I was getting the barbecue started on the side of the house and the dogs were with me because meat tends to fall near barbecues and my dogs are smart. As I scrubbed the grill with Mojo nearby in the back yard I heard Junior crying. Junior doesn’t cry.
Between the barbecue and the front of the house there’s another gate but we don’t rely on it because Junior can go under it. He flattens out like a hamster and loves to come home from walks underneath the gate. It was a mystery to us for months when he was a puppy and when we finally figured out this particular escape route we put in a second gate, a wooden one that scrapes the ground. It’s what has kept Junior safe and secure for more than eight years.
After I heard the crying I saw Junior crawling into the side yard under the gate. And I saw Junior’s blood. A good bit of it. I grabbed my dog and held him close. Neighbors were yelling things, I will never know what they said. I could only hear my heart beating and was singularly focused on getting my dog wrapped in a towel or blanket and getting him to the hospital. Mr. G said something and I have no idea what I might have said to him I just knew I didn’t need him. I often know the wrong things.
In all of this I’m running through the house with blood spraying out of my little dog and yelling at everyone to help in one way or another. “Get my keys!” “Close the fucking gate!” “I need clean towels!” I’m not mad at anyone, I’m scared and I need my voice to be heard so I’m yelling. Alexander retreats to his bedroom upstairs and Jane moves into efficiency mode handing me towels and securing Mojo because doors have been flung open. As I’m rushing to my car Mr. G finally yells at me, “Get in my car.” I needed yelling at. I needed someone to interrupt my noise with their own.
I held the dog, wrapped in dishtowels and tried to calm myself down while Mr. G rolled through stop signs, treated red lights like suggestions and got us to the hospital before Junior lost too much blood. All the while we were on the phone with Jane who was busy making her brother dinner and mopping blood off the floors. We all care for ourselves in our own ways.
Sometimes as a mother I think that the kids and the animals are my job, that childhood belongs to the kids and that Mr. G is here to provide for us all and lift heavy things. I continually sell my husband short. He’s great in a crisis and takes care of us all emotionally as much as (or perhaps more than) I ever have.
Junior doesn’t need a transfusion though he’s slightly anemic, no ribs were broken or lungs punctured. He’s at the hospital overnight and hopefully there’s no nerve damage to his leg. All I wanted was to get home, hug my kids, let them know it’s all okay and to maybe pet Mojo and give him some love.
We come home, hug the kids and ask where the dog is. “He’s a little nervous.” The kids say. He won’t come out of Alexander’s room. After some coaxing the dog is downstairs and he won’t come near me. When I walk into a room Mojo cowers. His pug tail is uncurled and between his hind legs. That sweet boy will hardly let the kids near him and certainly not me. We need to get Junior back home and healed so that Mojo doesn’t think I’ve killed him.
Edit: I guess I wasn’t too articulate at 4am when I wrote this. Junior is home now. Apparently he got out of the yard and tried to attack my neighbor’s large dog who was being walked on a leash. She tried shooing Junior away but he just kept coming at her dog. Junior lost. My poor neighbor is devastated. He had one big bite and a puncture wound, a muscle was torn and we’re waiting to see if he regains use of his leg. If he doesn’t we need to talk about amputation. The bite was big and he’s a very small dog, just 6 pounds. He’s going to be fine no matter how many legs he’s ultimately left with, I’m absolutely numb and Mojo has not left Junior’s side.