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When the Dog Bites

When the giant schnauzer and two Harrier hounds get to barking, they definitely draw attention. But, thankfully, a neighbor’s new Doberman puppy, Dante, when left alone, barks loud and incessantly, so much so that they, and not we, are “that house” on the street. All muscle and teeth, Dante is a lot to handle. Almost immediately upon arriving home from a trip, Papa and the twins head out to the middle of the street to chat with Dante’s family about the house (which they had watched) and the trip (which was great). Dante is running around with no leash.

The jealous barking of Kohl, Boston, and Quincy is interrupted by a scream from Fisher. Fisher keeps screaming. Daddy jumps up from his computer to head toward the front, where Papa is carrying a screaming Fisher into the house, announcing, “Dante bit Fisher!” Daddy takes Fisher and, seeing the bloody arm, prepares for Papa to faint.

Flashback six or seven years…Daddy (not then a daddy) typically wakes Kohl, Boston, and Quincy up around 5:15 a.m. for their morning walk. The wake up routine involves a cuddle in the dark before the whole pack moves downstairs for the leashes. One morning, as Daddy kneels down to apply Boston’s morning treatment, Boston wakes suddenly..and violently…from sleep. He jerks his head back toward Daddy, biting Daddy’s face full on. Daddy reels back: “Ouch! Boston bit me!” The dogs know something awful has happened and quickly scatter. Papa (not then a papa) wakes groggily: “What happened?”

Daddy heads to the bathroom, where he pushes a quarter-sized chunk of flesh and skin back up against his cheek, holding it there, applying pressure, face definitely bloody. Papa comes into the lighted bathroom, draws a quick breath, and blanches very white.

D (still pressing the flesh to stop the bleeding): Boston bit me in the face just now.
P: Boston did? What did you do?
D: Woke him up as usual…he…

Papa turns and walks out of the room. Daddy continues to talk as he finds a bandage to place firmly over the wound, to keep it in all in place. That done, he walks into the bedroom to find Papa lying on the bed, white as a ghost, trying to avoid fainting. “I have to go to the emergency room…are you going to be able to drive?” Before leaving the house, Daddy finds Boston hiding in the guest bedroom, sitting in a corner shaking. Sadly, Daddy is too angry not to smack him. Hard. “You bit me, Boston!” Boston just squeals. Papa manages to drive to the hospital, but just barely manages, principally by not looking at Daddy’s face and by swerving around so badly that at least three accidents are avoided by an inch here and an inch there. At the intake desk, Papa retreats immediately to a chair in the waiting room, green and hyperventilating. Daddy provides all of the requested information. When the woman behind the desk asks for an emergency contact, Daddy gives her Papa’s cell phone number, but tells her, “But, don’t call that number.” She gives a quizzical look. Daddy explains, “It’s that guy’s number right over there, the one about to faint in the waiting room. He doesn’t like blood and won’t be of much use in this kind of emergency.” Some careful cleaning and a dab or two of medical glue later, and Daddy’s face is on its way to healing under a big white patch.  Papa’s color slowly returning, Daddy asks, “What are you going to do when one of the twins has an accident?  They are going to have accidents, you know…”

Flash forward…Fisher cries into Daddy’s shoulder, his shirt torn, his arm bleeding, repeating, “I don’t like Dante, Daddy!”  “I know, Fisher, I know, that Dante, he doesn’t know, does he?  They have to teach him better.”  All the while, a very tanned Papa has been swinging into action, finding the first aid kit, wiping the blood away, cleaning the wound, antibiotic creams slathered on, picture taken to send to doctor before a bandage is in place.  No blanching.  No lying on the bed, taking deep breaths to avoid passing out.  No swerving around, woozy from flesh and blood.  Definitely a Papa by then.

Fisher already has three dogs, so the incident doesn’t seem to leave him with a fear of canines, as it probably would for some.  He repeats to Daddy occasionally, “Daddy, that Dante he just doesn’t know, right?  He just bit me because he doesn’t know better, right?  I don’t like Dante.”

Any scar will fade over time for Fisher, Daddy’s own scar having faded from quarter-sized to dime-sized through the years.  Daddy and Boston are besties, but morning treatments are doled out with much greater care, as even the best dog, your own dog, can, under the “wrong” circumstance, bite.

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