We thought she would die…we thought she was brain damaged…we thought she was blind…we knew her jaw was broken. This is how Missie looked when we brought her home later that week…wired jaw, random shaving, eye stitched partially closed, huge lump of dental cement in her mouth to keep her jaw stable…
At Brave Girl Camp, she spent most of her time sleeping in her crate, coming out for just a few minutes to eat and do her business and be loved up by the oh-so-wonderful Brave Girls there.
She let me treat her eyes for the first several days, then one day she started growling and biting at me when I came near her. She fought me and scratched at me and shook and cowered and yelped and cried. For 3 days I was unable to get any medicine in her eyes..I tried being loving and kind, I tried being sneaky, I tried holding her down (impossible with her broken jaw), my Mom tried…we tried everything. When she returned to the Vet for a checkup, the results were terrible…her eye was swollen and painful and it looked like she would lose it completely. The medicine was critical, and if I couldn’t find a way to get it in her eye, she would be blind
Now I know that dogs live beautiful lives all the time with just one eye, but all of us were determined to save her vision so her life could be the best it could be…so she could return 100% to how she was before the accident. I suppose some of it was my own well-deserved guilt for not protecting her as well as I should/could have. I had let her out to chase squirrels and knew the risks of the road nearby, but somehow thought it would never happen to her….lots of regret. Lots of determination to make it right.
The frustration was that with her broken jaw, I had to be so careful with her…there was going to be NO forcing her to allow the drops and ointments. No holding her down. No wrestling with her.
I don’t know why and I don’t know how, but one day she just decided to GIVE IN.
She just sat there and looked right into my face (with her one good eye and her funny smile, lol)…and she decided to TRUST ME. She allowed me to help her without fighting me…no more scratching and growling and crying and hiding. Just trust and submission.
When I took her back to the Vet the next week, there had been significant improvement….it looks like her eye will heal completely. We all cheered and celebrated!!! Even Missie was caught up in the excitement and stood up on her back legs and did a little twirly dance right there in the exam room.
So…what have I learned from this little experience?
1. Often what is required in order to heal is that we just stop fighting and scratching and crying and just give in…TRUST…ACCEPT the help we need without running from it…(SUBMIT to our Healer)
2. Life can totally take you by surprise. One moment you can be running around in the sun chasing squirrels, and the next you can be stopped in your tracks by a big mean truck that leaves you bloody and beaten.
3. We need to watch out for each other. We need to be the neighbor who drops everything when she sees someone who needs help…someone who pounds on door until she finds help. Not a weak or selfish or too busy ‘well-intentioned’ neighbor who drives by and sees a tragedy and ‘feels bad’ but DOES NOTHING.
4. When we’re battered and hurting, it’s okay (and necessary) to give ourselves time to rest and restore. In fact, there is no other way to recover or heal.
5. We must do everything we can to protect those we love from dangers that WE know are there, but that they might not be aware of. I have great regret that I failed to do this and caused my little dog such pain. It is not enough to have good intentions…our responsibility to those in our care is to do everything we can to protect them. Tragedies and accidents will still happen, and we have to accept that…but our responsibility and our joy is still to do all we can to take care of each other.
My Mom always said that animals have souls and feelings and emotions of their own…and I’m sure she’s right about that.
Now it’s your turn…I’d love to hear your stories of brave pets and what you’ve learned from them!