Of course, being the person that I am, didn't even notice her, so I continued to get closer. Typically, Presto gets very excited when he sees other dogs. He almost always wags his tail and jumps up in down like a kangaroo. It sounds a bit irritating but its' actually, it's a signal for me to go off in a different direction. The sudden change in my dog's movement takes me out of the world in my head and back into reality.
At this specific moment, he did not have that reaction. Instead, he just kept walking as if no one was nearby. I'm not exactly sure why. He could have thought the dog seemed unfriendly so he didn't feel any excitement, or maybe he was like me by not paying attention either. Whatever the reason was, I don't blame him in any way, shape, or form for what happened next.
The other dog's owner is what brought me back this time.
"No, Sophie!" she shouted continuously.
I quickly turned my head in that direction to see the dog running right at us. I could tell by the tone of her voice that Sophie was not a good dog. I let go of Presto's leash. There was no time to get away. It wasn't like I could outrun her.
When I was turning my back towards them, I could see her on the corner of my eye, pushing him out onto the middle of the street.
I buried my face into my palms and began to shake while I listened to my best friend, yelp. Not once have I ever witnessed him in so much fear.
I hummed, not to the tune of a specific song, but to use as a tool to block out the growls. Even as I was running out of breath, I kept going.
I rocked on my feet and waved my arms at a fast pace to release the anxiety I was feeling. It was not inappropriate for me to have that reaction. If I don't do that kind of thing during stressful situations, my whole body can go weak which makes me fall to the ground.
The lady pulled her dog off of Presto and scolded several times at Sophie.
She asked if Presto was okay then kept rebuking at her dog.
I shook my head, "yes," as I picked up the leash and rushed away without looking back. At that time, I wasn't sure how bad the wounds were because they were covered up by his thick, dark curls. I was too afraid to stay anyway.
When we got home, I could tell that Presto was in shock. He wasn't his chipper self like usual. He would not leave my side and seemed uncomfortable. Every time he tried to lay down he'd have to adjust himself. Right away, I knew something was wrong, and when Presto is hurting, I'm hurting too.
That night, I lay in bed looking at the ceiling for hours with my eyes wide open. There was no way I could fall asleep knowing that something was wrong with Presto. I can't drive so it wasn't like I could take him into the vet. My mom told me she'd take him in the morning. I wanted him to go that second but sometimes what I think would be best doesn't always happen.
Early the next day, Presto's bed was stained with blood. My heart raced. I went to my mom and she called the animal hospital to book an appointment. They told her to bring him in quickly. When she was getting ready to go she told me to stay home because I had a video chat meeting but that's alright. It's not like I'd be allowed to go in any way during a global pandemic.
I couldn't even focus on what was being said on the call. I couldn't stop worrying about my dog. I wasn't sure if he was going to be okay. How could anyone pay full attention right after they go through something like that? All I did was sit there and nod my head so I'd seem fine. Here's the thing, I don't know how to do that. In fact, I don't even know how anyone can do that. No matter how hard I try to hide my emotions, it doesn't work. It always fails and just makes me feel worse. People knew something was up. When they asked how I was, I didn't respond. I kept my mouth shut the whole time.
My mom was texting me what was going on at the vet. She said Presto had his fur shaved so his wounds would be visible. She also told me that he has going to have to wear an Elizabethan collar for two weeks. I was then informed that Presto had been prescribed to a few medications that he had to take twice a day until they were all gone, one was an antibiotic, another one was to help with the pain, and the last one was to prevent side effects. If his healing process didn't work he'd have to have his injuries cleaned out surgically. That news was what I feared the most.
Once I saw him when he got back home I was blown away at how his wounds looked. They looked a bit like bullet holes. For days afterward I couldn't stop finding drops of his blood on the floor. The bite marks were so deep that they were not scabbing over. Before he was shaved, the blood was getting caught by his hair. The vet said that this is what we want so his injuries could drain.
I worked with the police to find the owner of the other dog. The overwhelming amount of attention we gave this situation had me at high anxiety levels. I couldn't seem to get away from the memory.
I felt like it was my fault. If I had taken Presto on a walk at a different time or went another route this wouldn't have happened. Of course, there was no way that I would have known what the future looked would like but for some reason, I couldn't help but have a sense of self-shame.
Every day, I gave Presto his medications so I could be the one that helped him heal. It did make me feel better. I also made sure to watch a lot of silly TV shows and hang out with some friends to get my mind off of everything.
Honestly, it wasn't so much of me blaming myself and more of me worrying that Presto thought it was because of me. I thought that he would not see me in the same way. I didn't want him to be upset with me. In reality, it was the exact opposite. The bond I have with him has been stronger than ever. He was a story to share with me.
Presto is completely healed now and his hair is grown back. I'm still afraid to go back to the place of the attack so I have a new route when I walk him. It's better anyway. It has nice scenery with lots of different types of plants and animals for Presto to sniff which makes him happy. I panic when a dog tries to lunge at him but Presto gets excited in hopes he will get to play. He's not mentally scarred at all. Presto has the kind of mindset that I wish I could have.
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