday morning.  My arm was sore, but it really hurt whenever I tried to actually push the stroller.  I thought I should get it checked out after that.  My doctor thought it was related to past shoulder problems so she gave me a sling, a bag of medicine, and referred me to physical therapy.  I went back this week because my fingers had been swelling and the pain is not isolated to my shoulder even though I am taking all my meds regularly.  She sent me for a bunch of xrays and gave me a wrist brace as well.  It basically hurts if I use my right arm for anything.  But it is improving {no word on the xrays which tells me they are probably normal}.  Today, I was actually hopeful that I might be able to run again soon.  Not train-for-a-half-marathon soon, but possibly-reach-that-10-k-goal soon

I've replayed this so many times.  I've wondered what I could've or should've done differently.  I've pondered what the scene must have looked like to the two soldiers that came and helped.  I've rehashed the story with Lincoln and Franklin every morning since and often after naptime too - every time they notice Koka's sores again.   I've babied our dumb dog more than ever before.  {And I mean dumb in a super loving way}.  {See?  She's all tucked in at the foot of our bed. Super loving.}

I wonder what the lesson is in this for me.

I think I might know.  "That dog" lives behind us.  We can see its yard from our kitchen and dining room.  For days, whenever I looked out and saw it, I was filled with anger.  I'm just so mad that the whole thing happened.  I am so mad that my arm hurts so badly.  Meanwhile, "that dog" just plays in its yard, while we keep ours inside to heal.

Wilson told me I can't hold a grudge against a dog.  I kind of laughed it off.  I don't think there is anything in the bible about not holding a grudge against a dog.

But the thing is, a grudge is a grudge.  Its like that expression that says "unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies."  The bible actually does have a lot to say about unforgiveness - and definitely a lot to say about anger too.

"Be angry and yet do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity."  -Ephesians 4:26-27

So, wait?  I can't just be angry about this day after day?

The ugly feelings that keep erupting when I see that dog need to go.  Yesterday, I felt a nudge to think of something I am grateful for every time I see "that dog."

Today, I realize that I need to also think of something I am grateful for every time I use my arm - because the deep ache in it is a doorway to those ugly thoughts too.

Do you have a "that dog" or a deep ache that serves as a gateway to ugly thoughts? Let's kick them out with gratefulness!  We can do this, and it would be so much better to do it together!

1 comment:

  1. Found this post after my daughter, Amanda referred me to your blog. My dogs are my babies, so I really hope Koka is ok:) Thank you for sharing your life. Your family's story is truly inspiring.