Friday, September 14, 2007

Love Hurts; or, Scarred for Life

What you love is eventually going to turn around and bite you, sometimes right in the ass. So the cynics say. Now I have the marks to prove it.

I love windsurfing. Three weeks ago I had a terrific sail, but I ended it1 with an injury on the dismount. I'd just placed my right foot on a rock and locked my knee when the sailboard bucked out from under my left foot. I did a nose-to-knee maneuver, shouted "Ouch!" and fell in. I couldn't sit down comfortably for two weeks. Still can't, but at least now don't have to check my e-mail standing up.

I love dogs too, but I got a nasty bite in the dog run last night.

I was on one knee explaining a nuance of deportment to my adorable Cavalier King Charles spaniel when a supersized Basenji came over to say Hello.2 I heard both of them growling, so I started to pick up Beau, and the other dog lunged.

The bite was a complete oval with a puncture for each tooth. It started swelling and turning blue immediately, and bits of fat started protruding from the two deepest wounds. The whole thing looked to be a good five inches long.3

I stood up with Beau slung over my left shoulder by the harness, and the other dog ran away to play some more.

A dozen people converged on me with kind words, clean paper, and antiseptic wipes. One woman came over solely to say, "This happened because your dog isn't neutered!" What timing! I've got blood running down my forearm into my palm and dripping onto my pants, and she's telling me it's my fault.

Three hours later, I had a ridiculously big bandage, a bottle of antibiotics, and a promise that I'll be scarred for life. The ER doctor said sutures would raise the risk of infection.

He also said that since both dogs were growling when I picked Beau up, I was "intervening," and to the health department, that makes it a "provoked attack." It turned out that both dogs are unneutered, and there was a female dog in heat in the run.

This morning Beau could hardly wait to go out. It was all so exciting! I hope I haven't given him a taste for adventure that involves Type A positive blood.

1Since clearly the laws of physics had been suspended.
2A Basenji is an African dog that looks a little like a husky, except it's smaller, sturdier, and short-haired.
3(Ahem.) It was almost 3" long, once I took the bandage off.
4Embarrassing in retrospect. The owner says, "I'll never show my face in that dog run again!" He's already covered my copays.


Anonymous said...

A basenji bit my child in the leg, unprovoked yesterday - the bite looked like yours but with the middle gone. Had to have stitches, too gaping with out them. We'll have to have a plastic surgeon involved eventually. Never even saw this kind of dog until now.

FididdlyDaily said...

Thank you for writing about this. There are no words that are adequate to address an injury to a child. What an infuriating and horrifying incident it must have been. I hope he/she is doing all right.