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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Walk

I love dogs.I have loved all of my dogs. I love other peoples' dogs.
Dogs love me; at least, as a general rule.

My dog; however, was a jerk. He HATED other dogs.
He could not behave.
He got left behind a lot.

One particular Saturday evening my (now) fiance and I left our boy home to go visit with friends who had dogs of their own. Their beloved pitbulls were a handful, but a lovable handful. They ran and played, they demanded attention and affection, they begged for food. They were dogs and they were happy. I played with these dogs and I gave them the affection due to any dog as the fee for entering their domain as a visitor. I paid this toll willingly.

Eventually the time came that my fiance and I decided it was time to go so that we could tend to our own boy. He had been home alone long enough and he would need a walk and his share of our affection.

The ride home was uneventful.
Putting the leach on the dog was uneventful.
Departing the house was easy.
My dog was excited to go pee. He was excited to see me. He was excited for his "papa time."

That is was dark out did not faze my boy as he had lived through many years and had done many walks before sunrise and many more after sunset. The darkness was no concern for him.
The darkness was also not a concern for me.

We lived in a fairly urban area and it is a perfectly safe area; especially for an adequately large man and his 100 pound Akita. Never did we have concern for any person trying to bother us, even in the worst neighborhoods that we had traversed.

We no longer lived in a bad neighborhood.
In fact, it was one of the safest neighborhoods in the area, in one of the safest towns.
There was absolutely no reason to believe there might be a problem.

We were walking our accustomed triangular route that involved walking the perimeter of a section of land bordered by three streets.
We had walked this triangle at least 100 times without incident.

This particular night, though, was different.

We were five minutes into the walk and a horrendous yell reached us. "Oh my god!" it started, followed by "you need to get out of here!"
A bit puzzled I looked around and saw two younger women sitting on the bottom step of the second floor apartment access of the worst-looking building in the neighborhood. I did not have time to do anything more than see them before the one who was shouting stood up and continued "get out of here! my dog will try to kill you!"

I direct my dog to stop and pay heed but it was too late. Her dog had spotted us. He had been laying atop the steps, patiently sitting and waiting for his mother to let him back inside but my dog was suddenly much more fascinating.

This dog had been out many times when my boy and I walked. Each time he barked ferociously at us but each time he was contained to his yard by a chain; not a lead made of rope or steel cord, but a chain. This dog was not a friendly dog.

This dog bounded down the steps in three jumps.
The two women tried to stop him but he easily leapt over the seated one and ran past the one who was standing.
I watched, in horror, as he cleared the distance between the stairs and my dog and I. The situation caused a disruption in the flow of time for me so I cannot estimate the time it took; but dogs run fast and this dog ran very fast.
My dog, being the jerk that he is, was prepared to rebuff the attacker.
Suddenly I found myself in the midst of two large and angry dogs intent on killing each other.
The center of a dog fight is the worst place to be and there I was.
The attacking dog jumped and grabbed onto my dog's neck, sinking one fang and breaking the collar apart with the other.
I reached down and grabbed the dog, for I had no other options available to me.
The woman was yelling "choke him out! choke him out! it's the only way!" but her advice was not possible to implement.
Her dog's jaw was not a match for my adrenaline-powered hands. I pried his jaw open and pulled him off my boy.
"Tetsu! Leave it! Go! Home" I commanded. Each of the statements a command that he recognized.
He delayed a moment, hesitant to leave his papa to face this viscous enemy but he listened and obeyed.
My black dog ran into the night, down a busy road; toward home.
The attacking dog, angered by the loss of its prey, tried to follow. I did not allow it.
I was taken to my knees on the road, losing a sandal and having dirt and debris ground into my bare legs. Her dog had me down; but I was far from done.
I flipped her dog onto its side and lay upon it. It was suddenly at a loss for actions as it had never experienced a situation in which a mere human dominated it so thoroughly. It looked up and me and growled. I glared back down at it and tightened my hold. The contest of wills had begun and I was not going to lose.
Each effort the dog made to struggle was arrested by the fire that coursed through my muscles. Each attempt thwarted. Each attempt halted and countered. The dog could not move. The dog was defeated. The dog understood this and, with a look of his eyes, he relented to my dominance. I released the dog from the full hold and handed him back to his owner by his collar.
"Your dog bit me" was her reply. I think it might have been coupled with a scream during the height of the struggle but my mind was much more focused on halting her dog than it was on her.
I looked down at my my arms and legs as I rose from the ground, drawing her attention to the wounds inflicted upon my person by HER dog and her complaints vanished at the sight of me.

