It was one of those days Tuesday. Every two minutes I was tripping over the damn dog who has a penchant for following me at a distance of three inches. While cleaning the garage, I kept bumping into him, stepping on him, cursing him out. Eventually one of the boys put him in his kennel just so we could get the job DONE.
Then it stayed nice out and everybody played kickball and ate cereal for dinner and loved on Jax.
By ten we were all snug in bed, lights out.
Everyone except Jax. Jax remembered in his wee doggy brain that it was the odd Tuesday night when the neighbors put out their recycling bin (yummy empty can of Bush's Baked Beans, yo!) and he trotted across the road. Black dog on a blacktop road at night.
Someone pounded on our door, shone a bright flashlight in our house and shouted us awake. Mr. D ran outside and I heard him call back to me--"It's Jax! He was hit by a car!"
I was about halfway down the driveway in my jammies and bare feet when I realized that whether the dog was alive or dead, he weighed 80 pounds and the Momvan would be a better bet. I sped back, opened the garage door and drove up to the road where two squad cars were parked, lights flashing. There, in the glow of headlights, knelt our neighbor, a policeman and Mr. D. The other policeman directed traffic around the scene. Lying on his side with blood coming from his mouth was our damn dog.
Mr. T heard the commotion and followed us down the driveway. He got shouted home where he sat on the porch to wait for us--his heart a knot of fretfulness.
And you just don't know. Hit by a car it could be anything--that dog could live for 5 more minutes or 5 more years. The policeman who hit him had just turned the corner and thankfully wasn't going very fast when he clipped him. In fact, he felt the impact, never saw the dog. We're lucky he stopped. Anyone else could have kept driving and the next vehicle down the road would have finished him off. But he stopped. He watched Jax take a few steps, stumble and crumple to the road.
No one knew what to do--except lift the dog in a blanket into the back of the Momvan and call a local vet. Dr. P met us in his driveway wearing shorts and a stethoscope. He examined our poor dog under the dome light in the back of the Momvan and told us things didn't look good. It's all guesswork without x-rays. He gave Jax a shot of morphine and called ahead to the animal hospital to tell them we were en route.
We stopped home for clothes and money. Mr. T visited Jax in the back of the van before we told him to go to sleep--we'd wake him up with any news.
In one of the longer half-hours of my life, I sat in the back of the Momvan with the dog half across my legs, petting him and soothing him while Mr. D drove across town. I kept Mr. D posted on his dog's condition--"he's breathing hard and fast again." "He just lifted his head when he heard your voice."
After checking him in and filling out the paperwork, we waited.
Mr. D drank complementary coffee.
We ignored the horrid late night TV show blaring above our heads.
We talked about work, the children, baseball and politics.
We tried not to watch the clock.
We felt bad for the policeman who'd run into our dog.
We felt thankful for the neighbor who rushed out to help and Dr. P offering what he could.
We worried that it was taking too long--was that a bad thing or a good thing?
Mr. D checked stock prices on the cell phone.
I flipped through Time Magazine.
And finally the veterinarian walked out to talk to us.
No broken bones, no stress on his breathing. They wouldn't know for a while whether he had internal bleeding, but so far things looked very lucky. He was hooked up to an IV and resting on a clean bed, sore, tired and freaked out.
It was after 1:00 in the morning when we returned home.
Wednesday was a long, long day requiring many cups of coffee. We learned that Jax probably only suffered a cut tongue, herniated disc and bruising. Last night we retrieved him and his 3 prescription medications for pain. So far it looks like he'll be fine. He's convalescing on the porch. Mr. G's classmates drew get-well cards for him and Mr. G decorated the space to cheer our patient up.
This morning I took him outside on a leash for his morning constitutional. He struggles to stand and sit down again, but once he's up he moves okay. He peed leaning against a tree for support, though.