A Losing Fight
Today, on the bike ride home from work, another dog attacked Chico. In the dog world, a little scuffle happens, and I get that; however, this dog wasn’t just sniffing too long; it ran at Chico and instantly jumped on him, biting, and shaking at him. I yelled, and Chico knows I don’t want him fighting. He tried to move away, but the dog kept attacking. I jumped off my bike and pulled at the dog trying to get it to release Chico. A second dog then came over. I yelled more and Chico fell over for a second. In that moment, he wasn’t being submissive, but he simply fell over onto his side. He jumped back up, but in that moment I saw him as more fragile than I ever have. I saw the scared look in his eyes, his legs up in the air, his old tired body rolling over. I leaped between the dogs and yanked it off Chico. The owner grabbed his dog and I took Chico away to a safe location to check him over.
I didn’t say anything, though in my mind I had a lot to say. They didn’t punish the dog at all really. Just told it to go inside. If that was Chico starting a fight like that, he would have been pinned to the ground and on his back and I would hold him there. I have been harsh with Chico at times. As some people know, I trained Chico with a shock collar. I rarely needed to use it, but if Chico ran into the road, or chased a cat, he surely felt it, and he listened after that when I said no. I have been strict with him because I love him, because he is my responsibility.
Chico wasn’t phased by the whole event. He just seemed to run on forward again as if nothing happened. He had one good puncture wound on the top of his head. Another on his back, and another on his ear where blood began to pool and swell his ear. I wanted to yell something. I wanted to drop kick the dog. I wanted to tell the owner something, but I just walked away and got Chico to safety. The owner didn’t even leash their dog after that, didn’t apologize, or even walk it back to their yard. I could feel my own desire to stomp on the other dog rise inside of me. When we got home, I washed it out, put ointment on it, and laid down on Chico petting him as we both fell asleep. I am worried about losing him. I am selfishly worried about my own sanity when I don’t have him anymore. Maybe he is a crutch to life for me, a reason to be alone, an excuse to hike out into solitude. Through all the major loss of my life, I have had him: my grandmother, my grandfather, lost loves--Chico has been there waiting to go walk, to push his body against mine as he fades into dog dreams.
In the last months of my grandfather, I visited him at the nursing home and everyone in there lit up when they saw Chico. They all had stories of past dogs they once had too. I know I have a lot of life to live that will happen without Chico. I imagine, I too, will be reflecting back to this little bit of selfless love in my life. Maybe it is a bit pathetic, but he is one of the most significant relationships in my life. He has taught me a lot about love and caring.
I was just at the Vet with Chico running full panel of blood work on his, urinalysis, fecal analysis to make sure he is doing OK at over 10 years of age. They gave him a clean bill of health. The Vet said he will most likely die of old age. That, unfortunately, isn’t all that comforting. I make an appointment to take him in tomorrow. Regardless, I rub Chico’s belly and feel the rise and fall of his breath as I use him like a pillow. I listen to his deep breathing. Often at night, when he dreams, he does this underwater type barking, and I will reach out and put my hand on him, let him know that I am here for him. I hate that he was hurt today and that I didn’t get there soon enough to stop it. I can’t get the image of him falling over on his back as this dog attacked him; he looked over to me for help. I try to be there for him. I tell him I love him. I grab a hold of his paw in my own hand as I too fall asleep.