"Do you have him?" I asked and she replied in the affirmative.

I released the collar.

Her dog broke her miserable hold on her collar and bolted in the direction my dog had last been seen.
My hand shot out and grabbed him while dropping back to my knees a second time.
Her dog fell over at the force I imparted and he immediately surrendered to me a second time.
I handed him back to her again and said "do you have him this time?" to which she nodded.
"Are you sure?"
Her grip tightened in response and she held on with her other hand as well.
I let go a second time and she was able to contain the dog.

At this point I realized my great fortune in the situation.
As her dog slammed into my dog and I a man was rounding the corner on his motorcycle.
The man, immediately seeing what was happening stopped and reached for a radio on his shoulder.
My fortune appeared in the form of this man, an emergency medical services technician, being on his way home at exactly the right moment to witness the entire affair and call for help as I was being attacked.

"Are you ok?" he asked as I noticed him for the first time.
"At the moment, yes. Where is my dog?"

"That way" he pointed toward my home "some lady was trying to catch him"
That lady, it turned out, was my fiance, whom had heard the fervor of the alteraction from inside our home and run out to see if I was in trouble. Her youngest daughter, who lived with us, also quitted our home.
As I was discussing the situation with the good Samaritan, while we walked toward the house, my fiance ran toward me.
She beheld a terrible sight.
I was being followed by the EMS man and lighted by the headlights of the cars that had stopped for the yelling woman in the road.
I was covered in blood and grit.
I was wearing only one sandal.
The leash of our boy was still attached to my belt with the carabiner I used to ensure he could not accidentally slip my grasp. At the end of the leash his collar, broken at the clasp, dragged in the dirt behind me.

I continued toward my yard, apparently the very image of a zombie.
The EMS technician followed, attempting to get me to lay down before I collapsed.
My fiancee followed.

I'm not sure when the ambulance arrived; to my mind it appeared out of nowhere and was just THERE.
The same for the police officers who arrived on the scene; I still have no idea where their cruiser was parked.

I was now standing in my yard with multiple people telling me I needed to calm down and lay down.
To me, they were unreasonable and belligerent; to them I have no doubt that I appeared the same.

Word came from the back yard that my fiancee's daughter had found my boy and, quite suddenly, the adrenaline crashed from my system.

"I need to lay down for a moment" I advised the medical professionals; and I did.

After a moment there was a stretcher manifested next to me and I, with some assistance, made my way onto it.

They loaded me into the ambulance and closed the door.

The technician in the back of the ambulance was prepared to help me and I him. I began inventorying my injuries to him with a precision that he was not accustomed to. As we went through all of the injuries we counted.

37. 37 unique puncture wounds inflicted upon me by the teeth of the other dog.
37 puncture wounds in addition to the various lacerations; and the road rash.

Immediately upon completing the inventory I realized that the worst part of my ordeal was about to begin.

The technician apologized for what he was about to do and then picked up the brush.
If ever you are wounded and there is debris embedded in your wounds you will experience the brush. The brush is to be feared.

The technician proceeded to scrub the dirt and grit out of my wounds with the brush. The experience was excruciating. The experience was far more traumatic to my mind than the entire attack.

The attack happened fast; the brush was slow.

The next worst part of the scenario was after my arrival at the emergency room.
I was checked in and promptly wheeled to the waiting room.
I witnessed an older man in cardiac distress wheeled in and past me.
I witnessed a man whose arm was hanging at an odd angle wheeled in and past me.
I witnessed a man who appeared to be gravely ill wheeled in and past me.
Interestingly enough I did not see any women checked in to the ER that evening.

I then had the opportunity to meet my landlord for the first time.
Me, all bloody and bandaged, confined to a wheelchair, in the waiting room and my landlord, a security guard at the hospital.

It was an interesting experience and conversation as my fiancee had managed the entire situation to get moved into the apartment.

Ten hours later I was allowed to go home.

Six visits, and six intravenous antibiotic treatments later, I was allowed back to work; still covered in bandages.

My dog had suffered only one minor puncture and showed no other immediate problems from the incident.

But, on the plus side, we did find the lost sandal.

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