Tiger knew the dog that attacked her. They had each escaped from the safety of their separate kennels while their owner was not at home. If Tiger had stayed in her place, she would have been okay, maybe. The attacker was aggressive. Tiger should have been mindful of that. But then so should I have been mindful in my own life. Watchful, alert, awake around aggressive humans.
We were Tiger’s guardians now. My son took her in out of a strong heart and the merest breath of a hope.
“50/50, huh,” I told her, sitting by her side and feeding her again with the syringe. “Let’s up those odds on our side, girl.” 50/50 just didn’t sound right. I laid my hand on her head and prayed for God’s mercy to His creature. And to us. Hope reflects light and light shows things for what they really are. I needed hope and so did the dog.
The next evening she stood up for the first time since the attack, on three legs, not four, but she was up. Then she pooped. I was never so happy to see a dog poop in my life. She chewed on the end of the plastic feeding syringe so we offered her food and water in bowls and she lifted her head readily for each and ate. My son put the medications in soft dog food that he mashed into attractive meatballs in his hand. Tiger devoured them.
My job ended at noon on Monday. I told them it was my last day. I decided not to fade away.
That afternoon, to everyone’s amazement, Tiger walked with us into the vet’s office on her own. The doctor smiled. From being carried in my son’s arms and out on a towel stretcher one day to walking, albeit slowly and gingerly a few days later, was a miracle. We all need miracles at least once in a while. The 50/50 chance was erased from our minds. “I’ll see her again on Friday,” the vet said.
When I got up Wednesday morning and walked by Tiger’s crate, bright red goop was on the floor. Tiger’s worst leg wound had opened up and a deep tissue infection had burst out. It was a danger the vet had worried about, but we had hoped Tiger was beyond it when she responded so quickly those first few days.
When the vet saw her, she no longer smiled. The wound was deep enough that a man could put his fist in it. Amputation was no longer an option, if it ever had been. This breed doesn’t always handle it well and the hidden infection had likely spread further up in the leg. Hydrotherapy, another antibiotic that works against anaerobic bacteria, and that was it. The vet said that she had seen dog’s legs literally dissolve from this. If Tiger lasted the weekend, Monday we would have a decision to make.
To Be Continued
Copyright H.J. Hill 2016 All Rights Reserved