I hugged my shaking Guide close to my body, feverishly stroking his saliva-covered velvet ears. “It’s OK buddy, we’re ok,” I said in reassurance to both of us, knowing fully that we were not. I heard voices to my left, and stood up, waving my hands in the air like a complete lunatic. “Help, please!” The people came running over. “My dog and I were just attacked by a loose dog. The woman ran off. Did you see her?” “Yes! The man said. “She went down that side street in a hurry.” I retold the story, to which the husband said he would track her down until the police arrived.
Within a few minutes, I heard a barking dog in a car. A K9 Officer. My heart jumped into my throat again, and panic began at the sound of the dog’s voice. The folks calmed me down, saying the dog was staying inside the officer’s vehicle. Phew. I sat back down on the curb and hugged Elvis again. The woman said she lived in Greenwich and knew Elvis and I from around town. I thanked heaven for these people to assist.
The officer kneeled down and asked if it was ok to touch Elvis. I said, “yes- please do- I can’t tell if he’s hurt and I don’t know if all this wet stuff is blood. Oh my God, please tell me he’s ok?” I was hysterical. Elvis obliged the officer by licking his face and beating him with a wagging tail. Everyone laughed. I remember a saying from my old Irish Equine vet. “Ah- the injury’s FAR from his heart!” and I smiled. What a brave sweet dog I have. The officer stood up and said he didn’t see any blood. He was anxious to get in his car and find the woman. I told him the address she had shouted to me, and his reply was, “Oh THAT place? Great. We get a lot of calls there.” He took my business card, left me with the nice people, and off he went in pursuit.
The folks offered me a ride back to Greenwich, but all I was focused on was my dog and getting on the next train out of there as soon as possible. I used Elvis’ harness like a crutch, and we hobbled along the sidewalk to the train platform with the group in tow. The train would be there in three minutes, and they offered to drive us if I missed it. I planned to get home and head straight to the emergency room for my stupid ankle. Dammit, I thought to myself.
Elvis and I made the train, and of course it was packed to the gills heading back towards the city on a Sunday afternoon. We stood in the corridor and the conductor grabbed my arm to see if I was ok. I definitely wasn’t. I knew that protocol for any injury or incident involving our dogs requires an immediate call to Guiding Eyes for the Blind to report it after we deal with the local authorities. I leaned against the train doors and dialed, balancing on my one good foot.
I left a message with the emergency operator, who arranged for a vet and the training department to call me back shortly. I needed a familiar voice. I called mom after I hung up, trying to stay calm and not lose it totally in public surrounded by hundreds of commuters. Of course, she wanted to come down, but I knew that it would take more than an hour to get there, and there wasn’t much she could do for us.
I grabbed a taxi at the base of the train station. My phone rang. It was Dr. Bell from Guiding Eyes’ Veterinary Hospital. The first thing she asked was how I was. I was shocked. “Elvis seems ok, I can’t really tell- the officer did a quick….” She cut me off, “No, I asked how YOU were doing. I’m more worried about you right now. Take a breath.” And with that I finally started to cry. “I’m not ok. I’m not ok. I’ve never been more scared in my entire life.” “I know,” she soothed. You’re going to be ok. Now reach down and give Elvis a good squeeze. You guys are together, and that’s the most important thing, ok?
Are you injured?” “Just my stupid ankle I think,” I tried to squeak out, my throat tightening. “ok”, she said- here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to go get checked out at the emergency room. Elvis will be fine,ok? As long as he’s with you, he’s all right. Then you’re going to call me after they release you, and we’ll either come and meet you, or I want you to have a neighbor come by and look at him off harness to really check him out with a good set of eyes. Can you do that for me?” “Yes,” I squeaked again. “Ok, you’re going to be fine. Call me as soon as you get done. I’m here.”
On the cab ride to the hospital, I had a sudden moment of clarity. I had broken my foot in a fall last May, and the idiots at the Greenwich Hospital ER mis-read the X-rays. Going there would mean a good three hours of being in a loud, frightening place all for them to send me home with ice, crutches and pain meds, all of which I had at my apartment. I decided to call my Orthopedist from the taxi.
After a brief conversation, they agreed that there was no benefit in going to the ER given that I had everything to keep me comfortable at home. The only concern was making sure I splint and immobilize it until my doctor could see me first thing Monday. I remembered the dreaded Aircast boot. Perfect. With that, I told the driver to turn around and take us home. I reached down and kissed my boy on the head and finally took that breath she had been talking about.