Yesterday was traumatic. It started out calmly enough. Mid-morning, while I was upstairs getting ready to go out and run errands, I heard The Daddler come in the back door and scream for me. A few minutes earlier, I'd heard Lucy and Sally growling and barking at each other in the back yard. It sounded more serious than their usual sisterly knock-down-drag-outs, so I looked out the upstairs window to check, and I saw The D standing by the fence, so I didn't worry. Normal behavior for snack time.
This time, though, it escalated. And the way Daddy was hollering, I knew something was terribly wrong. Other than the awful shingles episodes when he first came to live with me, and the time he thought I was asleep when he was ready to go to his doctor's appointment (I wasn't,) I've never heard such panic or distress in his voice. So I sprinted out the door, fully expecting to see one or both of the dogs with their aorta(s) ripped to shreds. Fortunately, it wasn't that bad. They were one mangled, muddy mass snarling and barking and rolling around at the bottom of the hill. The Daddler had tried to break up the fight by spraying them with water from the hose. Needless today, that didn't help.
I ran barefoot down the hill and grabbed Sally (who weighs 50 lbs.) by her harness and pulled her off Lucy. I was surprised when Lucy (35 lbs.) jumped right back in. I was standing there, covered in mud and blood and slobber, trying to get The Daddler to help me. Bless his heart - he must've been pretty upset because he had a hard time figuring out how to help. But I was shouting out one different command after another. Finally, I got him to take Lucy, and I locked Sally into the back part of the yard. I took Lucy inside and told D to watch Sally. I knew right away that my Little Lulu was in bad shape. She had lots of bite wounds on her neck and ears and she had a severe limp. And she looked like she was in shock. Those sweet, sad brown eyes.
So I grabbed a towel and snatched her up in it. Got my purse and keys and ordered The D to get in the car with us. We drove straight to the vet's office (just two miles away, thank God.) When we burst in the door, the receptionist jumped into action, announcing an emergency, and requesting a doctor. I swear, I think I could hear that theme music from ER playing in the background. They ushered us into the first exam room, and then I burst into tears.
I could describe every little detail which followed, but instead, I'll just sum it up quickly.
We returned to the vet with Sally a little later - she hadn't come out unscathed. Four hours, $300, and a week's supply of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories later, we were home with two sad, bruised, penitant puppies. At least they were clean, though. Lucy was still bleeding, so I wrapped a piece of cotton from a torn sheet around her neck as a bandage. We had a little snuggle time on the sofa, while The Daddler looked on.
I headed upstairs, took a long, hot bath to wash the grime and slime away. Then I started a new book. Wild by Cheryl Strayed. In the first chapter, she writes about losing her mother. I don't know if it was the emotional trauma from taking care of my damaged dogs, or the fact that this is the time of year my mom started dying, or just the book, but I cried harder and longer than I have since before Mother died. I wish I could say it was cathartic, but the truth is that I'm having a difficult day. I'm feeling really down. Missing my mom so much.
I guess it's normal for something like the dog debacle to trigger these feelings. Because for a moment, I thought I'd lost someone I loved. I do love my dogs. Especially my sweet little Lucy. I'm not so crazy about Sally right now, but I suppose it's natural for a mother to feel the most love for her child who's most in need of it. Which is why I know that I was always Mother's favorite.