Monday, September 1, 2008

Is This Year Over Yet??

Man. What a year. In January I had a bad bite from our Siberian husky, Bodhan, when he got hit by a car. February, pneumonia. April (I think...), I fell off a ladder and broke a rib, which took 8 weeks to heal. (Anyone writing books who plans to have your characters break a rib, feel free to ask me for details. I will never again have a character with broken ribs do things like run, stand, move...breathing is about it, and even that's excruciating). So here I was, almost the end of August, so tickled nothing else had happened.

Yeah. Well. You knew that couldn't last, right?

Okay, so there's this little guy, Brendan, about 6 years old, I think, who lives in the house behind us. And his friend, Corey, who is around 9 or 10. They've been coming over to pet the dogs. Last week they brought their Golden retriever over to play with our doggies. (No, that's not the bad thing that happened. Hey, Goldens are just happy to be at the party. They get along with most everyone.) A few days ago, the boys knock at the back gate and ask if they can come pet the dogs. Brendan also tries to convince me to let them go swimming, but with my luck, they'd drown. So I've been good about saying no.

Brendan also has been asking if he can bring his 2-yr-old Jack Russell, Turk, over to meet the dogs. Knowing Jack Russells are fairly territorial and can be a bit aggressive, I've said no. Until last Thursday. For some stupid reason, I said, "Sure, bring him over."

Okay, pop quiz: What happens when you bring an unfamiliar terrier into a yard with three bigger dogs, two of whom can be a bit...pushy?

Well, if you're someone smart, like the Dog Whisperer (I love that show!), nothing serious. But if you're someone like me, who knows better but lets herself be swayed by a pleading on.

Brendan got Turk and brought him in the back gate. Now, did I introduce him to the dogs one at a time? Nooooo. That would have been too smart. Instead, I took his leash and brought him on it, with all three of our dogs rushing to see who the new kid was.

Dakota did great.
Kodi and Dasha? Not so much. They both got pushy, nipping at the little guy's neck. Then they started to press down on his neck, trying to push him to the ground.

Pop quiz #2: How did I get bit in January, when our sweet 14-yr-old Siberian, Bo, was hit by a car? By reaching in to take hold of a panicked dog in pain. You'd think I'd learn, huh?

You know where this is going, don't you?

So I scooped Turk up and started to walk over to hand him to Brendan. Just as I did so, one of my dogs (I didn't see which one) jumped up and nipped at Turk. In typical Jack-Russell fashion, he arched backward and snapped, catching my face. His top teeth hit my left cheekbone (I felt it), the bottom ones caught my cheek. He bit twice before I could turn away. I dropped him, slapped my hand to the bites to stem any flow of blood--both for my sake and for the boys'--and hollered for my dad, who, thank heaven, was sitting on the swing. He corralled our dogs while I gave the now snarling Turk to the boys and told them to take him home. And that they shouldn't scold him, because he was just doing what terriers do when they're frightened. That it was my fault, not his.

I got an ice pack for my punctured, bleeding face, then as Dad drove me to the ER, I called my hubby, Don, who is a security guard at the hospital. He alerted the ER folks so that they were actually standing in the waiting area ready for me when I walked in. Three and a half hours--and a tetanus shot and bites irrigation--later, I'd finally finished filling out enough paperwork to choke a horse and could be discharged.

When I got home I went to the neighbor's house to tell her they didn't need to worry. She saw me walking toward the house and came rushing out, threw her arms around me, and cried, "Are you okay? I'm so sorry!" I explained what happened, that it was my fault, and not to think about it again.

So here's my dog-bit face. Nice, huh?
As you can see, the bites weren't too terrible. Especially compared to the bites I had from Bo in January. Thankfully, I seem to be healing okay. I'm still tender on the left side of my face. If I squint, it's uncomfortable. But I haven't had a black eye, which the doc said I most likely would. (Darn it! I thought that would be fun...)

So, the moral of the story? (No, it's not "Put Karen in a padded room where she can't do herself in.")

Trust your instincts. God uses our life experiences to teach us--and, I believe, to caution us. I had cautions flying from the get go, but did I listen? Naaaah. I knew better than to bring a terrier into the mix of our dogs. Knew better than to introduce a new dog to all of our dogs at once. Knew better than to pick up the frightened terrier. But I did it all anyway. I'm lucky it was me who got bit and not one of the kids. Or that my dogs didn't do damage to the terrier.

So when you're considering an action and feel that tug inside, that bit of warning that says it's not a great idea, listen. God gives those checks in our spirit for a reason. And next time, by His grace, I'm gonna pay attention.

Peace, all.



Julie Ackerman Link said...

Karen, what a story. I'm so glad you're okay. I'm sure your face feels much worse than it looks. Doctors these days are almost too good at patching us up and making us look as if nothing serious has happened.

After reading about your unfortunate encounter with a terrified terrier, I read a new blog entry by my friend David Teems. Are you familiar with him? You two definitely should meet. Here's the address of his most recent blog entry:

Nicole said...

Geez, Karen. Maybe the padded room ain't such a bad idea. I mean you could set up your computer, a few fresh flowers, your beverage of choice . . . you know. Heck, make it a prayer room and plead for mercy when you're out by yourself with no one to protect you from . . . yourself. :)

You look good, thank God. He did protect you. Praying you're all healed up quickly.

Nicole said...

P.S. Black eyes aren't all they're cracked up to be. I got one when a softball made a line drive into my nose and broke it. I got another when one of the Thoroughbreds we trained bit me in the face. I was looking right at her, but I had a full water bucket in my hand and couldn't avoid her bared teeth--she did it so quick. I threw the water on her when she jumped back after making contact. (You don't have to post this one, Karen. Just thought I'd share it.)

Karen B. said...

Oops! Sorry, Nicole, I hit the publish button before I saw you said not to publish it. And your first post cracked me up. I do need someone to protect me from myself. Maybe I should make that Don's full-time job...

And Julie, I'll check out the link. Thanks!


jamie carie said...

Love your blog, Karen! I'm sorry that life has been beating you up this year but I must say, after we talked on the phone yesterday, my new character for Emma (book five) is becoming endearingly klutzy! You've inspired me again!!
Lots of love,
P.S. The padded room sounds kind of fun, just no straight-jackets please. :)

Karen B. said...

Hey, I'm always happy to be used by my dear authors!


Rel said...