Wednesday, January 11, 2006

She's Ok Now, or Sometimes It's Necessary to Give away the Ending to Preserve the Reader's Peace of Mind

It's Kathy's boss' fault -- if he hadn't insisted on Kathy and him using free flights up to NYC, instead of taking the train, she'd have been home sooner. And if she'd been home sooner, then she'd have walked the dogs, because I'd walked them the past two nights. And if she walked them, Junebug wouldn't have run into the car, because she would have been on a leash. But of course that's all bullshit -- if I had kept Junebug on a leash myself, she wouldn't have chased after the cat, so Kathy and I wouldn't have been at an emergency vet clinic at 11:30 last night, even though I was coming down with a cold and wanted nothing better than to go to bed.

The incident happened last night while Junebug, Nora and I were all at the triangle down the street, a grass area where three roads intersect. At that time of night there's almost no traffic. Junebug was dropping a deuce when she spied a cat and took off after it as fast as she could. The cat crossed the street, Junebug crossed the street, and a car approached. The cat darted back into the street, right in front of the car, and Junebug was still in hot pursuit. I was frozen -- there was nothing I could say or do at that point that would make a difference, so I wished for one of two things. The first had no chance of happening -- Junebug wasn't going to have enough sense to stop and let the car pass. The second, however, did occur -- the car got to the collision point first, i.e., Junebug ran into the car, rather than the other way around. There was a thump followed by Junebug's piteous yelping. I called Junebug back into the triangle, and she lay still there for a while as the various people gathered around -- the driver, the woman on the cellphone in her front yard, and a few other neighbors. The neighbors hadn't seen the accident and assumed the worse, but because I knew she had run into the car, I was more optimistic. And after a few minutes, when I called her to get up, Junie was able to do so, although slowly. I thought she might just have been shaken up, as she moved fairly well all the way back to the house. But after Kathy came home about 15 minutes later, she noticed some blood on Junebug's underside. It turned out that there was an eraser-head sized hole on the inside of one of Junebug's hind legs, so away we went to the vet's. The vet cleaned the wound and put three staples into it, and told us that everything else seemed ok, other than some additional redness on her stomach from what the vet called "road rash."

We got back to the house and gave Junebug the first of her anti-inflammatories and antibiotics that she'll be on for a few days, and I headed to a restless night of fighting an incipient cold. This morning I got up early to go in for a four-hour conference call, then came home, both to care for Junebug and to try to get more sleep (no luck). On my way home, I thought about last night's events, and wondered whether I'll always be good about keeping Junebug on a leash in the future. Junebug seems happier off a leash -- she can play far more, and will often sprint back to the house. While crossing a street, at the moment I was thinking that I honestly couldn't make such an assurance, a squirrel playfully ran into the street, almost like it was challenging any dogs in the area to come chase it. If Junebug were with me right then, off leash, and had spotted the squirrel before I did, she almost certainly would have taken the squirrel up on its dare. It made me realize that even if I can't promise for 100% of the time, I do know that from here on out, it'll be the usual routine rather than the occasional one.