Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Journal - Lucky Dog

Our dog’s name is Sassie, and she’s half Doberman, half Australian shepherd. I got her from the animal shelter in Dallas. I remember the day well.
I had left work early that day and driven over to the shelter to see what they had. They actually had quite a lot, but I fell in love with Sassie right away, although there was a little black lab named Bentley that made me think a bit. They had these little “get acquainted” rooms at the shelter, where you could go in with a dog. There were a few toys in there to play with. The room Sassie and I went into had a tennis ball in it and she loved it, although she could barely fit her mouth around it at the time. She was only ten weeks old. The “get acquainted” room was fun, but completely unnecessary: I already knew I wanted to take her home. I filled out the papers and off we went.
Sassie didn’t like the ride in the car very much. I had the same Ford Explorer that we still own today, and she crawled up under the rear seat so all you could see was her little tail poking out. On the way home I stopped at Walmart to get her a few things: food and water bowls, and a few toys. When I got home, I had to open the rear door and literally pull her out from under the seat because she wouldn’t budge. That was when I discovered she had thrown up. I couldn’t be mad at her though, she was so pitiful. I carried her up to the house and delivered my Valentine’s day surprise. “Happy Valentine’s Day honey, I got you a vomit-covered dog!”
Almost seven years have passed since that day, hard to believe as that is. Sassie turned out to be a lot hairier than I expected, and she sheds almost all the time, but we love her a lot and she has been an important part of our family. Tennis balls remained her favorite toy for several years; she eventually got big enough to not only fit them in her mouth, but chew them up into little pieces.
I’m going on about my dog because we had a bit of a scare on Tuesday. Sassie got hit by a car out on the road, although we didn’t find that out until a little bit later. She had been outside roaming the farm, and when she came in she was bleeding around her nose and mouth and panting very hard, like she does when she’s excited. We thought she had been bitten by something, there are skunks and raccoons around here, and Joni has seen foxes too. That scared me because I thought she would probably get rabies or something.
We only had to wonder for a few minutes though because a couple of guys pulled up into the yard in their truck and told us what happened. The driver said there was just no way he could have stopped, which is completely understandable. Sassie goes a bit nuts when a certain type of vehicle goes by, not cars but trucks, and especially trucks with trailers like this one had. Anyway, he said when he looked in the rear view mirror she was just lying in the road. After a minute she got up and started walking in circles, and then apparently she collected herself and came up to the house. I was so appreciative of the guy for coming up to tell us what happened. He said he came up to see if she needed to be put down. It sounds a little weird to say so, but I thought it was nice of him to offer to do the job. Sassie seemed to be pretty much okay though, and she even licked the guy’s hand when he petted her.
After a while, it became clear that Sassie wasn’t as okay as we thought. Her back and ribs and legs all seemed normal and in working order, but the side of her face swelled up some, and it was obvious that it hurt her to work her jaw. It was also obvious that she was terrified. She just paced the house, still panting hard, and sometimes she would try to crawl up underneath the desk to hide, which she has never done before.
After a couple of hours she started to calm down, though. Joni made an ice pack, and as she held it in her hand, Sassie just laid her little face on it and sat there for quite a while. When Joni put the ice pack on the floor, she laid down by it and put her face on it and just laid there for a long time.
The bleeding had stopped without any trouble, she just had some scrapes around her muzzle, but we were kind of wondering if she would be able to eat at all. Joni had given her a piece of bread, but she just couldn’t manage it. I know she likes boiled eggs so I boiled some and cut one up for her. She gobbled the little pieces from my hand without much trouble, and we were very relieved.
After the egg, she went back to the piece of bread which was still on the kitchen floor, but she just couldn’t bite it up, so we tore it up and soaked it in milk for her and she slurped it right down. Joni gave her another piece of bread in milk, and then some bread soaked in beef broth. She took it all and looked for more. It did my heart good to see that she had a good appetite and could take some food. Sassie spent the whole night beside our bed, which she never does. She usually just flops in the living room.
Today Sassie isn’t moving around very much. I can only imagine how sore she must be. If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know how sore your whole body can be the next day, even if you weren’t injured. I gave her another egg this morning, and more bread in broth. She was reluctant at first, but I was able to coax her into eating. Other than that, she pretty much just lay in one spot all day resting. Until we started getting ready for supper, that is. She came out to the kitchen and watched the food preparation very intently, almost like her old self. After a little coaxing she ate some more bread in broth, and then another egg, which she had been unwilling to take this afternoon. I offered her a couple of tater tots dipped in gravy and she took those with no trouble, then another piece of bread broken up and dipped in gravy. She was hungry!
I feel so bad for my puppy. She’s my baby and I hate knowing she’s hurt. I really think she’ll be okay though. It’s just sad that she’s moping around when she’s usually so frisky and playful, even at the age of seven. She’s been given a second chance, and I hope she remembers this lesson for a long time. I told Sassie she should become an advocate for other dogs, and start a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of chasing moving cars. She may not feel up to that for a while, and in the meantime, we’ll just baby her, even more than we usually do.


  1. MY vomit Valentine. How sweet.That was a hard year but Sassie had a way of just letting her puppy dog eyes whisk it away.

    I'm still hoping there is not long-term damage to her jaw. And it scares me to think that we were caught unaware of her shenanigans outside.

    All my fault. No LEASH! This weekend she'll have a new one!

    Now, back to babying my baby. Sorry honey, she took your place! :P

  2. I stumbled on your site and happened to read this all the way through. I'm sorry about what happened to your dog. My grandmother's cat, which I really liked, died last week from eating poison and it was really sad. I know what it feels to feel bad for a pet. I hope Sassie turns out okay, and I promise I will pray for her. All the best!

  3. Abner, sorry to hear about your grandmother's cat, it's funny how attached you can become to an animal. Thanks for reading this very long post, and keep those prayers coming!

  4. I will :) and I've added your blog to my list of favorites, so I'll be reading more long posts in the future :D