This year has been nothing short of horrible. No sooner than we’d heard my sister was going to live and recover as much as someone with half her innards missing can, we faced yet another crisis.
Last Wednesday began like any other day. I got up and immediately went to let Dixie outside. I blearily drudged my way through my morning routine, but when I poured her food in her dish, she didn’t come back inside (she usually comes running). I went to the back door and called for her, but she didn’t come.
I figured she’d wandered around to the front of the house and was about to go to the front door, when I heard my husband say, “What the hell is that??” while he opened the door. Dixie came running into the house and collapsed, shivering, in the front hall. I knelt down and the minute I touched her she gave a loud yelp and bolted to her kennel.
“What happened?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he replied, “I heard her yelping and when I opened the door, well, you saw.”
It took me forever to calm poor Dixie down enough to let me examine her, and even then I had to practically climb into the kennel with her. All I could see was a shallow, but bloody, cut on the back of her left leg, but I knew what had happened – she’d wandered into the street. It was still dark out, and she’s a solid black dog; she was hit by a car.
My husband had to go to work (of course), but I immediately called the vet and told them what I thought happened. They couldn’t see her right away and suggested a nearby animal hospital, so I bundled her up in a blanket and carried her to the car as quickly (and gently) as I could.
They were able to see her as soon as we got there and x-rayed her and did some sort of other scan to check for internal injuries. She was very, very lucky – she only suffered the cut on her leg, some other scrapes and bruising, and a very small fracture of her tailbone. They gave us some pain medication, a stool softener (the fractured tailbone is making any elimination painful) and we were on our way home just a little over an hour later.
I was out of my mind with worry about her for the first few days – she refused to leave her kennel at all the first day, except when she came out to pee and poop on the floor (which I willingly – gladly, even – cleaned up). The next couple of days weren’t much better, although she started to come out to eat and drink, instead of waiting for me to bring her food and water dish to the kennel. She still wouldn’t leave it otherwise, though, and cried incessantly unless one of us sat next to her, petting her and speaking softly.
I had visions of her becoming a timid, frightful dog and the thought made me cry – I love my sweet, wild girl who, when she wagged her tail, managed to wag her whole body and tired out much larger dogs with her play and running at our nearly daily visits to the dog park. I knew she’d heal physically, but I was worried she’d never recover from the psychological trauma.
By Saturday, though, she started coming out of the kennel for brief periods, acting more like her old self, and finally went outside to do her doggy business. By yesterday she was MUCH improved, going outside with my husband while he continued the job of cleaning out the garden beds, and even went to go visit the neighbors behind us, who adore her. We ended the day with a nice, leisurely walk around the block.
She still isn’t jumping on the sofa – it hurts too much, getting up and down – so we’ve made her a bed in the sunny patch by the sliding glass doors that lead to the deck out back. And while there’s no full-body wag (yet), she’s wagging her tail again, if somewhat gingerly, and feeling well enough to beg for bacon and dog treats whenever I’m in the kitchen.
I’m confident that she is going to recover fully from this awful accident, which is such a relief. Now our challenge is how we’re going to handle the next few weeks – per the vet, she’s not supposed to run until the fracture is fully healed, which will take six to eight weeks. That means no running, and no visits to the dog park, and if there’s anything my girl Dixie likes to do, it’s run and go to the dog park.
I’ll keep you updated.